Ole Kirk Christiansen started making wooden toys in his small workshop in Billund, Denmark in 1932. Two years later, Ole Kirk decided upon a name for his toys and his workshop – LEGO®, a contraction of the Danish words ‘leg godt,’ meaning ‘play well.’ Coincidentally, it was later learned that LEGO in Latin means "I put together" or "I assemble."
In 1947, the company bought its first plastics injection-molding machine and in 1949 the forerunner to the LEGO brick was introduced, under the name "Automatic Binding Bricks".
Inner tubes on the bricks were introduced in 1958, which significantly increased the number of possible building combinations. In 1967, the larger DUPLO® bricks for pre-school children were introduced, and LEGO TECHNIC for older children debuted in 1977. LEGO DACTA®, now know as The Educational Division, was set up in 1980.
It was the increasing interest in the fantastic LEGO masterpieces displayed at the factories that triggered Godtfred Kirk Christiansen’s idea of exhibiting the models outside. He originally envisioned just a little garden, where various LEGO models and figures could be displayed, but when work began on the project, it developed and became much larger.
In June 1968, LEGOLAND® Billund opened for the first time on a 9 acre site. All buildings, landscapes and vehicles were built using standard LEGO bricks, and the park’s success exceeded everyone’s expectations – in the first year alone, 625,000 happy visitors were guests at the park!
LEGOLAND California is a 128-acre park geared specifically towards youngsters ages 2 – 12. With over 60 family rides, "hands-on" attractions and shows, LEGOLAND California provides education, adventure and fun in this first park of its kind in the United States.