YONKERS, N.Y. – After months of preparation and plenty of hype, the curtain has been pulled back on Yonkers' most anticipated coming attraction.
Legoland Discovery Center Westchester unveiled its $12 million facility inside Ridge Hill Thursday in a sneak preview for more than 100 children and their parents, just six days before the attraction’s grand opening.
Excited children, many from Hamilton Avenue School in Greenwich, Conn., and PS 17 in Yonkers, gave the center a test run, taking their turns on a pair of adventure rides, rummaging through piles of Lego bricks and learning the finer points of building from “Lego Masters.”
“It’s all really cool,” said 8-year-old Mark Gibney of White Plains as he looked at a Citi Field/Yankee Stadium hybrid model made of bricks.
When it opens on March 27, the 32,300 square foot attraction will become just the fifth Legoland location in the country and first in the northeast. As guests shuffled into the center, they were welcomed by life-size Lego men and a given a chance to “make” Lego bricks in the factory room.
Later, they were carried away on an amusement ride in a quest to save a princess. After, they got an up close look at the New York City skyline, including attractions such as Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Statue of Liberty and the New York Stock exchange in the Miniland exhibit.
“We’re hoping it will inspire kids to build Legos,” General Manager Chris Mines said of the exhibit. “We’ve recreated icons from New York City and Westchester and we hope kids will come here and be curious about Legos.”
Those there were curious were taught how to become Lego masters in small classrooms, while others toured the play areas, food court, karaoke room and a 4D movie theater.
“There’s so much to do,” said Larchmont’s Samantha Murabito.
Legoland is expected to create more than 100 full-time jobs and be a tourism boon for the Yonkers, bringing thousands of visitors from around the region. On Wednesday, in his State of the City address, Mayor Mike Spano touted the opening of Legoland as part of Yonkers’ revitalization.
“This will bring another regional attraction that will bring families from throughout the metropolitan area for an experience that you just can’t get anywhere else in the northeast,” he said.