John Ball Zoo announces BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise arriving in May 2020

Community News |Feb 18, 2020|3 min read

In conjunction with Grand Rapids Public Museum announcement of Sean Kenney’s Wild Connections Made with LEGO®

John Ball Zoo is announcing the arrival of international traveling exhibition BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise this summer. Opening May 1 and continuing through September 7, this unique exhibition will feature more than 40 life-sized animal sculptures created with over 1.8 million individually colored building bricks. John Ball Zoo is only the third zoo in the country to have been chosen to host the exhibition and the first in Michigan.


The exhibition of sculptures will be located throughout the Zoo for guests to enjoy during their visit. Along with sculptures of animals not at John Ball Zoo, there will be many John Ball Zoo favorites like the African lion, snow leopard, and ring-tailed lemur. After checking out these amazing sculptures, guests can then visit their live counterparts who reside at the Zoo to see how they compare to their building brick lookalikes.


BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise features sculptures of endangered animals to not only entertain but also educate guests about the importance of the preservation of endangered species.


“The world’s wildlife has sadly declined in the last generation,” said Peter D’Arienzo, John Ball Zoo’s Chief Executive Officer. “Oceans, ice caps, jungles, rivers and forests are struggling to cope with the growing pressure upon them. With the ongoing environmental threats in the world we live in, it is exciting to host BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise and bring important animal, habitat facts and statistics to life in a fun brick built environment.”


This exhibition will allow Zoo guests the opportunity for a S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) experience. This approach to learning and education inspires children to become creators, thinkers, problem solvers, doers, innovators and inventors.


The sculptures will also feature facts such as the size of each sculpture, how many bricks were used to build each one, and the amount of time it took to create. For example, the life-sized giraffe sculpture alone took over 96,000 building bricks to construct and measures over 12 feet tall.


Brick Built Exhibits Throughout West Michigan


In addition to BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise at John Ball Zoo, the Grand Rapids Public Museum will open Sean Kenney’s Wild Connections Made with LEGO® Bricks in June, together creating a full experience for the community. John Ball Zoo and the Grand Rapids Public Museum will be partnering throughout the run of these exciting exhibitions. Wild Connections features beautiful creations made from simple toy blocks to explore animal endangerment, the balance of ecosystems, and human’s relationship with nature.


John Ball Zoo opens for the 2020 season on Friday, April 3. BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise arrives May 1 and is included with general admission purchase. Visit or for further information on either exhibition.