35 Fun Things To Do In San Diego For Kids
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  • Post published:26/05/2021
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San Diego has plenty of beaches, beautiful weather, amazing locations, and the finest restaurants. There are so many things to do in San Diego for kids and adults.

Let’s start with

Things To Do In San Diego With Kids

1.Balboa Park,San Diego

things to do in San Diego for kids

One of the major attractions for kids in San Diego is Balboa Park. There are so many things to do here museums, gardens, theaters, San Diego Zoo. San Diego Rail Road Museum showcases model trains.

Kids will love the toy trains. Another major attraction is the Fleet Science Center which is a museum and planetarium. In fact, there are 17 museums in the park.

I would suggest you get a Go San Diego pass which is a pass for multiple museums so you won’t have to pay again and again for different museums. If you love nature you will surely love Balboa Park Rose Gardens.

If you want amazing sandwiches and beer then visit Panama 66.

You will also see a lot of artists flaunting their talents. Kids just love the puppet show Marie Hitchcock Puppet Show. Visiting Balboa Park is one of the best things to do in Southern California.

The park also organizes free concerts every Sunday at Spreckles Organ Pavillion.

Prado and Panama 66 are few of the best restaurants here.

2.The Flower Fields, Carlsbad

The Flower Fields is just half an hour’s drive from San Diego. Located in Carlsbad this beautiful place opens every March till Mother’s Day.

There are so many beautiful flowers here but apart from that, there are events like musical events and educational tours. The beautiful flowers as a backdrop are an ideal photo opportunity.

You can enjoy watching ranunculus flowers while taking a tractor ride. Sweet pea maze is a great fun opportunity. Red, blue and white petunia flowers are grown every year and they form a huge American flag.

It looks amazing. You can also be a part of a yoga class here. You can also host an event here.

3.Stuart Collection

Located at the University Of California San Diego’s Campus is a huge of public art called the Stuart Collection. There are 20 statues the first being Sun God. Snake Path, Fallen Star and Another are other poplar installations.

4.San Diego Zoo

things to do in San Diego for kids

One of my favorite things was visiting the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. Don’t be under the impression that the zoo is only for kids. You will love it too.

Home to around 800 species San Diego Zoo has a number of species like Koalas, Kangaroos, Komodo dragons, and of course lions, tigers. If you want to have a spectacular view of the animals from the top you can get tickets from SkyFari Aerial Tram.

You can take a bus tour also to take the zoo tour in a short time. Kids love this double-decker bus because they can see the zoo from the top. I loved the beautiful penguins, pandas, gorillas, polar bears, and flamingos.

San Diego Zoo is also home to more than 710,000 exotic plants. There are few interesting exhibits as well like Monkey trails, Scripps Aviary which showcases beautiful birds, Polar Bear Plunge.

Discovery Outpost is home to Children’s Zoo. Fisher-Price Discovery Playground is great fun for children. Elephant Odyssey is another interesting exhibit.

I am sure after seeing all these creatures you will be hungry so visit Sabertooth Grill. They serve amazing food. Don’t miss the miniature train and Carousel.

5.San Diego Botanic Garden

It is a huge 37 acre garden with one of the largest bamboo collections in the US. There is a beautiful subtropical fruit garden and desert garden as well. The garden is located in Encinitas which is half an hour’s drive from San Diego.

There are more than 5100 varieties of plants in the Botanic Garden that include bamboos, Australian shrubs, and hibiscus.

There is a beautiful 60-foot waterfall too. Seeds Of Wonder is a beautiful children’s garden that has playhouses. For kids that are a little older Hamilton Children’s Garden is the best option.

They can enjoy jungle adventure, they can play music with natural instruments or play hopscotch or make wood blocks or foam blocks. The garden also organizes events like World of Orchids so check the website for upcoming events.

6.San Elijo Lagoon

It is a 915 acres coastal wetland. There are over 300 bird species, 20 reptiles found here. First, visit the Natural Center to know about the place and then start exploring.

7.Sea World San Diego

things to do in San Diego for kids

An animal theme park Sea World organizes killer whale shows called Orca Encounter. The other shows are Sea lions and Dolphins show. Cirque Electrique is a world-class acrobatic performance. Some interesting rides are Bayside Skyride and Skytower.

Looking for a roller coaster ride? Visit this electrifying roller coaster called Electric Eel which san Diego’s fastest roller coaster ride.

Kids will love the Penguin Encounter tour. The other attractions include Sesame Street Bay Of Play, roller coasters ride Manta, Electric Eel, and river rapids ride called Shipwreck Rapids.

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8.Belmont Park

Belmont Park is one of the most popular amusement parks in San Diego. It is located in Mission Bay. There are so many rides. The famous ones are Giant Dipper, Liberty Carousel, and Octotron.

There are some amazing restaurants here like Beach House Grill, Dole Whip, Cannonball, and Round Table Pizza to name a few. Kids also love to do skateboarding here.

9.La Jolla Cove

things to do in San Diego for kids

Surrounded by beautiful cliffs La Jolla Cove is a pristine beach, a hit among surfers and scuba divers. It is an ideal picnic spot. The place has beautiful restaurants nearby.

