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We didn’t sleep much last night in my house. The reason: yesterday, we were guests at the grand opening of LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Westchester, NY, the Tri-State area's newest destination for children and families. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is a 32,300 square foot indoor attraction using over 3 million plus Lego bricks. It features two amusement rides, play areas, a 4D cinema, master classes led by “Master Model Builders," a birthday party room and Miniland, a recreation of landmarks and locations in Westchester and New York City made entirely of Lego bricks.
I am getting ahead of myself: first off was the Opening Ceremonies. To start, we were greeted by James Burleigh, Divisional Director of Midway Developments for Merlin Entertainment. Additional Merlin accomplishments include LEGOLAND, Florida and LEGOLAND, California. He pointed out how educational LEGO’s are; teaching both engineering and architecture. Next up, was Mayor of Yonkers, Michael Spano; who declared today an “official lego holiday for Yonkers." He made mention of the fact that there is no other attraction like this in the Northeast. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino
reminded us how “Legos make family connections." We , as parents played with Legos and how now these colorful bricks connect us to our children. I myself can relate - many a night has consisted of building and planning in my house. Bruce Ratner, who leads FCRC (developer of the Ridge Hill Complex) closed the ceremony by pointing out what a fantastic opportunity this is for both Westchester County and the City of New York.
A traditional ribbon cutting just wouldn’t have done justice to LEGOLAND Discovery Center. That being said, LEGO mascot “Bertie” busted through a 7’ x 10’ wall of lego bricks to officially open the center to the public. From there we entered the colorful and magical LEGOLAND.
First up was the Factory Tour where you learn how raw plastic is turned into the famous LEGO bricks. You can push buttons and hear all about the process from their animated staff in lab coats. Miniland, is a most original exhibit where we were treated to Westchester and NYC landmarks reconstructed entirely from LEGO bricks. It was truly amazing. From there we hit up Kingdom Quest, an interactive battle ride where the goal is to rescue the princess from Skeleton Tower by shooting at laser targets.
The LEGO Build and Test Zone allows for vehicle creativity: first designing your racer and then testing it on the LEGO speed test track. (A huge hit for my little guy). At the 4D Cinema we were treated to an eight-minute action packed adventure including gusts of wind, lightning, snow and rain. My seven-year-old and myself truly felt like we were “along for the ride." At the LEGO Friends exhibit, children are allowed to create their own LEGO cupcakes and microphones and perform on a karaoke stage. Duplo Village, made for smaller children (ages 2-5) provides a “Lego pit," farm animal creativity as well as a Silo Slide. Throughout the center are LEGO City Construction Sites and Earthquake Tables, which allow for some lego construction and the opportunity to test out the strength of your lego tower. The Merlin’s Apprentice Ride had us pedaling higher and higher to help Merlin manufacture his magic. We ended our fantastic trip in the LEGO Café, where we re-fueled on fresh and healthy selections.
For the kids, LEGOLAND offers a Lego Brick Meal (your choice of a hot dog or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit cup and a drink all served in a lego brick to take home). Other choices include pizza, fresh salads, assorted cold and hot drinks and yummy desserts. The LEGOLAND staff was most welcoming and accommodating. We felt like family for our entire visit.
LEGOLAND Discovery Westchester is located at Westchester’s Ridge Hill (39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710). Their phone number is 866-243-0770. Tickets are $18.00 (ages 3-12) and $22.00 (adults 13 and up). Children under 2 years of age are free. Annual passes are available for $60.00 per person and $230.00 for a family of four and provide unlimited entry for 12 months, a 10 percent discount in the LEGO shop and birthday parties as well as 20 percent on food and beverages in the LEGO Café. Hours are Monday-Saturday 10 am to 9:30 pm. Sunday 11 am – 7 pm. For additional information please visit LegoDiscoveryCenter.com. In the words, of my 7 year old: “LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester was awesome! Where else do you see a HUGE LEGO minifigure crash through a wall of Legoss and spend the whole day with millions of LEGO’s??” I dare say we will be back.