Just like Legos, my son and his best friend fit together perfectly. Born just two weeks apart, they have grown up together doing all the things little boys do — which, of course, includes Legos, Legos, and more Legos.
So. Many. Legos.
Truth be told, I am normally not a huge Lego fan. I’m either stepping on them (usually barefoot), commanding the dog to “drop that LEGO” or avoiding helping my son put a Lego project together (not that I don’t want to play with him – I just don’t have the patience to follow the directions).
Personal Lego feelings aside, the best way to “Celebrate 8” for these best buddies was with a trip to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, a 32,300 square-foot indoor fun center located within the Westchester’s Ridge Hill outdoor shopping mall (I have to get back there to go shopping – without the kids!).
About an hour drive from Long Island, it was an easy ride and once you get off of the exit there are plenty of signs for the shopping center. We arrived just about noon on a Sunday afternoon which allowed us plenty of time to enjoy all of the attractions. From everything I read before our visit, most people say that a typical visit takes 2 – 3 hours. We were there for 5 hours!!
I think we got very lucky the day we visited as the crowd was minimal. We did not have to wait for any of the attractions, never had a problem finding a seat while we watched the boys play and bathroom breaks took only a few minutes. It may have been because the forecast called for snow (yes, in March! WHAT?) or people may have been home celebrating Palm Sunday. Whatever the reason, we totally scored! (P.S. – the forecast was wrong…DUH?!…and it didn’t snow until later that night!)
When you first enter, there is the opportunity to pose for pictures with your group. Photos are available for purchase, and I was surprise that prices are very reasonable.
Then it was off to the LEGO® Factory Tour which is an introduction to how LEGO® bricks are made. Interactive activities involved our boys so they could “help” make a brick. Little builders are rewarded with a souvenir brick.
This is a cityscape made up of almost 1.5 million LEGO bricks — and it was very cool. There is so much to see, and so much detail, including famous New York City landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and other awesome re-creations of landmark locations and buildings made entirely out of LEGO bricks. Interactive features allow youngsters to activate lights, sounds and moving parts.
Apparently, it took a team of more than 20 expert Lego model builders six months to complete. Interactive features allow youngsters to activate lights, sounds and moving parts.
There are several different zones with various LEGO activities and a huge jungle gym where kids can climb, slide and jump around. This space is monitored by LEGO staff, so kids can only enter if they’ve removed their shoes and are wearing socks, and they can only exit if a parent is there to retrieve them, which is reassuring if one of your kids is a wanderer. The boys spent a lot of time in here, and it was great to see them getting out tons of energy.
Both boys agreed that their favorite activity was the “race car” area where they could build cars and test them out or race them against each other on different sloping test tracks, complete with stopwatch timing. Very fun.
There are two rides at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester. Kingdom Quest Laser Ride is an interactive laser ride where you join the Good King’s Army to battle evil skeletons, giant trolls and large spiders. Each person gets a laser gun to zap skeletons and other bad guys during the ride. Not that I’m bragging or anything, but I totally scored the highest out of our group!
On Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, riders use pedal power to raise them up as they spin around Merlin’s potion room finding spells and sorcery as you pedal round and round. The boys went on this one alone. I think they felt super cool … and definitely looked super cute!
LEGO 4-D CINEMA
The 15-minute movie featured the brand new “LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure” was one of the highlights of our visit. We were smiling the whole time, especially when the fourth dimension effects kicked in such as wind blowing into our faces or water sprinkling over us. A must-do!
LEGO STAR WARS MINILAND MODEL DISPLAY
This walk-through exhibit offered a galactic immersion into the sights and sounds of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace™. The boys were able to construct their own Star Wars themed LEGO builds and channeled their inner Jedi or Storm Trooper.
FOOD AND AMENITIES
The food area is fun, with brightly-colored tables and chairs and the cash registers encased in LEGO bricks. The food offerings are deli-style, with sandwiches, salads, and snacks and everything was very reasonably priced.
No outside food is permitted – with the exception of food for babies or children with food allergies.
A few other things to know before you go.
- There are hand sanitizer stations set up throughout to LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
- Bring socks. Kids exploring the Fire Academy jungle gym will need to remove their shoes and wear socks.
- Mini figure trading is a great way to swap mini figures and expand your collection. Find a LEGOLAND Team Member and ask to trade. The new Mini figure is yours to keep, or trade again and again!
- A gift shop features tons of Lego toys and accessories (prices vary). Our little guys loved being able to create their own mini figures (3 for $10) and played with them the whole time while we ate dinner and on the car ride home.
- We didn’t do this, but there is a LEGO Master Builder Academy which is offered on a first-come, first-served basis in a classroom setting with demonstrations on a big screen. Recessed bowls in the table help kids avoid dropping and losing pieces, and an assistant builder walks around to offer one-on-one guidance to those who need it.
- Westchester’s Ridge Hill features several places to eat. We wound up at the all-organic, made-to-order Elevation Burger. It’s worth going back for those hamburgers alone. Awesome.
- LEGOLAND even host birthday parties! There was a party going on while we visited. It looked like all the kids were having a great time. If you live in the area, it is worth looking into.
From their Facebook page: “Visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester and it’s like you’ve jumped into the world’s biggest box of LEGO bricks! A great family attraction ideal for kids aged 3-12 years, with over 2 million LEGO bricks under one roof. What will you discover?” Honestly, I think our boys were at the max age (8 years old) to have the best experience. Any older would have been pushing it!
If you purchase tickets online in advance, prices begin at $16.50 for children ages 3 to 12 and $17.95 for adults. There are other ticket packages online, and prices vary by dates and time. Children under 2-years-old are always admitted free.
For super fans that plan on visiting more than three times per year, you may want to consider purchasing a LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Annual Pass which offers other perks in addition to unlimited visits.
Sunday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Last Admission: 5 p.m.)
Friday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Last Admission: 7 p.m.)
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY 10710
LEGOLAND is a fun and educational destination, bringing the worlds of math, science and technology to life. Our boys were immersed in using their imagination and creative energies which was a nice change from playing on their prized electronic devices.
Disclosure: I was provided with comp tickets and agreed to provide an honest review. All opinions are my own.