Places to go with kids in San Diego
What are you going to do on your family vacation to San Diego? Sure, the kids will be quite happy swimming, splashing around and having fun down at the pool, but you did not come all the way to San Diego just to hang out by the hotel's swimming pool. Within minutes of the Bay Inn, there are so many kid-friendly attractions that are also fun for the entire family. To give you an idea of what is available, here are some suggestions for fun family outings in San Diego.
One of the marks of a great city is its parks. New York City has its Central Park. San Francisco has Golden Gate Park, and not to be outdone, San Diego has Balboa Park. Balboa Park is larger than New York's Central Park and offers everything from beautiful gardens, nature trails, children's play areas and wide open fields to a miniature railroad, a charming carousel and more world-class museums than any other urban park in the country.
One of the most visited museums that is always a big hit with the kids is the San Diego Air & Space Museum. At the state-of-the-art 3D/4D Theater, get the thrill of breaking the sound barrier and flying into outer space without ever leaving the ground. The Kids Aviation Action Hangar lets the tykes pilot their own pedal-planes through a kid-sized airport. There are also flight simulators, a space capsule from the original Apollo space missions and much, much more to keep your interest for hours.
Learn more about Balboa Park www.balboapark.org/info
San Diego Zoo
If you want to have happy kids, take them to the zoo. Taking them to the San Diego Zoo, one of the best zoos in the world, will certainly score you some additional bonus points on the good parent's test. Turning 100 years old in 2015, the San Diego Zoo is home to more than 800 species of animals. Everyone will want to make sure to get over to Panda Canyon, one of the very few places you can actually see the cuddly characters. You can go on an African Safari and see elephants, lions, tigers and Ring-tailed Lemurs. There are always new and exciting things going on all year round, so anytime is a great time to visit the San Diego Zoo.
Learn more about the San Diego Zoo www.sandiegozoo.org/zoo
Seventy percent of the earth is covered in water and SeaWorld is a theme park that focuses on all of the creatures that live in and by the sea. You'll get to see the feeding of the sharks and watch the cute little birds stroll about in the cool Penguin Encounter exhibit. As always, Shamu is a big hit with kids and there is a sea lion show that will give you a few belly laughs.
You can't talk about SeaWorld without mentioning the super-popular Manta roller coaster ride that takes you through a tank filled with the sea creatures for whom the ride was named. Another great roller coaster ride is the Journey to Atlantis, which takes you splashing through the water will surprise you with lots of interesting twists and turns.
Learn more about Seaworld seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-sandiego/Park-Info
New Children's Museum
Three floors filled with touchable and interactive art installations designed to spark the interest and creativity of children, will keep your kids entertained and involved for hours. All of the different possibilities for fun might get your kids a little worked up. They may see the bubble station and make a run to play with those fascinating floating and fragile spheres, or they may dash for a seat at the table to squish some clay between their little fingers. The staff encourages kids to have fun and are great with the kids. Of course, there has to be some rules against excessive running and screaming or the public space would quickly become a little too crazy. This is a great place for toddlers and young children to learn about contemporary art, create art of their own and just plain have a grand old time.
Learn more about the New Children's Museum www.thinkplaycreate.org
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Of all the museums in the city of San Diego, none is more popular, with both kids and adults, than the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Celebrating its 40th anniversary since it first opened back in 1973, the Fleet consistently ranks in the top 10 among all San Diego attractions.
With more than 100 interactive science exhibits and frequent traveling exhibitions, the museum is very popular with the local residents and also a hot destination for tourists. For an incredible experience, be sure to visit the IMAX Dome theater where you are surrounded by screens and almost feel like you are floating in space. Inside the Tinkering Studio, you can conduct your own scientific experiments and there is a Kid City for those under 5 years of age. You'll have a memorable experience that is well worth the cost of admission when you visit the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Learn more about the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center www.rhfleet.org
La Jolla Children's Pool
La Jolla Children's Pool was once a place where parents could bring their young children to swim in the calm waters that are protected by a concrete breakwater. Through the efforts of concerned citizens and wildlife advocates, the area has become a seal and sea life sanctuary. Visitors can walk out on the breakwater and take in the spectacular views of the ocean while watching the seals and sea lions frolic about. This is a fun and unique part of San Diego that is well worth exploring.
Learn more about La Jolla Children's Pool www.a-zsandiegobeaches.com/lajollachildrenspoo
La Jolla Cove
If you are looking for the best beach in San Diego for snorkeling and scuba diving, you have to go to La Jolla Cove. Down below the sandstone bluffs, and protected from the rough ocean waves, is a small, lovely beach. The waters are calm and very clear, making it ideal for exploring the underwater sea life and also perfect for young children to swim.
Learn more about La Jolla Cove www.a-zsandiegobeaches.com/lajollacove
Ride the Giant Dipper roller coaster or test your surfing skills in the FlowBarrel wave pool. There are lots of other amusement park rides, an arcade and you can go swimming in the largest indoor pool in San Diego. You can play miniature golf, climb a rock wall or play an action-packed game of laser tag. You won't go hungry with all the pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers you can eat plus plenty of ice cream and sweets. Oh, and don't forget that the beach and the Pacific Ocean are only steps away from the entrance to San Diego's Belmont Park.
Learn more about Belmont Park www.belmontpark.com
Mission Bay Park covers 4,200 acres of combined land and water, making it the biggest waterpark in the world. There is something for everybody to do. You can surf, boogie board, swim, kayak, jet ski, water ski, sail, bike, skateboard and the list goes on. There are great picnic areas, bike and jogging paths, and you can gather around the bonfire on the beach when the sun goes down.
Learn more about Mission Bay www.sandiego.org/what-to-do/beaches/mission-bay
Take the kids to the William Heath Davis House Museum, the oldest house in New San Diego for a look back in time when people managed to live without all of today’s modern conveniences. You can go on a docent-led tour and learn all about the history of the area. The tour starts inside the museum and then goes outside so you can see and hear about the unique architecture in the area.
A fun place to visit is the Horton Toy Store, where you will have a nostalgic time looking at the non-computer toys you grew up with when you were a kid. Introduce your kids to the fun toys like kaleidoscopes, spinning tops, marbles and much more as you browse the shelves of this one-of-a-kind toy store.
When you get hungry, head over to the Spaghetti Factory or Fillipi’s Pizza for kid-pleasing cuisine that you will also love.
Learn more about the Gaslamp Quarter www.gaslampquarter.org
Seaport Village is a nice place to shop, dine or just take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone pathways. Located along the Bay, next to Embarcadero Park, there are more than 50 unique shops and 17 restaurants or places to grab a quick bite. Enjoy watching the street performers, take a ride on the historic carousel, and maybe even hear some live musical entertainment.
Learn more about Seaport Village www.seaportvillage.com/visitors/tourist-information
San Diego is a child’s playground. You always have the great beaches, amusement parks and museums to visit and enjoy. Plan ahead, before you arrive so you can see as much of San Diego as possible on your next family vacation.