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Lego reality

Here's an existential question for you… How far can a tourist attraction be from its original state – and still be a tourist attraction? About ten years ago, Las Vegas decided to build its own version of New York city – New York New York, a casino/hotel complete with mini skyscrapers and mini Statue of Liberty. They did the same for the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the canals of Venice. Now, in turn, Legoland California has created its tribute to Las Vegas, with Miniland Vegas.

It's an amazingly-detailed reproduction of the Vegas Strip, complete with New York New York, Paris Las Vegas, and the Venetian. The LEGO theme park in Carlsbad, near San Diego, unveiled the new attraction last year. It took 16,000 hours of labor and two million bricks to build, and also features a mini Luxor (with a 65,000-brick Sphinx), mini Excalibur, mini Mirage, mini Treasure Island, mini MGM Grand and mini Stratosphere (actually 20ft tall). For the sake of authenticity, there's also a mini wedding chapel.

Animated models replicate the pirate ships battling in front of Treasure Island, an exploding volcano in front of the Mirage, and the death-defying rides on the Stratosphere.

It sounds impressive – and will no doubt be enormously successful. But it begs the question – how far exactly can life imitate art, or rather art imitate art imitate art? What comes next? RM

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