The DC Monuments at night or day, which is better? I’ll give you the photos, and pros & cons for each DC monument, memorial & site.
Visit Legoland Discovery Center Chicago!
The Legoland Discovery Center Chicago is a 30,000 sq. ft, 2 story space packed with Lego activities and rides. They fit way more into this mall space than you would guess! A heart-shape bespectacled giraffe will greet you ❤️
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Legoland Discovery Center
Legoland Discovery Center Chicago was the very 1st of its kind in the US. We went just 2 years after opening when even Lego stores were an uncommon thing. It’s in the greater Chicago-land area, not downtown. The Legoland Discovery Center Chicago is just a 1/2 hour Northwest of the city, 17 minutes from O’Hare airport, depending on traffic. It’s seated in the suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois. An area with much to offer, all its own. The Legoland Discovery Center is completely indoors, unlike the larger Legoland theme parks. It’s part of a shopping center, but is laid out well and bigger than you expect. It contains 12 main attractions- 2 rides, workshops, multiple build & play zones, Lego exhibits, and a 4D cinema. If you’ve never been to a Legoland theme park, you’re in for a treat! If you have been, this is a nice 1/2 day visit that kids will love without being overwhelmed. It’s a good bite-sized chunk that won’t have you running around a hot theme park that you can’t squeeze into a day. This is fun and fast enough to keep kids busy, plenty of fun stations & cool exhibits to thrill them, and timed to finish before they get cranky and too worn out. And it won’t ‘break the bank’. It was fun for our whole family!
Nighttime on a little corner of Chicago Miniland. The Water Tower is center and John Hancock Center is in the back. St Ita Catholic Church with its beautiful stained glass windows is partially seen on right. Historic Chicago Fire Department Engine 98 house on left.
Legoland Discovery Center Chicago Highlights:
- Miniland (Chicago)– Over 1 1/2 million Lego bricks were used to build the mini Lego city of Chicago with many of its recognizable landmarks. Navy Pier, Willis Tower, the Wrigley Building, Buckingham Fountain, ‘the bean’, and much more are all represented in Lego form. The city cycles from day to beautiful, lit up night scenes, regularly. Lego mini figs are playing and working throughout the city. You’ll see them playing baseball, riding bikes, at the park or riding a tourist boat. You may even spot some out of place, mischievous characters hiding where they don’t belong. Each Lego Discovery Center site has a Miniland of their own city and special landmarks!
- Jungle Expedition– This is a lot of fun! Walk through a lifesize, Lego rainforest and see (& hear) Lego monkeys, tigers, hippos, frogs on lily pads, snakes, giant spiders, lizards, crocodiles and more all around you. Even Indiana Jones is here with some friends and frights from Raiders of the Lost Ark!
- 4D Cinema– There are 4 movie choices. We were here before the full length Lego movies came out and these are cute, funny and in line with those. The great thing is they are only about 15 minutes, so it’s easy to keep antsy toddlers entertained. Different movies are shown every 15 minutes. Wind, rain and snow effects similar to major theme parks bring the action to life. It’s a lot of fun, but may be a little much for babies or kids with sensory issues.
- Kingdom Quest ride– They have this at Legoland theme parks. Riders must be 30″ tall and accompanied by an adult. It’s an easy, slow ride through an exciting, medieval Lego world with life-size people & creatures. Cute, fun and not too scary. Try to rescue the captured princess by laser zapping Lego trolls, skeletons and points caches. Fun for kids 4+.
- Merlin’s Apprentice Ride– Pedal your enchanted ‘cart’ through the ‘sky’! The harder you pedal, the higher you go! Fairly slow, but a continuous orbit. The slow speed makes it fine for most, but super ride-sensitive adults could potentially get woozy. Must be 36″ to ride with an adult and 48″ to ride alone.
- Master Builder Academy– Hands on workshops where you get to create a special Lego project of the month. You’ll see cool master builds, and you may get insider tips and tricks of Master Model Builder experts!
- Master Model Builder Workshop– Get a sneak peek inside the Master Model Builder’s workshop where they create Lego masterpieces for the Legoland Discovery Center! Lego bricks and pieces in their workshop are carefully organized by color, shape and size. A Lego lover’s dream!
- Duplo Village is animal themed and great for ages 2-5. Little ones can build and play with big, soft Lego bricks.
- LEGO Racers: Build & Test Race Track– Build your dream Lego race car and put it to the test. Kids and parents can compete for the quickest time. Kind of like the Scouts Pinewood Derby… in Lego!
Indoor Lego Playground- A nice playland area with climbing, blocks- of course, and slides. Good at wearing out that energy!
Lego Friends Heartlake City– Lego girl power here! Help Heartlake City characters Olivia, Emma, Stephanie, Mia and Andrea build their city. An interactive play area and photo ops with the Heartlake City girls.
- Pirate Adventure Island– A playground with crystal cave, hidden sea creatures, and treasure island building areas to make a Lego sandcastle or treasure map. Blow air cannons at enemy ships and other pirates. Build and sail pirate ships on the water table. Climb the rigging, capture the flag & walk the plank!
