Opened in 1999, this 128-acre theme park is the ultimate monument to the world's most famous plastic building block. This was the third LEGOLAND to open, following branches in Denmark and Britain (and now Germany and Florida). Forty minutes north of downtown San Diego, the Carlsbad park offers a full day of entertainment for families. Note: LEGOLAND is geared toward children ages 2 to 12, and there's just enough of a thrill-ride component to amuse preteens, but teenagers will find it a snooze. There are more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions, including hands-on interactive displays; a life-size menagerie of tigers, giraffes, and other animals; and scale models of international landmarks (the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, and so on), all constructed of LEGO bricks. Star Wars Miniland re-creates scenes from the beloved film series, while in the Egyptian-themed Land of Adventure, the signature ride takes you on a search for stolen treasure and tests your laser shooting skills. Pirate Shores features four water-based attractions -- all designed to get you good and wet; and the Wild Woods miniature golf course plays through more than 40 LEGO forest animals. In 2008, a sister attraction opened just outside the LEGOLAND gates -- Sea Life Aquarium, focusing on the creatures (real ones, not LEGO facsimiles) found in regional waters from the Sierra Mountains to the Pacific. The highlight of this interactive, educational aquarium experience is a 200,000-gallon tank with sharks, rays, and colorful tropical fish; a 35-foot acrylic tunnel takes you right into the depths of it. Separate admission is required; discounted two-park tickets are available. The 5.5-acre LEGOLAND Water Park, where kids can splash down water slides, float along a lazy river, or wade at a sandy beach, opened in 2010; ticket upgrades including the Water Park are $12.