Friday, August 31, 2012
LEGO KidsFest Texas is in town this weekend and hopefully you scored tickets, as all Saturday and Sunday sessions are now sold out. If you have plans to go, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your experience:
- Where to park - LEGO KidsFest is located in Exhibit Hall 4 of Austin Convention Center, near the 4th Street entrance. The most convenient parking garage is located at 601 East 5th Street (entrance on 5th Street, between Red River and Sabine streets). The rate for this garage is $7 for 2 - 7 hours. When we went tonight, we parked in an outdoor lot on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Red River for $5, but it was a bit of a walk around to the correct side of the building.
- Lost children - This event is huge and the exhibit hall gets very crowded. It's easy to lose track of your child in the sea of excited LEGO fans. Point out the "Lost Parent" tent to your kids, located next to the exhibit hall entrance. You may also mention that if they get lost, they should talk to a staff member in a yellow shirt. This event is very well staffed and it won't be hard to find help. There is also an intercom system so staff can page you if you lose track of your child.
- Avoid the crowd - If you arrive at the beginning of your session, head to the back of the exhibit hall and work your way forward. When we arrived, I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd and the lines for games and challenges. We skipped many of the activities in the front, in favor of building areas with no lines. Later, we returned to the activities by the entrance and had much better luck. To see a map of the layout of LEGO activities in the exhibit hall, click here (pdf).
- LEGO Challenge - This is one of the first activities you will see upon entering, so there will likely be a line at the beginning of the session. If you decide to save it for later, don't forget to come back. Everyone who competes in this 5-minute building challenge wins a prize. My boys and I completed the challenge together and they each received a new Ninjago toy. Very exciting!
- Bring a bag - We picked up a bunch of swag and I had no bag. Booths by the entrance were giving away collapsable water bottles, frisbees, bookmarks, bandanas and pens. The LEGO Monster building area offered glow-in-the-dark stickers. After the boys built Ninjago masters to battle, they were each given two posters. There were the Ninjago toys from the LEGO Challenge and we each received a commemorative LEGO brick upon leaving. Lots of great stuff to lug around.
- Think about food - Each of the sessions runs through a meal time, but you are not supposed to bring your own food and drink into the Austin Convention Center. There is food available for purchase but it's not cheap - a bag of chips is $2.50. We ate dinner at 3:30 p.m. to avoid eating there. If you decide to leave and come back, be sure to get a stamp on your hand as you exit.
- Take a break - If you need some down time, check out the rest area or the theater playing LEGO movies in the back of the exhibit hall. There is also a free moon bounce and samples of Honest Kids drinks in the back by the theater. LEGO KidsFest is a ton of fun, but four and a half hours of LEGO mania can wear a parent out.
Disclosure: We were provided complimentary tickets in exchange for hosting a giveaway and writing a review. For more information, read our Disclosure Policy.