Here are a few tips for maximizing your time and making the most of your visit to Legoland Resort, the 128-acre park with amusement rides, a separate water park and two-story aquarium in Carlsbad:

1. Peek inside the Model Shop: Although not open to the public, a large window offers visitors a look inside the model shop where the master builders construct prototypes and actual Lego models for the park. The shop is tucked in a walkway directly behind the Empire Emporium in Miniland USA.

2. Build a Lego robot: Visitors 9 years and older can build a computerized robot at the Mindstorms center in the Imagination Zone. The activity books up fast, so drop by Mindstorms when you first arrive at the park to make a reservation for later in the day.

3. Swap Minifigures: Stock up on Lego Minifigures. Employees throughout the park have Minifigures attached to their name tags, and if kids see ones they like, they can ask to trade. One employee I met was on his sixth swap only three hours into the day.

4. Download guide for toddlers: Under the frequently asked questions section, Legoland's website (http://california.legoland.com) has a downloadable guide for "What to do when you're two." It includes rides with no height restrictions and shows designed for the youngest guests. My 2-year-old fell in love with everything in Duplo Village, especially Duplo Playtown with its small buildings and slides, and Water Works, where kids stomp on ground pads to activate a musical water fountain. In Dino Island, she also spent a half-hour at Dig Those Dinos, where kids get a bucket, shovel and brush to unearth buried "dinosaur fossils."

5. Plan your meal times: Park restaurants and eateries have operating hours different from the park's. In most cases, they open later and close earlier. Arrive at the restaurant at least 90 minutes before closing if you expect to receive service. Some food stands operate until a half-hour before closing.

6. Utilize ride swapping: If one or more of your children is too little or too young to ride, families can do a "child swap." This allows one parent to ride with the older child and then swap with the other parent immediately at the conclusion of the ride. Families must stand in line together and tell the ride operator they intend to swap.

7. Check out the Baby Care Center: While the public restrooms have baby changers, Fun Town features a Baby Care Center that makes visiting with infants almost a breeze. The center has bottle warmers, a microwave, refrigerator, rockers for nursing moms, high chairs and a changing station with diapers (in case you run out).

8. Bring bathing suits: Even if you don't purchase a ticket to the water park, still bring the kids' bathing suits on warm days. The main Legoland park features a water-play area in Pirate Shores, where kids -- even infants riding in specially designed baby swings -- can end up soaked.

9. Walk among the Legos: Set aside at least 30 minutes to see the impressive models, especially in Miniland. Scenes from San Francisco and Las Vegas to Washington, D.C., are created entirely of Legos -- right down to the sea lions at Pier 39. Each episode of "Star Wars" is also chronicled with Lego model creations -- peek inside the trees to find hidden storm troopers. These are two of the most impressive displays. You also can see more of the Miniland creations, including the Eiffel Tower and Mount Rushmore, by taking the Coast Cruise ride.

10. Buy, if you can afford it: Legoland offers Premium Play passes that give visitors front-of-the-line privileges on all rides, except in the water park; seating for shows in a reserved section; and unlimited food and drink at several restaurants and eateries. The pass costs $150 per person, is good for only one day and doesn't include park admission. We tried it out during spring break and quickly saw why someone would shell out the big bucks to avoid long lines. The less expensive option -- visit on weekdays and during offseason times.

For more information about Legoland, including hours of operation and ticket costs, visit http://california.legoland.com.