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San Diego County overflows with enjoyable for households. As a mother who lived on this Southern California seaside metropolis for a few years and returns recurrently together with her brood, I am excited to share my picks for the perfect issues to do in San Diego with youngsters. From theme parks and animal adventures to nature play and museums — these actions are certain to maintain all ages content material. Check out 35 San Diego sights for households!
Discover San Diego offers together with attraction ticket reductions and discounted resort packages. Scroll to the underside of this listing of San Diego sights for youths to discover a particular San Diego low cost only for Journey Mamas readers!
1. The Seaside
When contemplating the perfect San Diego sights for youths, the seaside all the time tops the listing. This Southern California metropolis is famend for its lengthy sandy seashores and surf-able waves. In truth, San Diego boasts greater than 70 miles of shoreline. It doesn’t matter what time of yr you go to, magnificence and enjoyable abound at San Diego’s seashores.
Summer season San Diego seashores bustle with picnicking households. Households can construct sandcastles and splash within the waves. Or, take part in water sports activities like browsing classes, boogie boarding, or a sea-kayaking tour.
Cooler spring and fall temperatures imply more room to calm down and unfold out a seaside blanket. For me, that is the perfect time to go to the seaside in San Diego. Take a protracted the sand, hearken to the waves roll out and in, and watch the seagulls dive into the water for a seafood snack.
These visiting in winter are sometimes stunned to search out the seashores too chilly for swimming. However wetsuits can be found from surf outlets for die-hard ocean lovers. Winter months are a good time to discover San Diego tide swimming pools, trying to find hermit crabs, sea stars, mussels, and different sea life at low tide.
Finest Seashores in San Diego for Households
With so many San Diego seashores, it may be arduous to decide on the appropriate one for your loved ones. Pacific Seaside and Ocean Seaside buzz with energetic boardwalks, seaside volleyball, and horseshoe-playing faculty youngsters. For much less hubbub, households could want the stainless Coronado Island Seaside.
The crescent-shaped La Jolla Shores Seaside can be a stunner. Fletcher Cove in Solana Seaside is all the time a household favourite with its candy beachside playground. In the meantime, Mission Seaside affords very mellow waves for younger youngsters.
2. San Diego Zoo
In fact, you possibly can’t go to San Diego with youngsters with out going to its well-known zoo. Broadly thought to be among the finest zoological facilities on the planet, the San Diego Zoo wows animal lovers. This zoo’s focus is on the conservation of endangered animals and educating the general public in regards to the world’s creatures.
4 thousand animals representing 800 species make their properties right here. Take a peek at lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). However there are additionally koalas, Komodo dragons, kangaroos, and plenty of different animals to fascinate guests. Board the SkyFari Aerial Tram for an uplifting journey over the zoo’s cover of leafy timber for a view of the animals under.
Children will get pleasure from visiting the Youngsters’s Zoo. There they will play on the Fisher-Worth Discovery Playground and work together with goats, sheep, and different mellow creatures within the petting zoo.
Because the zoo is positioned throughout the stunning Balboa Park, you might simply convey a cooler stuffed with meals to maintain in your (rental) automobile within the parking zone. Take pleasure in a meal at one of many picnic tables within the park after which reenter the zoo as soon as your bellies are full.
3. Balboa Park
The situation of the first-ever World’s Honest, Balboa Park is one in every of San Diego’s hottest sights. It seems like a grand previous European boulevard. Take pleasure in free admission to this spacious park with its multitude of gardens and 5 playgrounds.
All the household will get pleasure from wandering by the park’s stunning grounds. Make sure you go to the Balboa Park Rose Backyard to cease and scent the aromatic flowers. For much more enjoyable, join a Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt.
Pay further to discover Balboa Park’s 17 onsite museums. San Diego’s famend Outdated Globe Theatre additionally places on performances right here all year long. The San Diego Zoo is technically a part of Balboa Park, too.
