Disclaimer: We received free admission to LEGOLAND Discovery Center in exchange for an honest review of the place. All opinions are my own!
On our way back from our fabulous weekend trip to Gurnie, IL we stopped off at LEGOLAND Discovery Center. After celebrating a LEGO Christmas this year, this was really the highlight of the trip for our four and two year old sons. (and let’s be real, their engineer dad.) We went on a Sunday, and arrived when they opened at 10:00 am. I had read online to expect very long lines, and a generally super crowded place. This was not our experience, so maybe Sunday is a good day to go. When you walk in, the first thing you’ll see is the Chicago miniland. My kids didn’t love this area, because they didn’t right away realize what it was and they couldn’t touch it. However, before we left they went back in that room and loved it. They loved the jungle area, and it was the first time I could see their curiosity peaked when they realized they could build things like this tiger with LEGO Bricks. We have several LEGO books, but nothing compares to seeing life size animals and people brought to life in 3-D right in front of you.
Kingdom Quest and Marlin’s apprentice ride were the two little rides they offer there! Perfect for our young kids, and unlike what I had read online we didn’t experience broken guns or long lines. It was nice, because we had braced ourselves for lots of waiting around. So it was a pleasant surprise. Marlin’s Apprentice Ride was too big for Sawyer, but he didn’t even notice Liam and I were gone. He just built cars with dad during that ten minutes. Kingdom Quest was perfect for the four of us, you just ride around shooting targets. There is a dragon in there that my kids were highly pleased with.
I wanted to offer this to people planning a trip. Call ahead and find out if they are offering any special events on the day you’re planning to visit. I did some research prior to going and didn’t see that the weekend we were going was mini figure trading weekend. I kind of felt bad, because Liam didn’t have anything to trade with the other kids. Liam could not believe how many mini figures exist. PSA: I saw a sign promoting LEGO Batman weekend, I believe in February.
Sawyer had a really incredible time, too. Sometimes I feel like we drag him along to places that are over his head, but LEGOLAND Discovery Center had so much for little kids too. Plus, kids 2 and under are free! His favorite area was hands down the Pirate Adventure Island. There he was able to climb on a pirate ship, play with LEGO Bricks in a water table, and then send his ship soaring through down a river. He was a big fan!
Neither of my kids cared about DUPLO Village. I guess we have outgrown DUPLO, because you know.. Sawyer does whatever Liam does. It was a cute little space for toddlers, definitely.
The boys and my husband built cars and sent them down the racetrack repeatedly. My job was to make videos in slow motion as the cars went flying down. I spent a lot of time sitting by Liam at this station just melting while I watched him assemble, deconstruct, retest, and try again. He was in his element, he loved this place, and I felt like such a cool and fun mom for making this trip a reality for him.
We also watched the 4-D movie before we headed out, Liam was into this. Sawyer was not.. he was hungry and tired and kind of mean. (parents, you know what I’m saying.) We decided not to eat in the café, because our kids eat so much and the prices were a little higher than we could justify spending. Still reasonable, but we are cheap. I noted a kid’s meal for 10.00, it had a half of sandwich, drink, and a side I believe. It was served in a plastic LEGO Brick. Really, really cute! You can also get lunch at Jamba Juice or Chipotle, which I noticed were next door. If we hadn’t had such a long drive home, I probably would have let the boys get a kids meal at the LEGO café because I know we could have recycled that kid’s meal for so many cute things. Speaking of cute, you can also have a birthday party there! I peeked through the window at the party room set up and it was adorable!!! Not to mention, big! You can have up to 43 guests!
This was such a wonderful place for a visit. You can’t exit without going through the gift shop, but we planned ahead. The boys saved some money and were prepared to spend 20.00 each. It went farther than what I was used to seeing at these types of shops. They had a really incredible store too, packed with unique LEGO sets. We had never let them pick out sets before, I’m partial to just getting the bricks and letting them use their imaginations to build whatever. However, they saw way too many creations inside to not want to make their own. They picked their goodies, and we headed home. We told Liam he couldn’t open his until we got home, and he proceeded to nap with it and snuggle it the whole ride home. I’ve heard you can download the official LEGO Digital Designer latest version on your computer and build to your heart’s content online, which could be a great option for when the boys have exhausted their physical collection that we have at home.
I don’t have any real hacks to share. The place is great, the prices are great, we were very happy. I did want to tell you that on Tuesdays they have a “toddler Tuesday” it is a special morning and price for kids five and under. It is a great deal if you’ve got a little in that age range and can get there on a Tuesday morning.