01 September 2011

Legos & Aircraft Carriers

Legoland, California
A fun way to spend a day with your kids is to visit Legoland, located just 30 minutes north of San Diego in the seaside village of Carlsbad, California.

There are more than 60 rides, shows and attractions to explore, including a water park (great for those hot, summer days), the Sea Life Carlsbad Aquarium, plus plenty of eating and shopping opportunities throughout an expansive 128 acres.

Legoland entrance.

Bison Lego, façon Chia Pet.

Entrance to the Land of Adventure.

Spectators and riders aim their water canons at each other
on the popular ride "Splash Battle".

Miniland USA is said to be the heart of Legoland California. 20 million Lego bricks were used to reconstruct the instantly recognizable architecture from seven well-known American places: Las Vegas, New England Harbor, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Southern California and Washington, D.C.

Entering Miniland USA.

The Hollywood Bowl.

Hillside homes, San Francisco.

San Francisco skyline.

Street scene, Los Angeles.

New Orleans at Mardi Gras.

Les Vegas.

Washington, D.C.

Consult the schedule here for Legoland's opening days and hours.

USS Midway
The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier that was commissioned in 1945 and served in the U.S. Navy until the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. For the first 10 years of its life it was the largest ship in the world.

Today the Midway is docked in San Diego harbor as a naval aviation museum with more than 60 exhibits and 27 restored aircraft. It's a fascinating museum that has, since its opening in 2004, welcomed more than 5 million visitors.

Some Midway facts:

  • 1,001 feet long
  • 4.02 acre flight deck
  • 4,500 crew members, including 225 cooks, 200 pilots, 5 physicians and 3 dentists
  • 10 tons of food were served daily, including 3,000 potatoes and 1,000 loaves of bread

Boarding the USS Midway.

Exploring the planes on the flight deck.

Climbing up to tour the bridge in the island.

Three sets of steep, narrow stairs and you're almost there.

View from the bridge. The aircraft carrier in the foreground is the USS Carl Vinson, recently returned from duty in the Gulf.  This was the ship that launched Osama bin Laden to his grave in May of this year.

The underside of an F/A-18 Hornet.

An F-14 Tomcat.

The rear of an F-14.

F-14 face on.

The War Room, where battle plans for the first Gulf War were hashed out.

The USS Carl Vinson.

The USS Midway Museum is open everyday from 10am to 5pm, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

General admission for adults is $18, $10 for retired military and kids (6-17). Those 5 and under enter free of charge.

Balboa Park
On our last day in San Diego, we breezed through Balboa Park, an expansive open-air part of town that's home to many museums, performing art venues and magnificent gardens, including the San Diego Zoo.

The grounds of Balboa Park are open 24 hours a day. Opening hours for the museums and other attractions vary, so be sure to consult the Balboa Park website here before you go.

This Fountain sits just opposite the entrance to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

Alcazar Garden.

San Diego Garden Botanical Foundation.

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