4. LEGOLAND California
Whereas many amusement parks current passive leisure, dad and mom will probably be happy to find interactive sights at LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad. On the Volvo Driving College, youngsters drive pint-sized automobiles round streets dotted with cease indicators and dealing stoplights. Children also can construct and race LEGO automobiles and even program computerized LEGO Mindstorms robots.
The Police and Hearth Academy Rescue journey will get Mother and Dad concerned. Households pile into a fireplace truck or police automobile. Then they energy it by pumping levers up and down as they race different groups to place out a “hearth” and cease make-believe robbers.
5. San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The San Diego Safari Park is simply as spectacular as its sister property, the world-famous San Diego Zoo. This animal park encompasses a whopping 1,800 acres, in comparison with the zoo’s 100.
The African Tram is the park’s king attraction. It transports guests by a wide-open panorama just like that of the African Savannah. Riders spy on such creatures as rhinos, giraffes, and Cape buffaloes. Pay a further price to stand up near the animals on a Caravan Safari (proven above).
However that is not the one memorable journey on the Safari Park. Buy a cup of nectar at Lorikeet Touchdown to return nostril to beak with brightly plumed lorikeet parrots. You possibly can even zip-line on the San Diego Zoo Safari Park over the heads of untamed animals. Or, for a very memorable journey, join the Roar and Snore in a single day tenting within the park.
On sizzling days, convey swim gear so youngsters can cool off within the animal-shaped fountains on the Savannah Cool Zone.
6. SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego is greatest identified for exhibits starring ocean animals like dolphins and sea lions. Aquariums stuffed with sea life abound right here, too, together with a walk-through shark tank. For an additional particular deal with, guide a Premier Expertise, like a Dine with Orcas Meal or Penguin Encounter.
This theme park additionally options enjoyable rides. Sesame Avenue Bay of Play supplies candy rides for younger ones like Elmo’s Flying Fish and Abby’s Sea Star Spin. The Sky Tower and Bayside Skyride present spectacular views of Mission Bay. In the meantime, curler coasters like Manta and Shipwreck Rapids thrill adventurous parkgoers.
7. La Jolla Cove
La Jolla is well-known for its designer outlets and upscale eating choices. However La Jolla Cove can be a superb place to benefit from the outside.
Begin with a picnic lunch on an expansive grassy space overlooking the ocean at Scripps Parkway. Then stroll alongside sea cliffs and peer at California Harbor seals lazing on the seaside at Youngsters’s Pool. This can be a small cove protected by a concrete breaker, which significantly appeals to seals.
Each time my household makes our method to this stunning space of San Diego County, my Midwestern husband and I stare out on the ocean’s waves pounding white ruffles of water in opposition to the rocks and say, “How fortunate are we to be right here?” La Jolla Cove overwhelms us with its magnificence each time.
8. Birch Aquarium at Scripps
This aquarium in La Jolla supplies a worthwhile different to SeaWorld San Diego. It is a fantastic place for households on a decent price range or with restricted time. The main target at Birch Aquarium is on ocean schooling, animal care, and conservation.
I particularly advocate this San Diego attraction for households with infants and toddlers. Younger ones like to get an up-close view of tanks stuffed with fish. Get your fill of glowing moon jellies, stunning lionfish, silvery sardines, sharks, and different sea creatures.
Older youngsters additionally get pleasure from viewing marine life and exploring hands-on displays. They will even gently pet sandpapery sea stars and slimy sea cucumbers on the outside Tide Pool Plaza.
Learn all my ideas for exploring Birch Aquarium with youngsters.
9. San Diego Botanic Backyard
The 37-acre San Diego Botanic Backyard incorporates greater than two dozen themed gardens located alongside 4 miles of trails.
The Seeds of Marvel Youngsters’s Backyard is geared towards younger youngsters (kindergarten and youthful). Youngsters would possibly get pleasure from making bubbles with tubs of soapy water and wands. Then, dig up buried plastic dinosaurs. A baby-sized playhouse is all the time successful for faux play. Better of all is the mannequin railroad monitor with trains that chug by the backyard.
