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Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif., is a genius idea in terms of marketing. Playing with Lego brings back tons of childhood memories for millennials like me, and many of us are now parents toting our own little travelers to theme parks and beyond. Grandparents likely feel a sense of nostalgia watching their grandkids build with the same toys their own children loved. Then, you have the happy target demographic — kids ages 2 to 12 gleefully exploring a theme park that is specifically designed for them.
All of this makes the venue emblematic of a phrase we in the travel world hear so often: There’s a little something for everyone.
As a child of the 1980s and an avid Lego user as kid, I was particularly captivated by the Lego sculptures spread throughout Legoland and Legoland Water Park. I would stop regularly to marvel at the statues — a birdwatcher, the Manhattan skyline, a Japanese temple — each one made with thousands of bricks and glued together for all to enjoy for years to come.
Not surprisingly, my 4 year old was more interested in the rides than the art, and especially the slides at Legoland Water Park. Duplo Splash Safari was our home base thanks to the area’s interactive Duplo characters and shorter slides, all of which children can climb up to and slide down independently while parents snap photos at the bottom.
My daughter also enjoyed splashing around in Joker Soaker, where a giant bucket of water dumps on the guests below every few minutes, and child-height cannons are at the ready for water wars. Older children usually head to areas with faster slides, such as tube slide Orange Rush and dual twisty slides Twin Chasers (riders must be 42 inches tall).
The brand-new Surfer’s Cove landed in the park this summer, too. The beach-themed area, which debuted June 30, is home to Riptide Racers, a timed waterslide bound to inspire friendly competition between riders. Up to six riders can race on this new attraction, though younger park guests might prefer Wipeout Lagoon, also new in Surfer’s Cove. Lego models of crabs, seagulls and other seaside friends decorate the space.
After working up an appetite in the sun and waves, carne asada, mahi mahi and pork tacos await at the new Beach Street Tacos stand. Adults can opt for craft beer at this refreshed snack shack, too.
Since waterpark tickets include entrance into Legoland, head into the park for Granny’s Apple Fries — perhaps the most beloved treat in the park — or a ride on Coastersaurus or the newish Lego Ninjago The Ride.
To house an increasing number of out-of-town visitors, a second on-site accommodation option, Legoland Castle Hotel, is already under construction. The venue hopes to welcome guests in spring 2018.
The only downside to Legoland, I think, is that there is no option to visit Legoland Water Park alone. Since it was very feasible for our family to spend the day just in the waterpark, I do wish that was a pricing option.
For guests ages 3 and up, Legoland Water Park admission is a $30 upgrade from the standard Legoland California ticket, bringing a ticket for both parks to a grand total of $116 for adults and $110 for children ages 3 to 12. For toddlers ages 1 and 2, waterpark admission is $5.