There are Legos stuffed in the crevices of our couch. I find them under the dining table every time I clean. I’m afraid to walk though the house at night in the dark barefoot, lest I step on a stray Lego. That’s possibly the most painful experience in the world next to childbirth. Both my boys are crazy for Lego and have been since they each snapped together their first Duplo bricks years ago. So, of course, we were excited when we heard Legoland Discovery Center was coming to Michigan.
Legoland Discovery Center Michigan opened March 25th in Auburn Hills inside Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. We couldn’t wait to go, and spring break was the perfect opportunity. When we were there three weeks ago, it had been open about a week and a half. I was apprehensive, because the first online reviews were a bit negative. I decided to keep an open mind, and was pleasantly surprised. The boys really enjoyed it. I think a lot of the negative reviews were because people didn’t know what to expect.
Here’s what you’ll find there:
- When you first arrive at Legoland you watch a short video about how Legos are made at the factory.
- Next you pass through MiniLand. At this location they’ve recreated Metro Detroit and many of the city’s famous landmarks with Lego bricks. They boys liked examining the models and seeing things like Comerica Park, complete with teams on the field.
- There are two rides. Kingdom Quest Laser Ride is an interactive ride where you use a “laser gun” to shoot bad guys. It makes you feel like you’re inside a video game, so it’s pretty fun. The other ride is Merlin’s Apprentice Ride. The cars go around in a circle and the faster you pedal, the higher your individual car goes. Neither ride is fast or scary, so they’re appropriate for all ages, but maybe a little boring if you’re used to fast roller coasters.
- There is a big “pool” of Legos where kids can build whatever they want.
- There’s also a Lego Racers Build and Test Track where you build your own Lego car and race it against other guests’ cars.
- There’s a huge play area with tunnels, slides and things to climb. For children five and under there’s a separate Duplo Farm play area.
- There are earthquake tables where you build something then see if it can stand up to the shaking.
- They offer a class every half hour all day long where you get to build something out of Legos under the tutelage of a real life Master Builder. My oldest son has a new career goal now. You don’t get to keep what you build. I think they need to change that.
- There is a short 4D movie which was a neat experience. The 4th dimension is water and wind, and the 3D animation is very good.
- There’s a Lego Friends section very much geared toward girls that my boys didn’t even give a second look, but it looked like fun.
Legoland Discovery Center is not the same thing as the Legoland Theme Parks. Don’t go there expecting big amusement rides and a waterpark like they have in Florida or California. It’s basically a Lego themed indoor play place.
So here’s how to get the most out of your visit:
1. Minifigure Trading – The coolest feature my kids had the most fun with was that you can bring your own Minifigures from home, then trade them for new ones with the employees. If you’re familiar with Disney and the pins people trade there, it’s sort of like that.
2. Legoland/Sealife Combo Ticket – Tickets for Legoland Discovery Center Michigan start at $23.50 a person. Sealife Aquarium is also inside Great Lakes Crossing. You can get a combo ticket online which saves you at least $5 off the price of separate admission to both. Plan to spend most of the day there if you choose to go to both attractions. There are no extra fees once you’re inside either attraction. Everything is included in the admission price, so that’s a plus.
3. Plan the right arrival time around meals – When you buy your tickets you have to select your arrival time at Lego, and they won’t let you in early. Once you’re there, you can stay as long as you like, but you can’t leave then come back. So if you’re there during lunchtime, you have to eat at their cafe. This was one of the few negatives, because the food options were expensive and very limited. You also can’t bring in outside food. Either go after lunch or grab a snack first, so you can wait to eat after you’re done.
4. Adults must be accompanied by a child – Adults can not go to Lego Discovery Center during regular hours unless they have at least one child in their party. They don’t want adults crowding kids out of the attractions. This upsets some folks, but I don’t see the problem. It’s very much geared toward kids. There isn’t a lot there for adults to do. Even adults who love Lego. They do have special after hours events for adults only, so there’s still a way to get your Lego fix, if you really need it.
5. It’s for kids ages 3 -10 – Lego Discovery Center is advertised as being geared for kids between ages 3 and 10, and they are right about this. Kids under three won’t have much to do besides the Duplo play area. Kids over 10 will probably be bored after an hour or so. The rides are not thrill rides, and you have to be under 56 inches tall to use the bigger player area. The Master Builder Class is cool, but it’s not a very complicated build. My six-year-old would have stayed all day, because he loved the play area. My 11 1/2 year-old was bored after about 90 minutes, which is how long it took him to do everything once.
6. Lego Store – There is a Lego store, and you have to walk through it to leave. Be prepared that kids will want to shop. There’s a build-your-own Minifigure center which is probably one of the cheapest things you can get there. My boys were happy with a few of those. What can I say? I’m cheap when it comes to souvenirs.
7. It’s in a mall – Great Lakes Crossing Outlets is Michigan’s largest outlet mall. It’s HUGE. I don’t think you could see it all in one day if you wanted to visit each store. If you like to shop, it’s the right place for you. There are also several dining options including a Rainforest Cafe. We wanted to eat there, but the day we were there it was a two hour wait! So we ended up at another restaurant where there was no wait at all. There is also a food court.
So that’s my rundown of Lego Discovery Center Michigan. Overall it was a fun experience, and being able to also visit Sea Life Aquarium made it worth the two-hour drive from the other side of the state. I’m glad we went now before both my boys would were too old to really enjoy it. The big mall would have also been a plus, but we didn’t shop. There was no way my boys were going to happily follow me around a mall for hours. I’ll just have to go back on my own for that!