When I told my son we were going to visit the Lego Discovery Centre this weekend, his jaw dropped, his eyes popped and he jumped about a foot high off the bed, almost hyperventilating in excitement.
At five-and-a-half, he’s a huge Lego fan and at home it’s undoubtedly the thing that keeps him interested more than any other activity, after making random stuff from paper and glue, that is. “Shall I give you a clue where we’re going?,” I said. “It’s got something to do with Lego…” “The Lego Discovery Centre!”, he cried. Well they’re obviously getting their advertising right!
This Lego heaven is at The Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester, in a development across from the main shopping area called Intu.
We had planned to arrive early, but due to a sleepless night and a rather hectic morning it was about 11am by the time we got there. I was expecting to queue but we walked straight in and were told to wait a few moments for the next tour to begin.
When we were called, we were all given Lego badges to wear and were ushered through a Lego man shaped door. After a quick stop for a family photo, we went to join a larger group to listen to a professor (well a man dressed in a white coat) show the children how the Lego bricks are made.
There was loads of stuff for them to join in with, as the professor chose a few volunteers to help him pull the lever to start the machines. At the end, they were each given a special Lego brick, which doesn’t sound like much but when you’re small and you’re given something for free so early on, it’s kind of a big deal.
Once inside, there was so much more to do than I had expected. There are three small rides, which are all included in the price, and perfect for my son’s age and a bit older. One of them involved riding in a car and shooting a laser gun at video targets as you rode around and another, which I went on (yes!), was like a lot of flying sofas with bike pedals attached, which you sat on and had to pedal as fast as you could to make the sofas fly high as the ride turned round. I think I had as much fun as any of the kids on that one!
There was a Lego workshop, where the children got to sit in a side room and take a class on how to build a small Lego plane; a soft play area; cars you could ride around a track made from Lego and my favourite part, Miniworld.
Miniworld is how I always imagined Legoland to be when I was little. Lots of scale models of famous buildings, including nearby Old Trafford, Blackpool Tower (very apt for us after last week’s visit), brilliant models of Liverpool’s Liver Building, Albert Dock, the Royal Albert Hall and the silver-buttoned Selfridges in Birmingham.
There was even a cinema showing Lego films, although sadly we had to give that part a miss as after four hours at the centre, our baby gal was getting a little tired of Lego! We just had time to visit the Star Wars section, which was much quieter with fab models of moving Stormtroopers, and of course the shop, and it was time to go home.
As it was Halloween ‘Brick or Treat’ week when we visited, the models were decorated with Lego ghosts and cobwebs, and we were invited to make a pumpkin out of Lego in the shortest possible time. After our Halloween party, we were more than in the mood for more spooky antics, and it added a bit more fun to what had been a fantastic day out. I’ll definitely be going again, and if we lived nearer I’m sure it would be a pretty regular treat. Just make sure you take your spending money for the shop – well you wouldn’t want to miss out on a Lego advent calendar now, would you?!
We were lucky enough to be given free entry into the Lego Discovery Centre in return for a review, but all these opinions are absolutely my own.