San Diego Family Attractions
3100 block of Mission Boulevard
Located directly on the Mission Bay Boardwalk, this park features a beautifully restored wooden roller coaster guaranteed to delight enthusiasts of classic amusement park rides.
Legoland Drive off I-5
With 128 acres, 40 interactive exhibits, elaborate miniaturized cities, and millions of the multicolored plastic bricks for which it is world renowned, Legoland California has something to delight children of all ages. With areas specially tailored to appeal to children of various ages, Legoland California has become a popular site for visitors since its opening in March 1999.
World Drive off I-5
One of San Diego's premier attractions, Sea World gives visitors the opportunity to view impressive performances by Shamu the killer whale, be amazed and amused by the acrobatic antics of dolphins, and come face to face with fearsome looking sharks in the Shark Encounter. Those who wish to keep nature at a slightly greater distance can view one of the bird shows occurring periodically throughout the day. Other featured attractions include the Penguin Encounter, Manatee Rescue, Wild Arctic and Shipwreck Rapids ride.
San Diego Wild Animal Park
Highway 163/I-15 to Via Rancho Parkway (in Escondido)
For those wishing to see nature in an uninterrupted state, the Wild Animal Park is the place to go. With two animal shows, a quiet monorail, and unobtrusive paths, this 851 hectare (2,100 acre) preserve dedicated to the preservation of endangered species strikes a balance of preserving nature while still allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty of the animals and exotic plants found within its grounds.
San Diego Zoo
In Balboa Park
One of the most widely known zoos in the entire world, the San Diego Zoo is also one of the largest. Numbering among its eight hundred species of animals are some of the rarest and most exotic species in captivity. Most widely known for the animals it houses, the Zoo also contains a wide variety of tropical and semitropical plants. Its 40 hectares (100 acres) feature over 6,500 species of plants. Some of the featured exhibits at the Zoo include the Tiger River, Sun Bear Forest, Gorilla Tropics, Polar Bear Plunge and the new Ituri Forest and Rain Forest Aviary. Also available to visitors at no additional price are a guided bus tour and a sky tram.
Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla
The Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum, associated with the world-renowned Scripps Institute of Oceanography, is the largest oceanographic exhibit in the U.S. With over 3,000 fish from waters cold to tropical, the museum features enough species to keep even Jacques Cousteau busy. The museum's bookshop sells a variety of works focusing on marine science and oceanography and includes teaching materials.
With perhaps the most to offer of any area of San Diego, the beautifully landscaped acres of Balboa Park include museums featuring world class collections, the San Diego Zoo, the Starlight Bowl outdoor theater, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, the Old Globe Theatre complex, rose and cactus gardens, and the Japanese Friendship Garden, where the occasional traditional tea ceremony can be observed. If you are in the mood for a walk or a picnic, this is the area for you. Even the open areas feature entertainment with both artists and street performers being common sights during the weekend.
Plunge and Giant Dipper
3146 Mission Blvd
Perfect for entertaining families, the combination of the Plunge and Giant Dipper can either relax or excite the entire family. Located in Mission Beach, The Plunge, dating back to 1925, is the largest swimming pool in Southern California. The Giant Dipper is a wooden roller coaster featuring 13 hills, the largest of which is 70 feet in height.
Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center
1875 El Prado, Balboa Park
With activities both entertaining and educational, the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center has something for every member of the family. With the latest technology, giant OMNIMAX films treat visitors to a variety of entertaining, educational topics. From the comfort of their seats, visitors can go on exciting adventures or view planetarium shows. The Science Center portion of the facility is definitely a hands-on experience, where visitors are both invited and encouraged to experience the variety of exhibits firsthand.
San Diego Aerospace Museum
2001 Pan American Plaza
Located in Balboa Park, the San Diego Aerospace Museum is the place to be for aviation enthusiasts both young and old. Whether it is an interest in historical flight or merely a child's fascination with the wonders of flying that brings one here, there is plenty here to view, entertain, and educate.
Children's Museum of San Diego
200 W. Island Ave.
A definite must for travelers with children, this interactive attraction, which encourages participation, is a home away from home for kids. Among the attractions are supervised activities, as well as a monthly special celebration recognizing important issues such as earth awareness or African-American history. Children are invited to take part in a variety of activities from the indoor-outdoor art studio to the theater, complete with a variety of costumes for actors to don. The observation walk above the exhibits gives children a birds-eye view of what the museum has to offer, as well as a playground feel when they exit it via a spiral slide. The museum also has a shop where toys, games, crafts, and books suitable for children of all ages are available.
San Diego Museum of Man
1350 El Prado, Balboa Park
Those interested in the early history of American Indian, Mayan, and Egyptian art and culture can view exhibits here. The exhibits vary from American Indian art to early Egyptian mummies. The museum also features a Children's' Discovery Center for younger museum patrons.
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