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23 of the perfect issues to do in San Diego with children

You’re spoiled for alternative relating to nice household metropolis breaks in California, however because the state’s second largest metropolis, it’s no shock that there’s lots to tempt you to San Diego with children.

View of the city skyline of San Diego on a sunny day, seen from the back of a boat with US flag flying - my tips for the best things to do in San Diego with kids

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Together with nice family-friendly museums and a world-famous zoo, there’s historical past, nice seashores and loads of probabilities to get outside too, to not point out some main household points of interest a brief drive from the town itself.

So whether or not you’re stopping as a part of a highway journey in California or are spending your entire break in southern California, right here’s my decide of the perfect issues to do in San Diego with children.

MONEY SAVING TIP! Go to San Diego throughout October and you’ll usually get free admission for teenagers to among the metropolis’s largest points of interest as a part of the Children Free San Diego promotion

San Diego Zoo

Need your child to expertise an African rainforest and the Arctic taiga with out having to depart the US? Take them to one of many world’s finest zoos – the San Diego Zoo, which is unfold throughout 100 acres of Balboa Park.

There’s an enormous 3,500 animals to find, together with pandas, polar bears, elephants, meerkats, and flamingos, plus the prospect to see them in a recreated model of their pure habitat – excellent for kindling your baby’s curiosity.

Koala on a branch in San Diego zoo - one of the best places in San Diego for families

If the strolling will get an excessive amount of for the youthful ones in your troop, the zoo has you coated with its on-site bus tour that covers round 75% of the location.

Or for one thing a bit extra adventurous, climb aboard the Skyfari Aerial Tram, the zoo’s overhead gondola elevate. You’ll be in for a deal with with some superb aerial views, ok for kings and queens of the jungle. 

Get a reduction on tickets when you ebook by way of Tiqets utilizing my code MUMMYTRAVELS6, or you may also ebook a 1-day Any Day Move if you wish to maintain your schedule versatile.

Don’t get this confused with San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is round half-hour outdoors the town – though as one of many largest artifical safari parks on this planet, it’s a implausible day trip close to San Diego for households too. You can too get joint tickets to each the Zoo and the Safari park when you’re visiting San Diego with children who love animals

Balboa Park

A mixture of tradition, science, and nature, Balboa Park is house to over 1,200 acres of parkland with a complete array of museums, theatres, gardens, trails, and different leisure areas to find – there’s even a scavenger hunt that can assist you discover all of it.

Begin with a go to to the WorldBeat Cultural Middle’s EthnoBotany Kids’s Peace Backyard, which provides children the chance to study concerning the meals they eat each day and the function of crops in society. 

Take a look at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater too, the longest continuous-running puppet theatre in america – children (and oldsters) will love the reveals, or on the San Diego Mannequin Railroad Museum, the most important such indoor exhibit in North America.

For some extra downtime between sightseeing in Balboa Park, take your children to the world’s first IMAX Dome Theater for academic reveals on the Fleet Science Middle. They’ll get to see reveals akin to Serengeti, Turtle Odyssey, Historic Caves, and Deep Sky, whisking them from beneath the waves as much as the celebrities, by way of a few of earth’s most fascinating landscapes.

Toddlers will love their time on the centre’s Child Metropolis, with its interactive play areas, though with eight galleries and over 100 interactive science displays to discover, together with a digital actuality journey simulator and flight simulators, there’s assured to be one thing to maintain your entire household entertained.

The Casa de Balboa building with koi pond and waterlilies on a sunny day in Balboa Park - one of the best places to visit with kids in San Diego

The New Kids’s Museum   

The place are you able to go in case your children aren’t feeling outdoorsy? The New Kids’s Museum in downtown San Diego is jam-packed with actions, excellent for a wet day in San Diego with children.

On the latest addition, No Guidelines….Besides, guests of all ages get to get pleasure from leaping and crawling on greater than 150 mattresses and pillow tyres.

