When I saw The Lego Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination by Daniel Lipkowitz arrive at Calgary Public Library, it brought back memories of when Lego ruled our world. I’m nostalgic for the days when a Lego magazine’s arrival in the mail was a major event. All activity would halt as the magazine was devoured cover to cover. The required money was tallied, the piggy bank counted, and all upcoming birthdays and holidays taken into account. Then quick to the phone to sweet talk Grandma! All hands were on deck as 1000 pieces of Lego were spilled on the dining room table; parents in charge of sorting Lego by colour, while the chief builder did the assembly without a break until it was done.
Legoland Florida opened in October on the site of the old Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven. We haven’t visited this one, but looking at the map shows they’re using some of the popular features from other Legolands. Our first visit was to Legoland California in San Diego. My strong memories are not the rides, but the clever Lego statues that dotted the park. In the medieval section there was a little pink grunting pig. Down a darkened tunnel was a menacing polar bear. For a photo op, you could stick your head in the jaws of a roaring lion.
We also visited the Legoland in Windsor, England. You can take a train from London for a day trip. Getting off the train, you grab a bus or taxi, skirting around the Queen’s Windsor Castle. There are two huge colourful dragons on the Viking’s River Splash. Trolls dump water on you at the end of this water ride. We all enjoyed the Kid Power Tower in which two people pull their seat up in the air with a rope to get a good view. As in all Legolands, there’s a model miniland in the middle of the park with some architectural highlights of the surrounding country. Miniland is my favourite part of Legoland. It’s fun to look back at places you’ve been, and to look forward to the next destination.
The library’s Lego books are very popular, and sometimes you need to place holds to get the latest titles. We scoured the books on the history of Lego. The little yellow headed people are important; a friend’s child dressed up as one for Halloween. Standing Small: A History of Thirty Years of the Lego Minifigure chronicles their story. There are lots of X books too- easy readers with limited vocabulary for those learning to read.
Books devoted to specific Lego collections are also popular. Right now, Harry Potter is flying off the shelves. Harry Potter: Building the Magical World has colour photos of the sets no longer available. The Star Wars book is also great, and a lot easier to flip through than poking through E-bay!
Lastly, we recommend the DVD Lego: the Adventures of Clutch Powers. Clutch is an action hero minifigure in this animated movie suitable for young kids. There are five Legolands to visit: in Florida, California, England, Germany, and Denmark, the original. Block on!