LEGOLAND and Givskud Zoo

From the moment our kids heard that we would be visiting Legoland they couldn’t stop talking about it and asking when the day would come.  Did it live up to their expectations?  Read on to find out the answer to that question and also learn about the new Lego House and Givskud Zoo, two great family attractions that hadn’t originally been on our radar.

Into Denmark – Country #5

Last time we reviewed our journey from the UK to Amsterdam by ferry.  After making it back to the continent we made an overnight stop in Lubeck, Germany before continuing on to Denmark.  At the border between Germany and Denmark we were surprised to see border controls since both countries are in the Schengen area.  There is supposed to be free movement between the countries, but due to the recent wave of refugees in Europe some countries have set up checkpoints

Most cars were waved past but we were flagged into the inspection area (probably because of our weird French temporary transit license plates).  After a quick chat with the immigration officer we continued on our way.

Givskud Zoo

When looking for a budget-friendly place to stay near Legoland we settled on a hostel in Givskud, about 20 minutes away.  Since Givskud Zoo was across the street from our hostel we decided to check it out.

Givskud Zoo packs in several attractions at one place.  There’s the zoo, of course, which is part safari and part traditional zoo. There’s also a dinosaur park, an Ice Age exhibit, and multiple large playgrounds.

For the safari portion there’s an option for a self drive or for a guided tour by bus (at additional cost).  We elected to drive our own car.

The safari is broken up into several areas, with different animals in each section.  Along the way there are three different parking areas where we got out of the car and explored the exhibits and playgrounds via walking trails.

Black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

It was a sunny day and the elephants were applying their kind of sunscreen, hay and mud.

Near the parking areas there were also excellent playgrounds and snack bars.  Many people had brought their own food and there were even gas grills available for use.

In some of the animal enclosures visitors walk right through among the animals.  In one we were able to see Barbary Macaques up close.  There were signs warning visitors to keep a tight grip on small items like glasses because the monkeys sometimes try to steal them! 

Ring-tailed Lemur.

The petting zoo included a playground that kids of multiple species could use at the same time. 🙂

The dinosaur park features life-sized models of 26 different species of dinosaurs.  This section of the park was very well done and was extensive enough that it could have been a stand-along attraction. 

It was fun to stand next to the dinosaurs to get an appreciation of how big they really were, like this towering Argentinosaurus.

 

Yet another area of the park featured Ice Age animals and exhibits on climate change through the ages.  We learned that “Saber Toothed Tigers” are not closely related to tigers (they are closer to today’s house cat).

We ended our visit to Givskud Zoo with some play time at the jumping playground that had several trampolines of different shapes and sizes as well as inflatable bouncers.  This is the kind of playground that you’d never see in the USA due to liability concerns.  The kids had a blast!

While Givskud Zoo wasn’t originally on our radar we were happy that we found out about it and made a visit.  We spent an afternoon there but could easily have made a full day of it given all there is to see and do.

LEGOLAND

When the day finally came to visit Legoland the kids were full of anticipation, not unlike Christmas morning.  We made sure to arrive a few minutes before opening time which turned out to be a good decision because we were able to park in the closest lot, not far from the entrance.

Discounted tickets are widely available; purchasing online in advance usually saves 30% off the gate price.  We did a bit better, saving 50% on tickets using a coupon that we found on the back of a cereal box during our stay in Germany.

After purchasing our tickets and getting them scanned at the entrance we headed for the Ninjago area in the back of the park since many reviewers recommended starting there to minimize ride wait times.

Dressed for the occasion in Ninjago land.

Lego X-Wing

The kids had a great time on the rides including several roller coasters as well as water rides.  Some of them seemed suspiciously familiar to a certain park in Florida, for example, a ride where riders in a canoe plunge off a cliff and another where we made our way through a haunted building before being dropped in a simulated elevator.

Splash!

“Ice Pilots” was a ride that felt more original.  Here, we used a touchscreen to program our own ride by selecting the flips and turns that we would experience.  Then we were secured to a seat attached to a huge robotic arm that swung us around in the motions that we had selected.

Our kids had a great time on the rides and were the ideal age to enjoy them, except for our youngest son who was a little too short to ride some of the coasters (120cm minimum).  Older kids might find the rides a bit tame compared to high-flying coasters at a traditional theme park.

Another attraction is the aquarium where sharks and other fish swim among the Lego creations.

Where Legoland really shines is within Miniland, a collection of 20 million bricks arranged to recreate cities and monuments from around the world.  The amount of detail in these models is amazing.  Trains and cars move around the miniature towns and there are even working locks and drawbridges for boats to pass through.

Bergen, Norway in miniature.  We’ll be seeing the real-life version soon!

Our day at Legoland was by far the kids’ favorite day of our trip so far.  We arrived before it opened and stayed until the gates were closing at 9pm and they wished we could have stayed even longer!

Here are our tips for making the most of your visit to Legoland:

  • Arrive at least 20 minutes before park opening to get a good parking spot and to avoid traffic getting into the park.
  • When the park opens head to the rides at the back of the park to minimize wait time (the Flying Eagle coaster had the longest wait time when we visited).
  • Bring water bottles, especially if it is a hot day.  Buying water bottles (or other drinks) in the park is expensive! There’s a faucet near the aquarium where bottles can be refilled.
  • Similarly, you can bring your own food.
  • Check for cereal box coupons to save on tickets, or buy online ahead of your visit.

Lego House

Lego House is a new (opened in 2017) Lego attraction in the downtown area of Billund.  We decided to stop by on our way out of town prior to driving on to Copenhagen.

The ticketed area of Lego House has four different zones where Lego fans can take part in various Lego themed activities and make their own creations.  Since we only had a short time to visit we decided to stick to the free areas of Lego House.

In the center of Lego House is the “Tree of Creativity”, a huge sculpture made of over six million bricks!

In the lobby there are Lego competitions that run throughout the day.  We competed in a brick breaking competition in which we had to separate blocks of bricks into as many single pieces as possible.

Both kids and adults were invited to participate and Wes took first place!

It is possible to climb up the roof of Lego House.  On the way up there are several play areas.

Surf’s up!

Has anyone seen the Beatles around here?

On the first floor of Lego House is a huge Lego store with many limited edition sets.  Given our limited luggage capacity the kids had to settle for creating their own mini-figures.

The Lego House is definitely worth a stop for any brick fan.

Summing Up

We had a great visit to the Billund area and we definitely could have stayed longer than two days and had plenty to do (next time we’d also like to visit the water park at Lalandia).

In our next update we’ll share our experiences exploring Copenhagen!  🙂

1 thought on “LEGOLAND and Givskud Zoo”

  1. Legoland sounds amazing, but so does the zoo. I love that they let you get close to some of the animals :-). Also, how very cool that housecats are distantly related to saber tooth tigers. Wild!

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