Oct 3rd, 2016

Announcing our #LEGOutside Instagram Contest Winners

Instagram Contest Winners

Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks was a very special exhibit and called for a very special Instagram contest. We wanted to encourage fans to get outside, to learn, to feel playful, to be inspired and to have fun.  So, for this year’s Instagram Contest we asked our visitors to celebrate all things LEGO by sharing their favorite photos inspired by our Nature Connects exhibit, uploading them to Instagram and tagging them #LEGOutside. We also allowed email submissions. Entries seemed to fall into two categories: photos of friends and family enjoying the sculptures and creative photos of LEGO minifigs as visitors here at the Garden.  For the first time, many of our entries came from young people, and plenty came from those who are young at heart. The contest attracted 421 submissions via Instagram and about 35 more via email.  I should tell you right now, it was really difficult to choose the Instagram contest winners, there were so many great photos.

But first, the semi-finalists. The two collages below highlight some of our favorite visitor photos.

LEGOutside Instagram Finalists collage

Semifinalists in the #LEGOutside Instagram contest (left to right, top to bottom): @bsinnenberg, @ludwig_the_doxie, @carissacalhoun, @tiffyzh, @happyandhealthywithsuzanne, @jenlynn72, @RVAbott, @homewithmykings, @lobaby @doubled_c, @ludwig_, @carolanne1111, @tiffaniechan, @colcurran, @jaimestoops. These photos focused on visitor experiences.

Here are a few of our favorite contest submissions include (left to right, top to bottom): @am_green_gobbler_ma, Lily Hartley (age 11), @Kyallwine, Noah Renfroe (age 12), Karen Butterfield, Brady Renfroe (age 5), @am_green_gobbler_ma, @am_green_gobbler_ma, Noah Renfroe (age 12), Sawyer Renfroe (age 9), Lily Hartley (age 11), @am_green_gobbler_ma, Lily Hartley (age 11), Bradley Renfroe (age 5), Noah Renfroe (age 12), Noah Hartley (age 7).

Semifinalists in the #LEGOutside Instagram contest (left to right, top to bottom): @am_green_gobbler_ma, Lily Hartley (age 11), @Kyallwine, Noah Renfroe (age 12), Karen Butterfield, Brady Renfroe (age 5), @am_green_gobbler_ma, @am_green_gobbler_ma, Noah Renfroe (age 12), Sawyer Renfroe (age 9), Lily Hartley (age 11), @am_green_gobbler_ma, Lily Hartley (age 11), Bradley Renfroe (age 5), Noah Renfroe (age 12), Noah Hartley (age 7). These photos creatively envisioned the Garden experience from the perspective of LEGO Minifigurines.

See what I mean about how hard it is to choose a winner?  It was even difficult to choose the ones to include in our semifinalist collage. There are simply so many good, creative images.

Seeing photos of our garden from visitors is one of my favorite things.  In fact, I could spend my whole day out in the Garden just observing families, couples, school children and grandparents enjoying each season of blooms, Butterflies LIVE!, Dominion GardenFest of Lights and other exhibits. But alas work calls. One more reason why I love our Instagram contests. Not only do they allow us a chance to peer into how the visitors enjoy the Garden, they allow us to really experience Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden through their eyes, plus we get to see their creativity and sense of humor. For a place that we know and love like it’s our own home, it is refreshing to experience it as novel.

And so we get to the moment you’ve all been waiting for: announcing the Instagram contest winners. Grand Prize winner is a tie — going to  brothers Brady Renfroe (age 5) and Noah Renfroe (age 12).  This family has some major talent too. A third brother, Sawyer Renfroe (age 9), was also a finalist. Dad, Mike Renfroe, helped 5-year-old Brady hold the camera, which was too heavy for him, but Brady set up this shot all by himself. Noah, who shot the Yoda photo, obviously has a lot of patience and luck too. I can just see him saying to himself as he waited for just the right moment, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Lego Minifig and swallowtail butterfly sculpture from LEGO bricks one of our Instagram Contest Winners

Brady Renfroe, age 5, composed this shot while his dad, Mike Renfroe, held the camera and snapped the photo because the camera was too heavy for Brady to hold. Teamwork!

Noah Renfroe image of Yoda, leaf and wasp -- another of our Instagram Contest Winners

Noah Renfroe, age 12, snapped this shot of Yoda on an elephant ear, when a wasp flew by. He captured that too. Someone must be thinking: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

The Renfroe family wins a prize package including:
12 passes to come back to the Garden with friends. $132 value.
A Supernova family membership to the Science Museum of Virginia. $99 value.
Two complimentary tickets to any Richmond Symphony Altria Masterworks, Casual Fridays or Metro Collection concert or four complimentary tickets to any Lollipops concert in the 2016-2017 Season (some exclusions). $100 value.
A Richmond Region Tourism Attractions Pass. $100 value.
A LEGO Ideas Birds Model Kit from the Garden Shop. Retail value $59.99.

Water Lily and LEGO minifig for LEGOoutside Instagram contest

Lily Hartley, age 11, captured her namesake, a water lily for her #LEGOutside Instagram Contest submission.

Honorable Mention

We had multiple families enter the contest with creative submissions. Several of Lily Hartley’s photos were finalists, including this water lily photo above. Her brother, Noah Hartley, age 7,  took the photo of Jar Jar Binks in the collage above.  The Hartley family will win 4 free passes to the Garden, a $52 value.

The awe inspired by Nature Connects really comes to life when you see this photo by our second-place winner Carol Lane Stephenson,  @carollane1111  on Instagram. She commented on her post, “You can tell they are really scoping it out 😍 they wanted to know exactly how many pieces it took to build each sculpture ….so cool!!” She will also win 4 free passes to the Garden.

Kids enjoying the Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly LEGO brick sculpture from Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks. Photo by @carollane1111

Second place Instagram contest winner Carol Lane Stephenson aka @carollane1111 submitted this photo of kids enjoying the exhibit.

Congratulations to all of our Instagram contest winners. Thanks for playing everyone! Be sure to look for our next Instagram contest (starting Nov. 25, 2016): Dominion GardenFest of Lights.

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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