Back in March of this year I was invited to the opening of the new Legoland Discovery Center in the suburb of Yonkers (Westchester County), which is approximately an hour drive North of New York City. I did plan on attending but was unable to make it. I was not so concerned about it though as at the time, my 2.5 year old Son was not into Lego at all.
Fast forward 3 months and all of a sudden my Son was OBSESSED with Lego. He carried around with him a Lego catalogue for weeks until it fell apart. He talked about Lego, and always wanted to buy Lego books or Lego at the toy store. In fact, Lego played a HUGE part in finally helping to toilet train him which I wrote about HERE.
Most recently, with him just turning 3 years of age, I felt that this was the right time to take him to Legoland. It appears I was right as he loved it, and cannot wait to visit again.
The Westchester Legoland Discovery Center is a massive 32,300 square-foot indoor attraction featuring more than 3 million LEGO® bricks, is the tri-state area’s newest destination for children and families, and has been pulling out all the stops for LEGO fans since it opened on March 27, 2013 at Ridge Hill in Yonkers. The attraction features a range of educational and interactive experiences, including hands-on play areas, a 4D cinema, master classes led by Master Model Builders, two LEGO amusement rides, special birthday and party rooms — Press Release.
Miles was so excited when we pulled up at Legoland. He said to me “I can’t believe my eyes”. So cute, and then as soon as he was out of the car raced off towards the sign to show me where to go.
We went on a weekday, thinking that it would be quiet, and as we arrived right at the Opening Time of 10AM this was the case for a while. However, the crowds soon flocked in and it became quite busy and hard to move around. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like on a weekend in Winter.
Once through the front door, there is a Lego photographer who takes photos of guests on the backdrop of a a green screen. This will then be branded with the Lego imagery which can be viewed further along. I have such a collection of these photos; from the Zoo to the Aquarium to various Fairs. They are great physical keepsakes, especially as printed photos seem to be a thing of the past.
You then must walk through the Lego Factory Tour. This is where it is learnt how Lego bricks are made. Children can also operate the machinery to make their very own Lego brick, which I think is a nice touch.
Continue onto (or bypass it if you like) the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride which is a journey on a Dragon trolley where you shoot a laser gun at Giant Trolls and Evil Skeletons. As you near the end of the ride, a camera will take another photograph of you which you can pick up at the next Stop. SMILE!
Next up, you can either view and buy your photos, or you can skip this all together and walk through the Lego Miniland. The Lego Miniland is a show of New York’s landmarks. This exhibit was just a little too old for Miles as he was not really interested, but it is very impressive that it was made from almost 1.5 million Lego blocks. I mean, how long would that have taken to build?
The next visual you see is of a big open space with the Center Piece being a 4-tier soft-play enclosed playground. Children must be between 3′ and 4’9″ high to enter, and there is a staff member at the entrance gate to enforce that rule. Miles just made the cut, but was too scared to go in for the first few times because there were so many children inside bigger than him. He was finally brave and went, but then I was near having a heart attack running up and down the fence to make sure he knew where I was and wasn’t getting bowled over by bigger children. Let’s just say I was happy when he decided to come back out.
We then headed to the very colorful cafeteria which is conveniently located to the side of the playground. I am happy to write that Legoland stocks healthy snacks like hummus and apples. There was also a variety of organic juices and water. Big Score in my Book!
The next few hours we made our way through all the exhibits including the Lego Racers: Build and Test. This is an area where children (mainly boys) can build their own race car from scratch and then race it on a variety of tracks. There are containers set up around with thousands of singular blocks, axles and wheels etc. The thing was that there were just not enough wheels to go around for all the children trying to build cars so it was a mad dash of Mums and Little Ones trying to find wheels. This might be an okay ratio when there are only a few children on site but there were was at least 40 when we were there. Miles became really upset when he could not find wheels to go with his car. It took us around 25 minutes but we eventually found some and he was happy to race his car.
There were also other exhibits including a Farm Inspired area for younger children which has bigger Lego Blocks to play with and a mini-slide. The Lego Friends area (mainly girls) with a kitchen, a karaoke machine and a place to build Lego flowers. Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, which looked like so much fun, but Miles was too scared to go on it so we had to give it a miss. *Sigh
The 4D Movie Theater is amazing. They have a variety of mini-movies showing constantly throughout the day with the duration of each one being approximately 15 minutes. Excitedly for Miles, his favorite Legends Of Chima was showing when we went in. You are given special glasses at the door to wear while you watch the movie. As an added effect, there was one part of the show where the characters are near a waterfall and actual water came out of the roof of the Theater!! So much fun. I mean, it is a light spray, you do not have to bring an umbrella or anything like that…. it was just really cool!
Legoland also offers Birthday Party facilities for up to 40 guests. And, a teaching facility where children can learn building tricks and tips from the experts. There is so much to do and see at Legoland. We were there for around 3 hours, which I think is fair time to get through everything. However, if my Son had his way he would’ve stayed there all day.
I will say that I was very confused on my first trip to Legoland and I know other people who have had the same problem. This is because it is actually in Westchester’s Ridge Hill Mall which is not explained in any of the public Legoland information. My GPS system took me to the Mall, but from there on in I was left to figure it out myself. I suggest parking on North Otis Drive as it is the closet car park to the Legoland entrance. This advice will save you driving around aimlessly as, once you arrive it is not really clear where Legoland is and the Mall is a Big place.
Individual tickets for children (ages 3-12) are $18 and adults (13 and up) are $22, plus-tax. Children under 2 years-old enter the attraction free of charge. There are discounts on groups of 10 or more. Annual passes are available with perks being the best value if you are going to visit more than 3 times in a year. As Legoland fills up quickly you may be turned away or made to wait if buying tickets when you get there, to avoid this and secure promise of entry it is best to book online HERE in advance
For questions, availability or to book a group visit, school trip or birthday party, call 866 243-0770.
Thanks for reading my Blog! I hope you enjoyed my review.