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Posted: January 3, 2013 8:29 p.m.

Travis: A trip to Lego Atlanta

I hate to admit this, but even at my age, I love Legos. I bought Duplos for my children when they were little and enjoyed playing with them. As my children grew, we transitioned into Legos. When my grandchildren came along, I bought more Duplos, and we spent many happy hours with them. I would build a tower, and the granddaughter would knock it down. Then we'd do it all over again and again and again. As they grew older, I bought more complicated Lego sets.

The Lego sets that were available for my children were not as fancy or as theme-oriented as the sets available now.

Today, Legos don't just come in blue, green, red and yellow. They are pink and aqua and any other color you can imagine. You can build castles or the Millennium Falcon (if you want to pay big bucks). You can build the Eiffel Tower and London's Tower Bridge from a Lego kit. You can buy Lego kits that feature the Disney princesses or Dora the Explorer and Diego. You can build kits with moving parts, kits that light up and batteries for Lego kits to make your cars or war machines or fantasies move.

I don't love Legos to the point that I would buy a $400 kit and make it. First of all, that's a lot of money for a toy. Secondly, once you have built the object (and that must take hours a day for several weeks), how could you summon up the courage to tear it all apart? And if you don't tear it apart, where would you keep your masterpiece?
But give me a basic set of Legos and a nice flat surface, and I will certainly build you something.

So this year, I decided to take my children and grandchildren to Legoland at Phipps Plaza. My sister and her daughter and granddaughter usually meet my brood somewhere after for Christmas for fun and family memories. We have been to the zoo, the Carlos (my granddaughters liked the mummies; I liked the Egyptian jewelry.), Fernbank and other places including shopping trips to malls.

This year I decided to be selfish and do something I wanted to do - Legoland. My sister told me after we had arrived that she thought I was crazy. (I thought she was crazy when she wanted to go to South Dakota, and we had a good time.) But she changed her mind when she became enthralled with Miniland. Miniland is a cornucopia of Atlanta landmarks all made of Legos. The room darkens for night and the buildings light up. The room brightens for day and the lights go out. In the Lego Georgia Dome, you can move a football player up and down the field and score a touchdown. Cars move around the city and stop for traffic lights when they turn red. There is a Lego Varsity, the conservatory at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the plantation home at Stone Mountain, Ebeneezer Baptist Church, a huge variety to sky scrapers, Centennial Park and all the major sports venues, each complete with Lego spectators.

Outside of Miniland were various areas where children could build with Legos to their heart's content. One encouraged you to build a tower and then test it on an earthquake pad. Another allowed you to test your Lego cars on a sloping speedway.

Even waiting in line for the 4-D movie, there were tubs of Legos in the corners for the children to play with while they were in line.

Merlin's Apprentice is one of the rides available. It is like a mini-tilt-a-whirl with one exception. Instead of a floor for your feet, there are bicycle pedals. The faster you pedal, the higher the car you are riding in goes. No pedaling, you stay on the floor.

I have one granddaughter who doesn't do anything half way. She got on that ride and immediately began pedaling for all she was worth. Her car rose to the ceiling, and she continued pedaling to keep it there for the duration of the ride. She only slowed for a second when she passed us watching on the sidelines. Then she would grin and wave as if to say, "Look at me; I got to the very top."

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be your best. I hope all my granddaughters will pedal their hardest in life.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

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