The LEGO® KidsFest is in Indianapolis this weekend, and regardless of how old your kids are, you don't want to miss it. We attended the Friday session with our kids, and it was a smashing success.
This massive LEGO extravaganza is held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis this weekend over the course of five sessions that last 4.5 hours a piece. Be aware that both Saturday (Nov. 8) sessions are already sold out, as is the first session on Sunday (Nov. 9).
There is limited availability left for the second session on Sunday, Nov. 9, from 3 to 7:30 p.m., but you'll want to click here to purchase your tickets RIGHT NOW!
The LEGO KidsFest brings thousands of LEGO fans of all ages together for an amazing interactive experience.
Immediately as you enter, there is a yellow tent for "lost parents." You will want to fill out an information card with your name and phone number to have each of your kids put in their pocket.
Instruct your kids to return to the yellow tent if they can't find you, and the staff there will use the information on the card that your kid provides them to contact you. If that fails, they'll announce over the PA system that you're needed at the yellow tent.
While we were there, the announcements happened all ... night ... long. It's easy to lose your kid in the sea of kids there, so be sure to fill out an information card for each of them.
The first area on your left is chock full of Duplo blocks for younger kids. Beyond that is exhibit after exhibit after exhibit of all sorts of LEGO themed sets: Mixels, Star Wars, Chima, Friends, The LEGO Movie, Superheroes, Disney Princesses and more.
Each exhibit contains huge models made out of LEGO bricks, as well as a bazillion or so bricks for kids to play with and assemble whatever they want.
My daughters, of course, gravitated toward the Disney Princesses and LEGO Friends exhibits, but they checked all of them out.
There was one exhibit where they used LEGO bricks to build whatever came to their minds, and then their creations were put on display for everyone to see. (In case anyone was there on Friday evening, my girls built a "brain-sucker.")
A pleasant surprise upon arrival at the LEGO Friends exhibit was that each kid received a free package of LEGO bricks to take home with them! Scoring new bricks to add to their LEGO Friends sets at home made two little girls very happy.
Then they discovered the Challenge Zone where kids and parents huddle around a number of bins filled with LEGO bricks, and then they're given instructions on what to build by one of the employees (a rocket ship, their favorite animal, and a house were the instructions I heard while I watched). They get a couple of minutes to build their hearts out, and then it's time for the employee to determine the winner.
After watching a few rounds in the Challenge Zone, I couldn't help but notice that the employee could never make a decision on the "best" build, so she awarded prizes to every builder: a small set of LEGO Chiba bricks. So now my girls each had two sets of free bricks to take home!
After they explored a few more exhibits, my girls discovered the Brick Battle Zone, where kids team up to build bridges out of LEGO bricks, and then each team's bridges are tested for their weight capacity to the point of failure.
That was an entertaining event to watch, and my girls loved it. Their team's bridge fell apart under a five-pound weight, but one of the bridges that was constructed during their session held 20 pounds before failing at 25 pounds! Impressive engineering by those kids!
Their prize for participation was yet another package of LEGO bricks to take home: a taxi cab.
In the center of the LEGO KidsFest is a huge LEGO Master Builder Academy where kids ages 7 and up can learn how to incorporate engineering, art and design while building with LEGO bricks.
Each session lasts about 35-40 minutes and can hold up to 130 kids at a time.
We didn't participate in the Master Builder Academy, but I did notice that it was packed all night long. If your kids are interested in it, be sure to sign them up at the MBA booth as soon as you arrive at the LEGO KidsFest.
Then there were the enormous LEGO models, made entirely out of LEGO bricks.
I can't even begin to do these masterpieces justice. Just take a look:
Beyond all of that, the LEGO KidsFest has books, movies, places to purchase LEGO sets and merchandise, a LEGO art gallery, places to build cars and race them down ramps, video games, an exhibit with LEGO bricks that are all the same color and size (you should see what kids can build with those! Wow!), and the biggest pile of LEGO bricks you've ever seen. Kids can literally jump into that pile and create to their hearts' content.
The Indy Eleven, Indy Fuel and Indianapolis Indians were all there, too, with activities for the kids, plus the Fuel's mascot, Nitro, was on-hand to entertain the kids.
I was amazed by how much space there was to move around. LEGO KidsFest takes up three exhibit halls, so even though there are thousands of people in there, you have lots of elbow space. I really appreciated that, given my general dislike of crowds.
I also enjoyed how every exhibit was surrounded by comfortably padded chairs for the parents to sit in while their kids played.
Food is available there through the Convention Center, but I recommend eating at home before you go to the LEGO KidsFest.
The variety of food is extremely limited, you pay stadium prices, the lines were long and slow, and the staff that I experienced weren't particularly friendly. (My wife had a better experience with the staff, but she agrees on the rest of it.)
The LEGO KidsFest does a great job of keeping lines short and moving right along, so it was more than a little irritating to spend so much time waiting in line for an overpriced hot dog, and then to find out that two hours into the event, their pretzels weren't ready to be sold.
(LEGO KidsFest doesn't provide the food. The Convention Center does.)
So eat at home before the KidsFest and then patronize one of the many fine restaurants in downtown Indianapolis afterwards.
Restrooms are widely available throughout the exhibit hall and were clean and smelled good. LEGO KidsFest even set up a couple of private diaper-changing stations next to the Duplo bricks.
You can access a map of downtown Indianapolis (and a whole bunch of other great information to use to plan your day) on LEGO KidsFest's website by clicking here.
We parked in the mall parking garage on Maryland Street, just east of Capitol Avenue. The beauty of parking there is that you can leave your coats in the car because you take the skywalk over to the Convention Center, staying out of the weather at all times.
Not carrying a bunch of coats around for hours is a good thing.
For the five hours we were parked there, it cost us $8.
Everything at the LEGO KidsFest is on one floor, and there is plenty of room for people of all mobility issues to move around. We saw a handful of people there in wheelchairs, and they appeared to have no issues enjoying themselves.
So do you have your tickets for Sunday afternoon yet?? What are you waiting for?! Click here to purchase them before they sell out, and then get ready to enjoy a fantastically fun family event!
And be sure to bring your imagination.
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