There’s a destination here in Westchester that gives your family the chance to build some great memories together … literally. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester, nestled among the shops at Ridge Hill in Yonkers, has attractions for kids of all ages. And, of course, there are millions of those famous childhood building blocks!
After buying your tickets, your first stop is the LEGO Factory Tour. Inside this brightly colored room are several interactive machines that show how LEGO bricks are born, from mixing beads to heating, molding and painting. At the end, don’t forget to pick up a souvenir LEGO at the “delivery” station.
When you exit the Factory Tour, hop on the Kingdom Quest Laser ride to try to save a mythical princess. Everyone gets a laser gun to use against electronic enemies and model targets that move. When you hit them, you rack up points, all adding up to a friendly competition between parents and kids. And make sure to smile, even while you concentrate. You’ll get your picture taken toward the end of the ride, with a chance to buy the photo later on.
When You Go…
LEGOLAND ® Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald St., Yonkers, N.Y.
(For GPS, use 1 Ridge Hill Boulevard, Yonkers ,N.Y.)
Dates & Times
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (last ticket sold at 5 p.m.) Monday thru Thursday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (last ticket sold at 5 p.m.)
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (last ticket sold at 7 p.m.)
Saver Ticket: Walk-up from: child-$18, adult-$22 Online from: child-$16.50, adult-$18
Flexi Ticket: Valid for 365 days, purchase online From: child-$23, adult-$25
Children under 2 visit for free.
Visitors must purchase tickets one or more days in advance to benefit from online discount and to guarantee entry.
Adults must be accompanied by a child with the exception of Adult Nights.
Go Mini and Build
You may want to have your camera handy for the next stop in the center … MINILAND. It’s definitely my favorite spot! New York City’s most famous landmarks are built in miniature form, using more than 1 million LEGO bricks. It’s truly impressive. You’ll spy everything from the George Washington Bridge and the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center … even our local baseball and football stadiums with tiny LEGO people inside. And beyond New York City, there are mini versions of Westchester’s Ridge Hill, Lyndhurst and Sunnyside.
Once you exit MINILAND, you come to a big, open room with the center’s remaining attractions. We headed for the LEGO Racers: Build & Test Zone. As the name suggests, there are bins filled with LEGO bricks so that visitors can build racecars and set them loose on two big ramps. There is also a test track where you can line up your car against several opponents’ creations and watch them fly when the small metal gate drops. (If you have very little ones, you may want to keep them out of this area due to all of the small pieces within reach.)
There is another opportunity to build with LEGO bricks right next to the racing zone. In the LEGO Master Builder Academy, participants get instruction from a (very patient) teacher. Our class got to build a cute monkey. We started with a small bag of tiny pieces and followed along as the teacher told us (and showed via camera on a screen) which ones to put together. Classes are only held at certain times each day, and you do have to pay a small fee if you want to keep your completed model.
When it’s time for adults to take a break, the kids can run wild in the LEGO Fire Academy and the LEGO Construction Site, both housed in an enclosed, colorful jungle gym. The former has slides and places to climb for children up to 54 inches in height, while the latter is tailored to kids 3 feet and under, with soft building bricks and a slide. Socks are a must for all kids.
The other appropriate place in the center for very little kids is the LEGO DUPLO Village. The animal-themed area has a pit with huge, soft DUPLO blocks. Kids can also climb into a replica of a barn and zoom down a covered slide onto a padded mat.
Right next door is the LEGO Friends section, geared toward young girls. There is not much to it except for the chance to sing some karaoke. After doing your best Adele impression, you can check out another indoor ride, Merlin’s Apprentice (height restrictions apply). The kids will enjoy channeling their inner wizard while pedaling around and around in a chariot in the air.
Children also love the LEGO 4D Cinema. There are 10 to 15 minute movies that run throughout the day. We saw a feature with a character named Clutch Powers and got wet and windblown, even in the back row!
I have to admit I was a bit puzzled by the new Ninjago Laser Training Camp exhibit. You’ll walk into a small room with some electronic light boards on the walls with games that test your reaction times. There is also some sort of laser maze inside, but I just couldn’t figure it out (though I’m sure young kids will get the idea instantly).
If you build up an appetite at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, there is a cafe where you can buy a variety of food and drinks. And, no surprise, before you can leave the center, you have to walk through the gift shop. It might be hard to exit without buying at least one LEGO product. Still, your kids will probably leave saying, “Everything was awesome,” and you might, too.
Andrea White is an Edgemont-based writer who loves to piece together memories with her husband and two kids.