Bigfoot towers over a path, glaring as he stands in grasses and flowers in the edge of a field.
Luckily, this man-ape can’t run. He’s one of 10 sculptures in the Gardens of Myth exhibit, which continues through Oct. 22.
With the annual Festival of Butterflies starting Aug. 4, your family has a chance to see creatures dainty, beautiful and small — as well as huge, hairy and ugly — with one trip to Powell Gardens.
Powell Gardens is a 970-acre regional botanical garden about 20 miles east of Lee’s Summit.
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This weekend another popular event begins. The Festival of Butterflies, Aug. 4 to 20, features hundreds of butterflies emerging from their chrysalises in the conservatory. Visitors will be able to walk among the colorful insects.
The Gardens of Myth carries on a tradition of fun, temporary exhibits to offer variety of experiences at the garden. In the past there have been dinosaurs, Lego sculptures and more.
The sculptures are created by Kendall R. Hart of St. Louis in his Grimstone Studios. He builds the base of n steel skeleton with foam, then layers on fiberglass and waterproof epoxy clay and paint.
There’s a 25-foot-long dragon, tiny fairies, a unicorn, minotaur, a troll and mythical beasts from cultures all over the world.
“It was the beauty and fantasy inherent in a botanical garden that first inspired my vision for Gardens of Myth,” Hart said. “Botanical gardens so easily transport us into a world too lovely to believe — really a fantasy realm. The marriage of flora and fantastic fauna is natural.”
The sculptures will travel to botanical gardens throughout the United States, and Powell Gardens is the first host on the tour.
The sculptures are found in the Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible landscape, according to Powell Gardens.
Desiree Deuschle, from Knob Noster, said her family members are regular visitors to the gardens. She was there with her daughters, a sister and niece.
Her daughters were fascinated by the Kappa. It is Japanese legend, sometimes described as a water monkey, which has an indentation in its head to carry water. If it dries out it dies or loses its magical powers. It also likes cucumbers and children throw them into streams to get its favor.
“It’s a cool looking creature,” Deuschle said of the sculpture resembling an anthropomorphized turtle with ears and hands. “My daughters are still learning what a myth is…that it’s made up.”
Powell Gardens Festival of Butterflies
Date: Aug. 4 to 20
Admission: $12 adults, $10 for 60 or older, $5 for ages 5 to 12 and free for children 4 and under.
Hours: March to August: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Butterfly conservatory is open until 4 p.m. Monday – Thursday and until 6 p.m. Friday – Sunday.
Directions: Take U.S. 50 past Lone Jack into Johnson County, about 20 miles. Watch for signs marking the entrance; Powell Gardens is north of the highway.
For more information on the Web go to: powellgardens.org