Hamilton Youngsters’s Backyard appeals to larger youngsters. Right here, households play a large recreation of tic-tac-toe. Subsequent, wander by a labyrinth product of feathery vegetation. Youngsters can be taught to learn a sundial and climb the centerpiece treehouse, too. On sizzling summer season days, youngsters play with toy boats and funky off their tootsies in a miniature stream.
This botanic backyard is one in every of my favourite issues to do in San Diego with youngsters. My household makes some extent of visiting right here almost each time we return to Southern California. Be taught why in my full San Diego Botanic Backyard evaluate.
10. Torrey Pines State Pure Reserve
The reserve is house to the uncommon twisty Torrey pine in addition to desert brush, prickly pear cactus, wildflowers, and different native vegetation. Select from eight mountaineering trails at Torrey Pines State Pure Reserve. After your hike, cool off within the ocean on the Torrey Pines State Seaside under seaside cliffs.
My favourite path is the Seaside Path, which descends over three-quarters of a mile from sea cliff to seaside. Absorb sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean alongside the best way.
A better path, Man Fleming Path, is a 2/3-mile loop. That is in all probability the perfect decide for households with younger youngsters.
Everybody, together with these in wheelchairs or strollers, can get pleasure from Discovery Path. This brief .5-mile loop close to the Torrey Pines Lodge options info markers about native vegetation.
11. Outdated City San Diego
Step again in time on this historic space of San Diego. Staking declare because the birthplace of contemporary California, Outdated City is the place the primary Spanish settlers arrived in 1769 and constructed the primary of 21 missions within the state.
Right now, vacationers and locals wander by 15 historic buildings right here. These embrace a wide range of shops peddling souvenirs, home made soaps, candies, and extra. Get extra out of your go to with an Outdated City California: Hop-On Hop-Off Narrated Trolley Tour.
The true cause my household loves Outdated City? The meals! With over 25 eateries inside a one-mile radius, you might be certain to search out one thing to please each member of the family’s style buds. The specialty right here, although, is Mexican delicacies. Menus burst with conventional dishes like tamales, enchiladas, and chiles rellenos.
12. The New Youngsters’s Museum
With 17 museums at Balboa Park, it is easy to overlook this enjoyable spot for youngsters within the coronary heart of San Diego’s downtown Gaslamp Quarter. This museum was designed to encourage youngsters to suppose, play, and create utilizing hands-on exhibitions and creative actions.
Some areas of The New Youngsters’s Museum are age-specific, like Sketch Aquarium for ages 2+ and Reconnecting to Residence for ages 6+. Different areas have interaction youngsters throughout age teams. It is the proper place to go when dad and mom need to relaxation whereas the children play.
13. Cabrillo Nationwide Monument
Deliver the children to Cabrillo Nationwide Monument for a San Diego historical past lesson. Then hike alongside the Bayside Path to soak up attractive panoramic views of the ocean and town under. You might even see migrating whales in January and February.
This nationwide monument is known as for Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. In 1542, he was the chief of the primary European expedition on what’s now the West Coast of the US.
The spotlight is a go to to Outdated Level Loma Lighthouse. This lit the best way for sailors getting into San Diego Bay from 1855 to 1891. Right now, guests get a glimpse of life within the 1800s by interval furnishings and lighthouse instruments on show.
14. Sesame Place San Diego
Sesame Place opened within the southern suburb of Chula Vista in 2022. This theme park was designed particularly for youngsters aged 3 to 10.
Count on kiddie rides on dry land like Tremendous Grover’s Field Automotive Derby mini curler coaster. For a splashing good time, younger youngsters will get pleasure from amusements like Elmo’s Foolish Sand Slides and The Depend’s Splash Fortress. Parades and beloved Sesame Avenue character meet-and-greets spherical out the household enjoyable.