- Meet & take photos with favorite LEGO characters! Appearances typically start at 11:30a on weekends, every hour on the half hour. Even if you go on a weekday and miss the Lego characters, there are lots of great, life-size Lego statues of favorites placed all around the center. We got pix with Lego Darth Vader and R2D2, Lego Santa, Lego Batman, Lego Hagrid from Harry Potter, and many, many more! Even the ‘artwork’ on the walls are Lego versions of famous masterpieces! There are plenty of great photo ops, here.
- The Great Lego Race VR Experience (available for ages 6+ with upgraded ticket)- A virtual reality experience racing Lego race cars in a Lego world. Race against mini-figs like a pirate, wizard, surfer, and a pharaoh. Feel like you’re in the video game!
A little corner in the Lego rainforest in the Jungle Expedition. If you look closely, you can see one of the Lego red eyed tree frog sitting in front of the lower monkey and 2 green dragonflies flying in the background, to the right.
What the Wheats think of the Legoland Discovery Center Chicago:
There are 13 Legoland Discovery Centers (& quickly growing!) conveniently located throughout the US alone. There’s also 1 in Canada, and numerous locations in Europe, Asia & Australia. Compared to the full Legoland theme park,s this is a good, fast mini-dose that may be closer to home for many, far cheaper, and much smaller, so as not to overwhelm parents and little ones. We visited the Discovery Center before visiting the Legoland in Florida and we were impressed and happy with both! There are only 2 full Legolands in the US and 6 overseas, so the Legoland Discovery Centers are much more convenient to most people. It’s a good time, Heaven for all those kids who love Legos! It was well worth the trip and far better than an arcade or entertainment restaurant. The rides and several exhibits are borrowed from the full theme parks. For a day at the shopping mall, it’s a good bang for your buck and a memorable trip that will wow your kids! I would suggest doing these before, rather than after, going to the full Legoland theme park, however. Going from the huge, full-scale version that you can’t fit into a day to a 1/2 day version may disappoint in comparison. If you have Lego lovers in your house, it’s a day full of family fun! A thumbs up from the Wheats. A great day and good location!
- For supper, we also checked out the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, also in Schaumburg!
Legoland Discovery Center Kingdom Quest ride at the gates of a Lego medieval castle. Super cute and fun! We got to see a big, red Lego dragon, inside, guarding the king’s crowns and jewels!
Good to Know:
- The Legoland Discovery Center Chicago is part of a shopping mall. Free parking is available in the mall parking lot, directly outside.
- Dining– There is a LEGO-themed ‘Coffee Shop’ on site with typical fast, tourist cafe-type, kid-friendly fare. No outside food or drink allowed. Have a simple menu with quick sandwiches & grilled cheese, snacks (chips, pretzels, nachos, cookies), salads, ‘create-your-own’ flatbread pizzas, Starbucks coffees & drinks, and Dippin’ Dots ice-cream treats. Alert them to food allergies, prior to ordering.
- Transportation– The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) Blue Line buses go between Schaumburg and Chicago. Take the Blue Line to Rosemont Station. Transfer to the Rte 606 Pace bus and exit at Northwest Transportation Center. LEGOLAND Discovery Center is directly across the street. The train does not have a direct route, so the bus would be far easier.
- Hours– The Legoland Discovery Center is normally open daily, generally 10a- Last entry is 5p. Check for adjusted times on holidays and during Coronavirus shutdown!
- Tickets– Guests must be accompanied by a child, under 18, except on ‘Adult only’ nights. Online ‘Saver’ tickets are currently $17.95. The ‘Ultimate Day Experience’ ticket includes an additional Robot Activity Pack (special lanyard and badge, prizes, collect stamps as you solve puzzles) and ticket for The Great Lego Race VR Experience. Annual passes and fun, themed photo packages are available, too. They have occupation limits indoors, so it’s possible that on school breaks and holidays, if you don’t have tickets, already, you could have to wait for entrance.
- Discounted admission is 10% off for online tickets. Can also be included with the Chicago Explorer Pass, which we bought and saved money with. Ages 2 and up need a ticket. $2 off for active military families (with id). $2 off for college students with id.
- Time– Plan on 3-4 hours.
- Ages– 3-10 will enjoy this most!
- A typical Lego Store is available for shopping, though you don’t need a ticket for the store.
- Accessibility– Legoland is wheelchair & stroller accessible and accommodating with rides/ experiences, whenever possible. Family restrooms and baby changing stations are available.
- Timing: This place can get really crowded on weekends and school breaks. We went in mid-July and the crowds weren’t bad. We went early, which often means smaller crowds. However, at any tourist site, you could run into a school trip or summer camp crowd. These generally clear in mid afternoon. If you hit the crowds, take a breath, take your time, and live through the excitement of your kids. They’ll have fun, regardless! Consider going on a weekday like we did. However the characters are only there on weekends. Lots of life-size Lego statue favorites are around if you miss meeting the characters!
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago
601 N. Martingale Road, Suite 130
- In the Streets of Woodfield shopping center, next to Woodfield Mall
We had a great day in Lego City! Fun way to spend a 1/2 day! Your Lego lovers will love it (though our twins were a little unsure of this photographer)!
I mentioned the Lego movies (which we love!)
Our boys loved the Lego Video Games, too (just to name a few of the many):
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