Not quite. My 7-year-old godson Cody just returned from a spring break trip to San Diego with his mother (my best friend) and when I asked him what his favorite part of the trip was he answered: “Seeing Las Vegas at Legoland!” Interesting… I hadn’t realized that Sin City was making an appearance at the California theme park. “Miniland Las Vegas,” Cody’s mom correctly pointed out.
Ah yes, yet another reason to visit Legoland California. Miniland Las Vegas is a new plastic brick replica of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, which consists of more than 2 million LEGO bricks. It took nearly three years of planning and 16,000 hours to create. And by all accounts (especially the ones given by Cody and his mom), the massive model is amazing and amazingly detailed.
Miniland Las Vegas features all of the hotels you’d see on the real Strip from the Luxor Las Vegas (with its the recognizable Sphinx perched in front—-the Sphinx alone was constructed from 65,000 LEGO bricks), New York, New York Hotel and Casino, Excalibur, Mirage, Treasure Island, Tropicana, MGM Grand, Venetian, and a 20-foot-tall Stratosphere tower (complete with a tiny working roller coaster carting green-faced plastic passengers up and down the central spire).
Next to the hotels are fiber-optic light boards, which advertise the Mirage dolphins and fake cabaret shows. To make the model more life-like the designers included crowds of little Lego figurines (including women in barely-there outfits, men handing out girlie fliers and tourists toting colorful tropical libations) on a fake black top street that stretches the entire length of the Strip.
Cody’s favorite part of the Strip included the water-spitting Lego elephant, a moving Lego monorail and automated Lego limousines that take the tiny plastic guests into hotel-registration carports and then reappear on the other side. Of course, at kid-friendly Legoland I suppose it should come as no surprise that young ones can punch a button to see a parade of newlyweds come out of the plastic Strip’s infamous Little White Wedding Chapel.
According to its creators, Miniland Las Vegas is designed to simulate the feeling of walking down Las Vegas Blvd. You and your kids stroll down the path with the models of the famous buildings rising on either side to create the feeling of walking next to the actual massive entertainment complexes.
My friend went on and on about how intricate and interactive the Miniland was and noted her favorite spots: the battling pirate ships in front of Treasure Island, an exploding volcano in front of the Mirage, and fireboats squirting water in front of the New York, New York. What’s more, she says that each Miniland Las Vegas building is equipped with incredible lighting and sound features to make you feel like you are a part of the famous Nevada city.
If you have a LEGO lover in your family you now know where you’ll be headed this summer.
Legoland California is located in Carlsbad, which is about 40 miles north of downtown San Diego.