Greater youngsters will probably be excited to search out thrilling water slides, too. For instance, Cookie’s Monster Mixer is a 4-story raft journey that sends households on a swirling, swishing journey.
15. LEGOLAND Water Park
The LEGOLAND Water Park affords thrilling full-sized water slides and a lazy river. For younger youngsters, there are water playgrounds with mellow waterslides and animal-shaped fountains. Dive into all of the splashy enjoyable with my LEGOLAND Water Park ideas.
16. Whale Watching in San Diego
San Diego is among the greatest locations to go whale watching all yr lengthy. Grey whales migrate from Mexico to Alaska and again from mid-December to mid-March. Off the Pacific Coast in summers, you would possibly even spot the world’s largest animals, blue whales. You may seemingly spot dolphins, too, throughout your San Diego whale-watching journey.
Guide your San Diego whale-watching tour now with our associate, GetYourGuide.
For households that suffer from movement illness, pack some Dramamine simply in case! My daughter and I each typically endure from seasickness and fared effectively on our San Diego whale watching tour, however you by no means know.
17. Belmont Park
Have you ever had sufficient amusements but? Your youngsters in all probability have not! Take theme park lovers to Belmont Park on the Mission Seaside Boardwalk. Go right here for carnival video games with prizes, ice lotions, funnel muffins, and a handful of theme park rides.
The star attraction is the Large Dipper Curler Coaster. This historic picket curler coaster was initially inbuilt 1925 and has been restored to your rickety using pleasure. Be warned that this can be a very jerky journey. Teenagers will like it. Grown-ups? Most likely much less.
Admission is free. Pay as you go so swing by to journey and play what you want and transfer on. For limitless entry to 13 rides and included parking, buy a Belmont Park Trip & Play Go.
18. Seaport Village
Wander by quirky boutiques and memento outlets on the waterfront Seaport Village procuring and leisure advanced. It is located beside San Diego Bay close to downtown San Diego.
This is among the greatest locations to soak up bay views over a restaurant meal. Children will particularly benefit from the Historic Carousel and online game arcade right here.
19. Carlsbad Flower Fields
Each spring locals and vacationers alike flock to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad. Scent the ranunculus and pose for superb photograph alternatives amongst hundreds of blooms.
Trip a tractor-pulled wagon by greater than 50 acres of rainbow-colored rows of flowers. Then tiptoe by a maze product of candy peas. Older youngsters who like a problem can fill paper passports at stamp stations all through the Flower Fields.
At Santa’s Playground, youngsters climb and slide amongst restored playhouses and gigantic mushrooms. These have been as soon as a part of the favored Santa’s Village amusement space. It was positioned in Lake Arrowhead from 1955 to 1998 earlier than being relocated to the flower fields.
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad are usually open from March by Mom’s Day annually. Learn my recommendation for visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields with youngsters.
20. Petco Park
One of many coolest locations within the nation to look at a baseball recreation is Petco Park. That is as a result of it is constructed proper into the historic Western Steel Provide Firm Constructing within the Gaslamp Quarter. Absorb views of downtown whereas cheering on the house workforce, the San Diego Padres. Plus, there are many locations to discover proper earlier than or after the sport.
Petco Park can be the one main league baseball stadium with a resort instantly related to it. My husband and I stayed right here one weekend and it was such a thrill to stroll proper throughout the skyway from the resort to the stadium! Search for particular baseball packages on the Omni Resort San Diego.
21. Resort del Coronado
Sure, it is an exquisite resort. However the Resort Del Coronado can be a vacationer attraction in its personal proper. Many individuals come only for the day.
The resort is famend for its extravagant weekend brunch, fancy-schmancy outlets, and an immaculate stretch of seaside. The seaside is public so anybody can splash and play right here.
The Resort del Coronado is worthy of a go to year-round. Throughout winter holidays, day guests and resort visitors alike can take a spin on the Del’s oceanside outside ice skating rink.
Including to the glamorous vibe, many motion pictures have been filmed right here, most notably Some Like It Scorching, starring Marilyn Monroe.
