A few weeks ago after a visit to the LEGO store in the mall, we were given a coupon for a free ticket to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Since then, Gavin repeatedly asked when we’d be going to LEGOLAND. When we were invited to a media event in Boston, I decided to keep it a surprise, telling him just before we left, and then he didn’t believe me that we were actually going!
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston is actually in Somerville at Assembly Row. The location is amazing given that Assembly Row is a beautiful outdoor community with lots of outlet shopping, restaurants, and free garage parking.
Before you go to LEGOLand, expect to spend several hours at the attraction. Pay extra attention in the summer to pack socks for everyone as there is an indoor play structure where shoes must be removed. In terms of food, there are snacks and sandwiches available for purchase inside, but in my opinion, work up your appetite and dine at one of the amazing restaurants within walking distance in Assembly Row.
When you enter the LEGOLAND Discovery Center, the first floor has a few small brick building areas on the wall, a place where tickets are purchased and a traditional LEGO retail store the size of what you’d find in most shopping malls.
The exhibits and activities at LEGOLAND Discovery Center are on different floors. On the day of our event, Ian Coffey, the LEGO Master Model Builder took us on a tour of the facility. Our first stop was to “LEGO Factory Tour” where kids watch an interactive movie about the creation of LEGO’s, and even get a chance to design their own mini-figures on-screen.
Our next stop was to the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride. Up to 6 people climb into a motorized vehicle, 3 in front, 3 in back. They pick up a blaster in front of them and aim at all sorts of targets on the walls and interactive screens, with the goal to “save the princess from the trolls and skeletons.” It was dark at the entrance and Gavin, at just 5 years old, was initially pretty scared. The attendants assured him that it wasn’t scary during the ride. So we climbed aboard and once the experience started — he loved it. Make sure you smile, your picture will be taken and can be purchased at the end of the experience.
On the same floor, after exiting the ride is MINILAND. MINILAND by far was my favorite place to take pictures and explore. If you love Boston, being in MINILAND is reminiscent of the first day you ever explored the real city for the first time, while you peek around and marvel at the imagination, creativity and attention to detail that was used by the LEGO Master Model Builders to recreate our charming, unique, yet historical city. One thing I learned a few weeks ago while snorkeling in the Caribbean, make a valiant effort to be in the moment. Stop rushing from one attraction to the next. Breathe and watch, that’s when the magic happens and there’s all sorts of interesting things to find and appreciate as a child and an adult in MINILAND.
In MINILAND dozens of large interactive LEGO structures of Boston can be viewed that include Logan Airport, the Prudential, Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, Boston Harbor Hotel, the Constitution, City Hall, Government Center, TD Garden, and the Zakim Bridge. There are games and interactive activities throughout MINILAND. Make sure to be in MINILAND for awhile, or leave and come back, because the city of Boston will transform from day into night, complete with a fireworks shows.
Just outside MINILAND is a large area that includes LEGO Friends Olivia’s play house with karaoke, a smaller DUPLO farm motor play area for younger kids that also includes a slide, a food court, birthday party room, Master Builder room for events, 4D LEGO movie theater, a large LEGO City: Play Zone and the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride.
Initially Gavin was also cautious with Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, a carousel where riders pedal, allowing their carts to fly up in the air. One ride was enough for Gavin, but my husband and I thought it was fun!
Gavin’s absolute two favorite activities at LEGOLAND Discovery Center were to design and race his own race car, as well as play with other children in the LEGO City Play Zone area which is a large, shoeless environment that housed lots of climbing structures.
We were fortunate to take part in a special building session with Ian, the resident Master Model Builder at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston. If Ian’s there, find him, meet him and listen to his story of how he left New York politics to win his way into the job of a lifetime. Ian is enthusiastic, genuine, and committed to creating an atmosphere that is fun, imaginative and rewarding for both kids and adults. Take a peek through the window inside his office and appreciate some of his custom builds as well.
Given that we are in the swing of cold and flu season, there was hand sanitizer available in several locations. The company also provided this information regarding their safety and sanitization precautions:
“Merlin Entertainments is the second largest attraction company in the world. With hundreds of attractions spanning across the globe, Merlin Entertainments take health and safety precautions very seriously. It’s the number one priority for all visitors and employees at any attraction. Because Merlin Entertainments has extremely rigorous health and safety standards, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston is required to go through serious protocols including annual health and safety audits and cleaning procedures. LEGO bricks in the attraction are cleaned and washed regularly (there’s a washroom specifically designed to wash all the LEGO bricks) and the 3D glasses used at the 4D theater also go through the same washing process and are cleaned after every use.”
At LEGOLAND Discovery Center, kids 2 and under are free. Kids and adults ages 3 and up are $18 if tickets are purchased ahead of time online. Annual memberships and passes are also available. It is suggested that you visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston website to purchase tickets ahead of time and see what kinds of events they have scheduled.
Disclosure: My family and I were provided with complimentary tickets to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, any opinions are my own.