LEGOLAND Discovery Center- Playful Parent Guide
Since our family loves LEGO bricks, we were over the moon excited to hear that the LEGOLAND Discovery Center- Philadelphia was opening in Spring of 2017. Despite that we were invited to attend the media sneak preview as a ambassador in April; we weren’t able to attend. However, we finally were able to accept the invitation and visited this weekend and trust me when I say “Everything is Awesome!” Our family had an amazing time at Legoland, we learned a lot of tips and tricks, even after one day! I hope that reading this guide will help your family plan out and enjoy a awesome day at LEGOLAND!
Getting to LEGOLAND is super easy! Just set your GPS for the address and look for Boscovs parking lot at Plymouth Meeting Mall. You will notice that you are in the right place right away; you will spot a large yellow giraffe made entirely of LEGO bricks. Use the mall entrance to make your way towards LEGOLAND. Once inside, you will pass by a beautiful carousel and then find the entrance to LEGOLAND on the left.
Let The Fun Begin
Our adventure started at Brick Station, where we climbed aboard the Imagination Express to journey to the Discovery Zone. This was no ordinary train ride… On the imagination express you are given a magic wand that’s used to accomplish a special quest. You will venture through a soapy bath to pop bubbles and even soar off to outer space to shoot stars from the sky. Our family had fun completing the mission of capturing the map and seeing who could score the highest points. (Insider tip: You can ride the imagination express as much as you like! If you wish to climb back on, just hop in the discovery center express line for round two or three or four! Keep in mind if it’s a busy day you might need to wait in line for a few minutes.)
The best part about LEGOLAND is that it’s a place where everyone both big and small can use their imaginations to learn through play. There are a variety of different stations setup for different ages, skill levels and interests in this indoor 33,000- square foot complex. Despite that my boys were drawn to certain sections, we did our best to explore each area in order to make sure we didn’t miss something. I highly recommend planning at least three hours or more so that you have plenty of time to do all the activities. The different centers include: LEGORacers: Build & Test station, Pirate Adventure Island play area, LEGONinjago Training Camp, Miniland, Earth Quack Table, Duplo Park, Build Challenge Circle, LEGO Creative Workshop and LEGO 4-D Cinema.
LEGORacers: Build & Test:
This is a fun section were you can use your imagination to build a vehicle and then test it out. There are tables set up with bins that contain everything you need from wheels to axles to make a race car. After building the ultimate race car, time its speed on the test track which is also a slide! There is also a pretty cool car made entirely out of Legos!
(Insider tip: taking the rubber tires off the wheel seemed to help the LEGO cars go faster! For fun see who can race down the track faster…you or your car!)
Pirate Adventure Island
The Pirate Adventure Island is the perfect place for little ones to get their energy out. This giant pirate ship play area can be found toward the back left corner of the center near the exit to the gift shop. Trust me, you wont miss it! It’s a huge structure where your little buckineer is sure to love walking the plank and climbing rope nets.
(Insider tips: Make sure you bring a pair of socks, it is mandatory that all kids wear them to participate in this activity. There is also a height requirement for this section, kids must be at least 36 inches and no taller than 60 inches to enter Pirate Adventure Island. If they don’t meet that requirement there are a few other options in this area… There is a pirate themed Lego table for kids to build on. You will also find an adorable island with giant soft bricks for little ones to play with.)
LEGONinjago Training Camp
In this section you get to test out your Ninja skills! Train to defend the mystical land of Ninjago by sharpening your building skills and testing out your agility by mastering the Ninjago Laser Maze.
(Insider tip: I highly recommend going to this section first! The line for the Laser Maze gets longer as the day goes on.)
You are sure to be amazed by this intricate mini version of Philadelphia that showcases the City of Brotherly Love made up of over 1.5 million LEGO bricks. Be on the look out for popular landmarks and enjoy interactive displays. You will find buttons that you can push. Don’t miss making Rocky climb the Museum of Art stairs, cheer on the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field or race rowboats on the Schuylkill River.
(Insider tip: be sure to look down. You don’t want to miss the underground subway or viewing area where you can look into the city from a street view. Also, be sure to stay in Miniland for night and day…as the city turns to night, watch for fireworks!)
