Suzie Lehman said visiting Cantigny Park on Sunday probably kicked her son's pre-Christmas anticipation into overdrive.
Cantigny hosted the annual Lego Train Show and Party over the weekend, when the Wheaton museum's visitor's center was packed with intricate, detailed and occasionally eye-popping creations made from those wildly popular little plastic blocks.
"Honestly, he couldn't be more into Legos right now," Lehman, of Naperville, said of her 6-year-old son, Peter. "It's pretty much all he wants for Christmas. And when we walked in today, his mouth just hung open."
Organizers of the Lego Train Show say the event has become a holiday-season tradition for local fans. On Sunday, Cantigny was packed with families gazing at the creations on display, which were built by members of the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club, a group of Lego fans who love to design and build elaborate Lego creations for public viewing.
Among the highlights Sunday was "Area 51," a Lego-based depiction of the military location in Nevada that is shrouded in secrecy and has become the subject of many pop-culture conspiracy theories about aliens and UFOs. The Lego version included a warehouse containing crates with labels like "Dick Clark clones" and "Bermuda Triangle debris," as well as an area labeled "Fake moon landing stage."
Visitors were also wowed by the "City of Goldcrest," a massive creation by Hickory Hills resident Dale Klein. Klein started constructing the medieval city in 2007, and now it contains about 350,000 Lego pieces. The display includes a castle, a medieval market and a royal estate, all populated with a dizzying number of figures.
"People always get a smile when they see it, so that's part of the fun for me," Klein said.
The City of Goldcrest is a work-in-progress; Klein spends about 10 hours a week adding to it.
"I'll keep it up until I get sick of it," he said.