Bay Area cuts staff at new Legoland Discovery Center
Two things I learned from my visit to Legoland Discovery Center Bay Area, which opened at the Great Mall in Milpitas this week: First, I’m not up to my 9-year-old, Alex when he It’s about building a car out of Lego pieces; Second, Aquaman likes to hang out near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Now the first observation is obvious to any parent who has a Lego obsessed child who is faster and more creative than them. But the second required a lot of looking at the iconic bridge that was recreated in brick form for Miniland, a feature of the Legoland Discovery Center that’s probably more of a treat for parents than kids.
It’s a stunning recreation of the landmarks of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland – plus a few familiar structures from the area like Apple Park in Cupertino, the Hoover Tower and Stanford Memorial Church, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and the Campanile at UC Berkeley. There is an incredible amount of detail on the nearly 40 “builds,” which took over 7,150 hours for a team of some four dozen Florida-based model builders.
Sam Suksiri, the Milpitas resident who won a job last year as the site’s master model maker, told me the builds – many are glued together – were shipped in chunks to Legoland Discovery Center Bay Area, where he helped put them together and fill them with The Ubiquitous Lego Minifigures. The designers traveled to the Bay Area to observe the actual buildings that would be reproduced, creating architectural plans and 3D models.
The Winchester Mystery House does a great job of recreating the 160-room maze-like mansion and plays in the lore surrounding the landmark – including the second-story door that opens to a one-story waterfall. Look closely and you’ll even see a Sarah Winchester figurine on a balcony. “They were doing as much detail as possible in a small model,” Suksiri said. “This one was really tricky for the modeling team.”
Other sites in downtown San José include the San José Museum of Art, St. Joseph’s Cathedral Basilica, San José City Hall, and Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The San Francisco street scene is absolutely breathtaking, with the Transamerica Pyramid, Salesforce Tower, City Hall, Oracle Park, the Ferry Building, and Fisherman’s Wharf all part of the action. A Muni cable car and streetcar travel across the stage, and you can pull a lever to operate a BART train at a subway station that leaves the San Francisco plateau and – no kidding – “arrives” at the set. ‘Oakland a few yards away. . There are other fun interactive elements as well, like playing hoops in the Lego version of Chase Center or scoring a TD at Levi’s Stadium. I hope they add a Shark Tank, with a Patrick Marleau figure, to the display.
The Golden Gate Bridge model is equally stunning in its details – including the Aquaman figure near the water – and elsewhere in the bay you can watch prisoners – in striped outfits, of course – escape from their cells in Alcatraz (which is absolutely correct if you think of Alcatraz, the fun tourist attraction and not Alcatraz, the brutal prison full of hardened criminals).
There’s just one catch: adults can’t enter without being accompanied by a child 17 or younger, and vice versa. COO Michelle Duncan told me there were plans for after-hours adult events in the space, so all adult Lego fans without children (or Lego fans like we call them) will have your chance.
Now young Lego fans will be stunned by just what they can do. There is a laser maze, a pirate-themed climbing fort, and an “Imagination Express” merry-go-round where you can zap targets with an electroluminescent wand (much like the Ghost Blasters merry-go-round on the Santa Beach promenade. Cruz). You can also watch a short animated Lego movie presented in 4D – in addition to the usual 3D visual effects, you’ll get gusts of wind and splashing water to match the action on the screen. Skyscrapers can be built to withstand an earthquake, and there are building stations for kids with a variety of skills. This includes car building stations, next to a track where you can battle your creations against other visitors. (But not your son because you will lose.)
The grand opening of the Legoland Discovery Center is June 14, but there are a limited number of tickets available to visit June 8-13 at www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/bayarea.
READY TO PARTY: Palo Alto Players is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month with a series of virtual events leading up to a hybrid celebration on June 27 that will include a live and in-person fundraising gala that will also be broadcast live to the public. As this will be the first time Palo Alto Players has returned to the Lucie Stern Theater since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the title “Welcome Home” is perfect.
Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Santana said the company was delighted to be able to welcome the community to the theater for the first time in 15 months to celebrate this milestone anniversary. “It has been a difficult year, but we have been honored to serve the community all the time and are excited to look ahead as we celebrate our collective resilience and the power of the arts to heal and come together,” she said. said.
The three virtual gatherings leading up to the gala are a trivia night with Drunk Broadway’s Joey McDaniel on June 10, a Players-Peninsula Center Stage reunion on June 17, and a virtual cabaret featuring the next generation of performers on June 24. These events all start at 7:00 p.m. and are free and open to the public. You can get more information on this and book a ticket for the June 27 gala at www.paplayers.org.
SINGING AGAIN: Ragazzi Continuo, the adult of the Bay Area a cappella group, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month with a virtual concert, “All Will Shine,” which airs on June 12. The band, made up of alumni of the famous Ragazzi Boys Chorus, will use Ragazzi Virtual Studio technology that allows people to play together from home in real time, almost eliminating the lag time most of us experience with Zoom. or other platforms. Directed by Michael Stall, the 5 pm program will highlight some of the band’s favorites, like “Shenandoah,” while featuring new arrangements. A $ 25 donation is suggested for tickets, and you can get full details at www.ragazzicontinuo.org.