Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘New York City’

Castle Noel – A Family Christmas Experience

Castle Noel Buddy

Mark Klaus is ready to welcome you to Castle Noel and their newest movie set, “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas”, starring Buddy!

The most amazing thing you’ve ever seen

is Castle Noel in ’17.”

That’s how Mark and Dana Klaus feels about Castle Noel, which captures the spirit of a family Christmas in several ways. The heart and soul of Castle Noel in Medina is Mark Klaus – with a name like that and a full beard, Christmas seemed a natural passion.

Sweet Shoppe Window

This Sweet Shoppe window display from Saks 5th Avenue is a favorite of visitors.

Growing up, Mark’s dad loved decorating for Christmas. Neighbors came from miles around to see his 16′ Christmas tree, as well as the reindeer and sleigh hanging from their ceiling. The Klaus house looked like a Christmas Wonderland.

Castle Noel Ornament

Mark’s sculpting skills create beautiful ornaments.

Mark, a world renowned master sculptor, displays many of his sculpted ornaments and angels in their gift shop. His miniature detail is accomplished through using dental tools and magnifying glasses. Angels are one of his favorite sculptures. Why?

Mark’s mother was killed in an automobile accident when he was sixteen. It happened on Christmas Eve. Mark said, “This all is a tribute to my mom.”

Castle Noel Church

This former Methodist church in Medina is now home to Castle Noel.

When Mark was searching for the perfect place to locate his enormous Christmas collection, he looked all over the United States but decided to come back to his home area. He found an abandoned Methodist Church built in 1891 in Medina that reminded him of a castle, thus the name, Castle Noel, which opened in 2013.

Castle Noel Lampoon Vacation

Mark drove the camper from Lampoon Vacation all the way from California to Ohio.

Usually Mark and his wife, Dana, work seven days a week and think about Castle Noel twenty four hours a day. Once in a while, they go on vacation. Walt Disney’s parks top the list as Mark’s favorite spots. But he doesn’t go there for the reasons most attend…Mark goes for inspiration for another idea to make Castle Noel even better.

Castle Noel Vortex

Walking through the Blizzard Vortex had everyone hanging onto the handrails.

Every year there’s something new to see at Castle Noel as Mark constantly makes improvements so it can continue to be “America’s Largest Indoor Year Round Christmas Entertainment Attraction”.

Castle Noel Santa Squeeze

Get the feeling of Santa going down the chimney in Santa Squeeze with 100,000 glass bulbs overhead for some extra Christmas cheer.

There seems to be something exciting around each corner, so only a few of the highlights are mentioned here.


Castle Noel Grinch set

This is an actual movie set from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

His fantastic collection of Christmas movie sets, props and costumes that are worn in the Hollywood movies is mind boggling. He authenticates everything before displaying it in Castle Noel.

Castle Noel Gummy Bears

Mark was given three hours to remove this gummy bear display from Bloomingdale’s.

As you continue your journey you travel to New York City at Christmas time and stroll through the Platinum award winning animated window displays from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Windows from our own Higbee’s in the 60s, Bloomingdale’s, plus Macy’s of Pittsburgh, New York and Washington state create a magical journey for all ages.

Caslte Noel Slide

Go up the stairs through the Enchanted Mountain, see Santa, and ride the slide down…just like Ralphie.

Last stop is Enchanted Mountain filled with animated animals. But it’s the slide back down that everyone enjoys. Seated on a burlap mat, all ages enjoy the thrill of sliding down the giant red slide like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”. A great way to end the tour!

Castle Noel Alien Golf

Have some extra excitement at Alien Vacation Mini Golf.

But wait, there’s more! Outside you’ll find the entrance to Alien Vacation Mini Golf. You enter a 3D wonderland with miles of fiber optics. It now has 19 holes since the landing of the Alien Spaceship. You’ll enjoy this 3D spot whether you decide to play mini-golf or not.

Castle Noel Mark Klaus

A working Mark Klaus has fun with visitors after the tour.

Castle Noel is the perfect place for folks of every generation to make lasting Christmas memories. As Mark and Dana would tell you, “We like having fun around here.”

Castle Noel is located at 260 S Court Street, Medina, Ohio. From I-77 take exit 122B for US-224 W. Take exit 7 for OH-57 into the town of Medina. 

Toy and Plastic Brick Museum “Unofficial LEGO Museum”

The sign out front says "Unofficial Lego Museum".

The sign out front says “Unofficial Lego Museum”.

