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Georgia from Minneapolis asked

Top kid-friendly attractions in San Diego?

Aside from Sea World, what are some fun family activities in San Diego for children ages 5 and 8?  I'll be meeting up with my aunt in San Diego and would love to take my little cousins somewhere fun!

San Diego (California)

5 Answers
top answer by
Mark from Macomb, Michigan


Funbelievable -  Kids play place, indoors, huge climbing structure with slides, about $10.

Santee Lakes Regional Park – Ducks, lakes, playground, and spray ground.  Parking is $5 and I think the sprayground is $3 for the child.  Bring bread or duckfood.


Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark San Diego -  water park, recently opened, run by Seaworld, about 25 minutes south.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography - La Jolla, small aquarium

SEA LIFE Aquarium - $20 per person if you don’t have a pass

Westfield UTC mall – trains and playground.  Train is $3 and at the opposite side of mall from the playground

Marian Bear Memorial Park - hikes on Genessee or Regents, sort of alongside the 52.  Close and easy walk with lots of trees but I hear there is poison ivy in the brush so stay on path, the boys like to climb the trees there.

Torrey Pines Hike - beautiful hike up and down the cliffs at the beach.

North University Community Branch Library - Wednesday summer concerts, large playground next to library, story time on Tuesdays.

Open gym at TRC gymnastics in Solana Beach – M W, F: 11:15 - 12:15.  $7?

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido.  Don’t go if it is a hot day.

Train/merry go round by Zoo on Saturdays

Balboa Park - the Science Museum is great for kids, we also like the Natural History museum

Japanese Friendship garden at Balboa Park

San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas

Carmel Valley Recreation Center pool

Carmel Valley playground

Barnes & Noble book store in Del Mar Shopping Center

ZOOMARS - In San Clemente, about 45 min away.  Petting zoo with playgrounds and horse rides.  You can take the train there for a whole day adventure.

Art Soup - art play place in Encinitas

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum - outdoors, real old military planes

Pump It Up - inflatable play place, indoors, open play Tuesday nights and Fridays from 11-12?

Inflatable World - inflatable play place, outdoors, always open

Sprayground at Del Mar Heights Road (a frozen yogurt store is located just next to it)

Gymnastics at Cameron Family YMCA  - Santee.  Open gym most days from about 11-12.  Huge.

Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado - can get a drink/lunch & go to the beach

The New Children’s Museum - downtown

La Jolla Shores - easy parking, playground, beach

Kid Ventures - indoor play place

Moonlight State Beach - beach in Encinitas

Sky High Sports - indoor trampoline place, munchkin Mondays from 11-1

Urban Jungle Fun Park - indoor play place

Puppet shows at Balboa Park

Comments (3)

Wow, amazing answer, Mark! I had no idea there were so many fun kid possibilities in SD! I kind of want to check them all out as an adult... By the way, I'm a community manager here and I've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map! In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Take a look at your map next to your answer :)

This is truly amazing! Thank you so much, Mark! I didn't realize there were so many things to do!

Wow - just seeing how Debbie spiced up my post! Looks incredible. All the credit should really go to my lovely wife, who put this list together for our visiting friends. When I saw the question on Trippy, I thought - "I have the perfect answer for this!!".

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Legoland (attraction)
  2. Funbelievable (attraction)
  3. Santee Lakes Regional Park (attraction)
  4. SeaWorld (attraction)
  5. Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark San Diego (attraction)
  6. Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (attraction)
  7. SEA LIFE Aquarium (attraction)
  8. Westfield UTC (attraction)
  9. Marian Bear Memorial Park (attraction)
  10. Torrey Pines Hike (attraction)
  11. North University Community Branch Library (attraction)
  12. Solana Beach (city)
  13. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  14. San Diego Zoo Safari Park (attraction)
  15. Balboa Park (attraction)
  16. Balboa Park (attraction)
  17. San Diego Botanic Garden (attraction)
  18. Carmel Valley Recreation Center (attraction)
  19. ZOOMARS (attraction)
  20. San Clemente (city)
  21. Art Soup (attraction)
  22. Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum (attraction)
  23. Pump It Up (attraction)
  24. Inflatable World (attraction)
  25. Sprayground (attraction)
  26. Cameron Family YMCA (attraction)
  27. Hotel Del Coronado (hotel)
  28. The New Children’s Museum (attraction)
  29. La Jolla Shores (attraction)
  30. Kid Ventures (attraction)
  31. Moonlight State Beach (attraction)
  32. Sky High Sports (attraction)
  33. Urban Jungle Fun Park (attraction)
  34. Balboa Park (attraction)
comments (3)
likes (6) thanks
answered by
Becky from Los Angeles

I'm originally from San Diego, born and raised.  There are countless great places for families and kids to enjoy in San Diego.  As a previous answer mentioned, the San Diego Zoo is incredible and world-famous.  Adults and children alike will have a wonderful time spending the day seeing innumerable animals in the enormous park.  But just as enjoyable as the SD Zoo is the San Diego Wild Animal Park which is located in the north part of San Diego in Escondido (about 40 minutes north of downtown SD).  The animals at the Wild Animal Park are in open environments, and you can see them grazing and relaxing in open fields.

Also, the San Diego Zoo sits in a larger park called Balboa Park, San Diego's "Central Park."  There is an awesome Space Museum and Kids museums and workshops, as well as a Natural History museum located within Balboa Park.

Another great attraction for kids is the many beaches in San Diego.  Depending on the time of the year and the temperature, you can enjoy the gorgeous ocean and sand nearly year-round.

There are also some beautiful tide pools in San Diego, one of the biggest being in the Point Loma area.  Kids would have a great time looking at all of the shellfish and sea life living among the tide pools.

Finally, if you are in San Diego during the summer in late June/early July, there is a huge fantastic fair held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds each year with live music, carnival games, rides, exhibits, petting zoos - everything kids and families love.  And if you get to go on the last day of the Del Mar Fair, which is July 4th, there is a spectacular fireworks show.

Hope you enjoy San Diego!

Comments (1)

Thank you so much, Becky!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Diego (city)
  2. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  3. Escondido (city)
  4. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  5. Balboa Park (attraction)
  6. Point Loma (attraction)
comments (1)
likes (3) thanks
answered by
zach from Manhattan Beach

Youll have to take the kids to the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Safari Park (Inside Gate).  Also, Legoland California is another awesome place for kids.  Lastly, another option could be the The New Children’s Museum which has a bunch of fun, engaging things to help teach the kids in a fun way! Geez, adults too!  Enjoy San Diego!

Comments (2)

Thank you, Zach!

Not a problem Georgia! Glad I could help!

Mentioned in this answer:

comments (2)
likes (2) thanks
answered by
Liz from San Diego

San Diego Zoo is a great place to spend hours with kids.  Legoland is a bit of a drive, but it's perfect for younger children.  San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a very different zoo experience for the entire family.

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  2. Legoland (attraction)
  3. San Diego Zoo Safari Park (attraction)
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answered first by
John from Carlsbad (California)

The San Diego Zoo is a great kid-friendly attraction.  It is one of the best zoos in the world, and has lots of activities for kids.  Go early if you can and head for the Koalas before the line gets long.  The bus tour will give you a good overall look to choose what you want to see without wearing you out.The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is also great, although it is some distance from downtown.

Legoland California in Carlsbad is also a lot of fun for kids that age.  It is also about 30 miles north of downtown.

Comments (1)

Thank you, John!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Diego Zoo (attraction)
  2. San Diego Zoo Safari Park (attraction)
  3. Legoland California (attraction)
comments (1)
likes (1) thanks

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