Don’t forget to visit the Children’s Pool Beach near Jenner street. You will see a lot of seals there. Visitors spend a lot of time in the Kellogg Park playground.

La Jolla Cove is a hit among scuba divers and snorkelers. You can also spot California Sea Lions here. Scripps Park is a perfect picnic spot. Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave is one of the popular caves here. Shell Beach is another place to unwind.

Read: Best San Diego Day Trips

10.San Diego Natural History Museum

Located in Balboa Park, Fossil Mysteries is one of the most popular exhibitions here that give information about 75 million years old Southern California fossil history.

You will also come to know about scavenger hunts and ecosystems. The Backyard is for kids and they would love to spend time there.

11.San Diego Zoo Safari Park

things to do in San Diego for kids
source-Sdz Safari Park

I really like going on safaris and I thoroughly loved my experience in San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Located in San Pascual Valley it is one of the major tourist attractions in San Diego.

The park has a number of endangered species too. It is a home of around 320 species. The park has botanical gardens and hidden jungles. A major attraction here is African Tram which runs counterclockwise.

The other activities include Conservation Carousel, Balloon Safari, and Play Areas.

For zip liners, it is an ideal spot. Caravan Safari is a thrilling experience. Savannah Cool Zone is great for swimming. Roar and Snore camping and Zipline activities are some of the other interesting things to do here.

Some of the biggest exhibits are Asian Savannah And African Plains, Tiger Trail, Lion Camp, Walkabout Australia, Nairobi Village, and Gorilla Forest.

12.San Diego Air And Space Museum

Located in Balboa Park this museum is known for space exploration and aviation. You will see many original historic spaces and air crafts. There are some interesting exhibits like World War one Gallery, World War two Gallery, Modern Jet, and Space Age Gallery.`

13.USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum
Details about touring USS Midway Museum

If you love aircraft like me then you must visit USS Midway Museum which carries the aircraft carrier Midway. You will learn a lot about the history of the museum through an audio tour. There are 60 exhibits including the galley, engine room, and officer’s quarters.

14.Maritime Museum Of San Diego

I went to the museum especially to see the submarines. The kids will love the fleet of ships being displayed here. You can even spend a night aboard the Star Of India ship as per the museum.

The other collections are Pilot which is a harbor pilot boat and Medea which is a steam yacht used in both world wars, B 39 Soviet Union submarine, San Salvador which is a replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo that discovered San Diego.

You will love the gallery of Steam Ferry Berkeley.

Read: San Diego at night with kids-Top 17 things

15.Mission Trails Regional Park

things to do in San Diego for kids
Mission Trails Regional Park Michael/Flickr

The hike is kid-friendly and kids really love the trails here. They get to know about the birds and plants throughout their journey.

Read: California Travel Guide

16.Museum Of US

It is an anthropology museum. Located in Balboa Park, the museum has a number of interesting exhibits. If you want to know the history of beer 10000 years ago then there is an interesting exhibit called Beerology.

Monster! – The exhibit is an interesting exhibit that will certainly be interesting for kids as it tells about 50 monsters.

You have an exhibit to experience Maya moments. Ancient Egypt exhibit tells the history of mummies. I really loved the cannibal exhibit.

Since the museum is located in California Quadrangle you can also experience the beauty of San Diego from the famous California Tower.

17.Cabrillo National Monument

things to do in San Diego for kids
Cabrillo Monument Neil/Flickr

One of the most famous spots in San Diego is Cabrillo National Monument located in Point Loma. Bayside Trail will give a surreal view of the place. Old Point Loma lighthouse is a major highlight here.

The tide pools are just spectacular. The statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo is historic so make sure to have some Instagram moments.

Your kid can get a Junior Ranger Badge but for that, you need to go to the Visitor Center to get the details.

Read: Things To Do In Los Angeles With Kids-Top 30

18.Moonlight Beach

Located in Encinitas which is half an hour’s drive from San Diego, it is one of the most popular beaches in Encinitas. It is known for surfing and volleyball courts.

The facilities included are outdoor showers, restrooms, fire rings. You can rent a skateboard here.

19.Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

things to do in San Diego for kids
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Sergei/Flickr

Located in La Jolla the reserve is spread across 2000 acres. The reserve has eight beautiful trails and the beautiful Torrey Pines State beach. Guy Fleming Trail is the easiest trail so kids will definitely enjoy it.

The Beach Trail is the most popular trail and is perfect for hikers. Torrey Pine is rare so make sure you click some beautiful pictures there. The other popular trails are Razor Point Trail, High Point Trail, and Discovery Trail.

Read: Things to do at the beach in San Diego- San Diego Org

20.The New Children’s Museum

San Diego Children’s museum encourages children to think and be more creative. I would definitely recommend taking your kids there. It will be a very enriching experience for sure.

They have activities for toddlers as well as teenagers so kids of all ages will enjoy it there. This is one of the best things to do in San Diego for toddlers.

