Roller coasters, simulated or real, aren't the only new rides being rolled out at SoCal theme parks. Here are a few recently opened options, all of them kid-friendly, for summer.
Adventures of Curious George, Universal Studios Hollywood
What this water-based, 30,000-square-foot play zone has to do with the world's cutest monkey traveling to outer space is anybody's guess. But it promises to get kids very wet, making it the perfect pit stop on blistering summer days. It includes water jets that squirt from the ground; a playground where kids can soak each other with squirt guns; and a bucket the size of a hot tub that periodically tips its contents onto eager splashers. There's also a relatively dry rest zone for parents.
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. $64, general; $54, guests under 48 inches. (818) 622-3801. universalstudioshollywood.com
Land of Adventure and Sea Life Aquarium, Legoland California
Take a trip to 1920s Egypt at this new area that features four attractions, including Lost Kingdom Adventure, the park's first "dark ride" (yes, it takes place in the dark). While touring ancient ruins in an all-terrain roadster, riders blast away at targets with lasers. Opening right next door to the main park on Aug. 11 (and with a separate admission), Legoland's Sea Life Aquarium tries to meld the educational value of an interactive aquarium with the appeal of a water-themed amusement park.
1 Lego Drive, Carlsbad. $59.95, general; $49.95, children younger than 12 and seniors. Sea Life Aquarium admission: $18.95, adults; $11.95, kids 12 and younger; $15.95, seniors. (760) 918-5346. legoland.com/california.htm
Toy Story Mania, Disney's California Adventure Park
Put on your 3D glasses for this interactive ride that involves various Toy Story characters manning carnival-inspired game booths: Buzz Lightyear's ring toss, Woody's Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Gallery, Bo Peep's dart throw and Hamm's egg toss. There's also the Pixar Play Parade, where characters from "Finding Nemo," "Ratatouille," "The Incredibles," "Monsters, Inc.," "A Bug's Life," "Cars" and "Toy Story" join forces for this daily parade of floats, trampolines, acrobats and water cannons. (It reverts to bubble-only mode during inclement weather.)
1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim. $66; $56, children 9 and younger. (714) 781-4565. disneyland.disney.go.com
Thomas Town, Six Flags Magic Mountain
Meet controller of the railway Sir Topham Hatt and travel to the Island of Sodor on Thomas the Tank Engine. Tour this new area themed after everyone's favorite anthropomorphized locomotive.
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. $59.99; $29.99, children under 48 inches tall. (818) 367-2271. sixflags.com/magicmountain/
Western Round Up, Knott's Berry Farm
It's not a ride, but to usher in the Pony Express ride, the roundup is being held weekends till June 22. Kids 11 and younger can lasso their own cowboy hats and bandannas at this Wild West stage show/themed area.
8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. $49.99; $19.99 children 3-11 and seniors. (714) 761-5716. knotts.com