Sunday, February 24, 2013

Legoland Florida: What a Glorious Field Trip!!!


Recently, we had the opportunity to go to Legoland Florida with our homeschool group.
Let me tell you, Legoland Florida rocks for a fantastic field trip experience!
Truly a wonderful day full of fun and learning!

It actually is the third time that the boys have gone to Legoland.
Every time we go, we have discovered something else fun to see and do at the park.
We would just LOVE to get Florida annual passes to go all of the time!
We really can't wait to try out the water park too!

Following the field trip, one of my fellow homeschool mama friends mentioned that their group was planning an upcoming trip to Legoland so she wanted to see if I had any tips for her for their day.
So I reflected upon our day and compiled some tips.
These tips are primarily applicable for homeschool groups, youth groups, or school groups who are planning on going to Legoland Florida for a field trip, but many of the tips should prove to be helpful to anyone who wants to go to Legoland Florida, even if you do not go with a group.

Before You Go:
1. Check out the various Legoland Florida offerings through Lego Education.
When you visit this link, you can also sign up for an educator newsletter., so be sure to check this out!
There is an entire page of class offerings that you can choose to do when you go with your group.
What is super nice is that this page also contains links for free Lego Education Resource Guides that coordinate with the classes! How nice is that?!?
2. Print out the Legoland Florida map before you go so that you can familiarize yourself with the layout of the park.  Here is a link to the printable pdf of their map from the Legoland Florida website.

3. Be sure to check out various Lego themed boards, as you will find some great free activities that you can do with your children before and after your group's trip to Legoland Florida.
Here is the link to my Lego-themed Pinterest Board called Lego Camp.
 On the Day of Your Group Trip:
1. Make sure your group is on time or even early as Legoland Florida is pretty insistent that entire groups enter together.
Legoland is very kind and accommodating to groups, but they want the entire group to enter together, so it just works best if your group arrives early, gets situated, and is all there ready and waiting to go.
Some homeschool groups and some school groups wore matching t-shirts. If your group is rather large, you may wish to do this. We did not wear matching t-shirts, although some children, including Little Bro, wore Lego-themed shirts for the day. 

2. When you enter the park, ask where to go to sign up for the Robotics Classes.
Go straight there and sign up little ones ages 6-8 for WeDo Robotics before you go on the rides. (It is near area 39 on the Legoland Florida map.) Sign up bigger kids ages 9 and up for one of the Mindstorms offerings.
My sons and their homeschool friends attended classes and they all had a great time! 
Children from 1st grade through 3rd grade may do the WeDo.
Little Bro did WeDo and loved it! He built the chomping alligator.
Big Bro did Mindstorms: Dr. Heartbeat.  For Mindstorms, you have to be in 3rd grade or older. (See 39 on the Legoland Florida map). So, if you have children of different ages in your group, have some parents or teachers who can go with the younger children to the WeDo class and then, have other parents and teachers go with the older ones to the Mindstorms class.
Legoland makes some assumptions of the older kids as far as having a basic knowledge of programming so was very glad that Little Bro did the age-appropriate WeDo class.
In the younger class, parents help if they need help.
In the older class, parents observe from the side of the room.
In the younger room, the children get to build and program.
In the older class, they focus on programming, not building, at least for the Dr. Heartbeat Mindstorms class that Big Bro attended.
Big Bro (third grader) did the class alongside a ninth grader, a sixth grader, and a seventh grader.
He thoroughly enjoyed doing the programming but wished he could have also built it as well as programmed it.
The great thing is that getting a chance to try out both Lego Mindstorms and Lego WeDo has made us want to not only purchase these for our sons, but also, it has made it so that Dear Hubby wants to teach a little class for our boys and a couple buddies in our home to extend the learning from Legoland Florida.

We started at the back of the park after signing up for the classes.We did not stick together with every single family from our homeschool group, as everyone had different ages of children with different interests. For our field trip day, we primarily walked around with a smaller group: a total of three moms and four boys. The boys are good buddies and they all had similar interests as far as the attractions and such so it worked out well. Plus, the two moms we walked around with made it fun for me, as they are both very nice homeschool mamas.

