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PostHeaderIcon Lego Wonderland in San Leandro Through Sept. 2

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Located in San Leandro,  through Sept 2, a child- friendly, innovative, creative beyond imagination, display of Lego styles, sizes and shapes of scenes have been set up to bring out the raves and delight of wide-eyed children and adults alike.  Housed  in the Bay Area Family Church's upper level on Washington Avenue, the show has been developed and built by 40- year-old Johannes van Galen.  When asked how long it took him, he humbly replied "3 weeks", meaning to set it up!  Containing more than a million pieces, the question was rephrased to be more specific.  "When did you start to build all this?”  This reply made more sense..."I started as a young child,"

The complexity of ingenuity ranges from a free-standing barnyard scene, to a Calvary of medieval soldiers surrounding a castle backdrop, to motorized helicopters, bulldozers and a model train network.  Designed to be interactive for children, yet protected from handling behind a plexiglass barrier, the walk-around space allows for activation of the various mechanical sets through use of compression buttons suitable for wee fingers to operate.

Open every day except Monday and Tuesday, a cash only fee of $4 is charged for entrance to the show open from 1 to 8 p.m.  Children age 2 and under may enter free, but no strollers are allowed.  A supply of lemonade and paper cups is provided for a self-dispensed free drink during the leisurely self-guided tour of this Lego wonderland.  Strategically stationed docents are available to offer interpretation and assistance in locating items named on the scavenger hunt list, provided to spark an interest in the search for unusual items on display.  An ample supply of free parking is available on the grounds of the host Church at 2305 Washington Ave. in San Leandro.

According to the BayLUG, Lego Users Group, a membership of the serious aficionados who contribute to the Bay Area Lego shows, Lego is a trade name and is therefore not pluralized.  What most of us refer to as Legos or blocks are in fact considered to be Lego bricks or Lego art or other forms of the Lego product.  These unique, fit-together, fun shapes are the products of a million bricks per day factory manufacturing in Denmark, and have captured the interest of children for decades.  It is safe to say, Lego blocks have been a staple of most children’s’ introduction to the concept of individuality in creating by their own hands with unending imagination.  The early child development of connecting piece by piece, using fine motor skills and self-direction, affords children a sense of fulfilment and self-expression.

Within the spacious display of brightly-colored Lego art forms, visitors will find versatility in structure from underwater scenes to tall skyscrapers, Prehistoric to Sci-Fi figures, from castle to space age, robotics and Pop-culture icons.  Two designs of battleship destroyers, one more than 8 feet in length is offered by builder, Marcello DeCicco.

A children’s play area is set up within the large room with a mound of assorted Lego blocks and a surrounding seating area for parents to observe the little ones enthused by the myriad inspiring creations.  A variety of boxed Lego kits are available for sale, and have a look around for the very tallest man you can find.  Chances are this is none other than the Lego artist himself, Johannes van Galen.  Enjoy! For further information and advance ticket purchase, go to:  playbuildingbricks.eventbrite.com.

Karen Balch is a freelance writer, retired nurse avid traveler and grandmother. Her granddaughter, Hope, 6, is pictured at top in front of one of the Lego displays.

Last Updated (Monday, 27 August 2012 20:13)


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