Do you remember the time we built the Taj Mahal and the Sydney Opera House from Lego?
Creative father-son duo Jeff and Cameron Mayhill spent much of the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown building with Lego and making memories.
Jeff said the lockdown was a good opportunity for the pair, upholsterers by trade, to change up the Lego display at the family business Mind Junction, north of Taupō.
"The Taj and the Opera House came in ready-to-assemble packs. But the true creativity came from Cameron who 'scratch built' a church using his own Lego collection," said Jeff.
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The new buildings complement an extensive Lego world at Mind Junction, complete with Lego people doing all sorts of activities with all types of Lego accessories.
Jeff says kids tend to run around the outside of the display - which is tucked behind scrupulously clean glass - saying "Look at this!" and "I've got that piece at home!"
Mind Junction sets the kids a task of finding different objects and Jeff says kids who are into Lego get a real buzz from the display.
All of the activities at Mind Junction were dreamed up and built by Jeff. Apart from the Lego, the activities are as hands-on as possible.
"We want kids to touch things. It's all old-school science that makes you think."
The Sensory Walk is aimed at shaking people up, and making them lose their inhibitions so they are open to experience the challenges with a child-like sense of wonder. The Taupō & Tūrangi Weekender can report the Sensory Walk was incredibly scary.
"People come out of it giggling. And that's when they are ready to test their skills and test their brain," says Jeff.
The marvels of the universe are demonstrated in a way that is hugely relatable. The subject of forced perspective seems dull, yet the interactive experience at Mind Junction demonstrates how actors from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies appeared small using the technique of forced perspective. For those who thought Elijah Wood was digitally shrunk, think again!
Did you ever wonder what Taupō looked like before the super volcano blew its top? Well Jeff did wonder and after seeking advice from GNS Science, he built a pre-eruption replica complete with Huka Lake, the predecessor of Lake Taupō.
There are many more equally fascinating scientific things to experience, with the Human Body and Space Exploration being some of the other topics.
Jeff says the business frequently hosts corporate groups.
"Corporates groups come in and play nine holes of mini golf, they do the maze challenge and then we set them competitive tasks to do. The corporates happily spend three hours here, kids spend the whole day here."
Jeff says that out-of-towners have cottoned on that Mind Junction offers great wet-day activities for kids. He says the name Mind Junction seems to put local people off and he and his wife Trish are intending to rename the business to better reflect the activities and amusements on offer.
"We just need to convince the locals to come out here. We really hope we get local support."