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Lego 4d Movie

SOMERVILLE -- You probably wouldn't find a shark popping out of a toilet in the bathroom of a Prudential Center office building. The Boston Harbor fishermen aren't likely reeling in mermaids with any degree of regularity.

It's a safe assumption that the Boston Tea Party wasn't accompanied by scuba divers having a real tea party on the ocean floor.

And the cartoon sad face hovering over the TD Garden after the Bruins' season-ending Game 7 loss last week? Well, that one's true in spirit, if not physical reality.

More than 3 million Lego bricks make up the attractions at the new 44,000 square foot Legoland Discovery Center Boston, opening Friday in Somerville's Assembly Row.

At least 1.5 million go into Miniland, a Boston replica that incorporates some fantastical details alongside its Lego recreations of landmarks like the Zakim Bridge, the Statehouse, the Boston Harbor Hotel and the Bunker Hill Monument.

And there are some more realistic touches that are pure Boston as well.

What could be more authentic than a multi-car crash on the maze of one-way streets outside Government Center, complete with TV crews filming the resulting traffic?

The tiny plastic tourists posing for a photo in front of the tiny plastic riot police outside the tiny plastic Fenway Park? Tale as old as (tiny plastic) time.

Legoland staff members will synch their miniature Boston with seasonal events going on in the life-size one, too.


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Master Model Builder Ian Coffey said they'll put Lego runners on the road for next year's Boston Marathon, for example.

"The Miniland always changes," Coffey said. "Miniland always evolves."

Coffey's office, next to Miniland, is stocked with color-coordinated shelves of Legos. He said his job, which includes maintaining the Miniland creations and sculpting the park's other features, requires lots of patience.

For aspiring Lego builders, Coffey's advice is to just keep going.

Fenway Park, part of Miniland at Legoland Boston Discovery Center in Somerville
Fenway Park, part of Miniland at Legoland Boston Discovery Center in Somerville (Sun/Katie Lannan)

"I have a miniature city in my basement at home, and I just build, build, build," he said. "Whatever you want, just keep building it. Maybe it won't get finished tonight or tomorrow, but in a year or a month or a week, it'll get done. Don't give up."

The largest Miniland in the U.S. is the most elaborate component of the family-geared indoor attraction, but it's only one part.

Visitors to the park are first shown an introductory, interactive movie that gives kids the chance to create their own mini-figure. Then, it's onto the Kingdom Quest ride, where each person is armed with a laser gun to shoot down scary spiders and large rocks, ultimately saving a Lego princess.

Kids build and test Lego racers. photo/LEGOLAND Discovery Center BostonSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Kids build and test Lego racers. photo/LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

The ride ends at the entrance to Miniland, where the lighting cycles through night and day, complete with picturesque sunrises and sunsets. There are buttons at kid-height you can press for interactive features: making the band play at the Hatch Shell while fireworks go off overhead, or getting those scuba divers to daintily sip their tea.

After that, it's less structured, with a variety of options aimed at kids 3 to 10 years old.

There's a track to test out the Lego racecar you build yourself, a life-size Duplo playhouse, a 4-D theater and a fire academy-themed "brick pit" -- the Lego version of the standard-issue ball pit.

It's a kid-driven attraction.

A clock tower keeps track of time, in case you forget.photo/LEGOLAND Discovery  Center BostonSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
A clock tower keeps track of time, in case you forget. photo/LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Aside from monthly adult nights, all grown-ups must be accompanied by a younger visitor -- the park's policy for ensuring a fun, welcoming environment.

And it seems to work.

Kindergarten, first and second grade classes from a Somerville school got a sneak peek last week. Though they had chaperones, the kids largely had free rein over the Lego activities.

A group of girls gathered around a Lego-brick TV in the playhouse, singing Taylor Swift karaoke. One moved over to the kitchen, stacking flat, tan, rectangular Lego planks on an imagination-influenced snack tray. (Cheese and crackers? Pita and hummus? Sauceless lasagna? A culinary masterpiece, whatever it was.)

"I'm coming back here tomorrow," she said as she built. 

Legoland Discovery Center Boston is located at 598 Assembly Row, Somerville. Online prices are $22.50 adults (13 and older), $18 children (3-12 years), 2 and under free, at legolanddiscoverycenter.com/boston/.

Follow Katie Lannan on Twitter and Tout @katielannan.