So I'll start out by saying that we read rather awful reviews of 'Legoland' in Somerville so haven't been since the opening about 6 months ago but today Sierra said 'Daddy can we go to Legoland? All my friends at school talk about it and say its so cool!' so we figured we'd give it a shot.
Most of the bad reviews mention things like: price, lines, over-crowding, not big enough and noise levels. So let me preface this by saying we went on Superbowl Sunday so were one of maybe ten families total. We didn't wait in line, there was almost no one there and the noise was very low. So my review may be a bit different than usual.
About price - Yes it's expensive. Again I knew the price before going so I can't complain about it. I wasn't ambushed at the door. The price is a bit high for what you get. To put it in perspective here are family memberships at other places in Boston:
Children's Museum: $150 for 3 floors of activities. Comes w/ additional free passes.
Science Museum: $125 for 3 floors of activities. Comes w/ additional free passes.
Legoland: $260 for 1 room of activities. No free passes.
So yes it's basically double the price of other places in Boston and is 10% of the size (if I'm being generous) so no I won't be getting a membership BUT the $55 I paid for 3 tickets for the day felt very worth it. It may be a bit over-priced but its not insane and like I said you do know well in advance.
Now that we have price out of the way...
Legoland is located in Assembly Square in Somerville which is basically an outdoor mall with a movie theater, just about any store you can imagine and tons of restaurants as well - you could easily make a day out of it (and parking is free).
Once you've given your ticket you are greeted by a staff member, handed a map and ushered onto a colorful elevator and told 'You'll be playing a game right when you get off the elevator' as seen in the photo below this made our little one quite excited.
Once off the elevator you walk into a dark room with a series of projectors and each kid is stationed at a joy stick and singular button and go through a series of games to build a little 'Minifigure'.
After this you head to the next activity where you ride in a small roller-coaster like car and are handed a gun to shoot 'bad guys' and save a princess. If you've ever been to Disney it's basically a much smaller version of that Buzz Lightyear shooting game they have there. I sort of wish we were told what would be next as we don't normally do gun-play and it was a bit surprising not to mention a little scary, dark and full of fake spiders which made our little scaredy cat a bit frightened. If your child is small I would probably skip this part and head right into the main room.
After the ride you exit to a room-sized model of Boston that you can walk around and look at. Included is the Zakim Bridge, TD Garden, State House, City Hall, Fenway Park and even a mini-Cheers. The entire room cycles between night-time and day-time so you can see the city in different ways. Although you can't touch anything obviously there are a series of buttons that let you interact with the space, throwing a pitch at Fenway Park for example. Here are a few photos or for an entire album click here.
After the Boston room you enter the actual 'Legoland'. Yes, like the other reviews, it is only one room which if you've been to Children's or the Science Museum can feel like a bit of a let down but we were there for easily 3 hours and not once did our child feel bored. She loved it the entire time and my wife and I both said we didn't feel ripped off. Although small, it is quite engaging especially during winter months when you can't be outside very long. It's a great spot to let your kid run, play, and burn off some energy.
One of my favorite activities was the 'Lego Racers' area where you have buckets of car pieces (bricks, wheels, etc) and can build a car and race it down a huge ramp with a timer, noises and lights. We all joined in on the fun with this one.
There is also a 'Master Builder Academy' room if you want to escape the noise of the main room and have some more focused time on building. They have videos teaching you how to build more intricate designs.
There is a full sized Lego kitchen with working blender and oven. Like I said we went on Superbowl Sunday so we practically had the place to ourselves so Sierra easily got to do anything she wanted with no-lines but I can see how an area like this could be a bit of a mad house with 300 kids.
In addition to tons of building activities there are a few 'rides' like the one seen above as well as a 4D movie theater showing a short movie every 15 minutes. We got a little wet so keep that in mind!
A lot of the reviews we read complained about the cafe. I'm not one to complain but I have to agree it's very limited and over-priced. There is a no re-entry policy so you can't leave to grab a quick lunch elsewhere like you can at other museums around the city. You are not allowed to bring your own food so if you have dietary restrictions (such as being vegan like us) I would keep that in mind and eat right before you come to avoid hungry children and grumpy parents.
Sierra's favorite area by far was the large jungle gym like play structure called the Legoland Fire Academy. Tons of climbing, crawling, running and things to do in here. She played in here for probably an hour with other kids just going bonkers. When you live in Boston this is a HUGE thing in February. Indoor playgrounds are a big win in my book. This thing alone made the ticket price worth it honestly.
So all in all: It's overpriced but not so overpriced I felt like I was being ripped off. We spent close to 3 hours in there and not once did we feel bored. My kid did not want to leave when it was over and already wants to go back. There's things for little kids and big kids. If you plan your trip accordingly: eat beforehand, come on an off day during non peak hours, and set your expectations you will have a good time.
Legoland Discover Center Boston's Website
@LDCBoston on Twitter