WINDSOR, England — Judging by the Easter weekend crowds with an estimated median age of 6, the English like to indulge their young children. Legoland Windsor Resort is perfect for a holiday for these tykes.
Everything — the slides from the top of the path down to the displays, the friendly water-spitting dragons and the roller coasters that look more challenging than they really are — is geared to the child just starting to feel his oats.
Nothing is very scary at all, unless you count running a big digger that scoops up black, plastic balls by yourself. Even then, it's OK to have mom or dad stand close by and help.
So, if you're in Europe looking for something to do with children who think they're pretty big but actually aren't so much, Legoland is perfect.
The Atlantis Submarine Voyage offers an up close, underwater look at 50 varieties sharks and stingrays, and pretty-colored fish of all kinds in a one-million-liter tank.
The Thunder Blazer (in America, we usually call it a yo-yo swing) is gentle and easy fun.
The Longboat Invader or its junior mate, the Jolly Rocker (tidal wave) Ship, is smaller and much less intimidating than the American variety.
The Pirates Training Camp is ideal for playing, running, climbing and hanging out, especially when you fill it with many kids.
In the Laser Raiders adventure, all kinds of figures and animals made of the tiny toy Lego blocks can be shot for points.
On the Space Tower, the adults haul the seats up by pulling on a thick rope and letting it out for a thrilling ride that can be controlled to fit the fear factor of the child.
Not to say there's nothing for older kids. They can build with Legos, go to Driving School in the Lego cars, spin on Spinning Spiders, get soaked in the Dynamite Drench or take the Viking's River Splash in the rapid water.
But for the most part, this is an amusement park geared primarily to younger Legos fans. Don't go here for the ultimate rush or thrill. Go for color and pleasantry.
Since its debut in 1996 as the Windsor Safari Park, the 150-acre Legoland has added a number of features and attractions, so if you've been once in the beginning and been disappointed, give it another try.
There's much more to do.
Helen and Derek Morrey from Hednesford, England, brought their 5-year-old son to the park on March 31 and were pleasantly surprised. "They've added a lot," Helen Morrey said. "This is much better."
The only drawback lies in the number of mechanical breakdowns the park was having on Easter weekend. The dragon roller coaster broke down just enough to make a grandmother nervous and the Surfer ride stopped working just as everybody got on.
The Star Wars Miniland "ride" isn't really a ride at all but a display of impressive but untouchable Lego ships and adventures from the "Star Wars" movies. It's hard to see and not touch the creations, and it feels like at any moment the ride portion will show up.
Meanwhile, the model cities in the middle of the park built, with nearly 40 million Legos, are fascinating — for adults. All of London is represented, along with the big cities of America and iconic events.
Look for famous London landmarks, including Canary Wharf, the London Eye, the Lloyd’s Building, City Hall and the Millennium Bridge.
Then there's the big Lego store, truly a wonderland of opportunity. Just do your shopping before the close of day. The lines are much shorter.
If you go …
What: Legoland Windsor
Where: Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire, England
Tickets: $45 per child to $55-$60 per adult, with online and group discounts available.
Be aware: …
Most United Kingdom stores and establishments insist on credit cards of the "chip and pin" variety: cards that contain a microchip and lines up with a personal identification number rather than a magnetic stripe. Either bring British pounds or be prepared to have your American variety card refused.
Look for: …
The hermit crab in the Atlantis Submarine Voyage aquarium. This crab moved into a shell made of Lego bricks in April 2012. You can visit Harry in the interactive pool area.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
Email: [email protected]