The recently-opened LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Somerville, Mass. is offering kids, adults, and LEGO fans alike a new way to engage in the old childhood pastime.
Although it is mainly geared toward children from ages 3 to 10, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston hosts an adult night the third Wednesday of every month. The event is a chance for LEGO fans ages 18 and above to explore LEGOLAND Discovery Center themselves, since regular admission always requires adults to come with a child.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center is not owned by LEGO, but rather the attraction is operated by Merlin Entertainments—a European company that is Europe’s biggest and the world’s second largest visitor attractions operator in the world. The Boston LEGOLAND Discovery Center was the sixth to open in the U.S., and 11th LEGOLAND Discovery Center to open worldwide. The popular LEGO attraction is Merlin’s newest concept, and the entertainment company plans to roll out new sites and a number of prime locations in specially selected location in Europe, the U.S., and the Far East. The Boston location prominently features over 3 million LEGO bricks in a 44,000 square-foot space. Other attractive features include an exciting, interactive LEGO laser ride, Merlin’s Apprentice ride, a 4D cinema, and party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations.
One of the Boston location’s most popular attractions so far is MINILAND, which features many of the city’s iconic regional landmarks constructed from LEGO Bricks. Famous Beantown landmarks, including Faneuil Hall, South Station, and the Boston Public Library, are all featured in detailed replicas of multi-colored LEGOS. The city is surrounded by the Boston harbor as well, with countless moving LEGO motorboats. There are other interactive LEGO structures in MINILAND as well. Kids can race miniature boats on the Charles River using a turnstile, or play baseball in Fenway Park by swinging a miniature bat to hit a pinball. A recent addition to MINILAND includes a Gillette Stadium replica, and standing high is the Vince Lombardi trophy. In the background, the exhibit’s lights flicker on and off to produce a fireworks show on the walls.
Many features of MINILAND were created and constructed by LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s Master Model Builder, Ian Coffey. The 26-year-old Coffey turned his love of LEGO bricks into a full-time job by beating more than 60 contestants in several construction challenges during a Brick Factor competition at the Boston Public Library.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime to turn a passion into a full-time job,” Coffey said. “The Brick Factor Competition was intense, and the pressure was high, but I couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome. What could be better than getting paid to build LEGO models all day and teach children how to harness their imagination and creativity?”
Coffey’s main tasks involve maintaining and continuously building and updating the MINILAND models. Coffey also teaches workshops and interacts with the thousands of children that visit the attraction annually.
The center is open throughout the week with admission costing $23 for adults, and $18.50 for children. For the same $23 admission fee, customers at Adult Night have access to all of the amenities that LEGOLAND Discovery Center has to offer, as well as food and alcoholic beverages for sale.
“We feature a different theme for Adult Night each month, with past ones including Star Wars, Carnival, and Las Vegas Blackjack,” Coffey said.
After the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win, February’s Adult Night theme was Boston sports. Fans were decked out in their favorite Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, and Patriots’ gear, as well as a few patrons sporting Boston College hockey jerseys.
Adult Night hosted a wide age range of customers—from college students to senior citizens to young couples on a memorable, unique date.
“Our location has the greatest volume of customers compared to other locations, because of the intellectual community in Boston, as well as all of the colleges,” Coffey said. Adults have the chance to be entered into a raffle based on their score at the interactive LEGO laser ride, or get sprayed with water while watching one of four movies in the 4D cinema.
Unlike the LEGOLAND theme parks across the world, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston is exclusively an indoor attraction. According to Coffey, the center rests at an ideal location in the heart of Assembly Row in Somerville. The center is a five-minute walk from the new MBTA T-stop on the Orange Line called “Assembly Station,” which opened this past September. Although the LEGOLAND Discovery Center has only been open for nine months, it has been a popular attraction here in Boston, and Coffey and the rest of the Boston team hope to continue to attract LEGO fans of all ages in the future.
Featured Images by William Mennicken / Heights Staff