Different displays embrace Sketch Aquarium, the place children get to scan their sea life drawings right into a digital life-size aquarium, and a complete string of others with engaging names like Wobbleland, The Marvel Sound, Wammock! and lots of extra.

The main target is on immersing children in artwork and inspiring creativity in all, so it’s a implausible inclusive area too.

San Diego Pure Historical past Museum  

Your children will love the a whole lot of quirky displays on the San Diego Pure Historical past Museum, together with the fascinating assortment of dinosaur skeletons on show.

In all, the museum homes a powerful 7.5 million specimens, together with rocks, minerals, fossils, taxidermied animals, and mammals – in addition to interactive displays unfold throughout 5 flooring, so that you’ll have lots to see and do at this kid-friendly San Diego attraction. 

Fountain in front of the Natural History Museum - one of the many great museums to visit in San Diego with kids

One of many museum’s largest highlights is the Big Display screen Theatre, with each 2D and 3D movies to show all concerning the pure world.

Take a look at the San Diego Go Metropolis Move which provides you entry to as much as 7 points of interest, together with the Pure Historical past Museum, or the San Diego Go Metropolis All-Inclusive Move with entry to as much as 50 points of interest and excursions

San Diego Air and Area Museum

In case your children have an curiosity within the universe and the whole lot past our planet, the San Diego Air and Area Museum will take you on a journey by way of area, from the planets and stars all the way in which out to the sting of the recognized universe.

You possibly can study the whole lot from historical astronomy to fashionable area exploration, and there’s even a bit devoted to UFOs!

Whether or not you’re a seasoned area buff or simply beginning your journey of cosmic discovery, put in your rocket scientist hat and prepare for an out-of-this-world expertise!

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Dwelling to the USS Halfway Museum, the most important naval vessel on this planet open to the general public, the Maritime Museum of San Diego showcases maritime historical past and tradition in its fleet of eight vessels.

In addition to providing an interesting glimpse into life on a US plane service, there’s lots extra to maintain children entertained, from interactive displays to plane simulators.

The Star of India sailing ship at the Maritime Museum - one of many historic things to do in San Diego with kids

For teenagers (and oldsters), there’s an opportunity to find extra from the educated guides too, who present historic and navy commentary.

You can too tour the Star of India, the oldest energetic crusing ship, and even keep aboard throughout particular household in a single day adventures in the summertime. Purchase tickets with free cancellation.

Coronado Central Seaside  

Set simply over the bridge from San Diego, Coronado’s seven miles of shoreline is dotted with 5 predominant seashores so it’s preferrred when you’re in search of a household day by the coast.

The preferred alternative for households on Coronado Island is Central Seaside – though the entire seashores other than South Seaside have lifeguards and restrooms – proper within the coronary heart of city, and only a brief manner away from eating places and different points of interest.

View of the beach and beachside path on Coronado Island, site of some of the best beaches in San Diego for kids

For a change from museums and sightseeing, it couldn’t be simpler to seek out someplace to construct sandcastles and splash within the calm waters when you’re in search of an opportunity to chill out and revel in San Diego seashores.

If you happen to’re in search of extra lovely seashores in San Diego, there’s loads of alternative, together with Mission Seaside, and the Ocean Seaside and Pacific Seaside areas – some are extra family-friendly than others, relying when you’re visiting with teenagers or toddlers although

Previous City Trolley Excursions 

In case your baby loves historical past and listening to tales, then the Previous City Trolley Excursions is the proper option to uncover extra concerning the metropolis, whereas getting an opportunity to see the sights too.

Whereas the drivers share thrilling information concerning the metropolis’s historical past and structure, in addition they continually work together with children and maintain them engaged so it’s additionally a terrific option to see among the hottest San Diego points of interest in a single go.

They’re hop on hop off excursions as effectively, so it’s a enjoyable option to get from A to B, in addition to having the prospect to stretch your legs in case your children want a break.

The Old Town trolley tour and one of the historic buildings in San Diego Old Town, one of the unusual places to visit in San Diego with kids

Discover Previous City San Diego

The situation of the primary European settlement in California, it’s the oldest neighborhood in San Diego and an important place to wander round.

