San Diego, California’s oldest city, offers a beautiful landscape, mild temperatures and a variety of activities for all ages. The city’s compact size means you have a wide range of entertainment options within a short distance of your convenient San Diego vacation rental. From beach swimming to getting up close to wildlife, you’ll find something to appeal to everyone in your familyt. Take a look at the top 10 things to do in San Diego with kids.
1. See the Giant Panda at the San Diego Zoo
The world-famous San Diego Zoo is a must-see for kids of all ages. Stop by and visit the Giant Panda, and then head over to see Gram, the Indian rhinoceros. This zoo features more than 4,000 animals covering nine different habitats to marvel at, so set aside plenty of time to take it all in. When the family gets hungry you can head to one of the zoo’s numerous on-site dining facilities.
2. Travel the World at LEGOLAND California
You don’t have to be a kid to have fun at LEGOLAND California. This theme park uses more than 32 million LEGO to recreate cities, landmarks, and more. Take a cruise to see the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, and Sydney Opera House, or walk through Miniland USA to enjoy a miniature version of New Orleans and Las Vegas. For adventure, hop on one of the LEGO-themed rides located throughout the park.
3. Learn About Marine Life at SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego is a popular destination for families, and it is easy to see why. With opportunities for close encounters with dolphins, a marine touch tank, and sea lion shows, it provides lively entertainment for younger and older kids alike. SeaWorld combines learning and fun with demonstrations on marine life and park rides such as Elmos Flying Fish.
4. Ride the Roller Coasters at Knott’s Berry Farm
Don’t let the name fool you; Knot’s Berry Farm is not a farm but a 160-acre amusement park located just outside the city. Thrill seekers will love riding the inverted Silver Bullet or accelerated Xcelerator roller coasters. Younger kids enjoy mini versions of popular rides, such as the Timberline Twister and Log Peeler. For a break from the action grab a snack and take a relaxing ride through the park on the Butterfield Stagecoach.
5. Snorkel in La Jolla Cove or Mission Point Beach
San Diego’s weather and location along the Pacific Ocean give the city a beach town atmosphere, and what better way to experience it than snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean. La Jolla Cove has amazing sea life and kelp forests within its underwater caves. A more peaceful location suitable for younger children is Mission Point Beach. Here, you’ll find Garibaldi fish, coral plants, and sea cucumbers. Both locations also offer kayaking, paddle boarding and sandy beaches for lounging.
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6. Swim at Coronado Beach
No trip to San Diego is complete without an afternoon at one of its fine beaches. Take the family down to Coronado Beach to enjoy the clear waters and sparkling sand. The beach offers fishing, surfing, and other water activities, and the calm waters are perfect for any age. In the evening, enjoy family dinner at one of the restaurants on Orange Avenue.
7. Explore Balboa Park
Home to the San Diego Zoo, several museums, and a wide range of activities, Balboa Park is a great spot to spend the day with the entire family. Centrally located near your vacation rental, this park hosts festivals and concerts throughout the year, so there is always something going on. Stop by the visitor’s center to pick up a map and list of the day’s events before heading out to the park. Options include hiking the Marston Point Trails Gateway, strolling through the Japanese Friendship Garden or riding the Balboa Park Carousel.
8. Take a GoCar Tour
For many families, taking the time to get to know the city is a highlight of their vacation, and GoCar Tours offers a unique perspective. As you drive with your kids in the cute brightly painted cars, the GPS guides you past landmarks while audio narration tells interesting stories of the city’s history. Choose a half hour rental for a quick trip to the attractions you most want to see near your vacation rental or choose a longer time period if you want to travel through the city streets.
9. Experiment at Fleet Science Center
Take your budding scientists to the Fleet Science Center for a fun-filled day of science exploration. They’ll enjoy a variety of hands-on activities related to space and biology. The center has images from the Hubble Telescope on display and a special spot called “Kid’s City” for younger children. Before you leave catch one of the films shown in the IMAX Dome Theater.
10. Tour PETCO Park
Sports enthusiasts love getting a behind-the-scenes look at a professional baseball field at PETCO Park. Tour the park and view the Padres dugout while listening to guides discuss the history of the field. Kids can sit in the press box and pretend to be a journalist capturing all the action on the field. While there, check to see if the team is in town so you can pick up tickets to the game.
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