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San Diego Rocks Edu-tainment

Learning comes with fun here

San Diego isn't just year-round sun, 70 miles of sparkling beaches and numerous world-class attractions. There are plenty of opportunities for families to find enriching and fun educational experiences.   

More Reasons Why San Diego is the Ultimate Family Destination

Any time of year is the right time to visit San Diego with your family. America's Brightest City has tons of kid-friendly activities, restaurants and world-class attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and SeaWorld. In addition to the impressive lineup of attractions and more, there are lots of offerings around the county that are both fun and informative. They help make San Diego the perfect getaway spot for the whole family!

Balboa Park

What could be better than an entertaining park where your kids can experience art, culture and learn something new along the way? The largest urban cultural park in the United States, Balboa Park is often referred to as the "Smithsonian of the West." Its 1,200 lush acres are home to 18 museums, gardens galore and the San Diego Zoo. In addition to the Zoo, the park features a massive array of interesting and fun activities for all ages including:

  • San Diego Air & Space Museum offers historic and modern aircraft and spacecraft models and replicas guaranteed to delight your future astronaut.
  • San Diego Automotive Museum is home to lowriders, motorcycles, vintage cars and more. With a focus on both past and future, this museum is a must-see for curious kids with a penchant for automobiles.
  • Check out the San Diego Model Railroad Museum to check out the largest indoor railroad exhibit in North America. This history-rich hub showcases the ingenious American engineering that shaped the development of the United States.
  • The San Diego Museum of Us takes a deep dive into anthropology, offering unique exhibits that explore human connections and the human experience. With curations that cover ancient Egypt, the psychology of pets and graffiti art murals (just to name a few), there's something for every kid's imagination here.
  • Travel around the world or through time and space in one place — at the Fleet Science Center. Kids can explore the wonder and magic of science in various forms through interactive exhibits designed to fascinate and engage.
  • Beautiful works of art from throughout history and around the globe can be found in the heart of Balboa Park at the San Diego Museum of Art. Educational programs are also available for families to make the experience more accessible for burgeoning art lovers.
  • The San Diego Natural History Museum (aka The Nat)  is brimming with exhibits that explore the evolution of southern California's rich biodiversity. The unique curations are centered on inspiring a respect and love for nature and the environment.
  • The historic Balboa Park Carousel, built in 1910, features all kinds of ornately carved animals, from horses to ostriches to zebras. After taking a ride on the merry-go-round, head to the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad, which can be found next to the carousel.
  • There are weekly puppet performances at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, running shows from Wednesday through Sunday.

San Diego Bay

No stay in San Diego is complete without a trip to the waterfront. San Diego Bay is bustling with activity, as it serves as the homeport for Navy ships, a large sportfishing fleet, thousands of pleasure craft, an increasing number of cruise ships and these maritime museums:

  • The USS Midway Museum is a retired aircraft carrier that now serves as a fascinating interactive floating museum.
  • The Maritime Museum of San Diego consists of several historic sailing vessels docked along the Embarcadero, including former passenger ferries and the signature Star of India, the world's oldest sailing ship.

Local Marine Life

Take a peek at what lies beneath the surface of San Diego's waters with interactive marine exhibits and more at these aquariums:

  • Discover the amazing creatures that call Southern California home at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Come face to face with local leopard sharks, brilliantly colored garibaldi, giant black sea bass and more in their two-story Giant Kelp Forest.
  • Enjoy up-close animal encounters with endangered green sea turtles, shorebirds, hawks, owls, sharks, stingrays, jellies and more at the Living Coast Discovery Center, uniquely located on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Explore the life of the sea with fascinating educational talks and up-close encounters with sea creatures including sharks, octopi, and rays at the Sea Life Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort.

The Beaches

Whether families want to swim, surf, snorkel, play volleyball or just lie in the sun, there’s a stretch of sand for everyone along San Diego's 70 miles of coastline.

  • Mission Bay, a 4,600-acre aquatic playground, is the largest of its kind in the world featuring separate, designated areas for sailing, power boating, fishing, swimming and water skiing.
  • Coronado Beach is an aquatic wonderland recognized annually by the Travel Channel as the best family beach in North America.
  • La Jolla Shores is recognized as one of the most family-friendly beaches in San Diego County, according to the Travel Channel.
  • Ocean Beach is home to the Ocean Beach Pier and the popular Dog Beach. (Note: The Ocean Beach Pier will be closed until at least Spring 2024 for repairs and maintenance.)
  • A three-mile boardwalk popular with inline skaters, skateboarders, runners and bicyclists connects Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.
  • Mission Beach is home to Belmont Park, featuring its vintage "Giant Dipper" roller coaster and other rides, amusement arcades, the Beach House restaurant and the historic Plunge pool. 

History

San Diego boasts a rich heritage that comes alive at many monuments and historic sites throughout the county. Be sure to visit:

  • The Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma commemorates the first European encounter with California. The area offers some of the most spectacular views in San Diego, and visitors can check out the vintage lighthouse as well as the monument's museum.
  • Head to Mission San Diego de Alcala in Mission Valley to visit the first California mission, which was founded in 1769.
  • Old Town State Historic Park is home to a number of museums that tell diverse stories of San Diego's history. From allegedly haunted houses to California's first public schoolhouse to a park that honors the area's Kumeyaay Indian heritage, Old Town is rich with opportunities to learn about San Diego's early days.
  • The Gaslamp Quarter came to life in 1867, and is now home to nearly 100 historic buildings. Take a stroll through more than 15 miles of walkable blocks to experience classic Victorian-era landmarks.

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