The Resort Del is positioned on Coronado Island throughout from downtown San Diego. The “island” is definitely a peninsula, however it’s obtained an island vibe and feels worlds away from town. It made our listing of the greatest seaside accommodations on the planet.
22. Little Italy
San Diego’s Little Italy packs a tasty punch. This can be a tremendous enjoyable place to walk and dine. Meander by artwork galleries and darling outlets on this neighborhood close to the Gaslamp Quarter.
In fact, the primary draw is scrumptious Italian delicacies. From gelaterias and pasta outlets to high-end delicacies, you will not go hungry in Little Italy.
Probably the most enjoyable for households is Filippi’s Pizza Grotto. A wee grocery stuffed with delightfully smelly cheeses, hanging salamis, and different Italian goodies will entertain hungry prospects ready for a desk. And the pizza? Fugheddaboudit!
23. Fleet Science Heart
Situated at Balboa Park, Fleet Science Heart (previously Reuben H. Fleet Science Heart) is stuffed with interactive displays. Children of all ages will probably be having a lot enjoyable turning knobs and urgent buttons, they will not understand they’re studying about science.
24. Maritime Museum of San Diego
The entire household will get pleasure from touring distinctive crusing vessels on the floating Maritime Museum. Steam-powered boats, crusing ships, and submarines make up the museum’s fleet of 9 boats.
The expertise contains the Star of India, the world’s oldest energetic crusing yacht. Children get a kick out of pretending they’re pirates on the excessive seas.
25. USS Halfway Museum
Not removed from the Maritime Museum, seafarers and navy buffs will respect the USS Halfway Museum at Naval Pier. Climb aboard to discover this retired naval plane provider. Reserve your USS Halfway Museum Skip-the-Line Tickets now.
26. Sea Life Carlsbad Aquarium
Guests get a glimpse of what it is wish to reside beneath the ocean at Sea Life Carlsbad Aquarium from encapsulated pop-up plastic bubbles in fish-filled tanks. Buy separate tickets or park hoppers to discover this aquarium positioned at LEGOLAND California.
Be taught extra about each the theme park and the aquarium with my LEGOLAND California ideas.
27. Balboa Park Carousel
The Balboa Park Carousel was inbuilt 1910. It options three chariots, 27 hand-carved horses, and 25 different animals together with giraffes, pigs, and a dragon. The carousel is open usually on weekends and faculty holidays.
This is among the few carousels on the planet that also affords the brass ring recreation. Large youngsters and adults who need to play ought to select an outdoor horse. Then attain out to understand the small rings on every spin. Iron rings don’t rely. Solely the rider who nabs the brass ring wins a free journey!
28. Balboa Park Railroad
Climb aboard a miniature prepare positioned simply outdoors the San Diego Zoo’s entrance. It takes three minutes to chug by Balboa Park’s grassy panorama and a protracted tunnel. The prepare usually runs daily throughout summer season and spring break, however solely on weekends low season.
If sharing a prepare journey with a gaggle of school-aged youngsters, then beware that field-tripping youngsters scream in unison by the tunnel. It’s greatest to attend for the following prepare.
29. San Diego Mannequin Railroad Museum
Bought a child who loves trains? The San Diego Mannequin Railroad Museum homes one of many largest indoor mannequin prepare shows on the planet!
This attraction is a large hit with the preschooler set. Discover this museum celebrating all issues choo-choo at Balboa Park.
30. San Diego Pure Historical past Museum
All the household will get pleasure from studying about dinosaurs, ocean creatures, geodes, and extra on the San Diego Pure Historical past Museum in Balboa Park. Children will probably be enthralled by the large fountain out entrance, too.
31. Unconditional Give up
In entrance of the USS Halfway within the waterfront park, Tuna Harbor, you will discover the enduring Unconditional Give up statue. This 25-foot-tall sculpture celebrates the victory of the Allied Forces after World Conflict II.
