Family-Friendly Activities in San Diego
Treating your grandchildren and the other kids in your family to a big day out is a great way to create memories you’ll all hold on to. The key to getting the most out of the time and money you put into these activities is choosing things that appeal to everyone in your group — whether they’re little kids with high energy and short attention spans or teenagers who are keen to be seen as cool. Here are 5 of the best family-friendly options for seniors and their juniors in San Diego.
1. Legoland California
The Legoland California theme park is located about a half hour drive north of San Diego in Carlsbad, and it’s a great place to spend a day or two with the kids. The resort features two waterparks, an aquarium, shows, and dozens of rides for guests of all ages, conveniently marked on the park map by height restriction.
If you want to make a weekend of it, or just don’t feel like driving home at the end of a long day, the onsite Legoland Hotel and Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa let you rest and relax. There’s also plenty of dining and shopping onsite, too.
2. Sea World San Diego
For families who love marine life, Sea World San Diego offers shows spotlighting dolphins, sea lions, and whales, plus exhibits of penguins, sharks, and sea turtles. Let the little ones explore the Sesame Street Bay of Play while the big kids ride the Manta rollercoaster and the Journey to Atlantis water ride. Special experiences, like in-the-water time with beluga whales and training time with dolphins, are available to purchase separately in advance.
3. The San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is considered one of the nation’s best, and you’ll find creatures from Amur leopards to zebras on display in beautiful natural settings. Kids who love creepy crawlies will enjoy exploring the insect and reptile houses, while the zoo’s three aviaries will delight birdwatchers.
Because the zoo is so big (about 100 acres) and so filled with wildlife, it’s a good idea to go online before your visit and use the zoo’s “Plan Your Day” tool to choose the animals and shows your family wants to see, tours you want to take, and where you want to eat and shop.
4. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Less than half a mile from the zoo in Balboa Park is the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, which offers a dozen permanent hands-on exhibits for all ages as well as IMAX films, special events, and traveling exhibitions on science topics such as sensory perception and the human genome.
5. Belmont Park at Mission Beach
For an old-school approach to a day out at the beach, take the family to Belmont Park at Mission Beach, a classic-style amusement park complete with a 1925-vintage roller coaster, bumper cars, a gorgeous carousel, arcade games, and more. Situated on Mission Beach, parking and admission are both free. Rides and attractions are pay as you go or you can purchase an all-day ride pass and turn everyone loose. Food and beach rentals are also available at the park.
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