Calling all thinkers and tinkerers! Looking for a fun and interactive place that promotes learning for kids, both young and old (I’m looking at you, parents and grandparents)? Then look no further than Legoland Discovery Center Chicago. It is the perfect way to spend the day tinkering, creating, and discovering…and you won’t end up stepping on any Legos! Located right outside Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Legoland Chicago is a great place to escape dreary Chicago weather, avoid screens, and focus on building endless structures (and brains, too!).
Toys as Art
From the outside, Legoland doesn’t seem like much other than a giant yellow giraffe constructed out of Legos. Which is cool, especially since it survives harsh Chicago winters and summers. But alas, it is a treasure trove of family fun. Spanning two levels, there is a wide array of amusement for kids of all ages, as well as adults. After the entrance is the unofficial Lego museum. At first, looking at all of the different structures, from skyscrapers to animals to even super heroes, one thinks “Oh, that’s cute.” But if you really think about how much creativity and effort it takes to create these enormous pieces of art, it is truly breathtaking. As someone who is enamored with Chicago, I absolutely loved the Miniland Chicago on display and “oohed” and “aahed” over the replica Buckingham Fountain, Millenium Park, Navy Pier, and famous skyscrapers.
The Heart of Legoland
The heart of Legoland Chicago is on the second level. There is so much to see and do…you could literally spend hours there. There are tons of building stations set up all over the room, and Legoland Chicago representatives change “challenges” each half hour, prompting kids (and parents, too!) to create rocket ships, structures based off The Lego movie, etc. Winners received some fun prizes, such as being able to keep the Legos they were building with during the informal competition.
My boys loved the Lego Racers Build and Test construction, but not as much as they loved racing them down huge ramps. Since my boys are novice Lego builders, they came apart at the bottom of the ramp incredibly often and led to some tears, so thankfully Daddy tinkered along side them to create some stronger planes and airplanes.
Tinkerers can also try their hand at creating boats that not only float but can brave the waves at the Legoland water table. Be sure to grab a smock before you join in on the water filled fun!
Our little guy absolutely loved the Lego City Construction Site play space, climbing up stairs, racing down slides, crawling through tunnels…he definitely worked up a sweat and an appetite. Luckily there is a small café right next to the play space so that he could have a few snacks and then head back to playing.
Since I like to build abstract towers with Legos (I can’t build a car or anything meaningful to save my life), I loved interacting with my boys using simple and basic Duplos in the Duplo Village. We built so many neat pyramids and towers with both the small Duplos and giant rubber Legos—it was such a great way to fine tune our small motor skills and creativity.
Since my boys are on the younger side, we stuck to the basic Legoland activities. But if you have older children, they will get a thrill out of the other attractions. There are rides, The Kingdom Quest Laser Ride and Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, that are included in general admission and you can ride them as many times as you (or rather, your kiddos) want to.
There is also a 4D Cinema that runs two different movies every 15 minutes. They are family friendly and run constantly, so just drop in to the theatre, as the movies are included in general admission as well.
The emphasis on learning and education is continued through the Lego Master Builder Academy, a free 25 minute program for more advanced builders. If your little tike wants to attend, feel free to go and build along with them.
You can also learn about how Legos are made as part of the Lego Factory Tour. Unfortunately this was under construction when we visited, but I’m sure it will have some great renovations for our next visit.
- Order tickets online. They are much cheaper, and you can also book your visit time. Since it can get crowded, especially on weekends, they stagger attendance. If you sign up for an arrival time before hand, you eliminate any waiting—just walk right in! Use code VPAPR19 for 20% off admission in 2019.
- Pack light. There aren’t areas such as a locker room or coat check, so we dress our boys (and ourselves) in layers so we don’t need to carry puffy coats and whatnot.
- Be prepared to play. With hundreds of thousands of Legos put out for tinkering, it is impossible to not want to get your hands dirty—and kids always love second opinions on their creations. So put your phone away and PLAY.
- Eat heavy snacks before attending Legoland if you are only staying for a few hours. The café has somewhat limited food options, but there are great ones located in The Streets of Woodfield (Corner Bakery, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Chipotle, Meatheads, etc.).
- Browse discount sites for cheap admission tickets. Living Social tends to have great deals seasonally.
Looking for other great indoor places to play? Check these out.
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