MINNEAPOLIS -- Local LEGO-builders have a new way to let visitors get a look at their one-of-a-kind creations.
"It's extravagant. You come in and it's a huge playland," visitor Trever Sullivan said about the warehouse in north Minneapolis that is filled with original LEGO scenes.
It is a playland where trains chug across bridges and through tunnels, passing all kinds of action. There is a mountain, a main street and hundreds of characters in countless scenes.
"The thing that surprises visitors the most is these are not sets that LEGO has made," club member Stein Settergren explained.
"Everything is custom made," club member Steve Demlow added.
What looks like it could have come from a giant LEGO kit is actually the brainchild of a dozen local guys who've never given up their childhood hobbies.
"It is a whole mix of people. We've got a couple computer programmers, a guy who does real estate, a 911 dispatcher," club member John Kelly said. "There's a LEGO geek and a train geek and a couple of guys are both."
Some of the men have been building together since the early 80s. More LEGO fanatics came on board after the LEGO store opened at the Mall of America in the early 90s.
"We met in a basement of a guy's house in Minneapolis," Demlow explained. "We had room for about a fifth of the layout to be set up at any one time."
The Greater Midwest LEGO Train Club (GMLTC) now operates out of the Brickmania Toyworks warehouse in Suite 177 at 1620 Central Avenue NE in Minneapolis. The Twin Cities LEGO Train Club also has a layout in the space. The clubs hold a free open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month.
Besides the train layouts, there is a building area for the kids. There is also a small retail store within the space featuring a variety of hard to find LEGO products.
"It is incredible," one father said as he looked through the display with his kids. "We're wondering on how many pieces?"
Settergren figures the guys in the GMLTC have at least 750,000 bricks into what the group considers a huge art project.
"It is an artistic medium," Settergren explained. "This is our medium, the LEGO brick."
The LEGO brick-- that built the playland-- that is turning out to be a hit with all ages in Minneapolis.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)