Disclaimer: I was provided with 4 tickets to LEGO KidsFest in exchange for promotion in advance, sharing event pictures, and an event review. All opinions are our own.
Last night my daughter and I attended the Michigan LEGO KidsFest at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi with a friend of hers and his mom. The LEGO KidsFest is in Novi through Sunday, April 27 before continuing with the rest of the 2014 tour. The kids loved all of the building opportunities and seeing the LEGO Models. We had previously attended the event in October 2012 with mixed reviews, but definitely enjoyed this year's event. I've shared some of our photos and things we liked in the narrated slide show below:
Due to a prior committment we did not arrive at the event until 4:40p (opened at 4p). The top thing on our kids to-do list was the LEGO Master Builder Academy which offers several sessions throughout the night. Attendance is limited to 130 children per session and they hand out tickets for each session while supplies last. We had our choice of showtimes, and selected the 5:30p show.
While we waited for our Master Builder Academy session, the kids visited the MonoChrome Building area with all green bricks. The kids each built a pyramid. The last time that we attended LEGO KidsFest there were several monochrome building areas of different colors and of course my daughter wanted to visit each. I am glad that they switched to a single monochrome area and increased the themed building areas. Meanwhile I stopped at the LEGO Club booth to trade in my LEGO Club postcard for a surprise (a Max mini-figure) and to pick up a LEGO Magazine scavenger hunt which they returned for a special LEGO brick.
We also stopped by the LEGO Model Museum to see the life-size models on display. My daughter and her friend were thrilled with all of the Star Wars characters on display as well as Gandalf and Bilbo from The Hobbit, and the LEGO Movie characters.
We returned to LEGO Master Builder Academy a few minutes early and were at the end of the entry line, so our kids weren't up front, but my daughter was still called on twice...once to explain what interlocking is and once to ask a question.
After learning about the three principles of building, the kids got a chance to experiment themselves. I was glad because my daughter was encouraged to build something other than her typical pyramid.
There were areas featuring many of the popular lines such as LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Castle, LEGO Mixels, LEGO Chima, LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends Disney Princesses, and more. In the LEGO Super Heroes area you were encouraged to create your Super Hero Symbol and could then have your picture taken with a Spider-Man model.
We also enjoyed the LEGO Challenge where everyone was encouraged to build something according to a theme. These sessions were about 5 minutes long. The group before us had to build something found in space while our group was given monsters. At the end each participating child received a LEGO bagged set. Our kids were thrilled to get a LEGO Star Wars set. We then headed to Creation Nation where the kids could create a set to be placed on a giant map of the earth. My daughter created a tree house and had it placed in California. Her friend asked for his structure to go to Colorado. We wrapped up with a short trip to the big brick pile. My daughter and her friend had fun in the pile, with my daughter finding a location that she could slide the bricks away to sit on the carpet.
There were a few areas that we skipped such as LEGO Duplo, the stores, and the Disney Princess area. My daughter and her friend are too old for the Duplo area and her friend didn't have much interest in the Princess area. When he was engrossed in the Castle area, she managed to visit Castle, Chima, and LEGO Friends. We had pre-negotiated to skip the store at KidsFest when we were in California and visited both LegoLand and the LEGO Story at Disneyland. My daughter wanted a set that was over her budget, so I had made a deal that she could get it then if we skipped the shop at the KidsFest. Since the last time we attended LEGO KidsFest there were significant lines at the shop, I didn't want to use our time at the session inside the store. When I walked by the store yesterday, I did not see extensive checkout lines.The one area that we didn't get the chance to visit was building bridges and testing their strength. I would have liked to give it a try, but we were out of time. Since the event continued until 8:30p, I had packed my daughter food for the car so we wouldn't have to take time to eat during the event. There were stands serving pizza & pretzels, burgers/hot dogs/wraps/etc, a candy stand and an ice cream stand. I offered ice cream as we were leaving - 8:25p, but my daughter was hungry and wanted a hamburger. The burger stand was mostly closed at that point selling drinks and packaged snacks only. So she settled for a slice of pizza and a drink from another stand. The ice cream (soft-serve) stand was doing quite a brisk business at closing time - 8:30p.
My only complaint about the event, is about the parking logistics at Suburban Collection Showplace. There is a parking fee of $5 charged at arrival that creates significant backlog. Even arriving 45 minutes into the session, we had to wait in a line that was backed up onto Grand River Ave. I wish they would add a parking fee to the ticket purchase as many local places do. However this is probably a venue decision and not under the control of LEGO KidsFest. I definitely recommend arriving early due to entering the parking lot and to maximize your time at the event. Tickets to LEGO KidsFest are $20 for kids and $22 for adults. Unfortunately, the remaining sessions in Michigan are sold out. I will keep an eye out for future tour dates in 2015 and beyond. Remaining locations on the 2014 tour include Calgary (Tickets are $23/$25 for Calgary), Atlanta, Dallas, Richmond, and Indianapolis.