So do you have the “Everything Is Awesome!” song stuck in your head yet? (It’s from the Lego Movie if you have never seen it.) There is a bit of a back story surrounding BrickWorld Tampa for my family. I was watching the history of Lego on Netflix and discovered that there are huge conventions that feature these tiny little blocks of creativity. I started researching and found BrickWorld Tampa! BrickWorld is a traveling Lego fan event that travels around the country with displays, vendors and much more. BrickWorld Tampa is one of the largest Lego fan events in the state. I should also add that it was awesome!
At this point we have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1/2 year old. The oldest loves the Lego Duplo line which are the larger Legos meant just for toddlers and since he is just past the stage of putting everything in his mouth, I think he’s ready for big boy Legos! We’ll need to be careful though, as his little brother winds up covered in Duplos when they play together, but I think we’re ready for the next step. I thought it only logical to checkout the BrickWorld Tampa event to see what was out there as far as Legos go. I’m very glad we did!
So we packed up our car, added my sister, my niece, and her friend and started on the 3 hour trek to Tampa. I didn’t think that the finest one in the family would travel very well, so the Mrs. stayed home with him. After a fun road trip we finally arrived at the Florida State Fairgrounds right outside of Tampa. We have never been to this venue before but have driven past it numerous times. Parking was $6 which I figured wasn’t too bad and we started the walk to one of the buildings. Giant BrickWorld Tampa banners pointed us in the right direction and soon enough we were at the gates of creativity!
Once inside, we were pleased to find a huge indoor area filled with Legos! I’m talking Lego sculptures, cars, and even art! BrickWorld Tampa was a bit of a cross between an art exhibit, a hands on Lego building experience, and educational outing. In addition to individuals showing off their creative skills, there were clubs Lego clubs from all over Florida that joined together to build huge cityscapes and intricate moving displays. While venturing in and out of the table display areas, if you could imagine it, they had it in Legos! I can go on and on about the displays, but the pictures really speak for themselves. My favorite however was the Sistine Chapel recreation.
If you thought that Legos were just three dimensional immobile objects you were wrong! BrickWorld Tampa featured a gigantic robotic chess set that actually moved as the game progressed. One table had a perpetual conveyor belt of Lego soccer balls going around and around. It was like a never-ending Rube Goldberg machine that had it all: a ferris wheel type device, trains, gears, shaker sorters, and lots more. It was very impressive, and there were so many different types of Lego pieces that were interconnected to make it happen. In addition to the displays, the Lego NXT series allowed robotic type controls and brought the Legos to life!
No Lego fan event would be complete without vendors! All along the outside of the interior of BrickWorld Tampa were vendors of all sorts. I wasn’t aware of this, but there are vendors that create custom Lego mini figures and custom Lego sets. Building a Lego model of the Starship Enterprise? Need some Lego mini figures to pilot it and go on away missions? There was a vendor that had custom Star Trek themed mini figures. Looking to build a Lego SWAT team, you guessed it, there were vendors that offered custom Lego mini figures complete with tactical gear. Perfect for those urban Lego hostage situations. There were lots of custom Lego sets as well as hard to find sets if you wanted to plunk down some cash, but what I thought was cool was that there was no pressure to actually purchase anything. You could browse the vendors as long as you wished and they were happy to hand out information on their custom products.
Something that really struck me about BrickWorld Tampa was the crowd. I personally hate crowds! I love theme parks but hate crowds, go figure. I’m not claustrophobic or anything, but would prefer to have lots of space around me and the family. BrickWorld Tampa has crowded, but not uncomfortably so. The crowd was somehow different tun other events that we have been to. It was probably the most respectful and most polite crowd we have ever encountered! If you were stopping to take a photo, people were polite and would wait to walk by. If you were trying to squeeze in to see a particular display, they would make room to let you in. The children were generally well-behaved and the other guests, vendors, and display artists seemed to come from all walks of life. Some were older, some younger, but all shared their love of one thing: Legos in any form or size. It’s a shame that we as a society can’t somehow expand on this. Who knows, if we start building house out of Legos, maybe it would bring back the great neighbor relationships of the 1950’s! Ok so that’s impractical, but you get my point.
No Lego fan event would be complete without actually getting hands on! There was a Lego Duplo area just for the little ones as well as a he Lego brick table for the bigger kids. It was fun to watch the tiny ones play and build, and even more exciting to see the older kids interact at the Lego table. The older kids had boxes and boxes of grey 4×2 bricks, nothing really special Lego wise, but their creations were unique and different. I swear my niece and her friend could have spent hours there just building things! Something of merit to note is that there were a few building hue Lego pyramids and diamond-shaped sculptures. It was interesting to me to see that one child would start building a few layers, and then go run off to see another display. Another child would step right in and keep working on it. This just kept going until we left. There were no instructions passed off, there were no interactions, just kids continuing to build on what the other started. I found it interesting that there were no kids that just walked up and completely destroyed what the previous child had created. Destruction seems to be an acquired skill.
We spent quite while, about 2.5 hours walking through BrickWorld Tampa, and the admission was well worth it, especially if you purchase your tickets in advance with the discount. About the only thing we didn’t partake of were the concessions. I believe they were provided by the fairgrounds and not BrickWorld themselves, but the food pricing was a bit out of our budget. Most meals were in the $7-$8 range and drinks were extra. It’s a reasonable price for food when you go to the fair, but thought it was a bit high for a family friendly event. I’m sure it’s different though from location to location. We can’t wait until next year’s BrickWorld Tampa event, and hope to get our little guy started with big boy Legos in the very near future! Even my niece thought the 3 hour drive was worth it! Did you miss BrickWorld Tampa? Don’t worry, check out their site below for a calendar and where they’ll be popping up next.
BrickWorld Tampa Details:
as Adult (Under 3 Free)
|Estimated Cost For A Family of 4:||$40|