Astronaut Harrison explores the New LEGOLAND Discovery Center At Easton.
Astronaut Harrison and I both are very big fans of LEGO. For us they aren’t just toys, they have been a pretty serious part of Harry’s Occupational Therapy progress. Building finger strength, strengthening cross brain connections, you name it and there is a way that LEGO can help meet OT goals without seeming like work. They are also just a great way for he and I to get some time together everyday and exercise our imaginations (yep, LEGOS are great for adult brains too).
Given that we are such big fans, it should be no surprise that when they announced the opening of a LEGOLAND Discovery Center (LDC) last year, we were both pretty excited. We were invited to the groundbreaking brick drop last February by our friends at M+A Architects and every visit to Easton Town Center since, Harry made sure we stopped to see where they were in the construction process.
Now that they are open, we stopped by on Sunday morning for a quick tour by LDC’s general manager Jacob Kristensen followed by several hours of playtime. I have to give a big thank you to Jacob and his entire staff for making sure we didn’t miss anything on our first visit and for giving us the low down on a tip that usually only seasoned visitors know. We’ll be sharing his tip as well as two others I figured out at the end of this blog post so make you stick around!
Welcome to MINILAND CBUS.
We started with a visit to LDC’s MINILAND, an amazing rendering of Columbus (as well of parts of Cleveland and Cincinnati) using 1.5 million LEGO bricks. For me, the MINILAND by itself is worth the cost of admission. I could (and probably will) spend a lot of time studying the techniques and pieces that LEGO’s master builders used to recreate so many of Columbus’s most notable sites in such amazing and realistic fashion.
Astronaut Harrison made a friend for life when Jacob asked if he wanted to take a “walk” (meaning stand very still) on Broad Street. Harry is still talking about it four days later!
In addition to LEGO versions of some of our favorite spots in the CBUS, every 15 minutes MINILAND goes from day to night complete with a fireworks display every cycle. Harry’s favorite part was the campus and stadium at OSU, the amphitheater at Columbus Commons (complete with rock concert), COSI and the boat races on the Scioto river, all of which you can interact with through push button display mounted near each feature.
It’s Time to Start Building!
After leaving MINILAND, we hopped on the elevator down to the lower level where the majority of the interactive activities are.
We started with a trip into the Creative Workshop where they hold daily classes (we’ll definitely be doing that every visit!), a stop by LDC’s Master Builders workshop which has a big window where you can watch Master Bulder Maxx Davidson as he works on the next masterpiece for their ongoing collection.
By this time Harry was itching to get building so we headed over to the LEGO Racers area where he and I built cars to test on their slope track (think pinewood derby racing), and the jump track where we tried to launch our cars into the bucket at the bottom. Plan on spending at LEAST an hour at this station.
Next up we headed to the Earthquake tables where we (ok, I held Harry’s astronaut helmet) built a tower that I am proud to say could withstand even the strongest temblor the table could produce!
Surprise…this place is fun for adults too!
LEGOLAND Discovery Center isn’t just for the kids. Even my wife, who is not a LEGO fan is looking forward to going back because it’s not JUST about the bricks! A few of the things that make this an adult friendly kids place include:
The Coffee Shop
4D LEGO Cinema
The 3-story LEGO CITY playland
This time around we didn’t have a chance to visit the coffee shop but I can tell you that on future visits, we’ll be giving it a full workout (they serve Starbucks!).