Originally published in the Democrat and Chronicle (print edition) October 28, 2018.
by Caurie Putnam, West Extra columnist
I challenge you to walk into the Brick Lab in Parma and not smile. The newly opened 2,400 square-foot LEGO learning center is a sensory delight for children (and children at heart) at 5110 W. Ridge Road.
“We get that reaction a lot,” said Terrence Moss, 41, owner of the Brick Lab, noticing my instant smile and wide eyes when I entered for the first time earlier this week. “We wanted to create something really special for all ages.”
Moss, his wife and their three children (ages 15, 13 and 10) live in Spencerport. He was a special education teacher in the Rochester area for 15 years, before coming up with the idea for the Brick Lab.
“I wanted to teach what I wanted, when I wanted,” said Moss, about his decision to leave the formal teaching world and go off on his own. “I knew I wanted to do something for kids that would be really hands-on because in my experience I’ve seen that’s how they learn best.”
Hands-on is the theme at the Brick Lab, whose standalone building was formerly occupied by a martial arts center and a tile sales company before that. There are thousands of brick pieces in custom-made, themed play tables, hundreds of boxed LEGO sets, a large pinewood-derby style racetrack to test vehicle creations, a stop-motion video animation area and special play area with larger, LEGO Duplo toys and trains for little ones.
There is also a birthday party room and video game area with PlayStation 4s featuring the latest LEGO game titles. My favorite part of the lab was an immersive, black-light room dubbed 20,000 Bricks Under the Sea. It has glow-in-the-dark building pieces and soothing sensory sounds from an aquarium.
Wi-Fi, coffee and work tables are available, but often parents, grandparents and other caregivers prefer to join in and play.
“Parents are getting in here and building right along with their kids,” Moss said. “I wanted to create an atmosphere for all ages. I also wanted to create something really cool for the west side that would be a destination place for east siders too.”
The Brick Lab opened in September 2018 and Moss has plans to add STEM education project-based workshops and clubs, small groups for children with special needs and other programs that draw on his teaching experience.
If You Go
Brick Lab hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Check the website at thebricklab.com or call ahead at (585) 617-4414 (since Moss is still tweaking the hours). Cost is a daily rate of $7.50 per child for unlimited play (children under 18 months free with paid sibling).
Pick of the Week
Free community lunches
This month, Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 4301 Mt. Read Blvd. in Greece, expanded their free lunch program to two times a month.
The church now offers free lunch to the community from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of the month in the Fellowship Hall. The next free lunch is Nov. 3. Organizers invite everyone in the community to attend this fellowship opportunity.
The church is handicapped accessible. Soup and sandwiches are served in the winter, and salads and sandwiches in the summer. For more information, contact the church office at (585) 8651866 x 2.
Contact Caurie at email@example.com with news from west-side towns. She’s on Twitter at @CauriePutnam and on Facebook at facebook.com/BrockportBlog.