Blessed by a sunny climate that never varies ten degrees from moderate and a splendid setting along the Pacific Ocean, San Diego is the perfect place to take the family any time of year, but especially during the summer months that leave many U.S. cities sweltering. Non-stop outdoor recreation, a vibrant downtown, and world-class attractions for every age range keep the spirit of San Diego young and thriving, even though its heart lies in its Spanish beginnings as the birthplace of California. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly picks from DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 San Diego.
Kids love to press their faces against glass tanks, inches away from whales, sharks, and manatees, And there's nothing more fun than to be drenched by a performing dolphin.
Address: 500 Sea World Dr. Phone: 619.226.3901 Open: 10am-5pm daily; on some weekends and in summer, opens at 9am and occasionally closes at 10pm Admission: Adult $61.00 Children $51.00 www.seaworld.com/sandiego
Children’s Discovery Center at San Diego’s Museum of Man
Located on the museum's second floor, kids dress up as pharaohs and learn about ancient Egypt by building a pyramid, deciphering hieroglyphics, and listening to the god Anubis explain the mummification process. At a recreation of an archeological dig, children dig through sand for treasure and also learn about dating artifacts.
Phone: 619.239.2001 Open: 10am-5pm daily Admission: Adults - $10.00, Youth (ages 13-17 years) - $7.50, Children (ages 3-12 years) - $5.00 www.museumofman.org
Children are fascinated by the 30 million plastic bricks fashioned into famous landmarks, life-sized African animals, and landscapes. In Fun Town, kids can drive real electric cars or pilot a helicopter; at the Imagination Zone, they can build racecars and robots. Magicians, ventriloquists, and puppeteers add to the fun.
Address: 1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad Phone: 877.534.6526 Admission: Adults $63.00, Children $53.00 www.legoland.com
San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park
At this park, herds of animals roam freely in enclosures that replicate their natural habitats. Compatible animals are mixed, allowing you to observe their interactions. Children enjoy the Petting Kraal and seeing the newborns at the Animal Care Center. Those over 8-years-old can accompany their parents on a photo caravan for an encounter with giraffes and rhinos.
Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido Phone: 760.747.8702 Open: January to mid-June & mid-September to mid-December from: 9am-4pm daily; mid-June to mid-September & mid December to December 31st from: 9am-8pm daily Admission: Adults $35.00 (one-day), Children $26.00; multi-day and multi-park passes also available www.sandiegozoo.org
La Jolla Shores
A great family beach, filled with sunbathers, Frisbee-throwers, and boogie-boarders spread out along a broad, sandy white strip lapped by gentle surf. Kellogg Park, which runs alongside part of the beach, is a good picnic area for those who forgot their towels. The La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve is just offshore, so divers are usually out in the water.
Lifeguards at designated swimming areas from 9am-dusk daily www.sandiego.gov