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Legoland California: A Theme Park For The Kid In All Of Us

Jun 20, 2008
Legoland California is a 128-acre theme park located in Carlsbad, near San Diego. It is the third of four Legoland parks and is the only Lego theme park in the United States. Geared to children between the ages of 2 and 12, it features more than 50 interactive rides, shows and attractions as well as Lego-themed restaurants and shops. The park is also beautifully landscaped with 1,360 bonsai trees and other plants from around the world.

The current team of model builders at Legoland California design, build and maintain the more than 15,000 Lego models that make the park a one-of-a-kind vacation destination. Models in the area range from the 20-foot-tall Stratosphere tower to the intricate sculpture of an MGM icon, made from 1,250 Lego bricks. The largest Miniland hotel, the Venetian, is comprised of more than 20 individual models. The park is divided into nine themed areas listed below:

1. "The Beginning" is the entryway into Legoland California and features "The Big Shop". This 8000-square-foot store offers the largest selection of Lego items in the United States and includes Legoland signature products along with harder-to-find sets.

2. "Dino Island" is the prehistoric area of the park where kids can dig for 'fossils' at the "Dig Those Dinos" sandy playground. It is also home to The "Coastersaurus" roller coaster.

3. "Explore Village" features several adventurous rides including the Jeep tour, "Safari Trek" to see life-sized Lego animals. Guests can also explore the village on the "Legoland Express" train or the "Fairy Tale Brook" boat ride. This area also features a ventriloquist show at the "Playtown Theater" and the "Playtown" and "Water Works" play areas.

4. "Fun Town" is a scaled down town where kids can learn to fly at the "Flight Squadron" or captain a boat at "Skipper School". In the popular ride, "Volvo Driving School", children can drive small electric cars made to look like Lego cars around a small road network and gain a mock driving license. They can also race fire trucks at the "Fun Town Fire Academy", learn about fire safety at "The Big Test" stage show and find the 7 Lego keys to save Johnny Thunder at the "Adventurer's Club". Guests can also take the "Lego Factory Tour" to see how the famous building blocks are made.

5. "Pirate Shores" features water attractions designed around the ever-popular pirate theme. In "Splash Battle", the only ride of its kind in the United States, kids can navigate pirate ships, complete with water cannon, on a high sea adventure. Exploding volcanoes and roving bands of pirates add to the adrenaline thrills. Other rides include "Captain Cranky's Challenge" and the "Treasure Falls" mini-flume log ride with two plunges. Kids can also splash around at the "Swabbies Deck" and "Soak-N-Sail" water play areas.

6. "Knight's Kingdom" is a medieval themed area home to "The Dragon" indoor coaster in the Knight's Kingdom Castle. Cross a medieval moat become a knight in training in "Knight's Tournament", where cutting edge robotic technology meets medieval Lego fun. Guests can also participate in a "Royal Joust", enjoy the "Enchanted Walk" walk-through attraction and explore the multi-level play areas of "The Hideaways".

7. "Miniland USA" is the heart of Legoland California where mini versions of famous US landmarks are located. Guests can take a walking tour of all the landmarks or board the "Coast Cruise" for a boat ride around the sites and shores of Miniland. Also featured here is the" Block of Fame" art gallery which houses 3-D busts of famous figures.

8. "Imagination Zone" welcomes guests with several over-sized models and also features the Lego Racers 4-D movie at the "Lego Show Place". Rides include the "Lego Technic Test Track" coaster, the "Aquazone Wave Racers" and the spinning "Bionicle Blaster". Kids can also enter the Imagination Zone and play Lego PC games at "Maniac Challenge" and design their own creations at the "Build & Test" and "Bionicle Evolution".

9. The "Land of Adventure" is Legoland California's newest area which opened in March 2008. It features the "Lost Kingdom Adventure" where guests are taken on an adventure ride, armed with laser guns, to recover a stolen treasure and uncover a forgotten empire. Riders board Jeeps and travel through nine different scenes along the way, including a spider's lair, professor's lab, mummy relics and a skeleton band that requires riders to hit the correct targets to make the bones "pull themselves together" and become musicians.

At "Pharaoh's Revenge", children and parents journey through ancient temple ruins to recover a pharaoh's stolen treasure while launching thousands of foam balls at targets and each other. "Beetle Bounce" boosts children to even bigger heights -- nearly 15 feet to be exact -- as they are launched up one of two obelisks nearly touching the gigantic Lego beetles above them. Other rides include the new "Cargo Ace" airplane ride.

Legoland California is open 7 days a week during the months of June, July and August and is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the school year. The park is not as busy as others, so unless you can visit on a weekday during the school year, your selection of specific day won't matter all that much.

The nice thing about Legoland California is that it is an amusement park that is truly dedicated to wholesome family fun and the crowd is typically younger than you'll find at Disneyland or Universal Studios. Food is pricey, but there are several healthy choices such as pretzels and fruit in addition to standard fattening park favorites. You can also find discounted tickets easily with an online search so be sure to shop around for the best price when planning your trip.

This California attraction makes for a great family vacation destination. It offers something for the kid in all of us and allows one to experience, or re-experience, the joy of just playing for the sake of playing. From mild to thrilling, most every ride and attraction gives guests the opportunity to take control of their adventure and to use their imaginations to create whatever fun trip they wish. Be sure to include Legoland California on your next trip to the Golden State.
About the Author
Kelley Falgout is a theme park enthusiast and publisher of www.FamilyThemeParkVacations.com, a vacation planning tool and continuously growing database of all theme parks, amusement parks and water parks located across the United States. Click here to get your free copy of the Orlando Attractions Vacation Guide.
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