Legoland California (page 1)
When it comes to fun for the whole family, Legoland California is a fabulous destination. There seems to be something for everyone: the young, the old, and the young at heart.
Legoland California is the only Lego themed amusement park outside of Europe (the others are in Denmark, England, and Germany). It opened in March 1999 and at times, had over 1 million visitors per year! Now, if you're going to compete with 1 million visitors, you better get to know the park before you go.
Scroll down to read everything from beginning to end, or choose a section that interest you. Follow along with this simple map
After you park your car, walk towards the Legoland front gate where you buy entry tickets. Here, you will find Guest Services which includes lost and found, membership cards, wheelchair/stroller rentals, first aid, lockers and storage.
Be sure to grab a park map. Once in, you can go left or right. It doesn't matter which way you go because it is a loop and you'll come around anyway. But for most new visitors, your best bet is to go left - that's where you'll find the typical theme park fun stuff.
Heading towards the left will get you to the area called Dino Island. The main feature here is a small, steel roller coaster called Coastersaurus. There's also an archeological sand pit where you can sweep for dinosaur bones. Dig those Dinos has 30 cubic yard of sand, so there's plenty to do there (photo). Both of these activities are free. Be sure to admire the dinosaurs completely made out of legos. Some of them are electric and can move.
Raptor Splash is a water balloon fighting station: you have to pay extra to play this game. On hot sunny days, you might see water balloon fights between parents and kids. Or two families bombing each other while in battle stations (photo).
Keep going to get to the next section of Legoland called Duplo Village. There are two rides here (three, really):
Safari Trek (car ride on tracts), and
Fairy Tale Brook (boat ride; photo).
Probably the best part of this area is Water Works where you and the kids can do some serious water play. You can pedal a bike which forces water out the spout; aim it at the snapping crocodile's mouth (photo)! Jump on the disks and start the water flow which powers the music from the Lego-instruments (photo). Oh, did you ever wonder how it looks like to be in a water fountain? This is where you find out: step onto a disk and jump to start the water fountain (photo). If you're real clever, you can do this without getting wet. Basically this part of Legoland is great for free play.
Within this area is a place called Duplo Playtown. This is a partially enclosed area dedicated to babies, toddlers, and young children. There are large, kid-safe, play structures such as houses, slides, a walk through maze (only waist high), and easy-to-grasp Duplo pieces.
Legoland Express is a train ride suitable for babies and children. Note: there are very few rides suitable for small children, so enjoy this train ride while you're here (photo).
Keep moving along and enter Fun Town. Along the way, you will find a gateway that leads to the right. This area has two very interesting rides: the Kid Power Tower and the Sky Cruiser. Line up for these two rides are often quite long - it's very popular. The Kid Power Tower require that you sit on a chair and pull yourself up by pulling on the rope & pulley system. Once at the top, let go and free fall to the bottom (photo). What a rush!
The Legoland Sky Cruiser is much less shocking, but is also a self powered ride. Here, you get into peppermint-candy-wheel cars and pedal along. The faster you pedal, the faster you'll go. You can get a good view of the park because the cars go above ground like a monorail (photo).
The line up for these two rides can be extensive, if you wish to bypass them, keep going and the path will open up to a fairly expansive area. You will find Sky Patrol: a helicopter ride that takes you up & down and round & round.
There are two Driving Schools where kids can drive mini-electric cars. It is divided into two sections young drivers (ages 6 - 13) and even-younger drivers (ages 3 to 5). Can 3 year olds drive? They can drive you up the walls can't they? Seriously, don't worry: the facilitators will guide them along.
Fun Town has an open air auditorium where you can see the Fire Academy Show. This is a good show that kids enjoy time and time again. It's about firefighters in training. Their antics, acrobatics, and clumsy behavior is sure to make you laugh. This one is worth the wait, check map for show times.
Want to be a firefighter too? Play the Fun Town Fire Academy activity. Here partners pump the see-saw lever to propel a fire truck forward. Once there, use the hose to extinguish the fire (photo).
