Things to Do with Kids in San Diego


by Roberta Murphy

things to do with kids in san diegoOur family spent many of its early years in Big Bear Lake, California–but often came here looking for things to do with kids in San Diego.

The mountains were wonderful, and our three sons enjoyed seven years of ski racing, mountain biking, tree house and igloo-building, and life in a small village. And though we lived within and hour or so to Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Orange County, trips to San Diego were always a special favorite.

We enjoyed our San Diego visits so much that we eventually chose to move here not only for North Countys excellent schools, but for the rich variety of family activities the San Diego area has to offer. And unless otherwise noted, all of these attractions are open year round.
Some obvious favorites would include:

The San Diego Zoo: It is world-famous for a reason, and offers a great way for a family to spend a day. Wear comfortable walking shoes!

San Diego Zoo Summer Day Camp for Kids: Guaranteed fun and learning for kids ranging from kindergarten through 7th grade. Loads of activities and action!

Balboa Park offers 15 museums, a theater and magnificent grounds. Kids love the Reuben H Fleet Science Museum with its IMAX Theater and hands-on exhibits.

Sea World Adventure Park: Bring sunblock for the obvious and an umbrella for protection against whales that like to throw a wall of water into the crowds. Its a great attraction and sure to be a hit with the kids. And fortunately for Sea World lovers, San Diego’s balmy climate is generally far superior to the Sea World climates in Florida and San Antonio. San Diego rules!

San Diego Wild Animal Park: Wear comfortable shoes, sunblock and don’t forget the camera. This is as close as you will come to an African Safari without leaving the country. You may want to arrive early, though, to snag good parking and shorter lines.

San Diego Padres Baseball Game: Great family fun can be had at a San Diego Padres baseball game at the wonderful new Petco Park. Giveaways for the kids are common and tickets are usually easy to purchase.

La Jolla Shores Beach in La Jolla has some of the gentlest waves in all of San Diego. It ia also adjacent to the San Diego Underwater Ecological Reserve. This would also be a great day to explore the nearby San Diego Children’s Pool and the village of La Jolla!

San Diego Children’s Pool is a great place to watch seals and sea lions at play. The offshore reefs make for terrific scuba diving, but can also create some strong currents. Watch your kids with care!

Pacific Beach and Crystal Pier: How about taking the family fishing off San Diego’s magnificent Crystal Pier! If the fish aren’t biting, there are two miles of sandy beaches to enjoy. Bring sunblock!

South Mission Beach: The widest and sandiest beach in San Diego. Year round lifeguards on duty, too. Bring the kids here to play and/or watch beach volleyball and beach basketball.

Ocean Beach: Great beach and pier. No fishing license needed for pier fishing, but catch limits are enforced.

San Diego Public Libraries: It more than just books! Check out their site for inexpensive (or free) attractions and activities that would be of interest to the whole family.

Legoland California in Carlsbad: With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, kids will love not only the activities but will marvel with the grown-ups at the many ingenious (and enormous) Lego displays. The detail boggles the mind¦.

California Surf Museum: Before hitting the fine beaches in Oceanside, stop by the California Surf Museum and check out surfboards and their development through the years.

So much for things to do with kids in San Diego–and our search continues!