When the Lego store opened at Rockefeller Center in 2010, city kids fell in love with the giant Pick-a-Brick wall and the New York City scenes made out of Legos (one of our favorites was an egg cream with a pastrami sandwich). Now the iconic (and much-loved) building block company has taken things a step further and opened up the very first Legoland Discovery Center in the Northeast (other locations include Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas; Florida and California have larger Lego theme parks). Located in Westchester, the new 32,300-square-foot complex is, according to general manager Chris Mines, "like falling into the biggest box of Legos ever." There are more than 3 million Lego blocks used throughout the attraction—1 million of them are in the center's Miniland, which features Lego models of some of our favorite family attractions. In addition to the interactive exhibits and displays, the center also sports a café, birthday party room and a gift shop, complete with every Lego product your kid has ever had their eyes on.
RECOMMENDED: Lego versions of NYC landmarks at Legoland in Westchester
Once inside the space, here's what you won't want to miss. (You can also scroll through our slide show above to get a feel for what the space looks like.)
Learn how Legos are made
In the factory tour section, kids learn that Legos start out as tiny beads of plastic. They're then heated, melted and molded into the Lego shapes we're all familiar with. Little ones can even help operate some of the machines that are used to make the plastic blocks.
Gawk at city landmarks at Miniland
Models of major icons in New York City (and Westchester) made completely out of Legos are displayed in Miniland. Kids (and parents!) will be in awe as they spot Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Keep an eye out for such specifics as Bethesda Fountain, the zoo, Belvedere Castle and the Bandshell at the Central Park model (press a button and music plays at the Bandshell). Other interactive elements include the Subway Series Stadium, where kid can play a pinball game. The structures, which were created by 20 Lego masters, took more than six months to build.
Watch a 4-D movie
Pick up a pair of 3-D glasses and settle into the 98-seat theater for a showing of Clutch Powers 4-D. The Lego-themed film has amazing 3-D graphics and 4-D effects—expect to be splashed by water when the characters use a fire hose.
Take a master builder class
The classroom-like space plays host to several programs and workshops throughout the day (the sessions are each approximately 25 to 30 minutes long). During the classes, kids learn tips and tricks from Lego masters and try their hand at building more complicated structures.
Interact with Legos
Use hundreds of Lego parts to create a car at the Build & Test area; once it's put together, kids can race their vehicles down ramps and around a track. In the Lego Friends section, based on the "Olivia's House" Lego set, children can make Lego cupcakes and bake them in a pretend oven, and sing tunes at a karaoke machine. The City Construction Site encourages kids to use dump tricks and cranes while building. Younger kids will want to stop by Duplo Village—the "no shoes" area is full of soft Lego blocks.
Go on a theme park–style ride
At Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, kids climb into movable cars (think an old-school Disney World ride like Peter Pan) and use lasers to battle against trolls and spiders. The Merlin's Apprentice Ride is a bit more physical. Guests use their feet to pedal the cars; the faster you move, the higher you go.