As you know LEGOLAND is one of my favorite places on the planet, so I wanted to share with you an excellent way to visit LEGOLAND at a discount and to support the Carlsbad City Schools. This Saturday April 28th LEGOLAND and the Carlsbad Educational Foundation are sponsoring a special fundraiser from 1-9 pm. For only $20 you can enjoy an afternoon and evening at LEGOLAND California with your family. There will be special performances by Carlsbad area students for you to enjoy. We are unable to go this year due to Destiny’s first communion, but we have gone in previous years and it has been really fun. Be ready to use all your great LEGOLAND strategies to avoid the crowds.
This situation in Carlsbad schools is pretty dire, they are raising class size to levels that seem too big to let the kids move around the classroom. There is talk about cutting special education. We are losing some great teachers, which is a tragedy. I have found Pacific Rim teachers to be the best I have ever worked with. Carlsbad schools need your support and you can have a blast helping out.
I also want to give an extra shout out to the Carlsbad Educational Foundation. I am proud to say that Ken’s Uncle Jay assisted in founding this organization many years ago. They do an amazing job of fundraising that provides community service while raising money to benefit students. My son spent a year in their kindergarten daycare program. The teachers were so professional and kind. The proceeds from tuition went to the foundation. If you need quality child care in Carlsbad for school age children, I would highly recommend CEF’s Kids Care program.
This summer the kids will be participating in some CEF Day Camps as well. Once again my kids will have quality care and opportunities to learn and grow (everything from Spanish, to Art, to Junior Astronaut camp).
Destiny Boogies Down at the Brick or Treat Dance Party, LEGOLAND, CA
Most theme parks are pretty good places to get your family moving. After all, by the time your family makes it to all the attractions you have hiked several miles. LEGOLAND, California however goes above and beyond with great play ground areas, self propelled rides, and special events that integrate movement and fun. Here are some of the ways that a trip to LEGOLAND California will get your family moving:
Rides That Encourage Movement
Families work together to make the fire engine go at LEGOLAND, California
Two of my favorite rides at the park are the Fun Town Fire Academy and Kid Power Towers. Both require families to work together to propel themselves on the ride. Hopefully LEGOLAND will consider the importance of ”kid power” when designing future rides.
Fun Play Grounds for all Ages
Whether its the semi enclosed Duplo themed playground for toddlers or the daring Hideaways area complete with rope ladders and slides, these playgrounds are great for kids and relaxing for parents.
Water Slides Galore
LEGOLAND has a really fun water slide in the Pirate Shores area and has also opened a separate water park. With lots of stairs to climb, these wet and wild attractions keep kids moving.
LEGOLAND incorporates movement into many of their special events. At Halloween, the Brick or Treat Dance party was a big hit with my kids. The first Thursday of the Month LEGOLAND has free stroller strides classes for visiting moms as part of their Model Moms Club Program. Coming up in a few weeks is the Kids Marathon Mile. Kids get to run a mile at LEGOLAND (a diaper dash is also offered) then are given a ticket and enjoy the park that weekend. Kids entrance fees are only $20 making this a true LEGOLAND bargain. (The park hopper ticket offered is usually $69!). Register soon. Spaces are limited.
In October 2009 I had the privilege of interviewing LEGOLAND Master Builder Gary McIntire for a profile for Boys Life Magazine. LEGOLAND graciously agreed to let Justin, then age 10, join us for the interview. Gary is an amazing craftsman and an even better human being. He patiently answered all of our questions and swapped LEGO building tips with Justin. We even found out that Gary was an Eagle Scout!
If you want to see more of Gary’s amazing work of course you can visit LEGOLAND, but Gary’s Flicker Stream has some additional LEGO projects and great behind the scenes shots. To learn more about how Gary’s appearance in Mythbusters and the road to his success as a LEGOLAND Master Builder, you’ll have to pick up the January issue of Boys Life Magazine or find a scout and borrow theirs. (All cub scouts and boy scouts have a subscription).
P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday. Love her post this week on Vancouver Dim Sum. Wish I was having Dim Sum for lunch!
Jared and Destiny are Big LEGO Batman Fans, LEGOLAND, CA
If you want to win my LEGOLAND Getaway or any of the other amazing travel prizes including vacation packages, i Pads and more visit the Passports with Purpose Website and make a donation!
If you win, you can make a loved one’s dream come true this Holiday Season. If you donate, dreams will also come true for a family in India. They will finally have the dignity that comes with a home of their own.