There’s an opportunity to find extra concerning the origins of California right here on the Junipero Serra Museum, though you possibly can consider the entire district as a kind of dwelling museum as you wander previous the colorful boutiques between the historic buildings – be careful for the haunted Whaley Home Museum!

If you happen to love Mexican meals, you could find among the metropolis’s finest right here as effectively – don’t be shocked to come back throughout dwell mariachi performers as you stroll.

And whereas it’s just a little manner from most of San Diego’s different vacationer attraction, the trolley excursions cease right here so it’s simple to hop off and discover.

Bike Excursions of San Diego with children 

If you wish to see as a lot as potential and time is brief, it’s exhausting to beat a motorcycle tour – and an e-bike tour are nice if not everybody desires to place in a variety of effort!

Rent your individual and discover at your individual tempo, with each bikes and ebikes to lease, plus children’ bikes, toddler trailers and tagalongs

Or for households with teenagers, hop on an e-bike to find the perfect of San Diego in a 2 1/2 hour tour of the town.

This two-hour electrical bike tour of La Jolla is appropriate for teenagers aged 12+, visiting La Jolla Cove and the coast, recognizing seals and fancy mansions alongside the way in which.

Tail of a gray whale emerging from the water off the coast of Southern California as boat-load of people watching - whale-watching tours are one of the best things to to in San Diego with kids

Go Whale Watching

San Diego is a superb place to observe whales and dolphins as they swim off the California coast, so that you’ll discover a alternative of whale-watching boat excursions to select from for households.

In summer season, you could be fortunate sufficient to identify Blue Whales feeding offshore, whereas from winter to spring, Grey Whales migrate from Alaskan waters to their calving lagoons in Baja California.

Metropolis Cruises runs a four-hour whale watching tour, with an opportunity to identify dolphins, seals and sea lions alongside the way in which, or Flagship Cruises have knowledgeable guides offering commentary as you sail.

Each depart from San Diego harbor, not removed from Broadway Pier and Navy Pier, to take you out into San Diego Bay.

San Diego SEAL Metropolis tour

For a ship tour with a distinction, climb aboard the San Diego SEAL Metropolis tour to discover the town by land and sea.

Beginning with a drive by way of the San Diego streets, you’ll move a string of landmarks together with the Embarcadero, in addition to the USS Halfway, in addition to studying extra concerning the significance of the navy within the metropolis.

Then the hybrid bus-boat heads straight into Massive Bay the place you possibly can cruise previous extra ships, in addition to passing Shelter Island to listen to tales of early sailors and spot the seals hanging out. Simply one of the enjoyable issues to do in San Diego with children.

Kayaks in the sea near caves at La Jolla Cove - one of the best things to do in San Diego with kids

Kayak within the La Jolla Caves  

Lower than a 20-minute drive from San Diego itself, it’s simple to get out an discover the California coast, together with the prospect for older children to discover the ocean cliffs and La Jolla Caves by kayak.

You possibly can lease kayaks and embark by yourself adventures as a household or spot sealife on a two-hour cave tour led by knowledgeable information. With double kayaks, it’s appropriate for teenagers aged 5+.

And when you’ve had your journey out on the waves, save a while to chill out on the sandy La Jolla Shores seashore as effectively – additionally an important possibility for youthful children to play whereas any older ones head out to sea.

Birch Aquarium At Scripps   

Whereas in La Jolla, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is one other nice possibility for a household day trip. Finest recognized for its sea dragons (correctly often known as weedy seagragons!), there are additionally penguins, turtles, sharks, octopus and a complete shoal of various fish.

The Corridor of Fishes options greater than 60 habitats that span from the Pacific Northwest to the tropical oceans, whereas you may also stand up shut and private with sea stars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and different sea creatures on the Tide Pool Plaza. 

A part of the Scripps Establishment of Oceanography, entry is included within the San Diego Metropolis Move, which additionally means you possibly can go to with out prebooking.

