Pete Gilbert">

LEGO KidsFest

Our family’s always wanted to go to Lego Land (well, at least, my son and I have always wanted to go). Living in the middle of the country doesn’t make this visit an easy one for us. Unless we wanted to shell out cash for five airline tickets to Florida, California, or Dubai (seriously, there’s a Lego Land in Dubai), it wasn’t going to happen.

Luckily, for those of us that are landlocked, there’s an alternative, a traveling Lego festival. When I found out about this I was excited, then when I learned it was coming to Indy I was pumped!

Indy’s Child was nice enough to hook my family up with tickets, no small chore, since tickets were over $20 each. The tickets they gave me were for the Friday night session. This would pose some challenges, but we could make it happen. Lego Fest had a 4 o’clock start time and we (I) wanted to get there right when it opened to beat crowd, I also knew it meant my wife wouldn’t be home from work yet, so it would just be me with three kids. I read ahead of time they had a missing parent zone. It helped knowing a plan for missing kids was in place, but at the same time it told me things would be crazy busy which made me uneasy .

The night before I’d scouted out the grounds online, so we had a plan of action when we arrived. Everything was all set, then I found out were were meeting the kids’ great-grandma (GiGi) at the festival. Surprisingly, we found her with no problems and the five of us headed into the convention center.

We started our day at the Duplo area, it had the bigger blocks for Blonde Bomber and other kids her age. All three kids enjoyed the area…for about five minutes.

After that, things got a little rough…my overnight preparation didn’t get me ready for each of the three kids having three completely different sets of expectations. There were debates/arguments about whether we would go to Lego Friends, Lego Movie stuff and so on… After a small meltdown, a snack, lining kids up against the wall and briefly yelling at them, we were able to improve our attitudes and have a great time.

There were many highlights to our day…

First, there was a HUGE pile of thousands and thousands of Lego scattered ALL OVER the floor. Kids were throwing handfuls up in the air and letting them land in their faces. Kids were laying in them, and even making snow angels in them. While watching kids play in the giant Lego pile I learned two things: First, to kids, Lego are basically currency. They were acting how I would act if I were sitting on a pile of millions of dollars. Second of all, when it comes to Lego, kids have an unbelievably high pain tolerance. How were they not feeling every painful Lego pointy edge and small circular stab as they stomped all one them?

After we shared germs with dozens of other kids in the LEGO pile, we went to the Ninjago battle station. The battle station could best be described as is “Rock ’em Sock ’em robots” meets battling LEGO figures with assorted weapons. This simple activity kept my two oldest busy for a half-hour, in other words an eternity for small kids.

My favorite activity, by far, was Creation Nation. At Creation Nation, each child was given a 5″ x 5″ flat Lego piece to build a structure upon. After kids built whatever they wanted on their square, they gave it to a worker that set the creation inside a basketball court sized outline of the United States. In our case, First Born made a cafe and requested it be placed on the California coast and Middle Man made a house and requested it go next to his aunt and uncle’s lake house in Michigan (No creation for BB, at the time, she was still knee-deep in Duplos). Over the course of the three-day festival, the outline of the entire U.S. was filled with hundreds of these mini structures.

The biggest downside to the tour is the sparsity of it, but if you live near one of the following towns: Biloxi, Glendale, St. Louis, Nashville or Austin, LegoKids Fest is a good time and something definitely worth checking out…

Oh, and about that “Found Parent zone,” it got its fair share of use. A lot of kids ended up getting separated from their parents, there was an intercom announcement on average about every 15 minutes. Thankfully I didn’t have to use it to find my kids…or GiGi.

-Pete

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