Once again, Family Adventure Guidebooks is proud to participate in the Passports with Purpose Travel Blog Fundraiser. Passports with Purpose, is a yearly fundraiser organized by travel bloggers that raises money for deserving non profits throughout the world. Last year Passports with Purpose raised over $30,000 to build a school in Cambodia. You can find out more about the this beautiful school built by PWP donations here.
This year the goal is even more ambitious. We hope to raise over $50,000 in order to build a village in Southern India with the help of the non profit organization LAFTI. How do we plan to do it? Well Passports with Purpose has some wonderful sponsors ( BootsnAll, LiveMocha, Round the World with Us, HomeAway, Traveller’s Point, Hostelling International, Quintess, Raveable, TravelPost, and Uptake.) who have given us a big boost towards our goal, but we still have a lot of money to raise. How can you help? Bloggers around the web used their connections to secure great travel related prizes. For a ten dollar donation you can enter a drawing for the prize of your choice. It’s that simple! Check out the Passports With Purpose prize catalogue. Drawings will be held on December 13th to give you plenty of time, to slip your prize under the Christmas tree if you wish!
Because Carlsbad is one of the most beautiful, most fun, most exciting locations for a family vacation (can you tell I live here ? ). I have worked with LEGOLAND California, The Museum of Making Music, and HotelClub.com to bring you a fun LEGOLAND getaway for four. The winner of the Family Adventure Guidebooks LEGOLAND prize pack with receive single day Sealife Aquarium/LEGOLAND hopper passes for four. They will also receive four tickets to the nearby Museum of Making Music. In order to make sure you have a place to stay during your LEGOLAND Adventure you will receive a $200 Hotel Club credit at HotelClub.com. You can use this for one night in an upscale property or two or more nights at a more budget oriented choice.
You have until mid September to use your prize passes, so do your Christmas shopping at the LEGOLAND gift shop, stop by the Carlsbad Flower Fields in the spring, or upgrade to a LEGOLAND water park ticket for a nominal price and float down the river on a LEGO raft. The possibilities are limitless!
I’ll also throw in a PDF copy of The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook to help you find some great local restaurants and other nearby kid friendly attractions.
HotelClub.com is a world leading global accommodation website offering hotel and accommodation bookings for up to 12 months in advance. Established in 1996, HotelClub provides consumers with over 69,000 accommodation choices in over 7,300 cities worldwide throughout 138 countries. HotelClub is a truly global offering with its services available in fourteen languages. The company operates three websites – HotelClub.com, RatesToGo.com and AsiaHotels.com.”
Destiny, Jared and I boogied down at the Brick or Treat Celebration at LEGOLAND CA last weekend. The weather was pure Indian summer and we had a great time getting together with friends, watching the shows, and getting our groove on at the Brick or Treat Dance Party. Brick or Treat activities are much more spread out this year, which makes things a lot easier and more fun. The last one I attended there were moments that felt more claustrophobic especially as we went from place to place with preschoolers. Now that the festivities take place throughout half of the park, kids and parents have plenty of room to enjoy the fun. Here are some highlights of our Brick or Treat adventures:
Meeting Up With Friends
Family Adventure Guidebooks was lucky enough to receive a VIP invite to attend Brick or Treat. The kids and I had fun seeing two of my favorite travel bloggers and their kids. Sharlene Earnshaw of Trekaroo and Double the Adventure came with her delightful twins. We had fun swapping stories as moms of bossy big sisters and mischievious little brothers. Coleen Lanin of Travel Mamas brought her kids as well and as the kids enjoyed to Duplo Play Area the moms shared blogging and travel writing war stories. I love the picture below because it shows that girls like construction equipment to .
Construction Girls, LEGOLAND CA
LEGOLAND is an ideal place for a play date. Kids love hanging out with their friends, and Moms have someone to help keep them sane as they navigate the theme park lines. It is also allows for a little kid swapping so the daring can ride the roller coasters and the timid can find other fun. We were lucky to spend the rest of our evening with Destiny’s best friend and her family. Aren’t they cute as they pose by the Brick or Treat Trail?
Destiny and Friends LEGOLAND CA
LEGOLAND DANCE PARTY
This was one of the best parts of our Brick or Treat Adventure. The witchy cast members were experts at creating a fun environment where kids felt comfortable boogieing down . The music was fun, kid appropriate yet bearable for the adults. Kids got participation ribbons which unfortunately didn’t stick to clothing very well and were lost within minutes. Destiny and Jared could have spent all night shaking their groove things.
