China has the Great Wall. Egypt has the Pyramids. And now Westchester has its own Wonder of the World: the new LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Yonkers’ Ridge Hill.
The $12 million, 32, 300-square foot indoor attraction officially opens its doors on March 27, however Lego super fans can click here to purchase advanced, discounted tickets. We got a sneak peek and tour of the facility on Thursday, and all of the hype and anticipation definitely lives up to its billing.
For starters, upon entering the attraction all guests go through the LEGO Factory Tour area, which reveals the secrets of how LEGO bricks are made. From there, visitors can explore and express their creativity with a variety of LEGO-themed experiences. The good news is that there are age appropriate activities for toddlers (age 3) to big kids (age 12).
LDC Fact #1: More than 3 million LEGO bricks are used in the exhibits, sculptures and activity areas.
Designed specifically for little ones, DUPLO Village features a play area with large, soft LEGO DUPLO bricks suited for smaller children. The LEGO sculptures of animals and objects placed throughout will be a feast for their eyes as well. Germophobes don’t sweat it, everyone who steps in to the area must take their shoes off.
Older kids will love interactive rides like Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice as well as Master Model Academy, which offers workshop classes teaching building tricks and tips, led by the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester Master Model Builders. There are also LEGO pit areas for free play and build and test exhibits, where children can build LEGO objects and test their performance, like a race car.
LDC Fact #2: LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is the sole LEGOLAND location in the Northeast.
From one mom to another, I have to admit there are even areas and experiences where the adults will ooh and aah (although only adults visiting with a child will be admitted in to the center; adult nights will soon be offered on the first Thursday evening of every month).
The runaway favorite for kids and grown-ups alike is MINILAND, LEGOLAND’s signature re-creation of miniaturized landmark locations throughout Westchester County and New York City, made entirely out of LEGO bricks. There’s Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and Westchester treasures such as Tarrytown’s Lyndhurst and Sunnyside mansions, and of course the Ridge Hill shopping center. I overheard someone say that it took 20 expert LEGO model builders six months to complete the room, which is no surprise with such attention to detail as ambient noise of taxi cabs honking and sewer rats lurking in the mini subways.
LDC Fact #3: More than 1 million LEGO bricks were used to construct replicas of Westchester County and NYC landmarks.
I also hung around for a quick 12 minute film in the 98 seat LEGO Studios 4D Cinema, where flurries of wind, rain, lightning, snow and other surprise features burst into the auditorium. Warning, you do get a little sprinkle of water so you may want to pass if you just blew-out your hair that morning or if your little one is averse to the rain.
Single-visit tickets can be purchased on site. Prices are $22 (adults) and $18 (children, 3-12). Children 2 and under are FREE. Pricing does not include sales tax. For those who think they will be visiting often, you may want to consider an unlimited-visit annual pass for $60 per person or $230 for a family of four. Annual pass holders also receive special benefits, including discounts on birthday parties, food and beverages at The LEGO Cafe, and merchandise at The LEGO Store.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center, 32 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers; 866-243-0770. Monday – Saturday: 10am – 9pm, Sunday – 11am-7pm