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|So Many LEGOS, So Little Time.
Not far from DFW Airport is a LEGO playtime capsule which provides hours of pure fun. LEGOLand in Grapevine is a most colorful and enticing place where imaginations run wild, things get built, things get destroyed, and immersive learning just happens.
It is no secret that LEGOS delight me and sharing LEGO time with my three-year-old grandson is pure pleasure. While we have been assembling Duplo creations for months on the living room floor, I have never had the opportunity to go to LEGOLand Dallas or any LEGOLand for that matter. That changed last week when we shared our first LEGO mini adventure.
Here's the scoop.
The LEGOLand Dallas (actually in Grapevine) family entertainment complex provides the means for families of all age combinations to share the fun of imagining and then creating. I had expectations for our mini adventure and all of them were met. The facility makes it easy for first timers to decide which activities may be most suitable for each age and at least have a loose plan for the experience. As I learned once our day began it is only a guide. Kids have their own ideas and whenever possible it makes sense to let them follow their own course.
The best way to describe the complex – colorfully organized chaos. Yup, it is noisy in a gleeful way and the distractions are many but it was oh so fun. There is an interesting mix of LEGO assembly tables and stations mixed with Kingdom Quest, Merlin's Apprentice LEGO ride, and at the heart of the facility is a netted climb and scramble zone - LEGO® City Play Zone & Fire Academy.
To maximize the chance of a terrific experience, I used advice from parents and grandparents who are LEGOLand veterans – less is more. I let my grandson take the lead and when moments of frustration seemed eminent we moved on to an alternate skills game. During our four-hour experience we did not see or do everything because over stimulation makes for a cranky child. There is always another day and I am certain that no two experiences will ever match.
Our mini adventure began with a 10-minute factory tour led by a lively guide who engaged a few young participants in the mechanics of motion. From there it was on to Kingdom Quest – the ride. It was not on my radar screen as an activity for a three-year-old however the sounds and graphics made it too tempting to pass up. The Quest is what I imagine it would be like to be riding through a giant video game using laser lights to pinpoint and perhaps with luck destroy LEGO villains.
From there we went to stash our beach attire in outside lockers near Pirate Beach and on out return discovered a karaoke station within the Princess Palace. Music, dancing and LEGOS make the perfect combination and pink did not seem to bother any of the young boys waiting to sing.
Merlin’s Apprentice Ride added yet another active dimension to our day. While electricity spins the chairs it is pedal power that causes each two-person pod to go up or go down.
Even though DUPLO® Village is perfect for children aged two to five, with large colorful blocks and a contained space for play, my young companion would have none of it he was off to the earthquake table where our first construction project commenced. Children learn by observation and implementation. It was fascinating to watch the different approaches to building and problem solving. The interactive earthquake table is terrific because it presents possibilities for problem solving. The most difficult thing for me was not to assist but let the construction evolve on its own.
Just steps from the earthquake table is an even more challenging set of LEGO stations where kids are encouraged to assemble a racing vehicle for use on a nearby raceway ramp. This location is definitely not for three-year-olds but we formed a racing team and gave it a stab. We spent more than 15 minutes attempting to construct a car and finally I stepped in with a simple four-wheel un-maned racer to end the frustration. There is a learning curve on the ramp and soon enthusiasm for the attraction diminished.
The most he had during the day was at the heart of the complex in LEGO® City Play Zone & Fire Academy, a netted climb and scramble attraction which allows children to create their own challenges by climbing giant steps, navigating rope bridges and crawling through tunnels. And of course there is a corner filled with soft LEGOs ready for any imaginative game.
During the warm weather months Pirate Beach provides yet another dimension to LEGO play. Imagine a day at the beach with LEGOS, water spouts, pumping stations, tipping buckets, water jets, plastic palm trees, slippery slides, and not one grain of sand. The themed soft play area outside is framed by tables with colorful umbrellas. There are several changing booths and a convenient shop with water and sunscreen for sale.
Location on the planet. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Dallas-Fort Worth 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway Grapevine, Texas 76051.
Make it happen.
If a LEGOLand experience is in your future I suggest that you buy your tickets online in advance. Entry is timed and tickets sometimes sell out. Details at www.LEGOLandDiscoveryCenter.com
Content posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Copyright updated 2017.