I had this plan to post at least once every month. And now I’m looking at the calendar and July has almost come and gone. I started this blog with just one toddler who napped and that gave me time to post. Now I have a toddler that doesn’t nap and an infant. Having two kids is a whole other ballpark, friends. I went to sit down to write this yesterday and popped right back up because I realized I had laundry. I think the time before I had to make dinner. Then before that, the baby woke early crying. So hang with me, I’m sure I’ll get to a time where I post more, but for now bear with me. I love writing and sharing but this phase in life is a busy one.
Speaking of busy, summer has been busy for us. We went down to Cali for almost two weeks during June for my sister’s wedding in Pasadena and then some time with my parents in San Diego area. Fun fact: I’m born and raised in North County San Diego. My home was in Encinitas and I loved living there. My parents have since moved to a neighboring town called San Marcos and we get to visit frequently, which is awesome. Yes yes, I know you might be wondering this very moment why I ever moved away. I agree it’s heavenly there, but that’s a story for another day. Right now I want to share how great a place San Diego is to visit with kids.
So yea, San Diego rocks for kids. There is just so much to do there - San Diego Zoo, Old Town, Sea World, Seaport Village, Safari Park (formerly, Wild Animal Park), Balboa Park, and….LEGOLAND. The only thing I will say, is that all these places are not necessary located close together. But no problem, who really can (and wants) to do everything everyday with kids. For instance, you could do Legoland and beaches and that would be a fabulous vacation. And that’s what we did. Spent time with the family, spent time at the beach, and then went to LEGOLAND. Besides the scary stridor (croup) that landed us in an ambulance and ER for the night, it was an awesome trip.
Gosh, I might be boring you with all this jibber jabber. You probably just want me to get to the nitty gritty of LEGOLAND.. You saw the title, and just really want the deets. I get it. Let’s do it.
LEGOLAND: The Details
Warning, warning…Legoland is NOT in downtown San Diego. It’s in Carlsbad, which is North County San Diego. If you want to do downtown stuff and Legoland I would consider staying a night or two near LEGOLAND and then the rest of your trip up near the city. I hear the hotels are super fun at Legoland. Or, you can be cool and try to find a place near the beach!
We went with a 3.5 year old and 6 month old. I really think this is a great park for ages 3 years until maybe 10-12 years old (this is from a mom that only has young kids, so I’m really guessing on the older age limit here). There are different areas in the park for younger ages and then areas for older kids. You might have success with a 2 year old (especially if they’re on the taller side and an adventurous spirit). That said, my 3.5 year old had the time of his life. The 6 month old was just “whatever, I’m here for the ride” (yes, pun intended). He maybe enjoyed all the colors.
It’s roughly about $100/person. I found a great deal on the LEGOLAND website before going. You should check that out first. We spent $106/person and now have access to the park for the rest of the year plus the aquarium. Also, I had to look for it a bit on the site, but children aged 2 and under will not be charged a ticket for entry into LEGOLAND California. A child aged 3 years or over will need to purchase a ticket for entry.
Oh, by the way, parking is a whammy though. That’s $20/car for the day. But it’s expected I guess.
Did you know there is more than just LEGOLAND? Yup, there is an aquarium and water park. We just did the park and aquarium as that was our ticket combo.. Although, I do hear the water park is totally fun (next time! Its’s good to have Mimi & Papa living only 15 minutes away).
The aquarium was nice, but I wouldn’t necessarily have paid for it if its hadn’t been included in our ticket. That said, if you do get it, it’s a nice escape from the wild rides and hot sun. To answer your question, yes there were lego at the aquarium as well.
Timing & Crowds:
Obviously, San Diego area is going to be pretty nice most of the year. They do get rain, but not crazy. Summer would be good but a bit hotter and probably more crowded. The fall, winter, or spring totally work. Mind you, June is known for it’s “June gloom” so don’t always expect sunshine, especially if you’re closer to the water.
Keep in mind the day of the week as well. As I mentioned above, we got tickets that allow us to return until the end of the year so we split our visit into two trips. The first time we went was on a Wednesday and the second time was a Sunday. The week day was definitely less crowded and waits were much better. For instance, the Coastersaurus wait on Wednesday was 30 minutes but 60 minutes on Sunday. My son was able to wait 30 minutes, so that was probably his max. The rest of the rides were much less waits - often only 5 minutes! Even Sunday, the wait times for the smaller rides were totally fine - maybe 5- 15 minutes.
Honestly, the park doesn’t seem all that crowded compared to other amusement parks (cough Disneyland cough). We didn’t feel like sardines and we could move around pretty easily.
My son is about 37 inches high and there is a ride cut-off for 36 inches…lucky dog. So making it to the 36 inches minimum really allowed him to go on a lot of rides. If your kid isn’t 36 inches, you might think a bit more seriously about how much you really want to go. Any shorter and the ride options are much more limited. Check out the rides on the Legoland site; it has a nice tool for height requirements and rides.
Some rides we enjoyed…these were the best for our son’s age and height. For the most part, the other lands required taller height and age requirements.
Dig Those Dinos
Fairy Tale Brook: See us on the ride!
Junior Driving School: See us on the ride!
Beetle Bounce: See us on the ride!
Other Attractions (Not Rides)
Of course, you’ll find legos at LEGOLAND! My son isn’t a huge lego guy…yet…but he surprised me in his interest in the lego constructions and playstations. There is an area in the park called MINILAND USA and there are major US cities all made out of legos. It’s pretty amazing. Some of them have interactive components where you push a button to make something happen. My son was all about those parts.
There is also a Block of Fame with portraits of famous folks, a Star Wars section, and lego features throughout the entire park.
There are some lego areas in the park for simple, wholesome lego building. We also encountered near MINILAND USA a build-a-boat with legos. My son spent a good amount of time here surprisingly. You could build a boat with legos and then have it race down the water course. It was nice to see him get creative and excited about his boat. I’m sure there are more things like this around the park - we only got a corner of it, but there is so much to do!
Note: In the photos is my son in the bathroom. This was a highlight for him that the sink and toilet were “his size!”
The food was surprisingly good. My husband worked a summer job in high school at LEGOLAND and said the food (and it being healthy) was a big deal. For lunch we happened to be in Fun Town and ate at Spicy Rice Bowls. The options were really great with different proteins and rice options to chose from - you could even get cauliflower rice. They were in fact a bit spicy, too. The price wasn’t too terrible for an amusement part either. I think it was about $10 a bowl. The other food around the park also looked pretty good.
They do allow you to bring a limited amount of snacks and drinks into the park, but I think trying to bring a entire meal for the family might not work (they do check bags before you enter). So great they have some food options that aren’t ridiculous. Oh, and we enjoyed an ice cream cone at the exit.
Have you gone and enjoyed it? How old were your kids? Have you been to Disneyland, too? How does it compare? I hear a lot of friends go to Disneyland with 3 year olds and hear the kid was scared or it was too crowded and the trip was so-so. Now maybe it’s my son’s personality, but he LOVED LEGOLAND. He loved the fast ride (Coastersaurus), the bouncy rides (Beetle Bounce), and everything in between. He a bit on the daring/adventurous side. So I hope I steer you accurately here. I think just knowing your child and what he or she would enjoy is the best way to evaluate if it’s right for your family.
I leave you with two things. (1) Why do they have to do the all caps thing for LEGOLAND? and (2) Everything is AWESOME. You will leave the park singing that song.