We began our 1-day trip by driving from St. Louis straight to Crown Center, where we arrived mid-afternoon. Our plans included LEGOLAND KC & SEA LIFE that afternoon, dinner at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, a walk through the Power & Light District that evening; the next day we headed to breakfast at Ingredient in Country Club Plaza, off to the Kansas City Zoo for most of the morning, lunch at Rosedale BBQ, and then the afternoon at Crown Center & Union Station, including the Model Railroad Experience. As usual I used Priceline’s Name Your Own Price for our hotel, and for $65 won the 4-star Hotel Phillips located in downtown Kansas City.
Initially I was a bit worried that LEGOLAND KC & SEA LIFE would be crowded based on other reviews I had read, and the fact it was a holiday. To our surprise, there were no lines and plenty of open space to roam. We purchased the combo ticket, which for $29 per person included admission to both attractions (otherwise it was $19 per person for each attraction, so you save $10 with the combo ticket). I would note it’s actually even cheaper if you just buy online ($13.50 each).
We decided on visiting LEGOLAND first, which begins by riding elevators up to the 2nd level where you arrive in LEGO Factory, a museum-like exhibit on how LEGOs are manufactured. It was hands-on and interactive for kids. From there, you move to the first of two rides, Kingdom Quest, which was very much like the Buzz Lightyear rides found at most Disney parks, only a bit dark & scary for our toddler.
|MINILAND = Kansas City made of LEGOs|
After Kingdom Quest, we explored MINILAND, which essentially is the Kansas City skyline & major KC attractions built out of LEGOs. The MINILAND exhibits were all very detailed and well-done. The room even changes from day to night with the buildings lighting up.
|Riding a LEGO dog|
After MINILAND most of the attractions within Discovery Center required that you be at least 3 feet tall, which unfortunately means our toddler got excluded (I knew this going in, so no disappointments). That said, it did appear that slightly older children would have a blast at many of their attractions, including another ride (Merlin’s Apprentice), and huge play area (LEGO City Play Zone), and several areas focused either on boys (LEGO Racers) or girls (LEGO Friends). They had a 4D movie (again we skipped as we were with a toddler) and a hands-on workshop area (Master Builder Academy). There was a small area dedicated to younger kids, DUPLO Village, which was actually a hit with our toddler!
|SEA LIFE Aquarium|
|Inside the shark tunnel|
They had all the usual aquarium exhibits, including a large hands-on pool that our toddler really enjoyed. All of the exhibits were educational, and I really enjoyed the “fun facts” that were spaced throughout the aquarium. Each exhibit was unique, and the ambiance changed from one room to another, which was a nice touch and kept the flow entertaining. Overall, I actually found this to be one of the better aquariums we have visited!
|Touching various sea life creatures|
The aquarium ended up being much larger than I expected, as it does not appear to be very big from the outside. We spent almost 2 hours here, and really had a great time looking at all of the exhibits. At the very end, they also had a large kid’s play area, which was a nice touch and great way to burn off more energy.
|Standing above sting rays|
|Admiring one of their exhibits|
Overall I think LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE combined are worth the visit, especially for families with younger kids. I found the staff at both to be very energetic and welcoming, the facilities well-done, and the location perfect for an all-day family outing. I am sure there were several options of cities to locate these attractions, and Kansas City’s Crown Center/Union Station is a perfect match. Certainly look out for coupons & buy online to keep the price reasonable, but I’d definitely recommend both SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center!
|Playing inside SEA LIFE’s large play area|
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