LEGO ‘Star Wars’ Miniland exhibit showcases movie
By Kara Spak email@example.com March 20, 2013 2:38PM
Andrew Johnson is the master model builder of the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago in Schaumburg. | Sun-Times Media photo
LEGO ‘STAR WARS’
♦ Through Dec. 31
♦ LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Road (Higgins and Martingale roads near Woodfield Mall), Schaumburg
♦ Admission, $20 or Family Saver prices of $34 for a family of two, $51 for a family of three, $68 for a family of four and $85 for a family of five
♦ (847) 592-9700;
Updated: April 23, 2013 1:32PM
“Star Wars’” and LEGO — for many children, they click together as tightly as one LEGO brick into another.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago recently opened the temporary LEGO “Star Wars” Miniland display, which is billed as the first time an American LEGOLAND will showcase a “Stars Wars” exhibit.
It’s also the first new exhibit at the Schaumburg LEGO emporium since it opened five years ago.
The exhibit is a galaxy far, far away from the Chicago and jungle-themed LEGO rooms at the center.
“I’m really pumped for it to be open,” said Andrew Johnson, LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s master model builder.
“I’m really excited to see how guests react to it. It’s always great to have something new in our center.”
The exhibit’s theme was the result of a voting contest sponsored by LEGOLAND.
“Local LEGO fans and guests voted and ‘Star Wars’ won, so we know off the bat people are really going to enjoy it,” Johnson said.
“Beyond kids loving ‘Star Wars’ and LEGO, parents are going to be impressed by the detail that went into this exhibit.”
The“Star Wars” Miniland focuses on the movie “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.”
Using 500,000 LEGO and 2,000 “Star Wars” minifigures, the exhibit re-creates two scenes on the planet Naboo.
These scenes include the battle between droids and Gungans, the native inhabitants of Naboo.
Also reimagined in LEGO is the Boonta Eve Classic podrace featuring a young Anakin Skywalker.
The three scenes include interactive components — young hands can control the podrace or operate a spaceship.
While the small exhibit isn’t an immersive experience like LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s jungle room, where animal noises and greenery surround LEGO apes and birds, or quite as grand as the LEGO re-creation of Chicago, the exhibit does offer a number of impressive touches.
For example, each LEGO minifigure in the podrace audience is sitting in the appropriate seat as seen in the movie.
Johnson said the exhibit will be a hit with children and their parents.
“We’ve been joking that the kids are going to be pulling their dads out of the exhibit,” he said.
The“Star Wars” exhibit will be up through the end of December.
Did you know?
♦ The plural of LEGO is LEGO. So, when someone tells children to pick up their LEGOS, that is incorrect. He or she should be telling them to pick up their LEGO, or LEGO bricks — or just hope they do it on their own.
♦ LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago master model builder Andrew Johnson, 24, is the Chicago area’s own master model builder.
He is charged with setting up the center’s exhibits and leading a team of model builders.
A Bartlett native, Johnson said he played with LEGO as a child but really got into them in college when he worked at a camp that used LEGO as its main teaching tool.
When the job came open nearly a year ago, he submitted a video explaining his qualifications and was subsequently invited to participate in a competition called the Brick Factor.
After three rounds, including one focused on Chicago where Johnson built the Daley Plaza Picasso sculpture out of LEGO, he was selected for the full-time job.
“It’s possible to build anything out of LEGO,” he said. “The largest thing I’ve built completely on my own is a 41/2-foot Optimus Prime Transformer.”