Hanging out at Legoland might seem like child’s play (pun intended), but as with anything, there are some things to avoid. For example:
1. Building child-inappropriate structures.
2. Eating legos.
3. Stealing legos.
4. Pretending your an evil child-eating lego monster.
5. Getting the Lego pirates drunk.
6. Getting in a massive brawl while standing in line.
Obvious right? Maybe not. Last weekend at at Legoland Windsor in England a fight broke out between families. People yelled, punches were thrown and the families eventually were kicked out and banned for life. The reason? One onlooker said it might just have been because they were sick of standing in line.
Agitated because you’ve been standing in line for too long? Go buy another cotton candy instead of throwing a fit. Lesson learned.
LEGOs – show me a man, woman or child who doesn’t love these little plastic building bricks and I’ll show you three exhibitions that will impress them to pieces this summer.
LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition
National Building Museum, Washington, DC Through September 3, 2012
The LEGO exhibit “Towering Ambition” has been wowing visitors to Washington, DC’s National Building Museum since 2010. On display is the LEGO artistry of Adam Reed Tucker, one of only 11 LEGO® certified professionals in the world, who re-created 15 of the world’s most famous buildings and monuments out of toy bricks. See scale models of the Empire State Building, Gateway Arch and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, also known (for the time being) as the tallest building in the world. For the final months of this exhibition, three DC-area design companies have contributed equally intriguing LEGO builds of other iconic landmarks which collectively total more than 75,000 bricks.Sculptures Built with LEGO® Bricks
Reiman Gardens, Ames, Iowa
Through October 28, 2012
Beautiful Reiman Gardens, the largest public gardens in Iowa located at Iowa State University in Ames, invited Sean Kenney, another LEGO-certified artist, to create 27 nature-inspired sculptures arranged in 14 displays. A hummingbird sipping nectar from a flower, a bumblebee, a monarch butterfly, fox, a moth orchid, and a bison with a calf are just a few of the incredible LEGO builds throughout the grounds. The sculptures range from six inches tall to eight feet tall and approximately 500,000 bricks were used in the exhibition.
Nathan Sawaya: The Art of the Brick
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida
Through August 19, 2012
Sculptures ranging from lovers embraced in a kiss to Mount Rushmore make up this eclectic exhibition in Hollywood, Florida, featuring the works of master LEGO builder Nathan Sawaya. Many of Sawaya’s past works, such as his LEGO replica of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, have earned him permanent exhibition space at museums around the world. So this show of mostly new works will be worth checking out.
Of course, in addition to these three exhibits, LEGO enthusiasts can visit several official LEGO venues throughout the United States. There are now LEGOLAND theme parks in Florida and California as well as four LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in the U.S. (and four more worldwide).
[Photos: National Building Museum; Flickr user McLeod; Art and Culture Center of Hollywood]
Legoland California will be the first Legoland theme park to launch a Star Wars Miniland area. The Star Wars Miniland, which will have models of favorite Star Wars scenes constructed entirely of Legos, is set to open March 31.
Eight famous Star Wars scenes will be built in a 1:20 scale. The project will take more than 1.5 million Legos and, we’re guessing, a dash of The Force.
The scenes will encompass the stories told in all six Star Wars movies and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series and be arranged chronologically. The models will be up to 6 feet tall, and some of them will be built to move or perform other actions when theme park visitors press buttons at the exhibit.
Legoland California also promises life-size models of Chewbacca, R2D2 and Darth Vader for family photo ops.
Two more Legoland parks – Legoland Deutschland in Gunzburg, Germany, and Legoland Billund in Billund, Denmark – will introduce Star Wars Minilands later this year.
Theme parks around the United States are getting in on the Halloween fun this week, with special events featuring everything from horror-filled haunted houses to magic shows to trick-or-treating for kids. Here’s a look at our top 10 Halloween theme park events:
1. Halloween Horror Nights: Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida
Universal’s Halloween scarefest, which tops lists of horror attractions year-after-year, is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. But rather than make it solely a look back, Halloween Horror Nights XX blends new with the nostalgia. There are eight haunted houses, six streetside “scare zones” and two shows. Be sure to catch a glimpse of Fear, the towering character Universal says is the creator of all the scares of the past 20 years. Tickets are $74.99, with discounts available for Florida residents. Scare level: This event is geared toward adults and older teens. Trust me, it’s not for children.
2. Halloween Haunt: Knott’s “Scary” Farm, Buena Park, California
Now in its 38th year, Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt is the granddaddy of all theme park Halloween event. Unlike many theme park events where rides are open, but don’t differ from the rest of the year, Knott’s re-themes 13 of its rides and turns the ride queues into “walk-through mazes.” There are also seven live shows at Knott’s “Scary” Farm and more than 1,000 monsters, mutants and goblins standing in the shadows waiting to jump out and scare. Tickets are $50 in advance, with several discount packages available. Scare level: This event is for adults and older teens. Knott’s Berry Farm also offers “Snoopy’s Costume Party” during the day for the younger set.
3. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
Mickey, Minnie and all their friends don Halloween costumes for this special event at the Magic Kingdom on select nights each year. Families are allowed to come in costume and there are trick-or-treating stations set up throughout the park. Highlights of Disney’s Halloween party include Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Parade that features a pre-parade appearance by Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman, and the Hallowishes fireworks show. There’s also a live show at Cinderella Castle featuring many of the Disney villains, including (new this year) Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog.” Tickets are $59.95, with discounts available for passholders. Scare level: This one’s for just about everyone, though children who fear Disney villains or the Haunted mansion ride could be in for a few mild frights.4. Fright Dome: Circus Circus, Las Vegas, Nevada
Every year, the haunted houses at Las Vegas’s Circus Circus offer some serious scares, and this year, there are three all-new houses including My Bloody Valentine, Flesh Feast and a house that pays homage to the “Saw” horror movies. Fright Dome is also known for its live shows featuring cutting-edge magicians, and for its celebrity visitors – Paris Hilton, Holly Madison, David Copperfield and other frequent Vegas visitors tend to visit Fright Dome each year. Tickets are $34.95. Scare level: Definitely not for kids or the faint of heart – this is one of the scariest events around.
5. Howl-O-Scream: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment holds Howl-O-Scream events in Williamsburg, Virginia, San Antonio, Texas, and Tampa, Florida, but we choose the Florida event for this list. The Tampa event typically adopts a back story that adds some edgy fun. This year, the protagonist is Sylvie, the lead singer of a rock band known as My X. Sylvie is out to get revenge on, well, her ex, and just about anyone else that stands in front of her. Besides the eight haunted houses and five scare zones at Howl-O-Scream, you can also see a concert featuring Sylvie and her band. It’s that follow-through with the back story that puts Howl-O-Scream on our list. Tickets are $74.95, with discounts for Florida residents. Scare level: Teens and adults only for this one.
6. Hersheypark in the Dark: Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Where better to get a sweet Halloween treat than in America’s favorite chocolate town? Hersheypark opens its “rollerghosters” and other rides at night for a Halloween celebration each year. Kids 12 and under can trick-or-treat at eight stops in the park, and there are three family-friendly shows, including one by Halloween band “Bunsen and the Burners.” Hersheypark’s eateries even update their menus for the fall, offering soup in bread bowls, turkey legs and autumn-inspired desserts. Tickets are $38.95, with several discount packages available. Scare level: This one’s truly for all ages.
7. Halloweekends: Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Cedar Point tries to balance fun and scary during their Halloweekends. While there are plenty of scares in four haunted houses and five scare zones, but much of the rest of the park is filled with pumpkins, sweet treats and family-friendly Halloween fun. All the scary sections are marked so that those not wanting quite the fright can stay away. Cedar Point puts a heavy emphasis on shows – with nine Halloween shows during the event. And for the kids, there are Peanuts shows, a costume contest and the Monster Midway Invasion Celebration Parade. Tickets are $45.99, with discount packages available. Scare level: There are plenty of frights for horror fans, but just as much fun for small frys.
8. Brick or Treat: Legoland, San Diego, California
Legoland offers Halloween fun for little ones at Brick or Treat, with a costume contest, dance party and fall-themed Lego building activities. New this year at Brick or Treat is a live stage show where kids can find the secret to turning scary monsters sweet, and a new light show, “The Spirits of Halloween.” There’s also plenty of trick-or-treating action at Brick or Treat, with seven-themed trick-or-treating stations along a trail. Tickets are $30. Scare level: This one is all treats for little ones, with no tricks in sight.
9. Fright Fest: Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois
Six Flags puts an emphasis on shows and music at this year’s edition of Fright Fest, with a new “Full Moon Rocksplosion” show and parade, as well as a new “zombie dance party.” There’s also “scary-oke” (which is what they should call it every time I take the stage), and the classic “Love at First Fright” show is back for a 20th year. Fright Fest also offers four haunted houses, as well as kids activities including trick-or-treating and a Halloween-themed “The Wiggles” show. Tickets are $36.99 online in advance. Scare level: There’s something at Fright Fest for everyone.
10. Count’s Spooktacular: Sesame Place, Langhorne, Pennsylvania The preschool set can have a frightfully fun time with Sesame Street characters with one very famous vampire (and no, his name isn’t Edward). The Count von Count hosts a Howl-o-Ween radio show, as well as an “un-haunted” maze at Sesame Place theme park. There are two additional Halloween shows starring Sesame Street favorites such as Elmo and Big Bird, as well as hayrides and trick-or-treating. Tickets are $33 online in advance. Scare level: Only for the little pumpkins.
The reward for buying in advance – way, way in advance, in this case – is a big discount. Tickets are $65 for adults and $55 for chidlren ages 3-12 and seniors ages 60 and older. An annual pass, which is good until the end of 2012, is on sale now for $99.
And if you’re already convinced you’re going to love Legoland Florida for life, the park is also selling an “Ambassador” pass for $2,500. It offers lifetime admission, preferred parking, special events and discounts on food and merchandise.
Legoland Florida officials also detailed the layout of the park, which will include 10 lands: The Beginning, Fun Town, Miniland USA, Castle Hill, Land of Adventure, XTreme, LEGO City, Imagination Zone, Pirate Cove and DUPLO Village.
The centerpiece of the park, Miniland USA, will include Lego versions of several Florida landmarks including Kennedy Space Center and Key West’s Mallory Square.
Legoland Florida is being built on 150 acres in Winter Haven, Florida, on the site of the former Cypress Gardenstheme park. Many of the original gardens, including a 30-acre wooded grove, will be maintained at the new park.
Legoland Florida will be geared toward families with children ages 2 to 12 with more than 50 rides, shows and interactive attractions.