The art installation exhibits are popular here. Sketch Aquarium, Smile, Dessert Derby, and Wobbleland to name a few. They organize events such as Summer Camps, Friday Toddler Time, and Day Camps.

21.Birch Aquarium

things to do in San Diego for kids
Birch Aquarium Brandon/Flickr

Kids will surely love Birch Aquarium that includes sharks, jellyfish, and other equally beautiful sea creatures. There are around 60 fish habitats. Tide Pool Plaza is spectacular.

You can see starfish and sea cucumbers here. Hall Of Fishes, Elasmo Beach are few other display tanks that have many sea inhabitants. You will see leopard sharks and stingrays in Erasmo Beach.

Boundless Energy is an interesting outdoor playground. If you want to see seahorses then visit the There’s Something About Seahorses display tank.

22.Legoland California

Located in Carlsbad, the theme park is a hot spot for visitors. The kids will love Volvo Driving School where they will drive small cars and will learn about traffic signals.

The other attractions include Deep Sea Adventure, Sea Life Aquarium, Dragon Rollercoaster, Miniland USA, and Legoland Waterpark.

23.Old Town

Old Town

The most popular spots here are Old Town State Historic Park, The Whaley House which is a haunted museum, and Serra Museum. The restaurants here serve amazing Mexican food. It is also the birthplace of California.

Fiesta De Reyes market has some chocolate tasting rooms. There are 15 historic buildings in Old Town. Visiting Old Town is one of the best free things to do in San Diego with kids.

Presidio Park and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, both a part of Old Town is included in the National Register Of Historic Places. Every October a huge art festival takes place in Old Town. Check the event calendar for upcoming events.

24.Museum Of Making Music

This museum tells the importance of all the musical instruments and the history behind the making of these instruments. So children who are inclined towards music must visit this museum.

The good thing is you can play those instruments there. It is one of the best San Diego attractions for kids.

25.Coronado Central Beach

The beach is perfect for snorkelers, swimmers, and scuba divers. There are some amazing restaurants nearby, the water also is crystal clear. It is very close to the famous Hotel del Coronado.

26.Sunset Cliff Cave

things to do in San Diego for kids

This is at a secluded place and you have to decide whether you want to take your kids there. I have mentioned this because it is amazingly beautiful and if you are in San Diego you should definitely see it.

27.Skate Park

San Diego is home to some of the amazing skate parks. Carlsbad Skate Park and Linda Vista Skate Park are apt for kids. If you are a skating expert then visit Washington Street, Skate Park.

Read: Things To Do In Big Bear California

28.Sand Castle Class

You and your family can join the Sand Castle building class and they will teach you to make beautiful sandcastles. This is a great learning experience for kids and one of the most interesting San Diego kid’s activities.

29.San Diego Library

library
San Diego Central Library Gary/Flickr

This library is a cool place for kids to read and learn new things. There are audiobooks, graphic novels, educational toys, play areas for toddlers, foreign language children books, and a lot more things for kids of all ages.

30.San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum

The museum displays great exhibits for kids. There are camps, girls scout programs, art competitions, virtual gala. There are water and energy conservation themes as well in this beautifully built indoor and outdoor museum.

31.Corvette Diner

The waitresses styled in 1950s dress and everything is retro, the place is perfect for a change. The vibe is very vibrant here and the food is top class.

32.Spanish Village Art Center

art center
Spanish Village Art Center Cultivar/Flickr

Located in Balboa Park,the place shows Spanish art works and you can get some art lessons here.

Read: Events in San Diego

33.The Living Coast Discovery Center

Located in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, this is a beautiful environmental education center. It is located in Chula Vista which is just 15 minutes drive from San Diego.

There are beautiful exhibits like Eagle Mesa, Turtle Lagoon, Raptor Row, and many more. Check their events calendar on their website to know about future updates.

34.Queen Califia’s Magical Circle

Located in Escondido’s Kit Carson Park this is a beautiful sculpture garden designed by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The garden’s wall is made of Mexican pebbles.

A 400 feet snake wall is a major attraction here. There are nine popular sculptures including the sculpture of Queen Califia.

35.Ocean Beach

The beach has got amazing views and is famous among volleyball lovers. You will see people playing with hula hoops, playing guitars, bongo drums, and all sorts of outdoor activities. You must visit the Oceans Beach Farmers market.

Some of the famous restaurants in San Diego are Morning Glory, Campfire and Fork Oat.

Other fun things

Some other highlights are Aquatica San Diego Water Park, San Diego Seal Tour, La Jolla Shores Beach, Waterfront Park, Del Mar Beach, Seaport Village, Butterfly Farms, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, Whale Watching Tour, and Mission San Luis Rey.

One of the best outdoor activities here is paragliding at Torrey Pines Gliderport.

One of the great San Diego attractions for kids is the San Diego beaches. There are so many beautiful beaches. You can do kayaking, swimming, surfing, paddleboarding and all other water sports.

Read: 26 Best Restaurants In San Diego

I had a great time in San Diego.

Let me know if I have missed something.I would love to add in this list.

Let me know about your experience in visiting San Diego.

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