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What are some good ideas for a visit to San Diego?


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We have a very short trip to San Diego (four days) coming up and the kids are coming. What would you say is a must see? My kids are 9, 6 and 3 years olds. So far we are planning Sea World and the Zoo. Maybe the Aquarium but I just noticed the Legoland so now I'm not sure.....


What does the hive say? :bigear:


Maybe some ideas on hotels too!

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Legoland is great, AND they've just opened up a nice little aquarium right next door to the park. You can get combined tickets for both the aquarium and the park -- don't know prices. The aquarium has these wonderful little bubble windows in some of the tanks that come up into the bottom of the tank. They are perfect little kid size and it puts you right inside the action (I had to contort myself to get in but it was cool!). It also has Lego structures inside the tank, and they've recently added a few extra attractions.


Legoland itself is lovely -- nicely landscaped, well maintained and clean. Check the website before you go as they are closed Monday and Tuesdays. http://www.legoland.com/california.htm We live about 45 minutes away and are members there still, even though I've got teen agers, but the park is perfect for the ages you have.


The Zoo is fun -- you'll get a work out if you are bringing a stroller as the enclosures go in and out of several canyons. I haven't been to Seaworld in at least 4 years, so don't have anything to add about it.


Balboa Park is next to the zoo. You wouldn't go there on the same day, but there are many interesting museums, including a model train museum, a good science museum and natural history museum. There's also a puppet theater.


Check the Scripps Aquarium website to see if they have any tidepooling or other activities planned during your stay http://aquarium.ucsd.edu/ They offer, and many other private companies offer, whale watching excursions most of the spring. There's also a nice maritime museum down on the harbor with a wonderful old sailing ship, The Star of India.


Hope this helps!

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Not sure I'd do Sea World; I'm thinking it might be better to do things that are exclusive to San Diego, KWIM?


If the weather is nice, you could visit Cabrillo National Monument and the tide pools (you have to watch the tide, of course, so you can go when the tide is out).


If you do the Zoo, you should walk around Balboa Park, as well. Definitely you should ride the train and the merry-go-round.


And there's Old Town San Diego.


Mr. Ellie grew up in San Diego; we were married in and lived there until 1987. :-)

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The zoo and the Wild Animal Park are both run by the Zoological Society, so they will both probably be on the same website. Just look around a bit. This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy the Wild Animal Park because it is just too HOT (in my opinion) to go there during the summer. It is quite a hike from San Diego, though, so plan accordingly.


I would make it a point to enjoy Legoland while you are there. Please bring swimsuits and at least a few towels; the pirate land has a really fun playground that will get your children very wet. They have a towel and swimsuit (and sweatshirt) stand right there which gets lots of business! In every part of Legoland, there are special places for toddlers (including the aforementioned wet playground), and there is a special area just for kids around 3 and under that is all just their size. And there is a special roller coaster for younger kids (the dinosaur one).


We are members of the zoo, Legoland, and the Natural History Museum.


I would also recommend the model train museum (in Balboa Park) if you have any train fanatics in your family (your dh?). I wasn't there over the holidays, but apparently they had an elaborate Lego "city" with trains and skyscrapers and such over the holidays. Not sure how long it is supposed to be there.


Outside of the zoo is a train you can actually ride in, but after the holidays it will only be open on weekends. Same with the carousel outside of the zoo. Cute story: when I was growing up, I really thought that train outside of the zoo was going to all the places on the signs (Tijuana, Los Angeles, etc.) That's why I loved it so much --- adventure! The open road! Tee-hee. It only takes five minutes or so to do the whole loop, but I believed.


And about Scripps Aquarium: it is actually called Birch Aquarium these days, and is very good. It is not really near anything else you will be seeing, but if your hotel is near there be sure to check it out. I guess it also depends on whether you have a good aquarium at home -- might not be special for you! Here's the website, which includes the tidepooling schedule: http://aquarium.ucsd.edu/


Lastly, I love Cabrillo National Park. It has loads of cool displays, both at the Visitor's Center and at the old lighthouse. There is a trail down to the ocean with very interesting interpretive signs. It is one of the only places (besides Torrey Pines State Park) that one can see California flora and fauna as it was originally.


But you won't have time to do all of this, so good luck choosing!



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Try this link for the Wild Animal Park. It's a part of the San Diego Zoo, but is actually located in Escondido, CA (30 miles? North of SD.)




My in-laws live in SD so we visit once a year and the Wild Animal Park is hands down our favorite place to visit.


Our second favorite would be Sea World. It is fabulous! We also love Balboa Park.


Oddly, we seem to be the only ones not in love with Legoland. We visited there approx. 5 years ago and weren't impressed at all.


I'll check w/ my dh tomorrow, but there's a beach we love to visit where you can watch the dolphins resting on the shore.


And, I don't know if you feel like pulling an all-nighter with 3 young kids, but if the "grunion runs" happened to fall on one of your travel dates... they are fascinating to watch!


Have a wonderful time!

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Thanks for all the ideas! I have spent a few hours looking over things and have a vague idea of what we will be doing. I wish we could stay longer as it seems to be full of great places. But then again, we are from North Dakota, so anything will be more fun than the 2 feet of snow we have had this month. :tongue_smilie:


The plans are still in the making but you have all helped with your thoughts. Thank you!

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The best hotel is Paradise Point, they are across from Sea World so you could walk. They are expensive but is so worth getting a room on the beach, which is private. No crowds and enjoying your time there. They have shuttles to everything and sell packages.


You gotta figure downtown or North County they are about 45 min from each other on bussssy frwy. If you dont mind driving and figuring in traffic, its okay.


Lego land and Wild Animal are North County, Legoland has a hotel across the street. Grand Palisades, I think , not positive, we stayed there once. It was okay. My fav in North County is Four Seasons, they cater like noone else. Not as much stuff to do as Paradise Point though.


Favs for my kids are Zoo , Sea World and Wild Animal Park. Seaport Vlg is nice and so is Coronado. We did Legoland once, that was it, I have girls who are not into legos, so not much attraction there.


At the above places see if you can scedule a tour, some of them let you meet and greet w/animals up close, great for Science experience. We have done all tours and well worth the money. If you have any more questions just pm me.


Have fun, so far weather cool evenings and semi warm days.

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