New Kid On The (Interlocking) Block: Australia’s First LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Although it might feel like you’re constantly picking up several thousand of your kids’ LEGO bricks off the lounge room floor, spare a thought for the staff at Melbourne’s new LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, where there are literally over 2 million LEGO bricks! That’s a lot of potential foot injuries!
Opened in mid-April this year at the ever-popular Chadstone Shopping Centre, it’s the first LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in the Southern Hemisphere and provides LEGO fans of all ages with a great day out.
The centre has been designed to tap into the LEGO vision of fostering creativity through play, with everything from rides, to build and play zones, and a 4D cinema.
There are 12 family friendly attractions, starting with a fascinating and interactive ‘behind the scenes’ LEGO Factory Tour. Seeing footage of where those little plastic bricks of happiness are made certainly drives home their incredible global popularity, and the fact it doesn’t look like easing up any time soon, being 85 years and counting!
Next up we hit the rides, with Kingdom Quest allowing us to be heroes in our own minds as we rode in a cart through treacherous landscapes, zapping trolls and skeletons with our laser guns and trying to save the captured princess. Then it was on to Merlin’s Apprentice ride where we had to pedal as fast as we could in order to take our cart higher and higher into the air.
Afterwards we stopped to chat to one of the resident LEGO Master Model Builders, who surely must have one of the most envied jobs in the country! They’re responsible for all the models you see around the centre, including the mind-blowing Miniland Melbourne.
As its name suggests, Miniland features over 25 iconic Melbourne landmarks, made in miniature, and of course out of LEGO. There’s all the usual suspects: Flinders Street Station, the Arts Centre with its beautiful spire, the Yarra River, and the MCG, where you can even try your luck at kicking a goal (pinball machine-style) on the hallowed turf (even if it is plastic). You could easily spend an hour in this room alone, looking at all the detail that’s gone into the work, and trying to spot the various Minifigures hiding around the city. The scenes change regularly from day to night, with twinkling lights giving it a whole new magical feel.
We had fun building and testing our own LEGO racing cars, and checked out the party room, where LEGO-mad kids can have their next birthday extravaganza.
Probably my favourite attraction was the 4D cinema, which plays three different short films, all exclusive to LEGOLAND Discovery Centres. With 3D glasses supplied at the door, we were excited to see what other special effects would be employed, and let’s just say we weren’t disappointed. The movie was engaging for kids and adults, and the regular session times meant everybody got a chance to see a movie.
Exiting via the shop is par for the course at major attractions these days, but this store has limited edition items and all the latest LEGO products so it’s somewhere you want to linger. Who doesn’t covet a LEGO brick key ring with their name embossed on it?! It’s practical AND cool!
How do I best sum up a day at Melbourne’s LEGOLAND Discovery Centre? “Everything is awesome!”