You have to see it to believe it: an entire theme park built out of brightly colored LEGO bricks, with 60 interactive rides, shows, and attractions. LEGOLAND California is an elaborate fantasyland that’s focused on kid-oriented fun, but even adults will be amazed at the incredible creativity and craftsmanship on display. Located north of San Diego near Carlsbad’s spectacular beaches, LEGOLAND is a must-visit for families. As the LEGO song goes, “Everything is awesome,” so pack up your mini master builders and go.
Explore Miniland USA
No one walks away unimpressed by Miniland USA—a diorama of cities built from 34 million multi-colored LEGO bricks. You can’t help but stare at the mini Las Vegas strip, pint-size Washington D.C., teeny-tiny New Orleans, and wee-sized Golden Gate Bridge, all built with painstaking accuracy. (You may find yourself mesmerized by the LEGO characters practicing Tai-Chi in New York’s Central Park.)
Stay at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel
To maximize your park time, stay at the 250-room LEGOLAND Castle Hotel, which opened in 2018, or the LEGOLAND Resort Hotel, both near the park’s main entrance. Rooms are decorated in lavish detail according to theme, so your kids can stay as princesses, knights, adventure heroes, or magic wizards. Kids love seeing the brick-tastic LEGO statues that crop up everywhere, and even the LEGOLAND Resort Hotel elevators are designed for fun: As soon as the doors close, the disco music starts.
Ride the Deep Sea Adventure
LEGOLAND California sets itself apart from other theme parks in that guests aren’t just spectators. Most rides and attractions are highly interactive, so your kids will be highly engaged. On the Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride, passengers look through the sub’s portholes to find LEGO models and search for gold coins, pearls, and other sunken treasures. In the Fun Town driving school, they pilot electric LEGO cars on a pint-sized road. (Driver’s licenses are awarded to kids who stop at red lights.) In Ninjago The Ride, kids put their Ninja warrior skills to the test by controlling animated fireballs, lightning, shockwaves, and ice.
Learn at Sea Life Aquarium
At Sea Life Aquarium, guests visit with more than 5,000 sea creatures—from sharks to seahorses to jellyfish (and these are 100 percent real, not made of LEGOs). Your kids can feel the “skin” of sea stars and spiny sea urchins in touch pools, and walk through a virtual bioluminescent tide under a sky full of stars, even if it’s the middle of the day.
Ride the Dragon Rollercoaster
LEGOLAND has its share of fun rides, too. The thrills are on the milder side to accommodate young riders, but even so, your too-cool-for-school teenagers will let out a few screams on The Dragon rollercoaster. Dragon-shaped cars twist, turn, climb, and descend inside and out of a massive LEGO castle, home to knights, princesses, and one giant LEGO-constructed dragon.