3. The Hero Factory (41 on the Legoland Florida map) area is great to spend time at right before doing robotics class.
My boys LOVED building in this area!!! Their buddies loved it as well...

4. Groups who sign up may eat at the Picnic Pavilion.
  (The Picnic Pavilion sits back behind the Historic Mansion, down a bit of a hill, near the water, which is 30on the Legoland Florida map)
We opted to pack our own lunches, although you could choose to let your group buy their food at the park.
If you pack lunches, Legoland keeps them for you in a wagon.
We packed our lunches in an insulated bag.
My boys wanted to try the apple fries as some people really seemed to enjoy these. I tried them and liked them but the boys only had a few of them.

5. On the boat ride called Boating School (50 on the Legoland Florida map),  it is very helpful to have an adult ride with younger children, even if they are tall enough to ride on their own.
The boats can get twirled around and it could be a little frustrating if they are on the boat without an adult or older child.
The nice Legoland staff person who was working the ride suggested that an adult ride with the boys and I was glad that she did. They were able to totally figure it out on their own to right the boat but with me on with them, it made it so they still did it on their own but weren't nervous when it turned a 360.

6. Be sure to check out Flight School, Driving School, Coastersaurus, Pharaoh's Revenge Lost Kingdom Adventure, Kid Power Towers, the Carousel, and the Pirate WaterSki Show!

My boys love the following attractions:
These were their absolute favorites, although they thoroughly enjoyed the entire park.
Flight school (49 on the Legoland Florida map)
Driving school (46 & 47 on the Legoland Florida map)
Coastersaurus (55 on the Legoland Florida map)
Pharaoh's Revenge play area (59 on the Legoland Florida map)
Lost Kingdom Adventure (58 on the Legoland Florida map)
Kid Power Towers (42 on the Legoland Florida map)
They also enjoyed the Pirate Waterski show, although we sat on the hill instead of actually where they have designated to sit. The designated area is 29 on the Legoland Florida map...we sat / stood on the hill by 30...)
That way, the kids could run and roll on the hill while watching the show.
The Dragon was pretty good according to the boys. I did not go on that. If you are hot, you could go to one of the indoor shows for some air conditioning. The indoor shows are nice as is the Cypress Gardens area of the park if you have time to check that out. If you are into lovely scenery, the lush surroundings really make this park a stand out. My personal favorite was the waterfall area that had Lego animals including two adorable red foxes.

We also heard great things about the Duplo area for younger children, although we did not spend time in the Duplo area.

***There are many other wonderful attractions at Legoland Florida...these just happen to be some of the boys' favs.***

7. Suggest walking through Lego Miniland USA in the afternoon while having a snack.
We saved walking around Lego Miniland USA area until the end and were glad that we did as we took the whole area in at a nice slow pace while having ice cream.
To see the different American cities built out of Lego is AMAZING!
Plus, they have made it interactive so be on the lookout for the buttons that you can press to interact with the displays.
The Lego Star Wars MiniLand is awesome too! All Star Wars fans will surely dig this neat area.

8. Not sure if the water park will be open when you go...but if it is, that would be fun!
It wasn't open when we went, but we are looking forward to trying the water park one day soon!

9. Be sure to check out the various stores and such!
The various stores at Legoland Florida have some Lego sets that you don't often see at Target or Toys R Us  so you may want to budget some time to pop into the shops to check out their selction of Lego sets, as well as the various clothing and accessories in the stores.

You can get cute t-shirts and hats that you don't see in stores.
You can also purchase Lego Education sets and Mindstorms and those are not usually found in stores.

10. Last but not least, if you live in Florida, you should enter this contest to win a family Family 4-pack of Annual Passes!!!

How awesome would this be?!?
We would LOVE to win this for our own family!
Disclaimer:This contest is not affiliated with Sunrise Learning Lab. Just happened to see it on the Legoland Florida website and thought that any of my blog readers would also want to know about this contest. We love Legoland Florida and think that winning a family 4-pack of annual passes would be great for any and all Lego enthusiasts!

Have you been to Legoland Florida?
Have you been to any other Lego themeparks or stores?
Do you have a Lego-themed Pinterest board that you wish to share?
If you do, please be sure to mention it in the comments section of this post!

1 comment:

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