LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad is a popular amusement park for all ages but what makes it simply perfect for preschoolers? There are lots of reasons why, according to our Day Trips TravelingMom. She recently visited for the day with her four-year old and was happy to report that there were plenty of activities and attractions at LEGOLAND geared just for the preschool set but that there are a few things you should know before planning a visit. Here’s what you need to know before visiting LEGOLAND with a preschooler.
What to Do at LEGOLAND with a Preschooler
LEGOLAND is an all-day Park, with plenty to entertain preschoolers. Most of LEGOLAND California is built specifically for the smaller set, with only a few rides that preschoolers aren’t tall enough for. The guide map outlines these height restrictions and in many cases, the height restriction is waived when the preschooler is accompanied by an adult.
SeaLife Aquarium, which is connected to the park, is also enjoyable for preschoolers. My older kids (who are accustomed to the more sophisticated educational aquariums like at the Birch Aquarium) are a bit underwhelmed at SeaLife, but my preschooler loves the bright and colorful exhibits. There are even quirky LEGO figures inside some of them that adds to the character and charm. There is an additional cost for entrance to the aquarium.
8 Reasons Why You Should Take on LEGOLAND with a Preschooler
And everyone in the family enjoys Miniland USA, with recognizable cities in LEGO form. You can even leave the galaxy and admire the eye-popping Star Wars LEGO creations. Here are my top reasons why you should take on LEGOLAND with a preschooler!
1. Light Crowds on the Weekdays
If you are visiting LEGOLAND with a preschooler, I highly recommend that you visit during school hours to avoid the crowds. Choose a day mid-week in the “off-season” (not summer) that isn’t on a school holiday. We visited on a Thursday and the longest wait in line was 10 minutes. Most of the rides we were able to walk right on without any waits in line.
2. Age Appropriate Rides & Attractions
There are dozens of attractions at LEGOLAND that are just right for little ones. The subject matter (Firetrucks! Dinosaurs! Safari animals!) are perfectly themed for preschoolers. And naturally, everything is created to appear as if it’s been built from LEGO bricks, which makes these attractions even more eye-popping and why you should take on LEGOLAND with a preschooler.
3. Independence (in a Safe Environment)
Preschoolers can drive their own car, steer their own boat, spin their own helicopter and make an airplane drop and rise. Adults can ride with kids on most of the rides (be aware that some ride vehicles are a pretty tight fit) or preschoolers of a certain height can ride on their own. Some of the rides have specific age restrictions as well, so pay attention to the signage before getting in line.
4. Easy to Read Map
LEGOLAND is fairly easy to navigate. You start at The Beginning and turn either right or left. From there you can easily loop around the entire Park. The Park map is well designed and easy to find everything from rides, attractions, restaurants, shopping and restrooms. There is even a key on the Park map with icons that direct guests towards rides and attractions that are appropriate for “What to Do When You’re Two!” And if that isn’t another reason why you should take on LEGOLAND with a preschooler, what is?
5. Free Play Areas
When preschoolers get antsy, it’s wonderful to have a safe place where they can burn off some steam. LEGOLAND offers several large, age-appropriate play areas. DUPLO Playtown in Fun Town is a preschool dream come true.
Although there is only one entrance in and out of this spot, there are several sections so it may be challenging to keep track of active kids who are running back and forth.
More to LOVE at LEGOLAND Play areas
To the left, there is a covered area with lots of DUPLO bricks for kids to construct and create. The LEGOLAND Express also runs here, a simple train ride that travels a loop of LEGO farmland. In the center section, there is a labyrinth intended for toddlers. To the right, playhouses like a fire house and hospital complete with stairs, poles, and slides for lots of active play.
Everything is brightly colored and made to look as if it’s straight out of a DUPLO play set, which is extremely appealing to preschoolers. There is a dining location and a bathroom close by. Leave yourself plenty of time in this area because I guarantee, your preschooler will want to spend a lot of time here!
Across the park in Castle Hill, The Hideaways is another free play area. This one is geared for a slightly older group (perhaps 4+) but younger kids will still enjoy the rope ladders, long slides and multi-story play structure with the help of a grown-up. This play area also has only one entrance in and out. Yet if you let your kids go free in The Hideaways, you will be unlikely to find them for a while! I let my preschooler take off on his own after showing him where I was sitting.
Because of the large size and construction of The Hideaways, kids can literally “hideaway” and you can’t see them until they return to the base via the slide! There are Model Citizens (park employees) stationed throughout The Hideaways to watch kids and remind them to walk, not run.
6. Alternate Queue Play Areas
It can be hard to wait in lines with a preschooler so the alternate waiting areas at LEGOLAND are heavenly. Kids can play with LEGOS (naturally) within eye-sight of the parents who are waiting in line and then rejoin their group when the time comes.
7. Preschool-Friendly Dining
Not only are the kid’s meals appealing to preschoolers, there are healthier options as well. We dined at the Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ and I ordered my son an all-beef hot dog that came with fries (a special treat for him because we rarely dine out). There was also an organic apple juice pouch and a small apple that he snacked on later in the day.
Other dining options offer ramen noodle bowls, pizza, and pasta. Of course, there are lots of treat stations located around the Park. Grown-ups needn’t be stuck nibbling nuggets, though, as there are more sophisticated options including Asian stir fry, gourmet sandwiches, bbq and fresh-made salads.
8. Family Restrooms
All restrooms throughout the Park (both male and female) have diaper changing facilities and offer a family restroom so you can safely bring your preschooler inside the stall with you.
Make it a Day Trip
The bottom line is that LEGOLAND California isn’t just great for preschoolers, but it’s truly an enjoyable park for all ages. You could easily spend the entire day playing here.
Purchase your LEGOLAND tickets ahead of time with Undercover Tourist and save yourself money and time at the gate!
During warm months, take your swimsuits and towels and hit one of the LEGOLAND water parks that are attached to the main park.
In the off-season LEGOLAND closes early enough that you are free to enjoy the Carlsbad area, known for their beautiful flower fields and beaches. Or course you could always book an overnight at the super-cool LEGOLAND California Hotel that’s connected to the Park to extend your visit.
Considering a trip to LEGOLAND with a preschooler? What would is your preschoolers favorite thing to do at LEGOLAND? Share with us in the comments!