There’s just nothing like a bin full of LEGO bricks in front of you. There’s nothing between you and that rocketship luxury car with the sail on it from that one pirate set except your imagination, your LEGO engineering ability, and your ability to sift through that bin of LEGO bricks until you find that exact piece you need.
If you were me, you’d be building things with your brother in your game room. God those are great memories.
There’s no introduction I need to make for the endless fun of LEGO. You know what they are, what you can do with them, and have probably seen some of the incredible LEGO creations which boggle the mind with their scale.
But you’ve never seen anything like this.
I was in Denmark recently for many reasons, among them having dinner with some great friends at the world’s best restaurant.
I had a few days to spend in Denmark before meeting my friends back in Copenhagen so I decided to take a little roadtrip. Remembering how stupid I was the last time I decided to take a roadtrip from Copenhagen, I settled for a far more reasonable trip this time, exploring a bit of Denmark’s Jutland region. After a night in Aarhus, where I enjoyed the lovely harbor area, I made my way to the home of LEGO: Billund, Denmark.
Billund is a quiet town of only 6100 people in central Denmark. In the 1930s it was even smaller, only having a few hundred people, when The Lego Group was founded. Over the years the town grew, an airport was added, and LEGO built itself (ha, see what I did there) into the enormous company it is today. LEGO never left their roots, though, as 90% of LEGO products are still manufactured in Billund today.
Perhaps the pinnacle of the LEGO empire is the LEGO House, right in the middle of Billund. It’s the perfect place for LEGO lovers of all ages to, well, come and play! It opened in 2017 and I had heard about it for years. I had to finally visit.
The LEGO House
The LEGO House is designed to look like it’s built from LEGO bricks, a beautiful building in the middle of an older town center.
(I tried to get a big wide shot of the building but tried to be sensitive about including children in pictures so I couldn’t get a great shot)
Tickets are simple to purchase, simply go to LEGOHouse.com and they will walk you through everything. Since it gets crowded, you purchase a ticket for a specific entry time. Checking in was easy, I simply scanned a QR code and a wristband was printed for me. Your wristband is your ticket to the entire LEGO House experience, so take good care of it!
They had lockers where people can store extra bags (accessible via, you guessed it, your wristband), so I grabbed my camera and threw my backpack in one of the lockers before beginning my journey.
I scanned my wristband at the main entry gate and was welcomed in by the screen. The first thing you encounter is the enormous Tree of Discovery, built from six million LEGO bricks and standing 15 meters tall. On top of each “platform” of the tree were different LEGO sets, including a few I had built as a child! There is a spiral walkway around the tree, inviting you to pause and gaze at the intricate sets adorning the “leaves”.
Once you make it to the top of the spiral walkway and have gazed at the Tree of Discovery long enough, you’ll arrive at the Masterpiece Gallery, a rotating exhibit of incredible creations using LEGO bricks. There was a dinosaur theme when I was there.
The scale of these creations were incredible, and even moreso when you looked up close to see just how much detail went into their construction.
The LEGO House has a variety of Experience Zones, each with a different task or activity to complete. How you approach these areas is up to you, and I found there’s probably a lot of overlap with how you approach these areas and how you tend to build LEGO sets. There were people carefully following all the instructions given while others (like me) were just like HEY COOL LEGO BRICKS and just starting building stuff.
The Red Zone was anchored by an enormous “waterfall” of LEGO bricks cascading into a sea of colorful bricks, allowing you to build whatever your mind could think of.
It had been forever since I had run my hands through a bin of LEGO bricks, it immediately brought back great memories as I started building things. I won’t spoil all the surprises of each zone for you, but my favorite was the Blue Zone, for a simple reason…race track.
The Blue Zone has an activity that guides people through seeing how weight affects speed and flight of things. You can put your knowledge to the test by BUILDING A RACE CAR and yeeting it down a little ramp (the beginner course) or, if you’re good, can send your racer careening off a jump and through a loop!
I built a humble little racer out of the part bins they had distributed around the Blue Zone. It may not have looked the best but it was imminently functional. So basically I built an A380.
I skipped the beginner track and went right for the jump loop test track.
I courageously put my race car (and its trusty driver, Willie) onto the track and sent it directly to a perilous calamity against the loop. Things smashed everywhere. I humbly picked up what was left of Willie and his car and went back to the drawing board. I was confident in my design and blamed Willie for everything. My pep talk must have worked because this was my second attempt!
It was so much fun!
I walked through the other Experience Zones and participated where I could without getting in the way of families playing together. It was fun just being there (even though I was by myself) but it was even more fun watching adults participating right alongside their kids. At every station there were LEGO House team members guiding people through the activities and smart use of technology throughout (you could build a fish, for example, out of LEGO bricks, insert it into a slot, and watch it come to life in a digital “aquarium” right in front of you!).
Seemingly everywhere you turned was yet another masterwork of LEGO creation as well.
The exhibits were great but I just found myself playing with the myriad bins of LEGO bricks and making all sorts of fun stuff.
After the Experience Zones I went down to the museum in the basement. It was a fascinating look at how a small woodworking company from the tiny village of Billund, Denmark, changed the world. It wasn’t an overnight success either. The museum was honest about The LEGO Company’s successes and missteps along the way. The last part of the exhibit really spoke to how LEGO got back to its roots and embraced play, no matter the age of the customer. There’s a huge AFOL (adult fan of LEGO) community out there and LEGO’s expansion into more complicated sets has been met with enormous success.
The LEGO Restaurant
One of the coolest experiences they offer is their MINI CHEF restaurant. You have to make a separate booking for this but it is definitely worth it!
I was seated at a booth that came with a small screen, a menu, and, curiously, a small set of LEGO bricks.
A waitress appeared to walk me through the concept: each LEGO brick represents a different entree. You BUILD YOUR MEAL OUT OF LEGO BRICKS and that’s how you order!
I went with this contraption.
Once you’re ready to order, you insert the entire white cartridge into the screen at your table. The computer reads the LEGO bricks and turns it into an order for you. Once verified, your order is sent to the kitchen.
And that’s where the robot chefs come in. Because of course there are robot chefs.
Your order is placed into giant LEGO bricks which flow down a conveyor belt until they reach these two lovable chefs. One of them will push your order to you and you’re ready to go!
Opening your meal is just like any other LEGO experience!
My meal was tasty and simple, what you’d expect from Danish cuisine.
Summing up the experience
Everything about the LEGO House experience focuses guests on one thing: play. And the wristbands play a part in that. Don’t have a camera? No problem. Scan your wristband at photo stops, they have cameras set up to take your picture and the pictures will be saved for you to download later! It’s so much easier than handing your phone to strangers or anything like that.
As I went back and downloaded my pictures it brought back wonderful memories of a creative day at the LEGO House!
The final stop before leaving
The last stop before you exit is the Six Red Brick machine. A miniature LEGO brick printing machine stamps out packets of six red bricks, which can be assembled in millions of different combinations. When you scan your wristband, you get a custom combination, unique to you, that is yours forever!
It was amazing seeing freshly-born LEGO bricks created and packaged right in front of my eyes!
Here’s my combo, if you’d like to build it for yourself.
Let me sum it up for you
If you’re in Denmark and have any affinity for LEGO culture, go to the LEGO House! Billund is a couple of hours away from Copenhagen but it’s an easy drive. The smiles you see, either on your own face or your children’s faces, will be all worth it.
I can’t wait to go back!
Are you a LEGO person? I don’t mean a little brick person but are you a LEGO enthusiast? Tell me in the comments below!