Legoland Discovery Center – Great for Kids, Not for Me

Legoland 1

Kansas City’s Legoland features all kinds of stuff for kids and a display of KC landmarks in Lego, including the J.C. Nichols Fountain on the Country Club Plaza.

I was excited to find out that Kansas City was getting its own Legoland. Legos were a staple of the 80s-era toybox, and I spent enough hours working those little bricks to give me permanent nostalgia for all things Lego.

More officially known as the Legoland Discovery Center, the attraction is housed at Crown Center, home to Hallmark, Kaleidoscope, shopping, fountains and the Mayor’s Christmas Tree. Perfect spot. It also neighbors the SeaLife Aquarium, so the place will have buses lined up for years as an ideal field trip spot.

Unfortunately, Lego was not really going for the nostalgic adults when it brought its Legoland to Kansas City. The first of the bad news was revealed when they announced that adults would only be admitted with children, except for special events like their adult nights.

Disappointed but not deterred, I was in line for one of these adult nights as quickly as possible.

Before reading further: If you have children, just stop reading. They will love this place. It’s designed for them. If you have your own kids, you may experience some of the disappointment I’m about to describe, but that will be tempered with the glowing excitement of your children. I don’t want to deter you from going if you have children, so just stop reading now.

Is it back to just us adults now? Great.

Batman is busy in Gotham, so you won't find him in Kansas City.

Batman is busy in Gotham, so you won’t find him in Kansas City.

My Legoland expectations: may have been unrealistic. As a child, I had friends go to Legoland and bring back tales of this magical place where entire cities were made of plastic bricks. They made it sound life-sized. I don’t know if it was, where it was or any details really. In my head, though, Legoland was a place where I would come face-to-face with enormous creations.

These expectations were tempered with a trip to the Mall of America, where its store featured all kinds of enormous lego art; and a trip to FAO Schwartz in New York City, where I came face-to-face with a Lego-fied version of my hero: Batman.

Kansas City’s Legoland, however, doesn’t feature much large-scale architecture. It has a very impressive miniature version of KC landmarks from the plaza to downtown, and I enjoyed that thoroughly.

The rest of the exhibits left me feeling flat.

The Kansas City Power and Light Building - in Lego

The Kansas City Power and Light Building – in Lego

The factory tour wasn’t really a factory. I don’t think I was expecting a real factory, but the cartoonish nature of it wouldn’t fool any child. It didn’t even feel educational, and I’m pretty certain if I had brought my nephew or niece, they would have felt their intelligence insulted.

The Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, is a cute little shoot-up up kiddie roller-coaster where they use laser guns to shoot things. It’s cute, but not all that exciting.

There was a 4-D movie that was very G-rated. Maybe they’ll step up their game with some footage from the Lego Movie – at least for adult nights.

They had earthquake tables, where you can build towers just to knock them down, and an area where you can build cars and let gravity race them on tracks.

Oh, and Duplo village…

Sorry. I fell asleep.

Exit through the gift shop: If you are like me – an adult looking for nostalgia – I’d say to skip the Adult Night and just hit the gift shop any day you’d like. That’s where all the real fun is. They have all the latest sets – architecture series, movie themed sets, lego characters out the ying and bulk bricks sorted by color.

Now that’s the stuff to get me excited. I’ll leave the rest to the kids.

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