10 Fun Things to Do in San Diego With the Kids
San Diego could keep you entertained forever. But if you’re vacationing with the younger set, here are 10 no-fail fun things to do in San Diego.
With over 60 rides, attractions and shows available for endless exploration and entertainment, Legoland San Diego offers more family fun than any other amusement park in San Diego. From Bronte, the bright red brontosaurus at the entrance that is nine feet tall and 34 feet long—and entirely made from LEGO Bricks, to the Royal Joust in the Knight’s Kingdom, Legoland San Diego is a can’t-miss hands-on experience.
SeaWorld has thrills, education and entertainment all in one ocean-themed package. You can ride the Manta double-launch roller coaster, enjoy live shows with incredible sea animals, and enjoy special attractions such as Turtle Reef and the Shark Encounter. You can expect to see Shamu, sea lions, polar bears, penguins, bottlenose dolphins and beluga whales.
San Diego Zoo is considered by many to be the best zoo in the world. If you’re looking for fun things to do in San Diego that you can’t find anywhere else, the zoo is where you should go. A new, small-group tour called Early Morning with Pandas starts before the Zoo opens, so you can watch pandas Xiao Liwu, Bai Yun, and/or Gao Gao enjoying their breakfast. The tour also includes a tour around the Zoo in a shuttle cart.
Expanding your horizons at the Natural HIstory Musuem, aka the Nat, is one of the most fun things to do in San Diego. This museum isn’t dusty or dull: the Nat is relevant and exciting. Current exhibits include Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, Coast to Cactus in Southern California, Fossil Mysteries, Butterflies and Insects, SKULLS, and Water: A California Story.
It’s baseball, but it’s pure San Diego too. Taking in a game and the views at Petco Park is one of the undeniably, all-American fun things to do in San Diego. Consider a guided behind-the-scenes tour, which the website describes:
Architecturally magnificent, Petco Park celebrates the sea, the sky, the natural beauty, cultural diversity and unique spirit of the region. Innovative design features evoke the timeless traditions of baseball in an intimate setting, with state-of-the-art fan amenities to suit every taste and budget.
Belmont Park is an oceanside amusement park that brings a boardwalk spirit to San Diego. This has been one of the fun things to do in San Diego since 1925. Renovated and restored, the historic Giant Dipper roller coaster and The Plunge pool are living, working pieces of area history. Other attractions include a train, wave pools, and so much more.
When it comes to fun things to do in San Diego, the ocean and its inhabitants frequently play a part. Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fishes and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and beyond. An oceanographic museum showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, earth and ocean science and includes five dozen interactive elements.
Aquatica SeaWorld’s Waterpark, now in its third season, combines high-speed thrills, a relaxing beachside resort atmosphere, up-close animal encounters, and, new this year, heated resort pools and children’s attractions. Big Surf Shores, Loggerhead Lane, Slippity Dippity, Walkabout Waters and Kata’s Kookaburra Cove are heated to a relaxing 78–80 degree temperature.
The mission of the San Diego Air and Space Museum can be boiled down to four words: Preserve, Inspire, Educate, Celebrate. The museum’s website elaborates, explaining what makes this one of the most fun things to do in San Diego for aviation and space enthusiasts:
Aviation history is truly a remarkable story, and it all unfolds at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Your journey through the history of flight begins as you stand beneath a model of the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon of 1783 – the first manned vehicle in recorded history to break the bonds of gravity and lift humans above the Earth.
Rare specimens of aircraft suggest the excitement of air combat in the World War I Gallery. Marvel at the entertaining and dangerous antics of the barnstormers of the 1920s in the Golden Age of Flight Gallery.
Mint condition aircraft that help you appreciate the increasingly complex technology represented in the classic military aircraft of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The Museum’s display of space age technology, like the desire to journey to the stars, may never be finished, for it represents an adventure which the human race has truly just begun.
Though there’s no shortage of ocean-related fun things to do in San Diego, there’s really something for every interest. The San Diego Model Railroad Museum preserves the heritage of railroading through a series of miniature representations of California railroads, as well as research and preserve the history of model railroading. The museum’s goal to actively engage people from every community and demographic, to delight and teach the art of model railroading and the history of railroads.