We spent today at LegoLand. It was Fathers' Day, and it seemed like an apt place to spend it, with one Lego-crazed boy and two Lego-crazed wannabees (when they can just figure out how to put it all together...). It was a great day, and we had a blast, but that's not what I'm here to talk about.
Before we got there, I'd taken the concept of LegoLand pretty literally. I thought it was going to be a centre of tiny (and not so tiny) Lego models, and maybe a few places where you got to put together your own pale imitations instead. But no...LegoLand, as anyone who actually bothers to read about where they're going before they go would have known, is essentially a mini theme park. There's Lego galore, bien sur; but there are also log flumes and pirate ships and dinosaur rides and Vikings and diggers and car tracks and....
....and absolutely nothing that seems aimed towards girls. I'm not advocating gender-based play; to be honest, having grown up in a two-daughter household with toy garages and Scalectrix, and having bought our boys a toy kitchen for Christmas two years ago, I actually think it doesn't really occur to me. But you see the evidence around enough to know that gender-based play does exist: that for every Captain Hook walking the plank there must be a mermaid combing her hair; for every bumper car there's a hospital with a nurse in attendance; for every dinosaur there's a...a what? Betty Flintstone? Buggered if I know.
Anyway, it just struck me as curious. The conclusion we came to was that Lego's self-selecting; whether meaning to or not, it appeals more to boys, thus the activities were centered around more typical 'boy' interests, too. I've got no idea whether this is actually true or not, but it was weird to be presented with such a strong gender-based theme park. Who knew those even existed? Or are theme parks, by their very nature, more 'male'? And no, I'm not bringing Dollywood into this.