Earth Quake Table
Put your Lego building skills to the test! Using Lego blocks, kids can build their own structure to see if their Lego skyscraper can withstand a shaking earthquake!
Duplo Park is a great place for little builders to play and explore! Let their curiosity run wild as they build colorful DUPLO flowers for the farmer’s garden, climb up and slide down a grassy hill, or play with special, big, soft bricks perfect for tiny LEGO lovers. (Insider tip: look for the tall green cactus, be sure to push the big red button! Your little one is sure to get excited about the bubble machine.)
Build Challenge Circle
In this section you get a chance to take center stage! Take part in building challenges and other events that encourage parents and children to join in on lead activities. (Insider tip: Be sure to check the schedule so that you can find the right activity to meet your families needs; whether it’s listening to a story, using your imagination to build a LEGO creation, or meeting Bertie the LEGO mascot, you are sure to have a good time.)
LEGO Creative Workshop
In this section you will get to meet a master builder and take part in daily workshops. This a great opportunity to learn insider strategies and techniques for becoming a master builder. I had no clue that these little plastic pieces actually had technical names. (Insider tip: encourage your little one to ask questions. They might learn a new trick or two.)
LEGO 4-D Cinema
We were blown away by the 4-D Cinema where we got to see our favorite LEGO characters on an action-packed adventure. My boys got a kick out of watching images burst of the screen as well as the added special effects of light, water, wind, fog and even snow!
(Insider tip: While waiting in line for the show to start, be sure to snap a shoot at the VIP photo stop. This may not be something you need to do every time but if the screen appears blurry with your glasses on then flip your glasses upside down. The polarization was flipped during our showing, luckily we were with friends who knew the solution. You can see as many movies as you like and there are a few different options to choice from.)
There is a cafe on site, since no outside food and drink are allowed this is a great option for snack time. There is also a party rooms that can be rented for special occasions. The restrooms are located in the back near the cafe. From decorations to trash receptacles, I love how the LEGO theme carries throughout the center. Even the bathrooms stick to the LEGO theme. Spoiler alert the toilets aren’t made out of LEGO bricks. Trust me, we checked all the stalls just to be sure…lol!
(Insider tip: There is a changing station in both bathrooms, plus a family bathroom. There is also a stroller parking area next to the Cafe.)
You can’t miss the gift shop, it’s the only way out. Souvenirs from LEGOLAND are a must!(Insider tip: have fun building your own LEGO Minifigure; you get to pick their face, hair, legs, top and even accompany with hat or accessories. We got a nice LEGO train kit for only $5. If you don’t want spend more than a few dollars try a Minifigure blind bag or LEGO blind kit.)
PLAYFUL PARENT TIPS
It’s ideal to purchase your tickets in advanced; especially if you are going on a weekend. There is a small online service fee; however, the center has been known to sell out or have a time slot with wait time for when you can enter. Plus it’s cheaper to purchase online!
For the best experience, visit during off-peak hours. The best time to go is on a weekday. When going on the weekend try to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon!
Did you know that kids can bring a Minifigures from home and swap theirs with Discovery Center staff members. You will find the minis on their name badges.
Download the app before you go so you can learn about special events, take part in scavenger hunts, and keep track of your Minifigure trades.
Enjoy the mall, there is a great play area right near Legoland’s entrance. There is also a beautiful carousel to ride on.
Just this week they started a new policy. You can have your hand stamped so that you can return during the same day. If you need to go to the car, leave to take naps, or even go out to dinner you can now come back and enjoy more fun. Before you could not re-enter Legoland after leaving.
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Information
Address: Plymouth Meeting Mall, 500 W Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA
Hours: Monday-Saturday (10:00am-7:30pm) and Sunday (10:00am-6:00pm)
Admission: General admission starts at $19 Child/$22 Adult for single visit ($59 for annual pass); kids 2 and under free.
***The Playful Parent was not paid to write this article. I want to thank LEGOLAND for inviting us and offering our family free admission. Despite this perk I enjoy helping families plan trips and all information and review are my own unbiased opinion.***