Located north of San Diego, Carlsbad is home to Legoland California theme park, which looks a bit like something you might build in your own backyard—if you had 125 acres/50 hectares of yard and 30 million Lego building bricks. The park is part children's learning center and part theme park, with endless hands-on activities and attractions. Lego blocks are used to re-create a medieval castle and scale models of New York City, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, among other places. Families will also enjoy the Sea Life Aquarium at Legoland, offering an educational interactive guide to life in the sea. Check Legoland's calendar before going, because the park is sometimes closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Before it became famous as a place of plastic bricks, Carlsbad was famous as a flower-growing area. You can witness some of its floral bounty each spring at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, which occupies a pretty site overlooking the ocean. The ranch is usually open to visitors March-May.

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