If you happen to’re studying this listing and assume I’ve forgotten all about Seaworld San Diego in Mission Bay, it’s a deliberate alternative on my half – whereas it’s a serious household attraction, I select to not suggest wherever which retains orcas in captivity

Rollercoaster at Belmont Park amusement park in Mission Bay - one of the great things to do in San Diego with kids

Belmont Park

If you happen to’re in search of theme parks, the closest factor on the listing is Belmont Park – this amusement park is a historic gem with loads of rides and video games to maintain children entertained.

With 22 enjoyable rides and points of interest to get pleasure from along with carnival-style video games, you possibly can get pleasure from all of it whereas being surrounded by lovely views and superb oceanfront surroundings.

If you happen to’re in search of thrills, experience the Big Dipper (a classic picket curler coaster initially inbuilt 1925) at speeds over 45 mph, whereas little ones can benefit from the carousel and rides like Tilt-A-Whirl and Dip & Dive.

Take a look at the San Diego Go Metropolis Move which provides you entry to as much as 7 points of interest, together with a Belmont Park Trip and Play Move, or the San Diego Go Metropolis All-Inclusive Move with entry to as much as 50 points of interest and excursions

Waterfront park 

Not removed from the Maritime Museum, Waterfront Park is a superb place for teenagers to let off some steam, with loads of play tools in addition to spray fountains to splash in on a sunny day.

There are sometimes particular occasions going down right here, together with farmers markets (so you could possibly decide up one thing scrumptious to eat on the park’s picnic tables) in addition to household pleasant festivals.

You’ll discover a bike path by way of the park as effectively when you’ve employed your individual bike for the day, and also you’re not removed from Little Italy the place you possibly can decide up some nice ice cream earlier than you hit the park.

Waterfront public park at the Embarcadero Marina Park in Downtown San Diego with picnic benches and paths leading between the grass - one of the fun places in San Diego for families

Eat at Corvette Diner 

You received’t be in need of nice locations to eat in San Diego with children, however Corvette Diner is a kid-friendly area with a distinction.

This basic diner has 50s-styled workers ready tables and singing, whereas the menu has shakes and burgers, amongst different basic diner dishes plus a soda fountain. The Dante’s Inferno cheeseburger has an added kick, or with bacon and peanut butter, the Rory would get Elvis’s seal of approval.

With an arcade, a magician on the desk and vibrant decor, this 50s-themed household pleasant attraction in San Diego is likely to be kitsch however relating to kid-friendly eating places, that is positively one to recollect.

Legoland California

Embark on a memorable journey with your loved ones at Legoland California, the place creativeness involves life for teenagers of all ages – round a 30-minute drive from San Diego, it’s one to not miss when you’re visiting the town.

With over 60 rides, reveals, and points of interest the place children can take the lead, this San Diego household theme park is geared to children aged between 2 and 12. The Heartlake Metropolis part options an interactive construct space, Fortress Hill is a medieval journey with knights and dragons, and the Creativeness Zone is a must-visit for artistic little ones.

Don’t miss a visit to Legoland’s Sea Life Aquarium when you’re there, to move your children into the depths of the ocean. Kids will get to see marine life galore together with sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, sea stars, sea horses, jellies, and 1000’s of colourful fish within the 20,000-square-foot indoor aquarium! 

Subsequent to the aquarium is the Legoland Water Park, one other cool spot to spend a few hours with the youngsters. There are slides, rides and wave pool for the entire household, such because the Duplo Splash Safari space and Craggers Swamp space. E book tickets for Legoland California right here.

Colourful flower fields with an old tractor in the background at Carlsbad Flower Fields near San Diego - one of the most unusual things to do in San Diego with kids

Carlsbad Flower Fields

A bouquet’s throw from Legoland California, The Carlsbad Flower Fields are one of the uncommon issues to see with children in San Diego County.

The fields come alive each spring like a trapped rainbow as 50 acres of flowers bloom in each possible shade, in addition to some enjoyable household actions.

Tiptoe by way of the maze of candy peas, fill out passport papers at stamp stations, and admire the Big Tecolote Ranunculus, in addition to studying about recycling and composting.

