Thursday, August 16, 2007

Day Five -- Legoland

This day, we went down to Carlsbad to go to Legoland. After the hectic driving day to L.A., it was really nice to be back on I-15 heading south. The whole day proved to be a very easy travel day, both coming and going.

As we were traveling, Becky was remarking how close we were yesterday to the La Brea Tar Pits, and how we should have made an effort to see them.

I nodded in indifferent agreement, but Dad had a puzzled look on his face.

"What is there to see at a tar pit?" he asked.

Becky replied, "These are the famous tar pits," and she was about to launch into a long explanation of their historical relevance, when Dad responded.

"What do you want to see a bunch of tars for?"

"Tars?" we asked.

"A big pit full of tars?" he probed.

Finally, it dawned on Becky. "You mean TIRES?"

"Yes," he replied, chuckling sheepishly, "tars!"

I couldn't help it. "Oh, we wouldn't want to see a bunch of ol' tars. Them thar tars in that tar pit shure are purty!"

My father's Okie ancestry was showing in full bloom! We all got a good laugh at his expense--as is often the case.

Yes, Carlsbad is the home of Legoland--in my opinion, the coolest theme park in Southern California.

Legoland is aimed squarely at kids below the age of thirteen, and I can imagine the teenagers would find it very tedious--teenagers can be that way. But for our boys, it was perfect! And even as an adult, I thought it was really cool. All through the park, between various rides, you'd find sculptures of various kinds all made out of real Legos. These are huge statues that you could--theoretically--build yourself at home. (Except that most of the sculptures took between 150,000 to 200,000 Legos each.)

Please pardon the orientation, but my father was at the camera.

The rides themselves were fun. The lines were really short compared to Disneyland, and there were more interactive rides (like cars and boats you can drive yourself). The boys also liked the roller coasters and the various water rides. I really enjoyed watching the boys play in the splash park, where they got to frolic about in the shooting water cannons at each other and sliding around on the water slides. The pinnacle of the splash park was the 200 gallon bucket that filled ominously above everybody's heads, and when it got nearly full, it would give a quiet little dinging of its bell, and then, WHOOOSH! Two hundred gallons of water would cascade onto mostly unsuspecting children below.

Thanks go out to the Navy MWR lady who alerted us to this feature ahead of time, and warned us to bring our bathing suits to the park! "You WILL get wet!" she said.

Another highlight of the park was "Miniland" where they had constructed scale models of various cities (New Orleans, New York, Las Vegas, etc.) all out of Legos. Again, these were standard Legos, so you could again--theoretically--build these at home. The attention to detail was incredible, and it reminded me a lot of my childhood trip to Madurodam, Holland. We spent nearly as much time in this one part of the park as we did in all the rest of the park combined.

After the park, we had a wonderful dinner at Karl Strauss Microbrewery across from the park. We had a gorgeous Tuna Poke appetizer, which was so refreshing and tasty, I could have had two as my entrée. Dad and I each had a flight of beers, and the waitress was so attentive that she brought out three more samples--for free--of beers which were not included in the flight. One of them was a wonderfully peaty Scottish ale.

"There," she said, "now you've had every beer in the restaurant."


Dinner was great. Becky and Mom had various salads. Dad had something, but I can't remember what. The boys had various noodle dishes, and I had seared rare tuna with wasabi and pickled ginger, served on a bed of basmati rice and sesame-soy glaze. Delicious! What a way to end the day!

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