Activities & Resources
Legoland California452in Carlsbad, CA 92008
about Legoland California:
The park's sixty-plus rides, shows, and attractions are perfect for the under-12 set, with educational opportunities sprinkled liberally among them and more than 22,000 ingenious Lego sculptures to inspire and impress. Seven themed areas surround Miniland at its heart - a display featuring models that cover the distance from Manhattan to the Las Vegas strip to Star Wars in breathtaking detail.
Each of the other areas has rides and activities that cater to all ages of visitors, though Dino Island and Duplo Village are more heavily weighted at the younger end of the spectrum. Even so, we found that some of the attractions here - especially Fairy Tale Brook and Water Works - provide a welcome break for all ages when feet start getting tired.
Fun Town is home to the Volvo Driving School, where drivers ages six and up get to motor around a miniature city without a track, obeying traffic signals and earning driver's licenses (younger drivers have a version with a track). Other popular items here are the Sky Cruiser, offering a high-altitude, pedaled perspective on the park, and the Fire Academy, where families compete in a surprisingly demanding race to put out fires. A Factory Tour is also offered in Fun Town, which gives kids a whole new appreciation for the little bricks - not to mention an opportunity to buy any color and size they might be missing from the bulk bins.
Pirate Shores offers lots of opportunities to get wet, while Castle Hill is home to Legoland's signature Dragon rollercoaster. It's also home to a signature snack well worth sampling - Granny's Apple Fries - and the biggest medieval play structure imaginable.
Land of Adventure's prime attraction is the Lost Kingdom, where families arm themselves with laser pistols and collect points aiming at targets. Our family's favorite, however, was the Technic Test Track in Imagination Zone; this is a belly-dropping coaster with individual cars that run amok on a pseudo-test drive. Most of this zone is dedicated to hands-on experimentation, with areas for creating Bionicles heros, race cars, and other block projects.
It's hard to do justice with words to the intricate Lego sculptures all over the park; suffice it to say that they are a treat to all, and mind-blowing to enthusiasts. The Safari Trek ride, for example, is more than just a pretend safari ride; it's an opportunity to marvel at how anyone could create such realistic ostriches, monkeys, and lion cubs out of interlocking plastic bricks.
Two other parks exist within the main park but can be visited independently as well: the Water Park - open seasonally - and Legoland's Sea Life Aquarium, home to 200 species and 70-odd Lego models in a two-story, 36,000-square-foot facility. Aquarium admission prices range from $13-$20.
The water park is perhaps the biggest argument to be made for a season pass. A family could easily spend more than one hot day just lounging in this area, enjoying the lazy river (with inner tubes that act as bases for Lego constructions), the water slides (both individual and family size), the pools and splash areas, and a construction area with giant bricks that are used to create and destroy forts and castles all day long. Lockers are available, as are lounge chairs, cabanas, and air dryers to make a visit as convenient as can be.
Legoland offers birthday parties, a mom's club, and many seasonal events. For more information, visit the park's website.
It is helpful to go with more than one adult if taking children of different sizes, as each ride has different height restrictions, and kids under 42" or even 48" often require an adult along. Waiting times for the most popular rides are often more than 30 minutes, though several of these have Lego tables or play areas nearby to keep kids from getting too antsy.