On August 3rd, I LUG NY members Brian G and Brian W attended the Adult Night festivities at the Legoland Discovery Center in Westchester. Legoland Discovery Centers offer an Adult Night every other month and are usually held on the first Thursday of the month from 7-9 PM. Adults are not able to visit the LLDC during normal hours of operation without children. Adult Night gives adults a chance to see what the LLDC is about and the chance to take part in activities that combine LEGO with some other fun theme. Previous Adult Nights were centered around pop culture (Star Wars, Super Heroes, Video Games and Halloween last October). This month’s theme was Nickelodeon.
The adults were let in to the LLDC at 7:00. I had visited previously with my family so I was already familiar with the layout and exhibits on display. It didn’t stop me from walking slowly through the Miniland and Star Wars Miniland areas because the model work there is jaw dropping to say the least. When I made it inside I was met by friendly employees who genuinely seemed as if they wanted to be there after their regular hours. I rode the Kingdom Quest ride and then made my way to the large play area where the activities were staged, just in front of the Ninjago City Adventure. This is where the activities took place for the first hour of Adult Night.
During this first hour it seemed as if there were more employees and friends of employees than visitors. The Nickelodeon themed activities for those in attendance ranged from watching classic Nickelodeon cartoons in the 4-D theater (shown in 2-D) and two timed events. The first timed event was an obstacle course inspired by the show Double Dare. Participants had to run inside a life sized barn made of upsized Duplo bricks, climb up a ladder inside to a slide, go down the slide and then run to the soft brick pit. They then had to find the flags hidden in the soft brick pit. The other timed event had players run through the Ninjago City Adventure area. The fastest players for both of these activities received a LEGO set at the end of the night. There was also an employee on hand from the restaurant next door selling alcoholic beverages for those interested.
A little before 8:00 we were invited into the Master Builder Academy to construct a Sponge Bob model designed by the Master Model Builder of this LLDC, Anthony. The Master Model Builder also had created models of characters from several Nick cartoons including Sponge Bob Square Pants, Doug, Rugrats and Invader Zim. Seeing these models made it very clear that the Master Model Builder is very deserving of that title as these models were absolutely impressive.
The set up of the Master Builder Academy is very smart. This area is a classroom where the guest builders sit in rows facing the instructor and a screen. Not only does the instructor show the guests how to build the model step by step by holding the model up for all to see, he was also doing this with a video camera over his shoulder. The camera feed magnified what the instructor was doing so we could all follow along. The instructor did an admirable job teaching to the various levels of builders in the class. He sorted the bricks by color and type prior to building. He then named the elements. This gave the builders an opportunity to familiarize themselves with these parts. As an AFOL, I was reminded that there are adults who do not build and who are not familiar with LEGO. The instructor built the model at a slow pace to allow all to catch up with him and did a great job of rebuilding certain steps that were giving people trouble.
After completing our Sponge Bobs we were led out of the Master Builder Academy where the staff set up two folding tables with several bowls of mixed LEGO elements on them. We were given 10 minutes to build a Nickelodeon inspired LEGO creation. Entries included a Sponge Bob with exploding slime head, Tommy’s shirt from Rugrats, a Krusty Krab, a CatDog, the word “Nick” and others. Builders voted for their favorite models and prizes (LEGO sets) were awarded for 1st through 3rd place. Brian G placed in the top 3 for his slime exploding Sponge Bob, I did not for my orange “Nick” letters .
Afterwards Brian and I handed out I LUG NY business cards to some of those in attendance to let them know there are adults out there that build and that there is even a club for them to join if they want! (Brian G actually learned about I LUG NY at a LLDC Adult Night several years ago and has been a member ever since). By the end of the night there were about 25 adults in attendance. Not sure how many were off duty employees and their friends but a nice turnout either way. Finally, we spoke with the Master Model Builder Anthony and Nick who was in charge of thinking up the activities for the night. They shared with us that the next Adult Night would be the last Thursday in October and would be Halloween themed.
I would recommend at least going to one Adult Night, especially if you are looking to meet other adults to start a LEGO User Group or meet adults from a LUG. If you’ve never been to a LLDC it is a chance to enjoy the attractions without the usual people traffic there. The make and take model, building competition and exhibits are worth your admission. Brian G (who has attended many other Adult Nights in the past) said that there were more models by the Master Model Builder than in any other Adult Night he can remember. He also said that the turnout was larger than most that he has attended.
Meeting the people that put on this event were a nice bonus! Thank you Anthony and Nick.
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