It’s almost as if Candy Land has come to town for good, but with more clever fun and without those sugar-induced heebie-jeebies. Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta is new at Phipps Plaza and the reviews are in: It’s a hit for all ages.

“They’ve covered all the territory,” says Jennifer Carver of Canton. “I love how it’s so much fun, yet just as educational – there are lessons here in everything from physics to architecture.” While three of her five kids (ages 1 to 8), were busy at various activities within the huge physical-play area called the Main Hub, Carver was seated in the “Lego’s Friends” corner (complete with karaoke stage) as daughter Rachel, 3, assembled pink and purple Lego cupcakes. “I love that you get to just let your kids go and let their imaginations run wild,” Carver says. “Everyone’s having fun – including Dad and Grandpa.”
“Are you kidding?” says Kristine Scott, when Atlanta Parent asked if her family of five were enjoying their first visit to the family-fun center. “This is my kids’ dream come true!” The colorfully-wow interactive attraction, with two amusement rides within its 35,000 square feet, occupies one end of the top floor at Phipps.
Jacob Scott, 7, loved building Lego race cars, then zooming them down a steep track. The hub area has a host of stations, all loaded with Lego pieces. At the “earthquake table,” kids build Lego towers, then turn knobs to see if their structures survive various levels of quakes.
Jacob sat in for one of the “master model builder” classes, which are offered continuously. He also enjoyed both of the rides. On Kingdom Quest, you climb into a “chariot” for four that winds through rooms with high-fantasy video projections; each rider uses his laser gun to aim at targets such as spiders and ghouls. The object is to save a princess. Kingdom Quest is dark and strange enough to frighten some; it’s best for ages 3-4 and up. Merlin’s Apprentice is an “airborne carousel.” You ride in a two-seat car with pedals at your feet; the harder and faster you pedal, the higher your car goes.
Once you’re inside Legoland Discovery Center – which begins in a “Factory” where Professor Brick-a-Brack walks you through the Lego-making process – you can play as long as you like with an endless supply of Legos, and ride both rides as often as you choose.
Jacob’s mom Kristine said her children “enjoyed burning off some energy and stretching their imaginations.” And she liked that  “I wasn’t responsible for the mess!” Days later, her 2-year-old  Sam was still asking: “Mommy, can I go back to Lego?” For tykes like Sam, there’s Duplo Village, with softer, larger Lego bricks, and plenty of creative play. (No shoes here.)
Don’t miss the interactive Miniland, featuring Atlanta landmarks built entirely out of more than 994,000 Lego bricks: Turner Field, the Fox Theatre, CNN Center, The Varsity, the Georgia Dome, Stone Mountain Park and more. Every few minutes, Miniland transforms from day to night and the buildings light up. One visitor after another entered this Miniland with an “Oh, wow!” or  “Amazing!”
That about sums up this whole happy place.

– Julie Bookman

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