Imagine walking into three acres of indoor space that was entirely dedicated to your favorite activity. (For me, that would be a “Beverly Hills, 90210” fan convention, for which I would have to break out my Brenda bangs and dust off my old Color Me Badd and Jeremy Jordan CDs.)
But seriously, that’s what it was like for Buddy on Saturday when we made the hour-long trip down to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford for LEGO KidsFest New England.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it pale in comparison to Legoland in Florida? Would it be so crowded that you couldn’t really get any hands-on experiences? Would LEGO be pushing their merchandise in our faces every two feet, forcing me to have to say, “No!” to Buddy and Mimi at least a thousand times?
Thankfully, the answer to all of the above? Not in the least. In fact, the day can be summed up by Buddy in one sentence. “This place is awesome!”
And you know what? He was right.
The first thing I noticed? There were nearly a dozen of unique and organized activities for kids of every age. Mimi set up shop for a good hour in the LEGO Duplo area with all the other toddlers, where there were two gigantic piles of Duplos – including an entire Disney princess section, which she, of course, made an immediate beeline for.
Beyond that there was a cute reading nook and activity area for the little ones, complete with a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog! Mimi, still a little skittish around costumed characters, refused to give him a hug, but she didn’t mind showing him her beautiful artwork.
For the big kids, there were activity stations for LEGO Chima and LEGO Star Wars. There was an area where you could build and race your own LEGO race car. There was a gigantic LEGO city, where you could construct your own skyscraper or building to add to the growing metropolis. There was a monochrome building area, where everything was constructed out of neon green LEGO bricks. And there was a section devoted solely to LEGO robotics.
And no LEGO expo would be complete without a pile of what was probably a million LEGO little bricks, of all different shapes, colors and sizes, waiting for little hands to make into masterpieces.
However, the highlight for Buddy was clearly the LEGO Master Builder Academy. I’ve never seen a group of kids listening so attentively before, as the builder described everything from interlocking to building more stable LEGO works of art.
Buddy was transfixed, hanging on every word. He was even brave enough to walk up to the builder to ask him his own question!
Other observations from LEGO KidsFest:
There was one small LEGO store on-site, which was so unobtrusive that I don’t believe we walked by it, and if we did, I didn’t notice.
Hand sanitizer at every station!
Friendly and helpful staff.
Plenty of chairs for tired parents.
Because the day was split up into two sessions, it never got ridiculously crowded, and there were plenty of LEGO bricks to go around.
Lots of opportunity for parents and kids to work – and build — together.
My only suggestion? A coat check would have been fantastic. Being a chilly December day, I didn’t think to leave the coats in the car, and as a result, ended up carting them around with us all day.
But all in all, it was a successful day and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to attend! I’m not sure what cities LEGO KidsFest will be hitting in 2014, but if you have a little LEGO fan in your house, definitely consider making the trip.