Never have I felt older than when I realized I was too old to go to LegoLand.
The new LegoLand Discovery Centeropened its doors to Kansas City on April 29, making it the eighth LegoLand Center in the country. After a little research I realized there was an age limit: 2-10 year olds. But I didn’t care. I was going to find a way into that place.[media-credit id=147 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]So I kidnapped a friend’s six-year-old little brother, Blake, and drove off to Crown Center for the adventure the six-year-old me dreamed of.
Walking into LegoLand, I was extremely skeptical. The ticket prices were through the roof. $19 for myself and $15 for Blake, since he was over the age of three. I couldn’t imagine my $19 would even be close to worth it.
Stepping off an elevator from the first floor, you face the first room, which is full of exuberant Lego wall paper and large pillars that imitate what the underbelly of a Lego factory would be. You can press large Legos together by pulling levers and even place little Lego hands in separate containers by spinning another lever. The adult me scoffed at the pointless activities. And then I saw Blake.
Blake was a shy kid around me, but the moment he saw the opportunity to spin a wheel full of Lego hands, he seized it, and went to town spinning. The rest of the tour was the little kid’s paradise.
We walked down a hallway and entered a ride in which you and four other people ride around in carts, shooting lasers at monster Legos and protecting Lego prince and princesses. The cart calculates the number of kills you get and at the end of the ride a winner is awarded. To me, the ride was a childish way of showing off sweet Lego animation on a screen. To Blake? This was the ride of his life. He jumped around in his seat, trying to obliterate hologram rocks being hoisted at him by green monsters and targets on bad guy Legos’ heads.
The next part of the Lego tour was far and away the best. It’s called MiniLand, and quite frankly, it blew my mind.[media-credit id=147 align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]The room was set up and had major Kansas City monuments and landmarks all made to scale, all around the room. It had it all. Livestrong Sporting Park. The Kauffman Center. The Race Track. The Plaza. Starlight Theatre. Every landmark in KC was depicted in Lego fashion, with brilliant attention to detail. Every fountain. Every street sign. Every little detail you could imagine was depicted in the scene. Not only did they have KC landmarks, but they had famous scenes from the Wizard of Oz.
I thought it was astounding. Blake thought it was boring.
Instead, he ran ahead to the large playroom area full of everything a six-year-old could dream of playing with. A build-a-car racetrack where you can recreate your favorite cars from the N64 LegoRacers video game. I tried to build a car with Blake. His Lego-building skills were far superior to mine, and his car just about reduced mine to rubble in our race.
The next area had an epic play area. A Great World Lodge jungle gym of some sorts, but smaller, minus the water, and plus foam Legos. They had an area where you could build up foam Legos, climb on a swinging wrecking ball and plow over the Legos. Blake laughed hysterically as we smashed the Legos. I watched from the waiting area, feeling like a dad at a play date.
The fact is, LegoLand isn’t for high school students. Of course it’s not. We wish it was, but it’s not. Luckily, that doesn’t mean it’s not a hell of a good time. We’ve all played with Legos. If you haven’t, you didn’t grow up right. As I was fighting Blake with our Lego dinosaur creations, it was hard to keep a smile off my face as the childhood memories came rushing back.
LegoLand isn’t a place for people like us to go to on a Friday night. It’s a place for us to take kids we nanny for, or our siblings when they annoy the crap out of us on a hot summer day. But regardless, no matter how old you are, you don’t go into LegoLand and come out upset: unless it’s because you’re leaving LegoLand.