We all know that LEGOS provide our active tots with hours of creative and fun play time, and even allow them to create some pretty awesome structures as they get older, using math, engineering and lots of good old imagination. Cue the Experience Music Project’s newest exhibit—Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture. Featuring grand models of the world’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring structures, from the tallest building in the world to a beloved local treasure, you’ll be amazed that every one is made entirely of LEGOS–nearly 200,000 of them. And if your littles are itching to build their own architectural masterpiece, there’s lots of other LEGO fun to be had.

edited WP_20140124_019 bldgs

LEGO Landmarks
Built by former LEGO-certified professional artist (yes, it’s really a thing!) Dan Parker and his Seattle-based TrainBuilder Productions, there are 10 impressive and technically accurate versions of world-famous architectural wonders represented in the exhibit, including New York’s historic Flatiron Building, London’s oddly beautiful 30 St. Mary Axe (how did he make it look like LEGOS bend?), Malaysia’s Menara Telekom (do you see the bamboo shoot it’s supposed to represent?) and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Your kiddos are sure to get excited when they see our much-adored Space Needle represented too (although we think there should be a LEGO version of the Wheedle perched atop its pointy roof). And if you rent an audio guide (free for members), you’ll get to hear music, picked out by EMP’s Youth Advisory Board, that they felt represented each building and city. We, of course, were partial to hometown hero Macklemore’s “My Oh My” (his tribute to the much-loved and much-missed Mariners’ announcer Dave Niehaus) while gazing on the LEGO Space Needle. (And if you go before Superbowl Sunday, you just might see a little surprise flying from its tiny LEGO flagpole. GO HAWKS!)

edited WP_20140124_004 Needle

LEGOS for Your Littles (and not-so-Littles)
As impressed as you and your tot (or tween) might be with the amazing architecture, that’s not all this exhibit rocks. Towards the back of the exhibit you can set up camp in the LEGO construction area and start building. There’s a whole wall of bins full of LEGOS, waiting for your kiddo to grab and start creating. Kid-sized tables are set up so mini-me and his friends can put their heads together and create their own mini-masterpiece, or grab a stool and sit at the large table in the center to collaborate with friends old and new. Best part? When they’re done, said masterpiece can be displayed in the exhibit’s Mini-Megopolis. And never fear, parents with toddlers. For the littlest LEGO-lover, there’s a LEGO wall and dozens of colorful DUPLO blocks, just waiting for little fingers to find them. Now find a seat and start building!

edited WP_20140124_012 duplo

LEGO-Builder Extraordinaire
Think your kiddo will give up on LEGOS once she hits puberty? Dan Parker, the mind and hands behind the Brick by Brick buildings, stopped playing with LEGOS, as most kids do, but picked them back up again at age 30 and became a LEGO certified professional artist. Now he’s created over 3,000 LEGO structures, scenes and mosaics and travels all over the country showcasing his talent and love of all that is LEGO through his company, TrainBuilder Productions. He also supports City Blocks-Tacoma’s Brick Art Center, the world’s only public demo LEGO art studio. So when your tot talks about what she wants to do when she grows up, tell her she can play with LEGOS!

edited WP_20140124_023 S&C

And When You’re Done With Your Masterpiece
Go check out EMP’s other new exhibit, Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic, where you and your little ones can see the actual Wicked Witch of the West’s black hat from the Wizard of Oz, or check out the fun Icons of Science Fiction, where you can create special effects with a green screen, some costumes and a few dinosaur models (believe us, it’s pretty fun). Spend time in Sound Lab, where you can rock out on guitars, drums and more in soundproof rooms with your version of the Partridge Family. Or if you’re tired after all that building, just sit down in the Sky Church and watch music videos (we caught Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” on one visit and Macklemore’s roof raiser “Can’t Hold Us” on another) or exhibit-related interviews, movies and more. The kiddos can run or dance it out while you enjoy the show on the gigantic HD LED screen. Wonder if they’ll be showing the Super Bowl?

Keep An Eye Out
EMP will be hosting LEGO-themed events during the run of the exhibit, so check the website often for more details.

Dates & Times:
January 25-April 20, 2014 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily

Adults – $15 online, $20 at the box office
Kids – 5-17 $12 online, $14 at the box office
Kids 4 and under are free

Admission to all exhibits is included with your ticket purchase. We recommend purchasing online to save yourself a few bucks, or buy a family membership at $95, which can pay for itself in two visits and gets you deep discounts on Exhibit Opening Nights, concerts and more.

Experience Music Project
325 5th Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa  98109
Online: empmuseum.org

Do you think you’ll be visiting Block by Block? If you’ve already visited, what was your favorite LEGO building?

–Erin Cranston, words and photos