It’s the last week of the holidays and we’re just about hanging in there. Our funds are running out but the kids still need to be entertained otherwise someone is going to lose it. Well, that’s how it was in our house last weekend.
So, we decided to take our two boys (aged four and seven) to see Brickman Awesome at Sydney International Convention Centre.
The word Lego was enough to get us all interested and we’d heard good things from other families, so we were more than happy to take the two hour journey into the big smoke in the hope that we could keep us entertained for an afternoon.
Here’s what we discovered so you won’t make the same mistakes we did if you decide to do attend before the exhibition ends on Feb 4.
What is Brickman Awesome?
The press pack says it’s an exhibition of 38 never seen before Lego models including a 7.5m NASA SLS rocket, which took more than 500 hours to create out of 450,000 bricks. They are correct. It is first and foremost an exhibition but the best bit for the kids is there plenty of opportunities for them to get building and to be inspired by Ryan McNaught and his team’s work.
What will they see?
My boys were particularly impressed by the red back spider, the penguins, the huge airplane. I quite liked the Tardis and the Sydney Opera House. Basically every model will put your efforts to be a master builder to shame.
How much is it going to set me back?
It isn’t cheap, but then again what experience in Sydney is? Tickets for a family of four are $95 or $65 for a family of three.
Car parking at the ICC is a bargain $20 for the day up until January 31.
A programme of the exhibition is $12, but the biggest expense will be getting out the place without spending a fortune on Lego (more on this later).
Is it worth it?
That depends on how much your family needs this right now. We came home and instantly the boys had their Lego out and were creating. It’s absolutely helped put the joy back into Lego for them and I’m praying the Lego obsession will get us all through the rest of the holidays safely.
Do I need coffee to get me through it?
Yes. A big fat yes. It’s not that it’s boring. It’s not. It’s fascinating. The pieces are fantastic. The hours and talent that have gone into building them are astounding. The kids will love it but most of all they will just want to build. This means waiting, lots of waiting and if you’re like me you need a coffee and a seat to get through that. I didn’t have a coffee and I lived through that pain so you don’t have to.
So, there are seats?
There are seats near most of the displays which means you can rest your tired soul while the children build. However, there aren’t that many seats so be aware that there might be a great deal of standing around, or bending over troughs of Lego designed for people 4ft tall.
Is it suitable for preschoolers?
Children under four are free but there isn’t a great deal to keep the little ones entertained. There is one display where the children can play with Duplo blocks but I’d say come prepared for it to be hard work for toddlers.
For babies it might work out quite nicely for nap time. The exhibition is dimly lit and has plenty of space for prams so if you have a little one that can sleep on the move.
Will I have to sell my soul on merchandise?
We should have seen it coming, but we didn’t so I’m warning you now. At the end of the exhibition you have to walk through a shop selling Lego. I have no idea how I couldn’t guessed that one but I didn’t and I hadn’t thought through strategies for dealing with it. You can imagine the end result – yes, our children were the ones acting like spoilt brats.
The shop sells Lego sets and beyond key rings there isn’t much under $15 and there is a lot for between $20 and $50. If you’re feeling flush you can buy very big sets over $200.
The biggest trauma for my two was they were overwhelmed by choice eventually we made it out there $32 poorer and more than a little stressed out.
Will it fill a day?
No. It really won’t. We got around (including the shop trauma) in an hour flat. I had been expecting it to take us much longer than that but ultimately it’s a stroll through an exhibition with a bit of Lego building here and there. Of course if you go prepared and have got your coffee you could probably stretch the visit out much longer.
What did you do with the rest of the day?
As I mentioned earlier parking at the ICC is $20 until Jan 31 so we took full advantage of being in Darling Harbour for the day. I’d brought the boys swimming things and they had the best hour playing in the playground in the Darling Quarter.
If you have older children with lots of energy you could certainly squeeze in a second attraction like the Sealife Centre or the Australian Museum on the same day.
The boys loved it and it’s re-energised their interest in Lego so Brickman Awesome gets a big tick from mum and dad.
Both my boys gave the exhibition a score of 8 out of 10.
Brickman Awesome is at Sydney’s International Convention Centre until Sunday, February 4. Tickets cost between $25 and $35.
The exhibition will also travel to Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.