Building blocks have been a favorite gift for many years. That tradition continues today with evolvement of blocks from wooden to plastic, including animation possibilities.

An active imagination can create almost anything from Lego plastic bricks. Dan Brown, museum curator at the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum, displays proof of that.  He has collected enough Lego blocks to earn the museum the title of “Largest Personal Collection of Lego Blocks in the World”. There’s no doubt about that fact as Dan has over four million Lego blocks…a number  that increases almost daily.

This Toy Museum is for all those who enjoy the world of Lego art- young and old alike. The name Lego actually comes from a contraction of two Danish words: leg godl, translated “play well.”  Lego began as a builder of wooden toys. Then in 1937 Ole Kirk Christiansen began making plastic blocks.

Plastic Brick Museum Sign in front of building.

Plastic Brick Museum Sign in front of old school building.

You can’t judge a book, or a building, by its cover, as surprise after surprise waits inside this old school. The former Gravel Hill Middle School in Bellaire, Ohio has three floors of amazing suprises, which all involve Lego blocks!  Since there wasn’t enough room here for Dan, he bought another local school to store his spare parts. Dan has a great sense of humor as he hoards Legos for future use. While shaking his head, Dan describes himself as “a crazy guy who wanted to retire and open a Lego Museum in Bellaire, Ohio!”

"The Vault" contains original Monopoly set in gold.

“The Vault” contains original Monopoly set in gold.

When entering the main lobby on the second floor, amid all the Lego creations, a large display case called “The Vault” catches the eye. This was purchased from Disneyland and features a real gold 2 x 4 brick and an original gold Monopoly set. Throughout the museum, items from all over the world appear…most of them being Legos!

Lego Mona Lisa with Lego artist giving a final touch.

Lego Mona Lisa with Lego artist giving a final touch.

Lego creations of Mt Rushmore and Mona Lisa also add interest. Mona Lisa has a small Lego figure painting the finishing touches on that portrait. Major creations, like these murals, have been glued together to save future repair work, while many of the Legos are assembled just as youngsters would at home. Another fun fact on the walls of the museum estimates there are 52 Lego blocks for every person on the planet.  Do you have your share?

World's Largest Lego Mural on gym floor.

World’s Largest Lego Mural on gym floor with animated band on stage.

After walking down a carpet made in the pattern of Lego blocks, you arrive in the old gymnasium. Before your eyes is the largest Lego image in the world – a mosaic of an 18-wheeler tractor trailer. Designed by Brian Korte, this giant image was created by over 250 local school children with the help of AFOLs (Adult Friends of Legos). It contains over 1.2 million Lego blocks and measures 44 feet by 21 feet.

Some of those same Lego enthusiasts, the builders of tomorrow, are now attempting to construct the tallest Lego tower in the world. It begins in the basement, going up through an air shaft. They have even cut a hole in the roof so it can reach the sky. Plans at this point are for the tower to reach forty feet above the building.

Lego Train Room is animated at the push of a button.

Lego Train Room is animated at the push of a button.

Each of the classrooms throughout the building overflows with themed room Lego designs from Knights Room to Mission to Mars.  The Toy Museum also has Guiness World Records for the largest Lego castle, and longest Lego castle wall. As you can imagine, the sign “Do Not Touch” appears frequently throughout the museum but some find it hard to resist. Therefore, they have a special area where you can sit and build your own creations.

Designs from this favorite plastic brick come to life with many examples of animation…a favorite being a lively band called Plastica, which appears on the stage in the old gymnasium. The musical figures were purchased from a department store in New York City, the place Dan called home for most of his life while he worked in the world of computers. The band is powered pneumatically, showing that the world of Legos is more complicated than just building with blocks. It’s a world of engineering as well.

Youngsters always have fun with Lego projects.

Youngsters always have fun with Lego projects.

If you or someone in your family enjoys creating with Lego blocks, this is the perfect place to explore.  Buiding with blocks is a real brain stimulator. Did you know that possible combinations of six Lego eight-plugged blocks can create 209,000,000 seemingly endless combinations? You might get some new ideas while you explore! What will you build next with your Legos?

Bellaire Toy and Plastic Block Museum can be reached off I-70 at the Bridgeport exit. Take Route 7 south to the 48th Street Drive. Turn west two blocks until you reach a dead end. Turn left and within two blocks you will be at the museum on the right hand side at 4597 Noble Street. Hours during the winter months are 12-5 on weekends, while during the summer season, the museum is open Wed. – Sun. 12-5. For more information, call 740-671-8890.

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