It’s primarily based on the well-known photograph of a sailor and a nurse embracing in a kiss after the information of Japan’s give up in 1945.
There may be some controversy about this statue as a result of the pair weren’t a pair. Quite, the lady was grabbed by a stranger who kissed her.
32. San Diego County Honest
If visiting San Diego with youngsters in summer season, then hit up the San Diego County Honest in Del Mar. It usually runs from early June by early July annually. Count on theme park rides, carnival video games with prizes, livestock shows, uncommon retail choices, and reside leisure. Meals, backyard, and artwork contests are additionally enjoyable to peruse.
Honest meals is one other main draw. Get the grilled corn on the cob and slather it with cotija cheese and chili powder for a Mexican road corn deal with. Deep-fried Twinkies and frybread tacos are all the time successful, too. Mother and father will need to swing by the beer backyard for an grownup beverage to scrub all of it down.
33. Whaley Home
Whereas exploring Outdated City San Diego, older youngsters would possibly get pleasure from a tour of Whaley Home. This supposedly haunted constructing was featured on the Journey Channel’s America’s Most Haunted.
Additionally it is San Diego’s first home constructed from bricks. Over time, the constructing has been used as a courthouse, theatre, billiard corridor, and faculty.
34. San Diego Air and Area Museum
The San Diego Air and Area Museum is in style with would-be pilots and astronauts. Expertise aerospace historical past with a re-creation of the Wright Brothers’ 1901 glider. Additionally, view fighter planes from World Conflict I, World Conflict II, the Golden Age of Flight, and approach past.
“Be the Astronaut” offers youngsters and adults alike a style of house journey. This hands-on exhibit teaches in regards to the pleasure and challenges of exploring our photo voltaic system.
35. San Diego SEAL Tour
A 1.5-hour San Diego SEAL Tour takes place on each land and sea. The narrated tour begins at Seaport Village and continues alongside San Diego streets. You may be taught in regards to the historical past of town alongside the best way. Then your amphibious automobile will carry your loved ones into the harbor for a floating tour of the bay.
Save Cash on Your San Diego Trip
Wish to get monetary savings in your San Diego household trip? In fact, you do! Use low cost code TravelMamas to get $10 off any two-night or longer Southern California package deal (resort and two-ticket minimal) whenever you guide by our associate, Get Away Right now. Additionally, discover San Diego offers together with attraction ticket reductions!
These contemplating a fall go to are in luck! October is Children Free San Diego Month, with over 100 offers only for youngsters. It is an effective way to save lots of a bunch and offers households a superb cause to move to San Diego low season. Have a look at which sights, accommodations, and eating places are providing freebies to households.
It is effectively value investing in a Go San Diego Card. You may save as much as 55% on enjoyable issues to do in San Diego together with the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, the New Youngsters’s Museum, and rather more!
It makes good sense to test Groupon for reductions on actions and eating places in your vacation spot, and San Diego isn’t any exception. View Groupon San Diego offers now.
Be taught Extra About California with Children
Take a look at my San Diego sights with youngsters video that I made as a part of Expedia’s Children within the Metropolis marketing campaign. This challenge highlights 12 of America’s hottest locations, with suggestions from a number of the prime household journey bloggers.
In search of good meals in San Diego? Learn my picks for the greatest San Diego eating places for households.
A superb San Diego trip wants fabulous lodging. Check out the greatest accommodations for youths in San Diego.
Discover extra of the Golden State with these California holidays for households.
Hold These San Diego Sights
For future reference, save this listing of issues to do in San Diego with youngsters. The easiest way is to pin the picture above to Pinterest. I hope you’ll comply with Journey Mamas on Pinterest when you’re at it!
What do you suppose are the perfect San Diego sights for youths? Tell us your ideas and questions within the feedback under!
Journey Mamas was compensated by Expedia for taking part within the Children within the Metropolis challenge when this story launched in 2012. This weblog put up is up to date recurrently to mirror San Diego’s present choices for households.
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