It’s not for nothing that Chicago is known as the Windy City. When chilly breezes make outdoor activities with the family impractical and uninviting, why not go for some fun inside, where it’s nice and warm? Open year round, the Legoland Discovery Center is located just past Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and is the ideal spot for an outing on a cold rainy or snowy day. The wheelchair accessible Discovery Center is geared mainly toward children aged 3 to 10, although Lego fans of all ages will enjoy it. (Tickets for under 3s are free, and grownups are admitted only when accompanied by a child, except for special Adult Nights.) And don’t worry if you’d prefer not to rent a car for your vacation in Chicago; the Center is conveniently reachable by public transit.
All about Lego
Start off with an interactive factory tour to see how those brightly colored little bricks are produced. Your kids will be even more enthusiastic about this favorite construction toy after they “helped” to make it. Time to move on to the Master Builder Academy where your little ones can learn and try out construction ideas and tips from the Legoland Master Builder himself. Then enjoy two Miniland displays (and pick up more inspiration) – a Star Wars scene and a 3D reproduction of Chicago, all made out of Lego blocks. The Lego 4D cinema features a short film that engages your children in the adventure, as the state of the art technology makes the characters seem to jump off the movie screen and right into the room.
Less Watching, More Building
By now everyone is most likely longing to get their hands on an unlimited supply of Lego. Try the Lego City Construction Site, featuring soft bricks, a slide and freedom to build whatever their heart desires. Design the world’s fastest racing car in the LEGO Racers: Build & Test zone. Then test its speed using the super accurate stopwatch. For those who enjoy destruction as much as construction (sound familiar, Moms and Dads?) Earthquake Tables will test the strength of the tallest towers. The under 5 set will feel right at home in the Duplo Village, playing with larger bricks that are easier for tiny hands to grasp and that can quickly grow into “giant” houses.
For a change of pace from building, Legoland guests can join in a scavenger hunt, with annual passes as the prize. Trek through the virtual jungle, populated by exotic Lego fauna and flora. Set off on the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, zapping trolls and skeletons as you go, to rescue the trapped princess. Or pedal heavenward with the winged Technicycle Ride.
Chicago has so much to see and do that you’ll appreciate staying in a comfortable hotel with easy access to everything. The nicer and lower priced Chicago hotels tend to fill up fast in any season, though, so it’s a good idea to reserve in advance.
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Orlando is a great destination that is fun for kids of all ages. Northeasterners appreciate its warm weather, its relative closeness (a domestic flight of less than 3 hours from NY’s JFK airport) an