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Kids in Prague

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Berlin

Weekends Away on 21 March 2010 by Karen

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There are currently only 4 LEGOLAND Discovery Centres in the whole world and one of these is in Berlin. The capital city of Germany can quite easily be reached by car, train or bus and it only takes around 3 1/2 hours to get there from Prague. This makes it a fabulous destination for a weekend getaway.

The modern history of Berlin is sometimes very dark and sinister but since reunification, the city has worked hard at re-inventing itself and presents as a modern, multicultural and flourishing metropolis.

There is a myriad of things that you can do here, with or without kids. Visit one of the great parks, pop into the aquarium or Berlin’s famous zoo. You could hop on a roof-less tour bus, visit one of the many great museums or galleries or opt for a quiet boat trip on the river Spree. You also must not miss a visit to the German Parliament Building, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and taking a look at what’s left over from the Berlin Wall.

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If you are pressed for time and would like to get a quick overview of Berlin in 10 minutes or less then visit: here. For fast information on accommodation and other tourist tips go to: here

If the weather is less than good, why not pay a visit to the indoor LEGOLAND Discovery Centre? It is located in what used to be the former Eastern part of Berlin, just several minutes’ walk from the Potzdamer Platz Railway station.

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Although not quite as large as its sister company LEGOLAND Deutschland in Bavaria, there is still plenty to explore and you could easily pass 2-4 hours of your time in here. There are over 14 separate attractions all under one roof. Since it’s all indoors, it is a mega place to keep the kids occupied, especially during the dreary winter months of November to March.

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As there are fewer automated rides, the centre is much more play and interaction focused. Children are encouraged to explore, build and test out what they have built. There are several sections spaced out over two storeys.

1.MINILAND -

This section shows a model of the centre of Berlin built entirely out of LEGO blocks. The light change which occurs every few minutes, portrays what the city looks and sounds like both during the day as well as the night.

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2.DRAGON QUEST -

You’ll find an automated ‘dragon’ roller coaster here, that even very young children can ride on without being terrified..

3 LEGO STUDIOS -

Short LEGO feature films are shown in this area. During our visit, the highlight was Bob the Builder in 4D!

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4.LEGO FACTORY (Die Fabrik) -

The screen in this section demonstrates how LEGO men get made. Afterwards, you get to step inside a ‘real’ LEGO factory where you get shown how a LEGO block comes to life.

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5. BUILD & TEST -

Here, you can build tall LEGO towers on special surfaces which, will start vibrating once a button is pressed, trying hard to destroy all that you have constructed!

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6. JUNGLE ADVENTURE -

A walk through a LEGO inspired ‘jungle’, with a few fun surprises.

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7. MASTER MODEL/BUILDER -

My 8-year-old son and I found this to be one of the most interesting activities at the centre. It was a ½ hour, German-English interactive workshop, where the participants all sat behind desks, while the instructor at the front, first gave a plan and then entertaining instructions on how to build something out of a set of LEGO pieces. In our case, it was the Berlin Parliament Building. At the end we got to keep our ‘creation’ for 2.50 EUR and received a certificate to boot.

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Four-year-old Albie loved playing with the DUPLO blocks and both boys enjoyed burning off steam at the sliding, bumping and jumping PHYSICAL PLAY area. I noticed that lots of local parents were just sitting around drinking coffee and reading the papers, while their kids ran wild.

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As for the amenities, you’ll find plenty of lockers for storage (clothes and buggy), baby chairs, change tables and children’s toilets and basins. The only food that you will get is basic café fare which includes hot dogs. If you want to eat something more substantial, then pop into one of the eateries at the nearby SONY Village.

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Finally, just a little accommodation tip if you are traveling with several children, and would like to stay in an apartment. I can recommend “Apartments am Brandenburger Tor”. These are at very close proximity not only to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre but also to the Brandenburg Gate and German Parliament Building. Parking is available (they give you a spot outside). We always stay here when traveling to Berlin. Once we even had an apartment which gave spectacular views of the massively haunting Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (built in 2005), located directly below.

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OPEN: Monday- Sunday- 10am - 7pm (last admission 5pm). The retail store is open from 10:00am until 7:00pm daily.

ADDRESS: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Berlin, Potsdamer Straße 4,10785 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany. Tel: +49 30 301040-0.The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is located in the Sony Center at the Potsdamer Platz, close to the Metro Station (U-Bahn) of Potsdamer Platz. If you are already in Berlin and looking for the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, then here are your options: By Bus: M48, 200, 357 Station Varian-Fry-Str.; M41 Station Potsdamer Platz. ByTube (U-Bahn, S-Bahn und RE Bahn) U2, S1, S2, S25, RE3, RE4, RE5 Station Potsdamer Platz. If you are travelling by car, there are two car parks located in the close vicinity of the Sony Center.

DIRECTIONS FROM PRAGUE

BY TRAIN: There are 8 train departures between Prague and Berlin and vice versa each day. You have to leave from the International Terminal of either Hlavni Nadrazi (Central Train Station) or Nadrazi Holesovice. This is also where you can purchase tickets. The cost is about 800-100 CZK per adult. Concession prices apply to children. Various specials are available if you book online: www.eshop.cd.cz, where tickets can be purchased at just 29 EUR one-way (not including night trains). This price applies to both adults and children and has to be booked between 3 days to 2 months before departure. If you travel on this special ticket, don’t forget to get it validated by a conductor on the way to Berlin. If you forget, you could face problems on your way back to Prague from Berlin, as the special 29 EUR tickets are only valid if you go: PRG-BER-PRG. To find out the best price, routing etc for your particular train trip, you can email CD (Czech Rail), in English, 24/7 on :.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with the dates, times you’d like to travel and number of people travel. They usually get back to you within 24 hours. If you’d prefer speaking to an operator, then use the CD (Czech Rail) 24-hour hotline: Tel: 840 112 113. Czech, English, German and Russian are spoken.

BY BUS: There are daily bus connections between Prague and Berlin, each time departing from the International Bus Terminal located next to Florenc (Yellow Line C), Metro Station. The cost varies between 500-950 CZK per person, one-way. Monthly specials apply, if you ask at the International Ticket Counter.

BY CAR: The distance between Prague and Berlin is about 350km. Here is the General Route you’ll have to follow: Drive North on theD8/E55 in the direction of Teplice/Usti nad Labem/D-Dresden. Once you enter Germany continue along the A17/E55, followed by several turn-offs to Berlin/Cottbus. You can get an easy to follow, 1-page print out of your trip, from door to door, by logging onto: www.viamichelin.com

TICKETS: Standard Ticket: One day admission to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and unlimited access to all of the attractions. Adult 12,95 EUR Child 9,95 EUR. Flexi 7: Not sure which day you of the week you want to visit? Then buy a Flexi 7 ticket! The Flexi 7 can be used on any single day within a week from the specified date. Ticket includes one day admission to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and unlimited access to all of the attractions. Adult 15,95 EUR Child 12,95 EUR Flexi 365:The Flexi 365 ticket is valid for use for one year from the date of purchase, so it’s perfect if you don’t know when you want to visit. Ticket includes one day admission to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and unlimited access to all of the attractions. Adult 17.95 EUR Child 14.95 EUR. Afternoon Ticket: For the best value ticket available, visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre after 3pm! The Afternoon ticket includes admission to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and unlimited access to all of the attractions. Only valid after 3pm. Adult 7,00 EUR, Child 7,00 EUR.

ACCOMODATION: Apartments am Brandenburger Tor: http://www.apartments-mitte.de/) or search on: http://www.berlin-toruist-information.de

FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.legolanddiscoverycentre.com

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