The Best National Park Lego Vignettes on Instagram
Plastic rangers exploring America’s best idea
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Nine decades after they hit the market, Legos are still one of the most popular toys. While older sets leaned into themes like pirates, vikings, and space, the company has expanded into pop culture with Lego sets portraying Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter—and even the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In 2015, two national park enthusiasts submitted a proposal for a Lego National Parks set to celebrate the centennial anniversary of America’s best idea. To drum up support for their idea, they created Instagram and Facebook accounts called Lego Park Ranger, which showcase homemade vignettes of what the set might include. While their idea ultimately wasn’t chosen by Lego, the account proved so popular they decided to keep it going. The vignettes showcase anything managed by the National Park Service, including national parks, national monuments, and historic sites. Often funny and always entertaining, the posts highlight safety tips, recreate newsworthy events, and celebrate holidays throughout the year.
We talked with the founders (who wish to remain anonymous) and rounded up our ten favorite Lego Park Ranger shots.
OUTSIDE: What was your inspiration for starting the account?
@LEGOPARKRANGER: In 2015 we proposed a Lego Ideas set dedicated to the centennial of the National Park Service. Lego Ideas is a website where you can propose a set, and if you get 10,000 supporters they will officially consider it. We got to 10,000, but they didn’t end up producing the set. We started our social media to help drum up support, but kept it going because people seemed to enjoy it.
How many lego blocks do you own?
My wife has said for a while that we have far too many. I am starting to feel like it is getting out of hand. Luckily there are a number of websites where you can buy specific bricks so we don’t always have to buy the full sets.
How long does it take to make one vignette?
As for time, it depends. Some days it’s nearly impossible to come up with new ideas and we spend hours looking for inspiration. Other days we can’t build them fast enough to keep up with ideas. When we have a good idea, or something to reference happens in the news, we can pull together a build pretty quick. Though it can bog down if we get obsessed searching for one random piece or minifigure part that we feel like we need.
What was the hardest design so far?
The hardest to build was probably Carlsbad Caverns that has walls and a roof with stalactites hanging down. It took some trial and error, but turned out pretty well. It can also be difficult to build at our small scale. It’s tough to boil a park down to such a small scale.
What about your favorite one?
Our favorite is probably the one of Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site that suggests that Longfellow wrote so many poems about the moon because he was secretly a werewolf. It was the perfect balance of actual history and park significance mixed with weirdness that inspired a great back-and-forth of comments on Facebook pointing out how curiously troubling some of his moon poems are when read through a werewolf lens.
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