Destiny's Brick or Treat Dance Moves
Disco Jared, Brick or Treat Party LEGOLAND CA
Brick or Treat Trail
Brick or Treat Trail, Legoland Ca
The kids love this experience because they get candy. I love this experience because they don’t get too much candy. This year LEGOLAND is offering Brick or Treat Trails at two different locations, but kids can only choose one. I’m glad they’re spreading out, but wish the kids could try both trails. It’s pretty hard to explain to an impulsive five year old, why he can’t go trick or treating at that cool are over there.
The Scoop on Brick or Treat
My kids are passionate fans of Halloween and it is excruciating for them to wait 31 days until trick or treating despite the spooky decorations popping up on our neighbor’s houses and the giant bags of candy showing up in the stores. Brick or Treat is the perfect place for little kids to get ready for Halloween. The LEGOLAND staff and Cast Members work very hard to transform LEGOLAND into a truly magical place for a night time adventure. Brick or Treat continues Saturday Nights through Halloween. It’s free with a full day admission, but there is also a lower cost option for evenings only. $30 to visit LEGOLAND. That’s a bargain!
P.S. To learn more about other fun Halloween happenings in the San Diego Area check out my post on UPTAKE.COM.
P.P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks is a proud participant in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursdays Blog Roundup.
P.P.P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks received complimentary passes to attend Brick or Treat. This didn’t really influence my review as I am already a huge LEGOLAND fan without the freebees. I even wrote a book about it. Check out The Unauthorized Legoland Guidebook on LULU.com
I have been meaning to do this kind of tip post for a while now, but my friends at Twittermom finally gave me the excuse I needed to get it done. Here are the Family Adventure Guidebooks Top Ten Creative and Affordable Vacation Ideas:
Saving Money on Food:
1) Pack a Picnic. Whether you’re hitting a theme park or on a road trip, packing a picnic cuts down on the cost of overpriced, yucky fast food. I am always sure to include some special treats: berries, salami sandwiches, etc…something the kids don’t get to enjoy every day. Eat your picnic at a local park or rest stop. Your kids will make new friends and get their wiggles out.
2) Do it Yourself Room Service . Supermarket delis have fun, healthy take out. Everyone can eat what they want and if you get paper plates…no dishes. TV Dinners are a rare treat in our family so if there is a microwave and freezer in the room I sometimes pick some up.
3) Pick Hotels that Have Breakfast Included. Last summer our family stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Santa Cruz for two weeks. It was lovely to have a hardy breakfast (eggs or omlette, sausage, fruit,etc.) every day. Since we filled up at breakfast we were able to eat a lighter lunch!
Saving Money on Lodging:
4) Time Shares Don’t buy one…rent one…! Our latest discovery is renting time shares on a per night basis. With a family of five, we find that we all have a happier vacation if we are able to spread out. Renting a time share gives us extra space, a full kitchen, and privacy for Mom and Dad at an affordable price.
5) Join the Club. Join Hotel Chain loyalty rewards clubs and stay at only one or two chains when you can. Also keep an eye out for stay ___ nights get a night free promotions. Our summer Holiday Inn Express stay yielded a five day ski vacation in Lake Tahoe. We used our bonus nights at the Holiday Inn Express in South Lake Tahoe, and used the the money we saved to pay for ski lessons.
Saving Money on Themeparks and Attractions:
6) Do Your Research. Figure out how many days you are going to spend at a themepark, then look at all the admission possibilities including memberships. Sometimes buying a membership is the same price or even cheaper then a number of single day admissions. It may be worth buying a membership and making a return trip.
7) Keep an Eye Out for Discounts and Special Events. LEGOLAND holds a special fundraising event for the schools every year. They also invite people to a smaller section of the park at night to experience their Halloween festivities for less than the price of full admission. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk offers discounted weeknights during the summer. Our family never misses them when we go to visit. All rides are the cost of one ticket which adds up to significant savings if you want to ride the famed Giant Dipper more than once.
9) Hit the Beach. You can spend a blissful day (or two or three) with your kids entertained for hours. Just purchase a few cheap buckets and shovels, pack a picnic, slather on the sunscreen, and read a book that you brought from home or picked up at a local used book store. If you want to splurge you can rent surfboards or boogie boards from a local business like the one run by my friends at Concept Specialty Board Shop in Encinitas, California.
