Skip to main content

‘Towers of Tomorrow With Lego Bricks’: New Exhibit at MOHAI

The interactive Lego exhibit in Seattle will inspire builders of all ages

Published on: May 23, 2024

Lego exhibit in Seattle at MOHAI features "Towers of Tomorrow" - iconic skyscrapers constructed with Lego bricks
Meredith Charaba

“It’s Lego day!” I say to my daughter, with the glee usually reserved for the first day of vacation or Christmas morning. I have been counting down the days to the “Tower of Tomorrow with Lego Bricks” exhibit opening May 25 at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) since I first heard it was coming to Seattle.

“Lego day?” my daughter asks in response, before adding, “I bring Floppy.” Ah yes, we mustn’t forget her beloved plush bunny on our adventure.

Young girl sitting a bench looking at Lake Union and Mohai
Getting ready for a day of adventure at the new Lego exhibit at MOHAI. Photo: Meredith Charaba

A traveling Lego exhibit

The “Towers of Tomorrow” exhibit has traveled around the world, from Sydney, Australia to Omaha, Nebraska with Flying Fish Exhibits. Featuring Lego replicas of 20 recognizable skyscrapers from North America, Australia and Asia — including The Empire State Building and Shanghai Tower — this exhibit is an amazing display of what can be built with Legos. Luckily, it has landed at the MOHAI for the next few months.

Lego replica of the Taiepie 101 Tower at the Lego exhibit at MOGHAI
The “Towers of Tomorrow with Lego Bricks” exhibit at MOHAI has interactive elements. Photo: Meredith Charaba

The excitement in the air surrounding the new exhibit was palpable. We were greeted by MOHAI staff eager to share the history of Legos and the incredible work that goes on behind the scenes to make this kind of exhibit come to life. I appreciated hearing the process behind bringing the skyscrapers to the museum.

The Empire State Building and other iconic skyscrapers replicated entirely with Lego bricks
Spot iconic skyscrapers and buildings from around the world at the new Lego exhibit. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Each tower is shipped preassembled in sections, which staff then put together for display. While the towers are constructed entirely from Lego bricks, a rod provides internal support for each while guiding the tower assembly process. The towers are designed by Ryan McNaught, an Australian Lego Certified Professional who has designed five globally touring Lego model exhibits.

Close-up look at the Shanghai Tower Lego replica with individual Lego bricks visible
Look closely at each replica to see the incredible detail and individual Lego bricks. Photo: courtesy MOHAI

Inspiring Lego skyscrapers

Three of the Lego skyscrapers are on display on the first floor of the museum, quite possibly because it is the space with the highest ceilings. These towers are tall! Upstairs, a bright red oversized Lego brick serves as the sign welcoming you into the “Towers of Tomorrow” exhibit. Turn the corner to face the first skyscraper on display before the room opens up into a magical space to play, learn and stare in awe.

Lobby of MOHAI with tall skyscrapers
Some of the tallest skyscrapers of the Lego exhibit are on display in the museum’s first floor lobby. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Displayed next to each Lego skyscraper is a card detailing the location, height and history of the building it is modeled after. You’ll also learn how many Lego bricks (and hours!) it took to bring the replica to life. The Shanghai Tower sets the exhibit’s record for number of Lego bricks used in its construction: 104,800. The exhibit totals more than 577,000 Lego bricks and 24,000 construction hours.

The tables at the Lego exhibit in Mohai with stools and display buildings
Pull up a seat at the table and build your own Lego tower. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Quotes from McNaught give a behind the scenes look at his design process and what drew him to each building. The Q1 tower replica, for example, has a color scheme that McNaught says “really pops.” He adds, “It’s always hard to pick favorites, but this one comes pretty close.”

Young girl playing with Lego bricks at the interactive Towers of Tomorrow exhibit
Kids and grown-ups alike will love building their own Lego creations. Photo: Meredith Charaba

With low barriers surrounding the towers, you can get up close to see the impressive level of detail. But keep in mind (and remind your littles) that the towers are fragile and not to be touched. While I appreciated being able to see each brick in the tower, I nervously kept one eye on my curious toddler, who can rarely resist reaching out and touching something of interest. Thankfully, the exhibit has multiple ways to engage curious kids that are eager to play.

Young girl stacking Lego bricks at the interactive Towers of Tomorrow exhibit
Stack bricks and make new friends at interactive construction zones. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Build your own Lego tower

While there are only 21 Lego Certified Professionals worldwide, the Lego exhibit at MOHAI gives everyone the opportunity to be a master builder. You can’t touch the skyscraper replicas in the exhibit, but with more than 200,000 loose Lego bricks filling the center of the tables in the exhibit, you can attempt to build your own.

