I’ve been hearing great things about LEGOLAND California and I’m so glad we got a chance to check it out. It did not disappoint! LEGOLAND California was basically created with smaller kids in mind, making it a fantastic (and more affordable) alternative to Disneyland.
Here are some highlights from our trip, including where to stay and what to do:
Where to stay:
There are a bunch of options for hotels nearby, including several that you can walk to the park from. Being the SPG loyalists that we are, we stayed at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa. Our room had a small balcony facing the ocean, which was perfect for enjoying Southern California’s perfect weather and watching some incredible sunsets.
We had a few meals at the hotel’s restaurant, Twenty/20, and enjoyed their outdoor patio. The food was great and they were very accommodating to Jimmy’s dietary restrictions.
Alternatively, we would love to check out the LEGOLAND Hotel in the future, which has themed rooms, early park access, and evening entertainment for kids.
Our favorite rides for toddlers at LEGOLAND California:
There are so many toddler-friendly rides at LEGOLAND that we didn’t have enough time to try all of them. But, here are our favorites:
- Beetle Bounce: This ride was so fun because it has a maximum height so adults can’t ride. It was Jimmy’s first solo ride and he loved it! It was so cute and hilarious watching him experience the ride all by himself.
- Cargo Ace: This was another fun ride that is great for all ages. Kids sit separately from their parents too so it’s another great ride for getting kids used to riding solo.
- Coast Cruise: This leisurely boat ride is great for the whole family and gives everyone a chance to sit down and enjoy the ride. We loved seeing all the LEGO animals and having Jimmy name them as we floated by.
- Cole’s Rock Climb: For the little ones who love climbing, the rock climbing area is perfect for them. They can hang out and climb to their heart’s content.
- Dig Those Dinos: Most toddlers spend a lot of time at the sandbox so this is a nice, familiar environment for them to dig up some dinosaur fossils. It’s also a good place for parents to rest up before heading to the next attraction.
- Driving School: For kids three and up, they can join the Junior Driving School for their first shot behind the wheel. It’s also super cute watching them hit the road.
- Hideaways: This massive jungle gym was undoubtedly Jimmy’s favorite activity of the day. There are slides, rope ladders, stairs, and plenty else to climb on or through. Jimmy ran through this area so quickly that I eventually gave up following him. Instead I just waited by the entrance to make sure he didn’t escape the play area.
- Safari Trek: I loved the Safari Trek almost as much as Jimmy did. It was awesome to drive by all the animals and let him call them out by name and wave goodbye when we passed them by.
Don’t forget a stop at Sea Life Aquarium
Sea Life is your pretty standard aquarium, but is definitely worth the extra $22 or so. There are a bunch of areas for little ones to climb under and around some of the fish tanks too which Jimmy really enjoyed. The blue and purple lighting throughout the aquarium also seemed to throw him into dance mode so he spent about 20 minutes dancing under the shark tank with other random toddlers.
Downtown Carlsbad was actually really cute, and of course, is beachside. We had dinner downtown on Saturday at Fresco, an Italian restaurant, with a nice outdoor patio. If you have some free time after visiting the park, swing by downtown Carlsbad for a quick meal or a walk around.