10) Play at the Park. Here in California playground safety laws were changed a few years ago so almost every town has had to update their playground equipment. This is a real benefit for travelers. No trip to Monterey would be complete without a visit to the famous Dennis the Menace Park. Our kids love to perch on top of the train. Even less famous parks can be lots of fun. Some other favorite California Parks are Cottonwood Creek Park in Encinitas, Louden Nelson Park in Santa Cruz, Holiday Park in Carlsbad, and Moonlight Beach Park in Encinitas.
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the Toyota Sienna and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”
Clutch and Friends, Clutch Powers 4-D Movie Legoland, California
This Spring my kids and I were invited to preview LEGOLAND’s newest 4-D movie, “Clutch Powers” and spend the day at LEGOLAND. As usual LEGOLAND delivered a fast paced and creative 4-D movie experience that great for preschoolers and young school aged kids. We also received a complimentary Clutch Powers DVD that was watched many times at home.
As long as your child can handle a darkened movie theater with lots of noise and some surprises, (mist, blowing air, etc), this movie will be lots of fun. It’s a great way to take a rest after a busy day at LEGOLAND.
I enjoy Clutch Powers a lot because he is creative and solves problems using LEGO Bricks. One of my favorite things about the LEGOLAND movie is that the creations look very much like the models I see being invented at home. They are interesting, show out of the box thinking, but don’t look like the slick LEGO models that you can buy in the store. I think this encourages kids to think creatively and problem solve. With a little imagination, it’s easy to become Clutch Powers saving the universe with their LEGO building prowess.
The movie starts out with a lot of competition and infighting among Clutch and his friends, but ends with a message of cooperation. It might be good to review this lesson on your way out the door, since of course the competitive extremes are what get the big laughs from the kids.
I was joined at the preview by my friend Colleen Lanin, from Travel Mamas.com with her daughter. Our kids immediately bonded and we had a great time exploring the park together. You can read more about the Family Adventure Guidebooks/ Travel Mamas adventures at LEGOLAND at Colleen’s Travel Mamas Blog. She is also giving away free LEGOLAND tickets plus a copy of my excellent LEGOLAND Guidebook so be sure to stop by.
Summer is coming up. If you want to make the most of your LEGOLAND visit, check out my UPTAKE post on beating the summer crowds at LEGOLAND, California.
Every so often LEGOLAND comes up with a Miniland installation that reflects current events in a clever way. I’ve seen portapotties at the Obama inauguration and the agony of defeat reflected in the LEGO depiction of the Little Leauge World Series game. I really enjoyed this picture of the census which is going on in Miniland right now. Fun fact: The census taker is modeled after Beth, the PR person at LEGOLAND. The humans are also doing a real life count of the Miniland population since it has grown considerably since the park opened.
LEGO census workers will be hard at work though July, so take your kids on a hunt for them a la “Where’s Waldo?”. How many Minilanders to you think that the human census workers will find? Record your guess below, and I’ll try to get the final count from Beth in the near future.
Stopped by Wendy’s for a burger the other day and discovered that San Diego Wendy’s Restaurants are offering free child admission with an adult admission while supplies last. Now that’s a great travel bargain!
Have a great weekend!
Stop by Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday to see what’s happening in the world of travel. Love Debbie’s son’s choice of future occupation. Check it out .
P.S. The Photo is Courtesy of LEGOLAND, CALIFORNIA. My camera doesn’t take closeups that are that spectacular .
Taking the entire family to LEGOLAND California can be a pricey, but worthwhile adventure. Still, if you are on a budget or just want to preview the park before spending big bucks, Celebrate Carlsbad Day can be a great way to help Carlsbad Schools and enjoy a LEGOLAND adventure.
Every year LEGOLAND California generously holds this day as a fundraiser for the Carlsbad Educational Foundation. Funds raised are used for music and science enrichment at the Carlsbad Unified School District (including my son’s school). Tickets are $15 and are good for a visit between 1pm-9pm on May 1, 2010. It will be crowded that day so plan accordingly. It may not be the best day to promise to take your 5 year old on all the most popular rides. Still LEGOLAND is seldom open past 6pm and it’s fun to catch a glimpse of LEGOLAND at night.
If you are interested, you can order tickets by phone at 760-929-1555. Tickets include coupon for a $5 admission ticket to the Sea Life aquarium on May 1 or 2nd which makes them an extra great value.
If you are planning to visit the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California, this book contains all the information you need to make the most of your family adventure. The book also includes information about other area attractions, local restaurants and hotels.
Bridget Smith, mom of three, loves to blog about everyday adventures. Her mission is to change the world; one kid, one destination, one effortless trip, one overworked mom, one frazzled dad... one day at a time! Come and join her.