San Diego is one of the best places in the world for families. With great schools, near-perfect weather year-round, and ample activities, parents will always find fun ways to keep their children engaged. Whether you’re moving to San Diego, currently live in San Diego, or are just visiting, there’s always something to fill your calendar. Here are some of the best family-friendly activities in San Diego:
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is synonymous with San Diego, and it’s a great place for all ages. Every year, the San Diego Zoo schedule is chock full of activities geared towards children. For example, the KinderZoo program is for children between 3 and 5, and it allows adult members to take the children for a special visit through the zoo before it officially opens for the day. This way, they aren’t overwhelmed by the crowd and get a more personalized visit.
With Zoo Corps, teens can talk to animal caretakers about what it’s like to work with the animals and gain better insight about the inner workings of zoo life. Animal photography workshops, early morning panda experiences, and plenty of other programs and activities ensure your children are never bored.
SeaWorld San Diego is a staple in the city. Spread out across nearly 200 acres, SeaWorld is chock full of educational programs, amazing marine life and aquariums, interactive exhibits, and beautiful scenery. Every step you take at SeaWorld has been carefully thought out. Upon entry, experience the interactive Explorer’s Reef—a true underwater adventure where children can touch harmless sea animals. The Ocean Explorer section caters to young children with simple rides and fun animal encounter exhibits. For older children, don’t fret: there are roller coaster rides suited to them, too. To truly round out your SeaWorld experience, visit their website to learn more about current attractions and special exhibits. This way, you can create a schedule and map out your journey through the park.
LegoLand is one of the most popular San Diego attractions. The resort is expansive, and consists of a water park, aquariums, and hotel options. Visitors can even bring mini lego figurines to trade with members of the staff. There are plenty of rides and attractions to keep your little ones thoroughly entertained. Over in the Adventure’s Club, take your young ones on a lego journey through ancient Egypt, the Amazon rainforest, and the Arctic circle. On Explorer Island, let your children assume the paleontologist role dig up “dinosaur bones” from the sand.
No matter what your child likes to do, there’s something at LegoLand for them.
Seaport Village is a 14-acre waterfront complex near the San Diego Bay. Everything you could possibly need, you’ll find here. This includes four fine dining restaurants along the waterfront and 13 casual eateries. If you want to shop, there’s plenty of that, from a shop devoted entirely to magnets of all shapes and sizes to another shop dedicated exclusively to socks. And there are plenty of events, too—particularly over the summer. Live music Sundays bring together popular local musicians. Get them an ice cream cone overlooking some of the most amazing views in the city. And don’t forget to let them ride on the historic carousel built in 1895.
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is currently the largest operating model railroad exhibition in the world. This unique museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage of railroading through a series of unique, expansive displays. The miniature world of trains is a pleasant sight to see, and does a great job of showing the art of model railroading and educating visitors on the history of railroads in California.
The Toy Train Gallery is a special section for children, and features an interactive layout with state-of-the-art lighting. Museum volunteers are readily available to answer any questions you have about the space, or about the stories behind the railroad display. There’s also a small garden, cafe, and photographic museum in the same building.
The New Children’s Museum
The New Children’s Museum is all about inspiring children to play, be creative, and have fun learning. Art is the foundation that this space is built upon. Full scale art installations are available for kids to explore. In the Sandbox Gallery, your kids will get a multi-sensory experience where they can play in the sandbox. The Work of Sound is an immersive attraction, built like a treehouse for kids to explore. They can wander through passageways, discovering hidden corners and games. This is an adventure wonderland that your kids will love.
Coronado Island is situated in the heart of the San Diego Bay, and has a little something to offer everyone. The golden Coronado Beach has won multiple awards, and with mild waves, it’s perfect for family fun. Over at the Hotel Del Coronado, you can explore the tide pools during low tide tides. There’s also a sunken ship, plenty of ice cream shops, biking stations, paddleboard rentals, and so much more. This is the perfect place to enjoy a nice summer day.
Summer Movies in the Park
Summer Movies in the Park is a great opportunity for you to lay back in the grass and watch fun, family-friendly movies during a night under the stars. Check the website for an up-to-date movie calendar. This summer, expect movies like “Ralph Breaks Into the Internet,” “Jumanji,” “The Sandlot,” and much more. There are different locations throughout the city, each playing a new movie. Don’t forget your chairs, blankets, and picnic materials!
Fleet Science Center
The Fleet Science Center has plenty of activities for children—and you’ll enjoy them, too. There’s no other place in the city that gets kids more interested in science in a fun and unique way. In the Tinker Lab, kids can put together all types of creations that they dream up, with dozens of fun materials at their disposal—learning a little about mechanics and engineering in the process.
There are over 100 interactive exhibits, including an IMAX film adventure that takes children around the world. In Kid City, children can explore some of the most interesting scientific concepts in unique, unforgettable ways. The Cellular Journey exhibit allows kids to explore human cell biology using virtual reality fly-throughs. Check out the website to map out your favorite exhibits.