Oh, how I love water parks! To be an “authentic” traveler, I guess I’m supposed to only like nature-y, educational, culturally enriching, good-for-you stuff. But here’s the thing about water parks…they’re FUN! They induce pure joy for my children, and let’s face it, for me! Joy is good, right? I kept drooling over television ads and radio spots for the new LEGOLAND Water Park, located at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, California (just North of San Diego). I couldn’t take it any longer; I had to check that place out!
Fun for the Whole Family
Looking for something to keep everyone happy? Head to the Build-A-Raft River. This lazy river meanders through the water park and welcomes guests of all ages, including lap-held babies. Be ready to get doused or hop off to steer your vessel away from squirting cannons and pouring buckets poised along the watery path. Upbeat, summery tunes like Beatles remakes and “Brown-Eyed Girl” bopping through speakers add to the fun. Kids and grown-ups alike enjoy stacking foam LEGO bricks on the perimeter of their rafts before setting sail. While waiting in line for the more daring slides, I was entertained watching floaters of all ages who busied themselves rearranging their LEGO creations while as they floated down the river.
Especially for Babies, Toddlers & Little Kids
My favorite part of this park is the DUPLO Splash Safari. True, this is partially due to the fact that my kids are the perfect ages (2 and 5) for this attraction. But, LEGOLAND shines best when catering to younger children, as evidenced by its abundance of kid-centric rides while offering just a few relatively tame “thrill” rides.
The three small-scale waterslides do not have any height requirements but curiously do not allow parents to ride with children in their laps. Instead, you must ride side-by-side. I found this to be a precarious way to keep my toddler, Leo, safe while sliding together and it resulted in him getting a noseful of water on one splashy entry.
My kindergartner, Karissa, appreciated the freedom (under her parents' watchful, yet distant supervision) that this kids’ area allowed. She zipped down the slides again and again, without any help from mom or dad. She also loved setting sail on Kids Creek, a miniature lazy river, whenever she wanted, no parents’ permission or assistance required. LEGOLAND life guards help kids board their rafts and keep a close eye on them as they float along the circular river.
The squirting polar bear, alligator, and elephant fountains provide oodles of entertainment to the youngest park goers. Plus, they allow for adorable photo opps to parents of tots.
Fun for Big Kids & Grown-Ups
There are five big waterslides at the LEGOLAND Water Park. The blue-colored Splash Out was closed the day of my visit, which I think added to our long wait times. Be forewarned that kids cannot wear life vests on any of the bigger slides besides Orange Rush. Karissa and I waited 10 minutes in line for one of the two red Twin Chasers tube slides before someone alerted us to this fact, at which point I had to walk back to DUPLO Splash Safari to deposit Karissa with her dad. I then rejoined the line and waited an additional 30 minutes before I could take a turn (it’s a tough job being a travel blogger, but someone’s gotta do it!). I liked the Twin Chasers well enough but they were'nt the zippiest of slides. In fact, I got stuck midway and had to scoot myself down to keep going.
The most exhilarating slide, by far, is Orange Rush. My daughter and I sat in a gigantic inner tube to glide and spin our way down and around to the bottom. I thought Karissa might get nervous when we spent half of our journey backwards-facing, but it didn’t seem to phase her one bit. She tends to be a bit of a daredevil when it comes to amusement parks; if you have more timid ride-goer, take heed. I asked Karissa what was her favorite part about the LEGOLAND Water Park and she said, “Oh! Oh! Going down the slide with you!” Why? “Because I got to ride with you!” (Awww!)
Although we didn’t partake, the Joker Soaker near the big slides appears to be a big hit with grade school boys. It’s a big clock tower that gushes buckets of water periodically on those below it. There are also water guns the kids delight in aiming at one another. Another fun spot is Imagination Station, where LEGO fanatics can build creations in a watery environment.
LEGOLAND Water Park Useful Stuff & Tips
There is no option to visit just the water park. You must pay for entrance into the main park plus an additional, nominal fee for the LEGOLAND Water Park. As someone who has been to LEGOLAND numerous times and whose family loves water parks, this extra fee makes sense. If you think you will be too busy riding roller coasters, eating apple fries, and building with LEGO bricks, you might not have time enough to squeeze the water park into your day. Keep in mind, you can always cool off in Pirate Shores, a splashy land that comes with the cost of admission to the regular park.
Bring your own beach towel. They aren’t provided but you can purchase one if you forget yours at home.
Lockers (at an additional cost) and changing rooms (for free) are available.
Kids’ life vests are available at no extra charge. Even if your child is a good swimmer, using a life vest for little kids can help you to relax a bit and enjoy the day. Life guards stand watch over all areas of the park but parents must still be vigilant to keep an eye on their children.
Go midweek if possible. On a Saturday, Karissa and I waited nearly an hour (in the shivering shade) for a chance to whoosh down Orange Rush. While it was worth the wait, if you want to make the most of your day, avoid Fridays and weekends when the park is more crowded.
Check for LEGOLAND online specials. You should never pay full price to go to LEGOLAND. There always seems to be a LEGOLAND discount somewhere.
The LEGOLAND Water Park hours vary from those of the amusement park. Check their website for the LEGOLAND schedule. You can always go early or stay late and spend some time enjoying the rides on dry land to round out your day.
What's your favorite water park? Leave a comment below!