In this section you will also find two indoor adventures. The Lego Factory Tour allows you to walk through a simulated Lego factory where Lego units are made. Everything from the individual units made from molds; to assembly machines that put the pieces into boxes and carts them off. You can test your skill as a factory worker by trying to stamp a face in the middle of the Lego man's head or by determining which box of Legos is a missing piece. Wow - this makes fast food services look easy.
The other indoor activity is the Adventurer's Club. Here you walk through various locations to find 7 lost keys (keys are very big, but camouflaged well). The simulated environments include a rain forest, an Egyptian tomb, and an Arctic cave. There is no age limit to enter the Lost Keys, but young children can be scary because it is dark inside.
Just outside this area is a rock climbing wall. there is another rock climbing wall in Land of Adventure.
As you move away from this part of Legoland there is a airplane ride called Flight Squadron. It goes round & round: Use the joy stick to move up & down. So if you have young children, be sure to take them on this no-stress ride (photo).
More unique is Skipper School where you can get onto a boat (which looks like Lego but is not) and drive along a pond. The boat is powered by a foot pedal and you can steer with a steering wheel. It's not as easy as it sounds and even some adults need to be hauled out of trouble by park facilitators. Not hard, but eatch out for those errant water currents.
Onwards and upwards! Keep going and enter Pirates Shores - this is a fairly new section of Legoland. It's a place to get wet. In fact, locals bring their swimming clothes and spend a majority of their time letting the kids soak themselves. If you didn't bring a swim suit, you can buy one from the gift shop.
What kind of games are here? Here's a summary:
- Soak N Sail is a free play area where water is sprayed, splashed, and poured liberally. It's like a jungle gym but with water: expect to get soaked, expect to have fun. photo.
- Swabbie Deck is similar to Soak N Sail except that it is designed for small children and is much more tame. photo.
- Splash Battle is ride where you board a pirate ship and then start shooting neighbors with water cannons, no body gets hurt, but everybody gets wet! photo.
- Treasure Falls is a floating-log ride that takes you down a 12 foot drop. photo.
- Captain Cranky's Challenge is a wild ride in which you board a boat and it swing like a pendulum left & right. Plus, it swivels so you have an added dimension to enjoy (or dread). Photo.
- Games: there are a few "county fair" games which you need to pay extra to play (throw basketball into the hoop to win a prize, etc). There's even a mini golf course called Wild Woods. photo).
If you want to have fun but don't want to get wet, then walk pass Pirates Shores and head towards Castle Hill. Here you will find:
The Enchanted Walk: a very easy walking trail that takes you around a lego-forest filled with lego-animals. photo.
A free play jungle gym called Hideaways. Kids can climb, crawl and slide while parents sit and recuperate. Park facilitators will help keep kids safe and on the right track, but - every now and then someone does come crying because s/he was overwhelmed by the numerous tunnels and crawl spaces.
For the brave Legoland knights among you, there are two crazy rides here for you. The Dragon Roller Coaster is a classic roller coaster.
The Knights Tournament is a giant robotic arm that swings you and twirls you over a moat. You can choose the intensity of your ride, but regardless, make sure you remove your hat, loose jewelry & coins, and anything that you don't want flung into the moat below. It's not for the faint of heart - some kids LOVE it but you may not photo, (video).
For the younger crowd, there's the Royal Joust. This is an easy Lego-Horse ride that takes the rider into an enchanted forest. The ride is safe, but be aware that there is a minute or two where you cannot see your child as s/he is at the far end of the loop. Parent and child both need to be brave here. photo.
From this point you can follow the signs to Legoland Miniland USA or the Land of Adventure
Miniland USA is predominantly a walking tour where you can see elaborate displays representing different parts of USA (all made of Lego). There are a few interactive activities where you press a button and things move or music is played. And there's a few pay-to-play activities where you race Lego boats. However, for the most part, this part of Legoland is appreciated by the older generation who recognize the US landmarks and understand the work involved in constructing the elaborate display structures. Photo: the Sydney Opera House made with thousands of Lego pieces.
Off to the corner, in an inconspicuous building called the Model Shop, you can see Master Lego Builders construct new and upcoming displays. It's a bit of a secret
because not many people know about it. Though, if you are interested in how they make these large lego displays, be sure to peak into the large window before you leave.
