LEGO® KidsFest 2014

After a two-year hiatus, Lego® KidsFest is returning to Raleigh, and will fill the convention center with joy, laugther and millions of lego bricks. This touring show has visited Raleigh once before, in 2012 when my son was still firmly in the Duplo age (see image below).

legofest2012He is now approaching Small Lego age, and it is time to return to this cool event. No doubt about it; in the end this is a Lego promotion, but it is a lot of fun to attend, and while there are Lego sets for sale, there is no pressure to actually do so. (Your kids may have a different opinion, though.)

From memory, this is what stood out: First, the large Creation Nation is a giant outline of the US, which will be filled by small Lego creations from attendees. (I had fun with that myself while my little helper took a nap. Won’t happen this time.) The monochromatic builds (entire areas with just white or orange or whatever Legos) were also pretty cool. Then there are full-size models of Spiderman and the likes. A Lego-Pinewood Derby. And also various areas for the different Lego product lines like Lego City or Lego Technic.

Note that when you buy tickets, it is for a specific half-day: Saturday/Sunday, morning or evening. After the morning session, the exhibition closes briefly to be ready for the afternoon crowd again. All sessions are the same, and they usually do sell out.

Details and tickets (not cheap at $20/child and $22/adult) are available on the Raleigh KidsFest website. Note: This is still 10 weeks away, but it will sell out, at least some of the sessions.20101205-0790LKFHC10_creatiCreation Nation: Florida seen in a Lego world. (Photo Courtesy of LEGO® KidsFest.)

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Grand Re-Opening of Around Town at Marbles (Sat 6/1/13)

The “Around Town” exhibit at Marbles has been closed for a few weeks because it was being updated and remodeled. (“Around Town” is the large exhibit when you come in, with the bus, the grocery store, the ambulance, the stage, and of course the train table.)

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Most things are reportedly still there, and a new farm-themed topic has been added, to introduce kids to NC livestock and crops. I’m glad to see that the new train table is actually bigger, I was a bit worried it would have to make place for something else. (“Don’t mess with Thomess!”) I think we were actually there the last day that it was open, and it would only be appropriate to go back on the first day it re-opens.

Beyond the new exhibits, I also spotted a beautiful new mural by Denise Hughes, which is in my eyes one of the nicest aspects of Marbles. (I also like her recent work in the recently opened toddler room.)

National Train Day in Selma and Cary (Sat 5/11)

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Amtrak celebrates National Train Day this Saturday, and there are two ways to participate:

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  • First, you can drive to Cary, where a quite large event is taking place in the downtown depot. Even better, you could take the (short) ride on the Amtrak from Raleigh to Cary; leave Raleigh at 11:45am and get back at 3:11pm, about 15 minutes on the train each way. Train fare $11/adult.
    The event has a Chuggington exhibit, model trains and free train whistles, live music, hot dogs, and other things that get rail fans excited.
  • Secondly, you can take the train to Selma, where National Train Day is a major event for this  quaint Eastern Piedmont town. For this trip, you would leave Raleigh at 10:25am and get back at 4:42pm, and spend closer to 40 minutes on the train each way. (You could of course also drive to Selma.) Train fare $16/adult.
    Selma’s event is probably a bit smaller, but not any less exciting, with a live band, food vendors, kids activities and so on. There will also be trains arriving and departing while you’re there, going to far-away places like New York or Savannah.

If you’re planning to take the train to one of these events, let me know.