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MOSI brings art, engineering, archeology, and Legos to Tampa

If there is anything harder than spelling Masiakasaurus, it’s probably building one using only Legos. And that’s exactly what artist Warren Elsmore does at MOSI’s new exhibit

  • Published May 15, 2024, 10:29 AM UTC

See Story on Tampa Beacon Website

TAMPA — If there is anything John Graydon Smith, chief executive of Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry, knows about running museums, it’s that the only thing that outsells dinosaurs is Legos. So, when the chance to bring an exhibit on dinosaurs made of Legos to Tampa for the summer arose, the decision was an easy one.

Aptly named “Brick Dinos,” the coming exhibition, beginning May 18 through Sept. 3, showcases world-renowned Lego artist Warren Elsmore’s ability to bring dinosaurs to life in all shapes and sizes, spanning the skies, oceans, and earth.

“Brick Dinos” will be the first time that one of Elsmore’s exhibits has come to the Tampa area and promises to be fun and educational for Lego lovers and dino enthusiasts of all ages.




Elsmore teamed up with a paleontologist on the exhibit, meticulously bringing to life some of the mightiest creatures to roam the planet, ranging from amazing miniature scenes to a life-size encounter with a 12-foot-long raptor-like dinosaur called Masiakasaurus. Born from a request by his publisher to create a Lego book about dinosaurs, Elsmore developed 18 different dioramas showcasing classics like a pterodactyl with a 4-meter-long wingspan, a plesiosaur reminiscent of the Loch Ness monster, and more.

When asked how the work of developing the models for each dinosaur went, Elsmore noted that one of the hardest decisions was choosing the right color.

“When I’m building the models, a really important question for me is, ‘What color is it?’ The paleontologist would sometimes have absolutely no idea. That sort of thing isn’t preserved in the fossil records,” said Elsmore. Such challenges often come up in Elsmore’s work since he turned his childhood passion into a full-time career over a decade ago.

Coming from an IT background, Elsmore got his start in the professional world of Lego building when he was asked to participate in building the Olympic village for the Danish tourist board as part of an exhibition for the 2012 London Olympics. Working with a team of Lego enthusiasts from across the United Kingdom, Elsmore spent a month building a miniaturized replica of the village that started his path to Lego notoriety.

“I was doing this gig for the Olympics and getting an awful lot of press, and basically the penny dropped that if I ever wanted to try and make it a full-time career, I was never going to get a better opportunity than that,” Elsmore said. “So that’s when I went back to my boss and said, ‘Well, I’ve got this opportunity,’ and all he said was, ‘I wondered when you were going to do that,’ and he knew it was coming.”




Taking the opportunity and momentum from the Olympics, Elsmore started his own studio, Warren Elsmore Ltd., where he has finished hundreds of commissioned Lego pieces across the world, with five currently touring exhibits. He has published 12 books showcasing and teaching his designs to Lego fans of all ages.

“You know, lots of people say they can’t buy a Lego set — ‘I’m 40 now.’ I’m 47! I still buy a Lego set every week. There’s no need to be limited by any kind of stereotype,” said Elsmore. While he was able to turn his lifelong love of Legos into a career, Elsmore noted that the best thing about the Lego community is that everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be a fantastic builder who throws away the instructions or a completist who buys every set in a collection.

Premiering on May 18, the “Brick Dinos” exhibit seeks to bring excitement for lovers of Legos, dinosaurs, archaeology, and art all under one roof. While keeping a focus on education, Smith noted that the exhibit creates a perfect blend of fun and learning, which he dubbed “edutainment.” He loves that parents can get involved with their kids in the fun and teachers can continue the excitement into the following school year.

“One of the best things about this show is that you can take it with you. You can bring home Legos or one of (Elsmore’s) books and continue the learning at home with the family,” said Smith.

MOSI is at 4801 E. Fowler Ave. For more information on the “Brick Dinos” exhibit, or its summer Lego camps, visit

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