March 12, 2010 | The Washington Post | Original Article

Legoland gets in on 2010 Census action

Lego people depicting census workers in front of a Lego U.S. Capitol at the California Legoland theme park. (Courtesy Legoland California)

As if a Super Bowl ad, NASCAR sponsorship and promotional messages in Chinese fortune cookies weren't enough, the U.S. Census Bureau has recruited the Lego toy company to help raise awareness for this year's decennial headcount.

And they're doing it in the smallest way possible.

The Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, Calif., on Friday launched a census of all four-inch Lego people residing in its "Miniland USA" cities. (Since The Eye's childhood bedroom was covered in Legos, this news hits close to home.)

Park employees last accounted for about 5,000 "Minilanders" when the park opened in 1999 with areas depicting New York City, Washington, D.C., Southern California, New Orleans, San Francisco, New England and Daytona, Fla.

But the recent additions of a Lego Las Vegas, marina and Daytona International Speedway prompted park officials to conduct a new count and promote the 2010 Census in the process. (No, really -- you can't make this up. Well, you could but...)

Park employees have also added six Lego census workers across the park that are clad in red uniforms and posed knocking on the doors of Lego households or talking to Lego crowds.

The Lego census scenes will remain on display until July (book your tickets now!) and visitors will be challenged to find all six Lego census workers.

The theme park plans to release the results of its Lego census later this year. And yes, they'll conduct another headcount in 2020, just like the feds.

No money exchanged hands between the theme park and Census Bureau and there's no formal arrangement. Just count Lego as one of thousands of corporate, nonprofit and community groups partnering with the agency to promote this year's census.

Normal-sized Americans should start receiving census forms in the mail next week.

A Legoland theme park employee conducts a count of the park's four-inch Lego people. (Courtesy Legoland California)