If you look inside the gamerooms of any American family's home, you are likely to find a box or two (or three) filled with toy building blocks with an equal amount scattered on the floor.
Those blocks have been the impetus for many a child's imagination. So, it's fitting that Dallas CityScape 2012 at Galleria Dallas honors this preschool pastime with an exhibit that offers mini-me versions of Dallas landmarks including the American Airlines Center and Reunion Tower.
The goal of the exhibit is to raise funds for East Dallas Community Schools, a nonprofit group that operates early childhood learning centers for neighborhoods with a high concentration of poverty.
"We teach skills to parents from pregnancy to grade school," said Steven Offield, development associate for East Dallas Community Schools. Programs include cooking classes, parenting education and tutoring.
There are many teaching opportunities for parents at the exhibit. Not only can you discuss Dallas history, culture and architechture, you can also talk about scale and mathematics. (How many bricks did it take to make the Old Red courthouse?)
Kids will be also fascinated with the new additions to the exhibit, which include a toy car raceway where cars race through elevated clear plastic tubing and a replica of the Galleria, complete with the ice skating rink and a rarely seen view of the tunnels below the rink.
Once inspired, children can create their own Lego masterpieces at a tot-size tables filled with hundreds of blocks.
For $5, it's a cool way to get out of the heat and help a great cause.
Dallas CityScape 2012
Recommended ages: All
Good to know: Each child ticket gets a special prize. For a $250 donation, you can fill a box with toy bricks from Dallas CityScape, build your own creation and bring it back to the exhibit to be displayed with your name along a wall. The display space accommodates the first 100 donors. For more information on East Dallas Community Schools, go to http://edcschool.org/
When: July 1 through September 3. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday and Noon to 6 p.m., Sunday
Where: Galleria Dallas, Level 1 -- near Grand Lux Café, 13350 Dallas Parkway (I-635 at North Dallas Tollway), Dallas, TX 75240
Cost: $5 per person; Children younger than 2 are free
Info: http://www.dallascityscape.com; http://www.galleriadallas.com