Young girl looks inspired by the Lego display at MOHAI while building her own tower
Get inspired by the displays before building your own tower. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Take a seat at one of the many stools by these construction zones and get lost in the magic of the colorful bricks. Younger kids may find it hard to reach the Legos in the center from the stools, but I scooped a handful for my daughter to play with. Kids (and grown-ups) can also sit on the blue rug next to a deep bin of Duplo bricks and build there. My daughter loves the larger size of these, and happily consulted with Floppy on which color brick to choose next for her boat.

Young girl playing with Duplo blocks on the carpeted area in the Duplo section of the Lego exhibit at MOHAI
Younger kids will love sitting on the rug and building with larger Duplo bricks. Photo: Meredith Charaba

In the center of the exhibit, next to the Duplo area, there are three brightly colored, connected platforms where guests are encouraged to display their creations. While my daughter was tempted to set her Duplo boat next to the exhibit’s incredible Empire State Building, I gently directed her toward these platforms instead.

Platforms displaying visitor-built creations at the Seattle Lego exhibit at MOHAI
Visitors can display their creations on one of the three platforms in the center of the room. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Celebrating the long history of Legos

Take a seat on the couch (not constructed of Legos, thankfully) and watch a film that shares more about Legos, along with behind-the-scenes footage of building the towers. Along the walls in the exhibit, you’ll find quotes from Lego fans and architects alike, facts about the exhibit and the history of Lego bricks, and stats like how many Legos it would take to reach the moon (9,610,000,000 minifigs, standing head to toe, to be exact).

Wall in the Lego exhibit with quote from Lego enthusiast
Read inspiring quotes from Lego enthusiasts and architects alike. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Even those who have been familiar with Legos their whole lives — like I have — will learn something new at this exhibit. From Lego’s humble beginnings in a Danish carpenter’s workshop in 1932 to the effects of World War II on the evolution of the Lego brick, there is a fascinating history to discover.

Fun fact: the name Lego comes from the Danish words “leg godt,” meaning “play well.”

Loose bricks under a display at the Towers of Tomorrow with Lego Bricks exhibit
The interactive construction zones in the exhibit include 200,000 loose Lego bricks. Photo: Meredith Charaba

Other Lego events and exhibits at MOHAI

MOHAI has another upcoming event that keeps with the Lego theme: the Lego Quilt: Time for Art event on June 15. Learn from a master Lego builder and the Women’s Brick Initiative before designing your own Lego quilt square.

Though we were nearing naptime during our visit, my daughter had to stop in the “Kid-Struction Zone” on the third floor. Designed for ages 2–7 (and their grown-ups), this MOHAI exhibit is even more hands-on than the Lego room. A Duplo table and blocks meant she could continue building without me nervously reminding her not to touch nearby fragile skyscrapers. She got more wiggles out jumping on structures, crawling through a tunnel and touching every feature along the walls.

Young girl playing on play couch with tunnel in MOHAI’s Kid-Struction Zone
Head to the “Kid-Struction Zone” on the third floor for playtime without fragile structures nearby. Photo: Meredith Charaba

We also couldn’t leave without a visit to the museum’s gift shop, which had not one, but two Lego displays. Worldwide, a Lego set is sold every seven seconds. My daughter picked out a souvenir, and we headed back to our car after a full morning of building memories. She and Floppy napped the whole way home.

If you go to “Towers of Tomorrow with Lego Bricks” at MOHAI…

Where: MOHAI is located at 860 Terry Ave. N. in Seattle.

When: The “Towers of Tomorrow with Lego Bricks” exhibit is at MOHAI from May 25 to Sept. 22, 2024. The museum is open daily, 10 a.m.—5 p.m.

Cost: Access to the “Towers of Tomorrow” exhibit is included with admission ($25 for adults; ages 14 and younger are free with a chaperone; discounted admission is available for seniors, military and students), or membership.

Getting there: MOHAI is on the south end of Lake Union, so you’ll want to use the Mercer St. exit from I-5 or Hwy. 99.

Parking: The parking lot at the entrance of the museum is reserved for visitor drop-off and ADA parking, so plan to park at a nearby lot or garage. The Premium Parking Lot at 1200 Westlake Ave N. offers $10 parking for MOHAI guests if you follow the kiosk instructions listed on MOHAI’s page. It’s then about a 5–10 minute walk to the museum, but you get great views of Lake Union.

More info: The museum has restrooms with changing tables on the first floor. There are also single-stall, all-gender restrooms on the second floor and in the cafe. Grab a bite to eat or something to drink at Gourmando at MOHAI, the museum’s cafe.

Get the best of ParentMap delivered right to your inbox.

Related Topics

Share this resource with your friends!