If your house is filled with future master builders, don’t miss the opportunity to take the whole family to the awesome new LEGO exhibit in town, The Art of the Brick. From replicas of famous paintings to T-rex skeletons, prepare your entire family to be awestruck. Read on for the low down on how (and when) to see these amazing LEGO creations.

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Photo courtesy of The Art of Brick

San Diego’s Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park is hosting this epic exhibit. Upon entering the science center, head upstairs. Your tour of the eight galleries starts with a short video from the artist Nathan Sawaya explaining his need for creativity from a young age. This world-renknowed artist got his start in a surprising way- as a corporate lawyer who needed a creative release at the end of his long days.

In the first gallery you’ll find Sawaya’s LEGO reproductions of famous works of art your kids may recognize like the Mona Lisa, and Starry Night. Many are hung on the wall like paintings. Others stand out in 3D. Read the description of each artwork and try to guess the number of bricks it took to make each creation: we’re betting you’ll be in awe when you find out the numbers.

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Next, enter the Sculpture Garden  where you and the kids can ruminate with classic sculptures  like The Thinker and The Great Sphinx of Giza which offer a great introduction to famous pieces of art and a terrific opportunity of see which pieces the kids are drawn to.

As you work your way through the exhibit you will enter a room called The Artist’s Studio. We know it’s hard for the kids to do, but slow downMake your tour like a scavenger hunt or I Spy game for little ones. Look for the mouse. Look carefully at the furniture brilliantly made of LEGO. There are a lot of cool details that can be missed if you don’t take your time. This room shows Sawaya’s learning process- how he practiced with scale, building a life sized apple made of bricks, then a gigantic one. Another great way to get your kids to slow down and look more carefully at the artist’s masterpieces is to ask questions. The Fleet’s gallery employees are experts who can point out cool details such as the fact that most pieces took Sawaya about two weeks to make.

Insider’s Tip: Once you leave the exhibit, you cannot reenter. Consider a potty break before entering the exhibit and time your IMAX film so you don’t have to rush. Most people spend about one hour touring the exhibit.

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Many of the pieces are Sawaya’s own thought-provoking creations, such as those in the section called The Human Condition which explore human emotions in primary colors and in all grey and black. As you turn the corner, dinosaur lovers are in for an extraordinary treat. Be ready to be amazed by the 20 foot T-rex shrouded in fog and camo. It took 80,000 bricks to build the massive LEGO beast that towers overhead. Think about that LEGO project in your living room!

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After all that looking, kids will be inspired to get hands-on and build some cool LEGO creations of their own. Head downstairs to the Fit-a-Brick Build Zone. There is plenty of space to spread out at tables where you can spend as much time as you’d like.  The area includes tons of baseplates, every color and variety of LEGO, including Duplo and jumbo blocks for the littlest builders. More experienced builders may want to try the LEGO building daily challenge.  Make something impressive? Ask a Fleet employee to display your fun creation in the case and get a big grin from your little artist.

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Admission prices

Tickets to The Art of the Brick include a visit to all the Fleet galleries and an IMAX film. Purchase at the box office or online. The exhibit will be on display through January 29, 2017.

Prices: Adults: $29.95, Kids $24.95, Fleet Science Center Members: $10.

Insider’s Tip: October Free Kids admission includes free admission to the regular Fleet exhibit galleries, but does not include The Art of Brick or Imax.  During the month of October, kids can get admission to The Art of Brick and Imax for $16.95.

The Fleet Science Center
1875 El Prado
San Diego Ca 92

619-238-1233

Online: rhfleet.org

—Cherie Gough

(Photos too, except where noted)