Legoland California - Carlsbad, California - theme park based on Lego toys

Legoland California is critically acclaimed as one of the most unique amusement parks, as it is based around a theme of Lego blocks. Opened in 1999, this park was the third of its kind, following Legolands in Billund, Denkmark and Windsor, Berkshire in England. There is now also a Legoalnd in Gunzburg, Germany. Legoland California caters to a younger crowd, but with over 50 rides and attractions, there is something for everyone at this park, regardless of age.

It is apparent that this park has a Lego theme from the moment guests approach the front gates. At The Beginning, the park's entrance, the park features a 9-foot tall dinosaur made completely out of real Lego bricks. The dinosaur, named Bronte, is 34 feet long and leads guests into the park. Near the gate, visitors can find The Big Shop, a 8000-square-foot Lego retail store, along with The Market, a caf, with fresh baked goods and gourmet drinks. The park is split into seven other areas, each bringing a new theme to life with Legos.

Near the gate, guests can find Dino Island. This area opened in 2004 and features a prehistoric theme. Kids can ride on the miniature steel coaster, which is named Coastersaurus and weaves in and out of giant Lego dinosaurs. Guests can also visit this area's Dig Those Dinos area, where they can find faux bones, or move on to the next area. Called Explore Village, this part of the park has interactive water and music features, the Fairy Tale Brook boat ride, a playgroup, and the Safari Trek, where guests can see life-sized Lego plants and animals.

Another popular area in Legoland California is Fun Town. This area has two driving courses where kids can learn to drive Lego cars. The first track is for younger children, and the second is for kids aged 6 to 13. There are also Lego boats that children can pilot, an interactive firefighter attraction called Fire Academy, a Lego airplanes ride, a Lego helicopter, and other interactive Lego rides.

The Knight's Kingdom area, which was first called Castle Hill, has a larger roller coaster called the Dragon. This section of the park, which has a medieval theme, also has a robotic ride that allows riders to chose how daring it is, a miniature golf course, and Hideaways, a large wooden playground filled with ropes, slides, bridges, and more. Legoland California's interactive theme continues in The Imagine Zone, which has Lego PC games, a Lego car-building test center, and a water ride where riders can chose how wet they get.

Pirate Shores has a number of water rides based on a pirates theme, as well as carnival games, and in Land of Adventure, guests will find the newest section of the park, which has an Egyptian theme and features bounce attractions, plane rides, a large slide, and other rides. Before leaving, guest can also make time to visit Miniland USA, which has replicas of seven United States areas made entirely out of Lego bricks. These tiny reproductions include New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New Orleans.

Legoland California is open year-round, though they have shortened hours and are closed some days during the winter. From the end of June through the end of August, the park is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. One-day admission costs $53 for children and seniors and $63 for adults, though the park does offer discounts for 2-day admission packages, California Resort Park Hopper passes, and more. Call 760-918-LEGO for more information.

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