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Around The Fleet

Building Lives Together

The Hampton Roads Naval Museum held its 7th annual Brick by Brick Lego Shipbuilding event Saturday, Feb. 3.

Featuring more than 200 Lego dry docks, the competition brought awareness to the naval community through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) based design plans, robotic demonstrations and professional viewing displays.

With more than 3,000 people in attendance, the event was a hive of activity, spanning both floors of the Peter G. Deckle Jr. Half Moon Center.

"Our goal was between three and four thousand people, so we're right on target," said retired Master Chief Donald Darcy, the exhibit specialist.

The upper deck was dedicated to premade building kits of U.S. Navy vessels, both active and decommissioned, categorized into easy, medium, hard and expert projects. The bottom floor featured a free play area with buckets of assorted Legos for the ship building competition, and a Duplo area with larger blocks for younger children.

This year, event organizers also added a sensory room, a place where families with special needs children could escape the bustle of the rest of the event.

"If your child is on the spectrum and needs a break, they can come in," said Laura Orr, the museum's education director. "It gives them a chance to not be out in the craziness."

The event has become a yearly tradition for many.

"Last year, we had a great time; [my son] built every ship they had, so we had to come back this year," said Daniel Stad, an attendee. "We plan on coming back next year as well to build some more ships."

The Brick by Brick Lego Shipbuilding coordinators have already started to look toward next year's event, and expect to start building designs within a month.

"We will start in about three or four weeks," said Darcy. "We will start looking at what ships we want."