Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Wallow in 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired fun at Easton Town Center


Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town CenterThis weekend we assembled a portable grill, one of those projects that looks easy but quickly can go down the wrong path with one incorrectly attached part.

We had to put together the frame, attach the grills, assemble and affix the hood, then tack on wheels and a fire extinguisher. Some of the parts looked like they weren’t engineered for any kind of commercial use, let alone a barbecue on wheels.

Fortunately, Lego master builder Maxx Davidson guided our every move as we snapped the pieces together. This was no ordinary grill, after all. Just a few square inches in size, the grill was the project of the day at the brand-new Legoland Discovery Center at Easton Town Center, a $10 million destination attraction that’s sure to interlock its place as an Easton favorite.

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town CenterA first for Ohio and the second largest in the nation, the Discovery Center is billed as the ultimate indoor Lego playground. There are 10 themed rooms, including the Creative Workshop where Davidson presides; two amusement park-like rides; a 4-D cinema with wind, rain and snow effects; a space to build and test your own Lego creations; and the mega-impressive Miniland, which features recreations of Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati landmarks.

And there’s plenty of room to roam. The Discovery Center is housed in the former All-Star Cafe, which covers 36,000 square feet on two stories inside Easton Station.

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center“This place is not just fun for kids – it’s fun for families,” says Davidson, an Ashland, Ohio, native who earlier this year ousted 2,000 other applicants to earn the title of Master Builder. “Parents can play with kids no matter what generation they are. You kind of bond over this fun toy.”

That’s exactly what we did for two hours in the newfangled, colorful space. In the end, the intrigue of the rides won our kids’ attention over digging their hands into tubs of plastic bricks. They rode in a self-propelled chariot and used laser guns to battle trolls and skeletons in order to save a princess while on Kingdom Quest. They gleefully pedaled their feet to raise and lower a car on the slow, spinning Merlin’s Apprentice.

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town CenterWe adults were more awed by the detail that went into the exhibits, especially in Miniland. Be sure to check out recreations of Columbus’ North Market, Cincinnati’s Union Terminal and Cleveland’s A Christmas Story House, complete with little Ralphie in a bunny suit on the front porch.

Legoland Discovery Center officially opens Sept. 28. Admission rates range from $20 for a day pass to $60 for an annual pass. Adults must be accompanied by a child age 17 or younger to visit.

The space includes a snack shop, where meals can be assembled in Lego boxes, and rentable party rooms. Learn more.


Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Legoland Discovery Center: Explore 35,000 square feet of plastic brick-inspired goodness at Easton Town Center

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Discover Ohio’s most fertile fossil field


Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field It’s the middle of August, and I’m in the middle of a field, sun blazing overhead, sweat dripping down my back.

“Let’s pretend we’re paleontologists at the Mammoth Site in South Dakota,” I say to Rosie and Max, who are with me at Caesar Creek State Park in Waynesville, Ohio, an hour southwest of Columbus.

Although we’re far from South Dakota, where the kids once watched paleontologists delicately unearth woolly mammoth fossils at an excavation site, the game doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

We find fossil after fossil at the Caesar Creek Spillway, a swath of land that spans several football fields and contains some of the best opportunities for fossil finding in Ohio.

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil fieldThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the spillway and adjacent Caesar Creek Lake in the early 1970s to control flooding in the area. Doing so unveiled a layer of fossils that date back hundreds of thousands of years when Ohio was under water and near the equator.

Many fossils here resemble shells and coral, remnants of creatures that lived long ago on a large continent called Laurentia. Over time, specimens became sandwiched between layers of earth and formed fossils.

The spillway is open to explore any time of the year, but you’ll need to obtain a free permit first if you’d like to search for fossils. You do so at the Caesar Creek Lake Visitor Center, just north of the spillway. There, ask for a fossil-hunting permit and a copy of the “Common Fossils of Caesar Creek Lake” pamphlet.

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil fieldAn employee will go over the ground rules, which basically are not to use any tools to dig for fossils or to break them apart, and not to take any fossils home that are larger than your fist.

We see signs reminding us not to climb on rock embankments. They’re steep, and the rocks are slippery and sharp. We amble through the open field, eyes fixed on the ground. I pick up a rock that resembles a cone. It’s smooth and pointy. I hand it to Max, who adds it to a collection in his pocket.

We grow thirsty as we hang out in the sun. We head to the nearby town of Waynesville. It’s one of the more picturesque small towns you’ll encounter in the Buckeye State, with rows of beautiful old homes, some of them set up as businesses including antique stores, eateries and candy shops. It’s also home of the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival, held annually on the second weekend in October.

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil fieldWe enjoy lunch at the Hammel House, a bed and breakfast that dates to 1799 and happens to be one of the most haunted buildings in Ohio. We learn that President Martin Van Buren and Charles Dickens have stayed here. We also learn it’s a pet-friendly establishment, which is perfect because we’ve brought along my brother’s dog, Biscuit. (If you have a dog, also check out the Pretty Pooch Boutique, which offers a large selection of cute dog outfits.)

Caesar Creek State Park is located at 8570 E. State Route 73, Waynesville, Ohio. Learn more.

The Caesar Creek Lake Visitor Center is located at 4020 N. Clarksville Rd., Waynesville, Ohio. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday; and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.


Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field

Caesar Creek State Park; Discover Ohio's most fertile fossil field