Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Adventures in Legoland: Legoland Discovery Center Philadelphia

We recently look a little trip down to Plymouth Meeting to check out the Legoland Discovery Center at the Plymouth Meeting Mall!

It has been ages since I visited Plymouth Meeting. My family used to go to the Ikea that used to be located on the same property on a regular basis when I was a kid and occasionally we would stop over at the mall before taking the Northeast Extension home.

All I remembered about the place is that it felt HUGE and it had a carousel inside.  All those things are still true, its still pretty big, theres still a carousel inside AND now it also has a major family attraction attached, the Legoland Discovery Center.

The Legoland Discovery Center is literally located inside the mall, which seemed odd to me initially - I had a hard time picturing how something so large could be fully enclosed in another building but it totally works and makes the attraction especially attractive for a cold, super hot, or otherwise ugly day, because not only is the attraction inside but its also attached to a giant mall that has restaurants, indoor play areas, a carousel and shopping that you can all access without going outside once you've entered the building.



You must access the  Legoland Discovery Center from inside the mall, and because of the mall's size parking in a lot that is close by helps make getting there a bit quicker.  Its is super easy to get there from the Lehigh Valley. Take the NE extension of the Turnpike (476) South to Plymouth Road in Plymouth Meeting. Take Exit 333 from I-276 W and make a right into the mall parking lot.

When you pull in stay to the south (right) side of the mall and follow the road past Whole Foods and aim to part in the area that is circled. This will put you at the closest entrance to the center. The map above suggests parking in a different lot (which you can do but it involves walking into a building and then out again and into a different door - its confusing, but we did it and survived).  For directions from other locations besides the Lehigh Valley click here. Once you enter the mall just follow the signs.

The entrance is easy to find and sorts visitors into two lines, those who pre-purchase and those who want to buy their tickets on the spot.

 I highly suggest buying your tickets in advance (they are cheaper! ) plus it speeds up your arrival, because people who are already ticketed get to go through a different line.  This isn't a cheap family outing especially if you pay full price so plan to spend the day here. My best advice would be to arrive for their opening and enjoy the attraction until lunch, then grab some lunch in the mall or utilize the Legoland Discovery Center Cafe.  Once the kids have had a break just back in to do some of their favorite things again. 

Note: if you exit with the intention of coming back that day, you must confirm re-entry will be available with an employee, restrictions due to capacity limits may apply. 

You can also look into some even deeper discounts on sites such as Groupon.

Groupon has had tickets for 1/2 off admission at Legoland Philadelphia in the past, the most recent offer is now sold out. We will update if additional offers are found!  

Annual passes are also available for families who'd like to visit many times!

When you enter Legoland Discovery Center They have a short themed ride that the whole family can hop on. Everyone gets to hold a magical wand that you can use to point at targets while on the ride to earn points. This was cute and a nice surprise! 

The Legoland Discovery Center is divided into a few different areas.  For the young ones there is a toddler area that features a small slide (pictured below), Large scale legos (pictured below) that are appropriate for preschoolers and toddlers to build with. This area also has a cool bubble feature (Pictured below) that my kids really loved. 

The space also features a number of different building stations that provide models for building, platforms and more. The one featured below was demonstrating how to build a sturdy structure.  The lego building mats were all mounted on earthquake simulators that shook your building are varying rates to put it to the test. 

They have a 4-D movie theater that shows a short lego themed film (similar in style to the LEGO movies) on a regular schedule. See the schedule when you arrive to fit this in to your visit. This may be a little bit too intense for little ones. 5+ are ideal and it might work well for some brave 3 or 4 year olds too.  Its not exactly scary per se but it was loud and there are "4-D" elements that appear like sprays of water, bubbles and puffs of air which startled my littlest one.

One of the neatest parts of the attraction, that my kids were really focused on was the indoor lego city. This this is a massive mini city filled with buildings that mimic famous scenes in Philadelphia
. You can find Gino's Steaks, the Reading Terminal Market, Lincoln Financial Field,  trains, taxis and a lot more. Children can interact with this exhibit by touching buttons that activate various features. 

Another hugely popular attraction was their indoor playground/climbing structure. This is basically a huge pirate ship playground that kids can play inside. It features climbing obstacles, tunnels and more. Children must be over 36 inches to enter.

You'll find tons of themed building stations, a create your own LEGO car and track equipped with a big slide that kids can ride down and race their cars to the bottom! 

There are a few life sized lego people which my kids thought were really funny. Most specifically this one because my name is Stephanie! 

There is a small cafe inside that has fast bites and a space for eating as well. We didn't eat here so I can't attest to the food or its quality but generally it appeared to be mostly kid friendly foods (soft pretzels, pizza etc.). I believe there were also some premade sandwiches in the cooler, but overall I'd probably opt to eat elsewhere if I had a choice, but its certainly a convenient option to get a quick bite in. 

We really did have a great time visiting Legoland Discovery Center Philadelphia! Our visit lasted about 2.5 hours from start to finish and we only ended up leaving out of a need to get home for naps that afternoon.  For my kids the 2.5 hours wasn't long enough, they really did want to stay longer  and it was a struggle to get them to leave. 

The drive from the Lehigh Valley really was super easy and I would certainly go back again, my kids refer to it often and they enjoyed themselves. I would like to make plans to stay longer next time, especially since the admission prices are a bit steep.  If you have a lego obsessed kid you can do memberships to the facility which give unlimited admission for the year.  

I've heard feedback from people that they thought it would be larger or have more to offer, I didn't feel this way.  I thought the attraction had about what I would expect to see.  There was a lot to do even if your child isn't really into Legos (mine aren't).

If you visit please let us know by leaving a comment! 

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