Florida Roots

Florida Roots

LEGOLAND Honors Florida’s Deep Connection to Agriculture

What do Legos have to do with agriculture? Quite a bit, actually, if you visit the Fresh From Florida Greenhouse at LEGOLAND in Winter Haven. Located in FUN TOWN, the interactive display educates visitors on the six stages of food production. Sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the attraction combines the fun of Legos with the rich agricultural heritage of the fine state of Florida.
[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]Opened in 2012, the air-conditioned glass greenhouse starts out with the first stage, seeding, through an interactive display made of metal silos that encourage guests to guess the seed—either sunflower, corn or bean. There is also an alternative energy exhibit, featuring wind and solar power options among growing Bell Peppers.
The little Lego farmers then get busy displaying the stages of sowing, watering, tending and harvesting. There is a scene depicting a Lego combine—complete with a moving header—harvesting corn. The golden kernels are deposited into a grain cart pulled by a tractor—all made of Legos; evidently, Lego farmers prefer John Deere Lego farm equipment! A red Lego truck moves around a track outside the field—seemingly on its own—to transfer the grain.
There is also a red Lego barn with horses and cattle grazing in a field alongside Lego bales of hay, a white Lego farmhouse and an orange grove with real trees depicting harvest time. A Lego farmer stands on a mini ladder to pluck the state’s most well-known fruit while Lego equipment bundles and prepares to haul the citrus produce to points near and far.
Next, the greenhouse pays tribute to the state’s dairy industry with two Holsteins ready for milking. A Lego-made farmer stands by, ready with a pail, but visitors can try their hands at milking either cow; don’t worry, it’s only water! A honey bee exhibit is up next, with a life-size Lego beekeeper who’s a bit flustered to find he’s not alone inside his bee suit! A cross-section of a beehive—complete with Lego-made bees—is safely behind glass for visitors who want a closer look. Fun facts about the honey industry enhance the display.
Then, there is large interactive map of the state of Florida’s various agriculture regions. The colored map uses graphics to show the concentrations of all of the state’s agriculture industries, from cattle to crops to seafood. Visitors can use buttons to light up specific produce—such as red potatoes, corn and peanuts—that are just a part of the state’s 24 million acres of forests, crops, and ranch lands.
A produce stand with life-size Lego fruit is next, in homage to the fresh produce that fills the state’s stores and stands nearly year-round. Watermelons, tomatoes, and oranges look good enough to eat. However, don’t let it distract from the tiny Lego workers on a rock ledge across the way, presumably mining phosphate. Used as a fertilizer, phosphate is an important key in the agriculture industry.
The exhibit ends with a Lego play area that allows kids to build their own agricultural creations while adults read the Ag-trivia on the wall. With all of the enjoyable things to do at LEGOLAND, the learning-made-fun environment of the Fresh From Florida Greenhouse is worth a stop, if only to see the world’s favorite toy engaged in all levels of the noble art of agriculture.

CREDITS

story by Erika Aldrich
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