Lego creations at Wisconsin Dells Buffalo Phil’s and Brickworld
Legoes are not a toy that you have to get out of when you grow up.
Canadian Lego artist Paul Hetherington started his Lego collection when he was in his twenties. As his hobby evolved into building large rooms to display at conventions and finally into command-based construction, he realized that playing with Legos could be a solid path to building. career.
He received an order from Buffalo Phil’s Pizza & Grille of Wisconsin Dells in 2019, which led him to decide that it was possible to give up his day job in healthcare in favor of Lego art creation at full-time.
Buffalo Phil’s, known for delivering food to diners’ tables by model train, had previously set up a Lego village.
The owners had “hired” the children of the employees to build Lego sets at home. Children were paid in gift cards and the creations were displayed on miniature railroad tracks.
Owner Mark Schmitz and General Manager James Schmitz were on the hunt for something bigger when they met Hetherington at a Lego expo. They asked him to build a village that evoked the spirit of the game.
“They gave me a free license to build something that would be as fun as possible for people to watch,” Hetherington said. “It emphasizes fun things for the kids, a movie theater, a playground. It sums up what Wisconsin Dells is and how it addresses fun.”
Hetherington installed his masterpiece in November. The four-foot-tall display covers an 8-by-10-foot footprint and incorporates buildings that Dells vacationers will recognize, including Moosejaw Pizza, Dells Visitor Center, and Buffalo Phil’s itself.
“It’s something both kids and adults love to watch,” Hetherington said. “It’s fun for everyone, regardless of their age.”
The timeless appeal of Legos is something Mark Larson can attest to as well. Larson is the executive director of the Lego Brickworld Fan Convention, which will be held at Wisconsin State Fair Park on April 18-19.
“As families leave our convention after a really great family outing that anyone can join in, people always tell me they’re going to go straight home and build,” Larson said. “I love that they take this from the event, to come home with their family and build together.”
That inspiration comes from the Lego builders exhibiting their masterpieces at the convention, from a huge amusement park to a scale replica of a Miller Park Lego minifigure, complete with a retractable roof.
Lego enthusiasts also have the opportunity to build at the convention. There are game tables with basic bricks for kids to build and a graffiti wall where people can make mosaics.
Larson said there were also creative opportunities with “great movement,” including a Lego bulldozer that pushes balls through a field, hourly Lego robot battles, and a bullet craft that Larson has. described as similar to a giant Rube Goldberg machine.
The builders, many of whom are part of the Wisconsin Lego Users Group and the Kenosha Lego Users Group, are happy to share their building expertise and advice with the children and adults who approach them.
“Growing up as someone who’s never put their Lego bricks away, I want to connect with these kids who have that same kind of disposition,” Larson said. “I want them to see that even when they’re growing up there’s still a world of people building amazing things with a stand that’s basically a children’s toy.”
More information: Buffalo Phil’s Pizza & Grille is at 150 Gasser Road, Wisconsin Dells. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Brickworld Milwaukee Convention for Lego Fans is held at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Product Pavilion, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 18 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 19 . Tickets cost $ 14 per person. , free for children 3 and under, and $ 11 for soldiers and first responders.
Other places Lego builders will love
Tosa neighborhood party, 7251 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa: There are thousands of Lego blocks and figures for kids to play with during open building sessions, birthdays, monthly craft and take out events, classes and summer camps.
Open buildings cost $ 5 per child (children 2 and under are admitted free). One-year family memberships are also available for $ 250.
Open construction hours are 10 a.m. to noon Thursday through Sunday.
Bricks and minifigs, 3000 Cahill Main, Suite 114, Fitchburg: This toy store specializes in the sale and exchange of new and used Lego sets and minifigures.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Legoland Chicago Discovery Center, Streets of Woodfield Mall, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg, Ill .: In addition to a retail store, the place offers Lego-themed attractions, including a virtual reality experience, a 4D movie, two rides , villages to build and a café.
Tickets cost $ 17.95 per person online or $ 24.95 in person. To visit, adults must be accompanied by a child.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Nearby locations for Lego store:
- Mayfair Shopping Center, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa
- Gurnee Mills, 6170 Grand Ave., Gurnee, Ill.
- Northbrook Court, 2171 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, Ill.
- Woodfield Mall, 5 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, Ill.
- Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
- Orland Square, 288 Orland Square Drive, Orland Park, Ill.
- Mall of America, 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington, Minnesota.
- Castleton Square, 6020 E. 82nd St., Indianapolis.