The very best time to see the fields is usually mid-March by way of early Could, however test the web site for up to date info on blooming instances.

Seaside Hike At Torrey Pines Pure Reserve 

Not removed from La Jolla, Torrey Pines State Pure Reserve is without doubt one of the finest household points of interest in San Diego. With over eight lovely trails to discover, that is the proper place to expertise a few of California’s pure magnificence. 

A good way to absorb the view from above is to comply with the Man Fleming Path, a largely flat 0.8-mile loop excellent for little ft. As you and your little explorers traverse the well-maintained path, you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of the dramatic cliffs and the Pacific Ocean.

And once you want a break, there are benches the place you possibly can sit again and take within the coastal surroundings. 

View of the cliffs and path with the beach and Pacific Ocean beyond at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve - one of the great places to get outdoors in San Diego with kids

Mission Trails Regional Park

Mission Trails Regional Park is one other excellent place for households in search of some outside journey, with an opportunity to having fun with picture-perfect views of San Diego’s cityscape within the background.

With greater than 65 miles of trails and eight,000 acres of hills and canyons to discover, together with different outside actions, there’s one thing for everybody at this city park.

Mountain climbing and biking trails wind by way of the park’s pure areas, whereas playgrounds, grassy areas with picnic tables, and fishing spots are excellent for a day within the nice outside.

And probably the greatest issues about Mission Trails is that it’s solely a brief drive from downtown San Diego – so it’s simple to get to!

Cabrillo Nationwide Monument

A go to to the Cabrillo Nationwide Monument brings historical past to life, with loads of actions for teenagers on this enjoyable household day trip.

On this website again in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo climbed out of his boat and stepped into historical past as the primary European to set foot on what’s now the West Coast of america.

In addition to uncover extra about sixteenth century exploration, you possibly can go to Previous Level Loma Lighthouse, been refurbished to showcase life within the 1800s with interval furnishings in addition to exploring the park itself.

Comply with the Bayside Path for a spectacular panoramic view of the ocean and the town beneath. Mid-January is peak time for recognizing whales right here, however you possibly can typically see them in migration season from mid to late December by way of March. Be sure you cease by the tide swimming pools too when you’re there too, to see what’s revealed at low tide.

The Cabrillo Monument with the city of San Diego and the ocean seen in the background on a sunny day - visiting is a great option to discover history and get outdoors in San Diego with kids

San Diego Botanic Backyard

For a enjoyable and attention-grabbing day journey with your loved ones, the San Diego Botanic Backyard is unquestionably price contemplating – regardless of the title it’s not within the metropolis itself, but it surely’s simple to achieve by automobile.

With greater than 37 acres of gardens, crops, and nature trails to discover, there’s one thing for everybody to get pleasure from too. Themed gardens embrace a Japanese backyard, rose backyard, succulent backyard, and several other gardens made particularly for youngsters.

The Seeds of Marvel Kids’s Backyard is designed for households to attach with nature and is ideal for preschool-age children. It includes a dinosaur-themed backyard, playhouse, topiary, and miniature railroad. Throughout most months, it additionally hosts weekly actions in partnership with SAPLinGS – Science Artwork & Play In Floor Area Saves (a program that promotes artistic studying).

The biggest youngsters’s backyard on the West Coast, the Hamilton Kids’s Backyard offers a wealth of studying alternatives for teenagers. Right here, youngsters could have enjoyable exploring the Unbelievable Edibles part, taking part in large tic-tac-toe, drawing on an enormous chalkboard, studying about sundials, or climbing an elaborate treehouse.

The San Diego Botanic Backyard can be house to quite a lot of attention-grabbing crops and animals, so you’ll want to maintain your eyes peeled!

For concepts of extra issues to do on the California coast, take a look at our 10-day Pacific Coast Freeway Itinerary, in addition to concepts for San Francisco with children and visiting Northern California with children

Disclosure: This put up comprises affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee

Pictures courtesy of Depositphotos


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