Brick lovers — and those who are forced to navigate floors covered in them — unite! LEGOLAND® Discovery Center San Antonio is a destination not to be missed. So if you, too, are used to stepping on LEGOs and having them pierce your feet in so many ways, here’s some scoop to help you navigate the land of bricks.
First, some good-to-know details:
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center San Antonio is inside the Shops at Rivercenter, on the street level closest to H&M, on the end of the mall that’s nearest to Alamo Plaza.
- Advance tickets are recommended. Booking online is the only way to ensure you’re going to get in during busy times. Then you can just scan your ticket and head on in.
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center validates parking for the Shops at Rivercenter garage (both the Crockett Street and Commerce Street garages). The validation provides two hours of parking for only $3, a great deal considering that Rivercenter parking is usually $4 for the first hour, then $1 each 20 minutes for a maximum of $18. Another option: park in the Convention Center garage (number 2 on this map), which is $10 a day on non-event days, $11 on event days.
- You’ll want your littles to have socks so they can play in the LEGO City Play Area. Shoes must be removed and socks must be worn, no exceptions, so toss a pair in your bag to make sure you’re not dealing with tears.
- Adults must be accompanied by a child to get in. Just like The DoSeum, LEGOLAND Discovery Center is designed for kids. So no matter how much you love LEGOs, you can only go if you’ve got a LEGO-lovin’ little one in tow. Note: we might consider renting out our LEGO lover to help pay for his brick addiction. That seems like a fair trade, doesn’t it?? (Kidding! Maybe.)
- Outside food and beverages are not allowed, but there is a LEGO Café that includes Starbucks (so yes, there is a LEGO God!). And of course, the Shops at Rivercenter is filled with food options if you want to make lunch, etc. part of your visit.
- Interesting to note: they say everything is designed for three- to ten-year-olds, but we all know that kids younger than that flock to LEGOs and DUPLOs like a moth to a flame. And it’s not like kids stop loving LEGOs at age ten. Please—just try to pry the LEGOs from my 40-something-year-old husband’s hands! But, the rides and the LEGO City Play Area have specific age and height restrictions, so keep that in mind. There is a DUPLO area designed for the two- to five-year-old set.
- The SEA LIFE San Antonio Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s neighbor, is another spot for fun. Combo tickets, as well as annual passes, allow you to visit both attractions. Check out our inside look for more information.
Now, what to expect. First, LEGOs ARE EVERYWHERE. If something stood still long enough, it was covered in LEGOs for your enjoyment. Let the little LEGO lovers have fun spotting them. Welcome signs. Nametags. Stanchions. Displays above your head. Bins of them everywhere. Make a game of spotting them, just don’t try to count them because I’m pretty sure it’s a bazillion.
Know that your LEGO lovers will be vibrating with excitement. Just pick up your feet and ride that wave of energy because it’s only going to get worse once you’re inside. After you pass the ticket booth, you’ll be whisked into the world of all things LEGO via an elevator and once you step out of it, ALL HOPE IS LOST. (Kidding. Maybe.)
Honestly, it’s hard for adults to control their excitement at seeing Miniland San Antonio: the Alamo City, completed in more than 1.5 million LEGO bricks. It’s a masterpiece. You’ll find yourself gaping at the details and smiling at the things they included. The North Star Mall boots light up. The new Frost Tower is huge. And all of our beloved missions are there. And they all light up! There are stained glass windows in San Fernando Cathedral and flickering lights on the Spanish Governor’s Palace. You get to see night fall over San Antonio, with a fireworks show to boot. There’s a football game in the Alamodome, and you’ll see the AT&T Center. And real water on the River Walk. Take your time and enjoy it, but know that you can come and go through Miniland as much as you please. We went back in a few times because we enjoyed finding new details.
You’re not required to follow any plan/route/path through LEGOLAND: you can do everything at your own pace and let your kids play/enjoy whatever attraction they like. So don’t feel rushed: ride the rides if you like, enjoy building, etc. It’s not so large that it’s hard to keep track of your kids, and you can hop around to the things they enjoy the most, avoid lines, etc.
There are two rides: Kingdom Quest, a shooting ride where you’re helping to rescue a princess, and Merlin’s Apprentice, where you’re in a magic cart in Merlin’s potion room. Both rides have height restrictions. Kingdom Quest is dark, and when my son rode it at another LEGOLAND Discovery Center when he was younger, he was scared. This time around, he was all about the quest, but keep it in mind if you have littles who don’t like the dark or who are easily scared.
LEGO City Play Area has climbing walls, a jungle gym, and soft bricks for kids to play with. It’s not always easy to see where your kids are within the area, but staff does monitor access and parents can sit right outside. (And note: you have to—no leaving the kids unattended in the play area.)
There’s an area dedicated to LEGO Friends, with building stations where you can help build Heartlake City. You’ll also find a LEGO Build & Test area, where you can race the vehicles you create down different tracks, or test your building skills against an earthquake machine. Hourly, kids can build with a master builder in the Creative Workshop, where we learned that SNOT is something you can build with. SNOT = Studs Not On Top, the bricks that aren’t your standard LEGO design. (Who knew? Everyone in the room giggled.) The LEGO DUPLO Farm will keep the younger set happy with their own playhouse and slide, as well as pools of larger-than-life DUPLOs they can build with.
The LEGO 4D Cinema features three movies: Ninjago, Nexo Knights, and The LEGO Movie-themed shorts. The 4D comes from the fact that you’ll feel wind, rain, snow, and heat during the shows. When you walk in, you’ll see the amount of water in some areas of the theater, so yes, you will get wet, but it’s really just a light mist. The effects are well done, and there’s some audience participation and enough jokes aimed at parents in the audience to make the movies fun.
Once you’ve had your fill of fun, you’ll exit back through the elevators to the LEGO store. The store often features merchandise you can’t find at other LEGO stores, so it’s fun to check out the sets. And if you have an annual pass, you get 10 percent off of your purchases. And note: you can visit the store without going through LEGOLAND, so you can just shop if you like.
Be warned: LEGOLAND offers birthday party packages, Brick-or-Treat events, and a Holiday Bricktacular, so even if you manage to avoid the grand opening craziness, you will probably be sucked into the world of all things LEGO soon. It’s definitely a great addition to the terrific entertainment options we enjoy in San Antonio and will be a must for summer adventures for sure. (Score! Another great attraction to share with out-of-town visitors!) Now if only the café would add alcoholic beverages to the menu, everything really would be awesome!