California Bucket List

Here’s your daily travel guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State. Each of these essential California adventures has been tried and tested by a Travel section staffer or contributor.

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Family-friendlySan Diego County

Play with plastic in Legoland

 (Los Angeles Times)
(Los Angeles Times)

Why: Little plastic, interlocking bricks. They're hard to resist, especially when deployed to mimic the White House or the Golden Gate Bridge. Especially when you're 8, but sometimes when you're 48.

What: Legoland California, in Carlsbad, is at once homegrown and exotic, a theme park that wouldn't exist if some guy in Denmark hadn't started stamping out colorful, connectable plastic bits in 1949. Now there are Lego movies, clothing, books and so on.

The Carlsbad park, opened in 1999, is one of six worldwide. It includes an adjacent 250-room hotel (very kid-friendly), about 60 rides, shows and attractions ("Star Wars" figures? Check. Bust of William Shakespeare? Check.). It's also got a next-door aquarium and water park; a new Surfers Bay is expected to open this summer. And don't forget the beach, which is a mile to the west and free. Perhaps because most of its rides won't upset your stomach or raise your blood pressure, Legoland has a reputation for appealing to younger kids more than older ones. (It officially targets families with kids ages 2-12.)

Ninjago. (Sandy Huffaker / Legoland)
Ninjago. (Sandy Huffaker / Legoland)

Where: 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, 90 miles southeast of downtown L.A., 34 miles north of downtown San Diego.

How much: One-day admission is usually $95 for adults (13 and older) and $90 for children (ages 3-12). You'll pay an additional $10 a person for an extra day plus access to the water park and aquarium.  

Info: Legoland California

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