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Science Center of Iowa Opening New Permanent Lego Exhibit in Downtown DSM

Lego's Brick by Brick Exhibit in Downtown DSM

August 27, 2018

A new exhibit is coming to the Science Center of Iowa (SCI), and unlike other exhibits that SCI has hosted recently, this is not a temporary one.

The exhibit is called Brick by Brick and it will open in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) on Labor Day.

Brick by Brick combines giant Lego®-built structures with hands-on building challenges to reinforce key principles of engineering, construction and architecture and encourage creativity. Visitors will be able to view 10 incredible Lego models of engineering marvels from around the world.

Lego exhibitsLego Exhibits

  • The Great Pyramid of Giza — the oldest and most intact Wonder of the Ancient World. The Lego model is 12 feet long and uses 24,000 bricks.
  • The St. Louis Gateway Arch — the tallest memorial in the U.S. The Lego version is eight feet tall and entirely self-supporting.
  • The Roman Colosseum — the largest amphitheater ever built. In Lego, it is six feet long and contains 22,500 bricks.
  • The Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world. The Lego version is 12 feet tall and took more than 60 hours to construct.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge — built to withstand both wind and earthquakes. At 60 feet long, it is the exhibit’s most spectacular model. It contains 64,500 Lego bricks and took 260 hours to build.

Hands-on learning

While the Lego models represent unique challenges that engineers and architects often have to overcome, visitors also get the chance to do their own problem solving.

Throughout the exhibit, hands-on building challenges allow visitors to design structures that can withstand wind, survive an earthquake or span a distance and support weight. Visitors also will discover the power of simple machines and learn some unconventional Lego building techniques.

For SCI, this is a shift in strategy: Instead of funneling resources into traveling exhibits that come and go, the installation of a permanent exhibit is an investment in the experience that visitors can expect on a daily basis.

Other permanent exhibits at SCI

  • When Things Get Moving — Catch science in action in this fast-paced, collaborative experience platform. Build and launch a rocket, maneuver a ball through a giant wall of pulleys, levers and gears, and tackle the ultimate domino obstacle course.
  • What on Earth? —  Explore Iowa’s native habitats and come face-to-face with creatures from around the state. Catch a live weather broadcast in the WHO-HD Weather Studio Monday through Friday at Noon and try your own hand at forecasting in front of the green screen.
  • Small Discoveries — Imagine, experiment and play in this experience platform designed for SCI’s youngest explorers. Take a tour around Toddler Town, get your groceries from the market and make a splash in Bubble Bay.
  • Why the Sky? —  Discover out-of-this-world science in this space-themed exhibit. Explore other planets, examine our sun and see a spacesuit worn on the International Space Station by Iowa-born astronaut Peggy Whitson. Then, catch a planetarium show (or create your own!) in the 50-foot Star Theater.
  • Makers Studio — Design, build, test and improve in this ever-changing exhibit space that will get you in the “maker mindset.” Experiment with circuits. Create a stop-motion animation video. Build and test a flying machine and more.

SCI admission is $12 for adults; $8 for seniors 65+ and children 2-12. Admission includes entrance to all permanent exhibits, planetarium shows and live science programs.

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a big city. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.