Miniland has a very tame boat ride called the Coast Cruise. A large, motorized boat will take you around the man-made pond where park facilitators will describe the waterfront sights. Highlights include a reproduction of the Taj Mahal, Mount Rushmore (photo), the Eiffel Tower, and the New York skyline (photo). They're all made of legos!.
In 2011, Miniland includes a new section devoted to Star Wars. Scenes from the various episodes of Star Wars are painstakingly constructed with Legos. Kids who know their Star War trivia will love this place! (photo).
The Imagination Zone
After you pass through Miniland you will turn left and enter the area called The Imagination Zone. There are 3 stunning rides here:
The first ride in this area is Aquazone Wave Racers. It's pretty exciting: you sit in 2-man pods which races you round & round. Spectators can press the green button and water jets will spurt out water. It's a game of chance, will you pass the jets before they launch? That depends on who's got their finger on the button!
The Bionicle Blaster is none other than the classic Tea Cup ride where it whirls you round & round (photo). But, take note of the giant Bionicle characters who stand on guard. Bionicle lovers should also head into the Bionicle Evolution room which has Bionicle displays, Bionicle videos, and Bionicle pieces for construction. It seems like everything Bionicle is here (photo).
Note, in 2011, Bionicle Evolution was changed to Hero Factory room (photo) to coincide with the discontinuation of the Bionicle series.
Technic Coaster is a wild roller coaster ride. The cars make sharp turns and there is a tremendous drop. Want to see how you look when you're roaring down a ramp? Your wish has just come true because they have an automatic camera to photograph you as you're plummeting down the track (photo).
Imagination Zone has a few sit-down-and-build rooms. As you walk along, you will find 4 or 5 buildings with indoor activities. These places are great if you are a Lego Builder at heart.
For the Lego enthusiasts, try the Maniac Challenge which allows you to construct motorized Lego projects; for example, a windmill or a helicopter with moving propellers.
If you love Lego even more, try Mindstorms. It's a notch more complex: facilitators will help you construct motorized robots that obey commands. Mindstorms is by reservation only, so sign up ahead of time.
The Build & Test allows you to build Lego vehicles and then race them on tracks with other vehicles. Is yours too slow? Go back to the drawing board and redesign your vehicle to make it sleeker, faster, better! photo.
Immediate beside the Build and Test is Duplo Play. This area has the larger size Lego pieces (Duplo) and is for the younger crowd. It's nice and quiet here so it's a good place to sit and rest a little.
Land of Adventure
If you have followed the Legoland route by first heading left after the entrance, then this section is the last section of the theme park. It is a fairly new development with an Ancient Egypt theme. The Lost Kingdom Adventure is a lego-jeep ride where you zoom along indoors (in the dark) and shoot targets with lasers. Very entertaining.
The Beetle Bounce is a vertical drop ride where you are strapped into your seat, lifted up 15' high, and then free-fall down with a bounce (photo). Ou, make sure your legoland lunch is settled before you try this ride.
Cargo Ace is a relatively tame ride where airplanes go round and round (photo).
The Pharaoh's Revenge is a room where you can shoot nerf balls (soft balls) through air-powered devices. It gets pretty crazy, but no one gets hurt and kids love it. After a long day of high tech rides and games, kids sometimes find this place the best: hands-on and back-to-basics of pelting each other with soft balls (photo).
Location, Hours of Operation, Parking
Legoland California LLC
1 Legoland Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008-4610
Hours of Operation: Hours of operation changes from season to season but generally the park is open 5 days a week: closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The park typically opens at 10 am and closes anytime between 5 pm to 9 pm depending on the day of the week, the season, and whether it is a holiday or not. See details here
Parking: There is a huge parking lot: be sure to look around and remember where you parked! Parking is $12 per car and $20 for preferred parking (closer to the main entrance). Re-entry privileges apply which is to say, you can go in and out as much as you like within the same day.
Price: Legoland is not cheap: for a single day entry, price is $71 for adults; $61 for children under 12; and free for children under 2. You need to pay extra for entry into Sea Life Aquarium or the Water Park. There are many deals such as 2-day passes, or passes that allow you entry into Legoland and Sea Life. See details here.
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Rides: description & restrictions
read about Shows
Things to Do (not rides)
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Babies in Legoland
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