Well we survived our first road trip as a family this past week! Since Bubba was on spring break we decided to make a little trip to Kansas City, MO for Legoland!! That was the main attraction... we also hit up Sea Life (which is right next door to Legoland) and the Kansas City Zoo.
Here are some details I wish I would have known before going!
All these pictures are from the "mini-city" inside Legoland. This was a big attraction for my boys ages 5 and 4 at the time. They had several displays to look at. Wizard of Oz was Bubba's favorite! Not only did they have these displays to look at but most of them were interactive. You could push buttons throughout to activate something! They had cars racing around a racetrack. Music played at a concert (complete with disco lights). A crane that you could operate, and even a boat "floating" in a little river! Bubba's favorite was making Dorothy's house lift up and away in the tornado...
Ceej really enjoyed racing the cars and making the witch melt! When you pushed a button she screamed and said "I'm melting, I'm melting!" and dissolved into a puddle. LOL
Along with Mini-land they had a couple rides. The first one was my favorite! You were riding along in a little car of sorts with guns ready to shoot bad things that came your way.... like rats, and bats... and they had large screens with animated bad guys to shoot as well. The guns had little laser pointers so you could see where you were shooting. They took your picture on the ride and you even got to see your score at the end. Keep in mind that if you have small children (like Miss M who is not yet 1 year old) you will NOT be able to have her ride on your lap. The kids must be able to sit up on there own w/o a seatbelt. JDub missed out on the ride, having to stay with Miss M.
The other ride was Merlin's something or other... Children must be 3 feet in order to ride accompanied by an adult. Otherwise if your child is 4 feet or taller they can ride by themselves. So once again JDub missed out b/c he had to stay with the baby. We probably could have taken turns... but the lines were quite long when we were leaving!
BUY TICKETS ONLINE
I am soooo glad I pre-ordered tickets online. We did a packaged deal with Sea Life and Legoland together for our family of 5. Since we had ordered our tickets online we were able to go to a separate ticket line when they opened up at 10:00 am. Keep in mind we were going on a Wednesday... you would think it wouldn't have been that busy... but it was during spring break... After waiting roughly 45 minutes in line we were finally able to get inside... while the other "general admission" people were still waiting in line.
Go early! Legoland was so awesome the first hour we were there. It wasn't crowded... we had the place to ourselves pretty much... then the crowds came?! It was shoulder to shoulder in there. They didn't check my bags for anything... and I did have a couple snacks.. but man I wish I would have brought a lunch in there! I was not impressed with the food available (and it was expensive of course). Once you enter Legoland... if you leave you CAN'T go back in!?
They also had a tube and Playstation like area. The boys were only able to go in there once. They really wanted to go again but it was so crowded and the line was very long.
Legoland had a 4D movie playing every 15 minutes. It was kind of a nice quiet break. Bubba ended up going in once with me and once with JDub. There was a classroom area where a man (boy really... he looked young!) was teaching the kids some techniques and you were able to build a little building (and buy it for $5). Bubba really enjoyed that... Ceej and I were waiting in line for a ride at that time. I don't think he would have liked that very much though. Those boys are so different!
Legoland also had a cupcake station/kitchen if you will. Ceej really enjoyed that area... and he was sharing it with most of the girls there. They also had a "stage" area with kareoke and a microphone inside with the cupcakes.
Then we headed to our car for more snacks... then onto Sea Life! That place was pretty dead. But we liked that! Bubba's favorite part was the trivia questions. They had a scratch ticket with 10 different questions. You had to get a coin and scratch off the right answer. If it had a check-mark you were right! Then at the end you turned your ticket in to get a medal for getting all the trivia right. All the answers were written on the walls around the building. Bubba loved reading the questions and finding the answers. And of course getting money to scratch the right answer!
They had some pretty cool aquariums in there... a nice tunnel to go under and see sharks floating above your head... They didn't have flash photography so I didn't bring my nice camera in. I could have turned the flash off but we decided to fore-go the stroller so I was carrying a baby the entire time!
They also had a smaller tube/ playstation area. There's was less busy and no one was manning the gate so you could go in and out if you wanted. The boys loved playing on that and it was alot easier to see them than the LegoLand one. The gift shops were in the same area connected with a line down the middle. The thing about Sea Life if you could come and go as you please...
Overall I'd say buying the joint ticket was a good idea... we definitely spent more time in LegoLand than Sea Life... but it was a nice quiet time after the chaos of LegoLand!
I would recommend LegoLand for smaller children... there were a few older kids... like ages 10 and up... but I'd say its better for ages 8 on down :) I could see the older ones being annoyed with all the little kids around.
Kansas City Zoo
I was not very impressed with the Zoo... I was however impressed with the 70 degree weather we had that day! We were going to go to Union Station... but with the weather being so great (and seeing how when we got back to Iowa it was snowing.....) we wanted to be outside!
All the water fountains were still closed from winter.... therefor there was NO WHERE to get a drink. Pretty pitiful. I think they had one concession stand... maybe two... open for the day. And seeing as how there were so many people (everyone else had the same idea as me.... wanting to be outside on a gorgeous day) the lines were insane. Thankfully I had brought in the boys water bottles (with filters) so we filled them up in the bathrooms along the way. Even the vending machines were all sold out! I found a Diet Dr. Pepper in one... otherwise they were all out. And any other "stands" to buy food were not being manned by anyone. That zoo is huge...and we didn't see anyone working... I think we ran into a group of 5 employees just standing there.. and one other random worker... otherwise we didn't see any staff the entire time.
I know it was the beginning of spring... but really they could have made alot more money that day if they would have had some other concessions open. Everyone was constantly stopping at a vending machine and then getting disappointed when they saw the "sold out" scroll across.
We ended up staying in Independence, MO, outside of Kansas City in terms of the hotel. The boys absolutely loved the pool! And we pretty much had it to ourselves which was nice. The staff was very nice and friendly. Even when I made 2 huge messes... they were nice enough to clean them up and not get mad at me! I spilled cheerios everywhere.... and then my coffee one morning... I couldn't even blame it on the kids!
They had complimentary breakfast, and they even had dinner there Tues-Thurs nights! That was a nice little bonus :). We ended up checking out late (with no problems) on Friday just so the boys could swim again.
All in all we had a fabulous spring break.... I'm so glad we chose Missouri over Chicago Legoland..... it was much warmer!!