While the San Diego Zoo resides within the confines of Balboa Park, the park itself is worthy of a visit in its own right, as it offers an impressive set of attractions. As well as featuring the zoo, Balboa Park is also home to Mingei International Museum, the Natural History Museum and Aerospace Museum as well.
The park is expansive, with its lush grass and scenery perfect for laying out on a blanket or just sitting on a bench and people watching as the afternoon unfolds. If you need to take a breather, there's no better place than Balboa Park!
Belmont Park truly has a little something for everyone. It has the distinction of being the only beach-side amusement park in southern California and its biggest draw is the Giant Dipper which is an original wooden rollercoaster.
Another popular attraction is the Plunge, a 175-foot-deep indoor heated pool, the largest in the state. There's also Pirate's Cove which is literally a 7,000-square-foot indoor playground. Plenty of places to shop and dine can be found here, too, so make plans to head to Belmont Park and leave happy.
Dating back to 1903, the Birch Aquarium is regarded as one of the best in the world. The impressive facility features 30 tanks and each one is filled with a stunning variety of fish and various other coral species.
One of the most popular exhibits is one called "Blue Planet" that focuses on water's importance to the earth. Another crowd-pleasing attraction is an interactive exhibit that allows you to generate your own thunderstorm!
The Cabrillo National Monument majestically stands in San Diego Bay. It was named after the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who landed on this site in 1542. The monument is part of a complex that includes a museum that tells the tale of Cabrillo's explorations as well as those of other early explorers.
The site also features the Point Loma Lighthouse that towers 433 feet above the ocean and is not only the best location to view the bay, it also offers a breathtaking view of the San Diego skyline. It's the perfect attraction to learn about the city's history.
Coronado's charm is largely due to it's location and all that it offers in a relatively small area of space. You can drive to it from the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, but if you have the time and want to take in the gorgeous scenery, take the ferry from Broadway Pier instead.
hen you get there, kick off your shoes and enjoy a luxurious walk on the sandy-white beaches. You can also choose from a great selection of attractions, restaurants, shops and other unusual little boutiques. Most of the activity can be found on Ocean Drive and Orange Avenue.
When the California sun sets for the day, that doesn't mean the end of the fun! Make plans to check out Gaslamp Quarter, a 16-block section of downtown that is a national historic district filled with an inviting selection of attractions, specialty shops, art galleries and restaurants.
You'll also find the area features some of the city's most amazing Victorian architecture. The William Heath Davis House features artifacts and curios that tell the story of Gaslamp Quarter's colorful and storied past.
The Junipero Serra Museum was named for the founder of the California Missions and is located in Presidio Park. The attraction is dedicated to preserving the state's heritage, and offers a historical perspective of San Diego that is not normally featured in museums or other arenas.
It features artifacts that date back to California's Spanish occupation as well as items used by the Native Americans of the area that were found in the nearby archeological dig that is currently still underway. Overall, the museum paints a vivid picture of what life was like for the early settlers and the natives that shared what is now known as the state of California.
If you and the kids are ready to take a really wild plunge, then Knott's Soak City Waterpark is the perfect place to land. If you've got a daredevil in your family, there's plenty here to make him or her really happy.
Knott's Soak City Waterpark features high-speed slides, tube slides and body slides that move at lightning-fast speeds. For those who prefer a little slower pace, there's a ¼ mile lazy river and wave pool that will allow for a more relaxing aquatic experience. Plus, there's also a kid's pool, mini-slides and a pool playground area - this attraction has something for everyone in the family. Knott's does a great job of recreating a cool 50s and 60s vibe, so get ready to catch a wave in classic style!
"If you build it, they will come" goes the popular saying. But in the case of LEGOLAND, the building is always a work-in-progress and that seems to suit all the visitors of this amazing park just fine.
In addition to traditional theme park rides, LEGOLAND built its identity on the reputation of the classic building blocks you used to play with as a kid, but now, that fun is on a much bigger scale. The kids can play with the Lego exhibits when in line for rides to not only pass the time, but they can express their creativity as well. Plus, don't miss Miniland USA, a collection of miniature models of famous cities and landmarks that is too incredible to be missed! If Legos were an essential part of your childhood, you won't want to miss this attraction.
The United States military's presence in San Diego is a vital, essential part of its fabric of life. To get a glimpse into the sacrifices and service that these very special men and women have made for our country, visit the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
The museum is packed with dramatic pieces and exhibits that detail our country's military history. This military attraction is located on the USS Midway, America's longest serving aircraft carrier, originally commissioned in 1945. When the Midway was decommissioned in 1992, it came to rest in San Diego and now continues to serve the memory of those that came before, as well as playing a vital role in the preservation and retelling of our nation's wartime history.
Don't just take the kids to the zoo; take them to the best zoo in the country! Widely regarded as the best zoo in the United States, the San Diego Zoo takes pride in their state-of-the-art habitat attractions that often house more than one species of animal in a single exhibit.
And since the zoo has been recognized as having a highly successful breeding program, you'll likely see baby koalas, pandas, monkeys, elephants and tigers cohabitating with their moms and dads. Plus, don't miss the aviaries and the reptile houses that offer even more wildlife that is just as interesting as it is entertaining.
Safari Park is an extension of the San Diego Zoo and features over 3,200 animals in approximately 1,800 carefully designed, African-themed acres.
The African Plains habitat is the main attraction, which means the kids will get to see giraffes, cheetahs, and a wide variety of birds. Explore Nairobi Village and see residents as diverse as gorillas and lemurs. You can explore on your own down the paths that take you through all the exhibits or take a guided tour. Plus, there are special programs like sleepovers for the kids and behind-the-scenes tours that will make your time in Safari Park absolutely untamed!
The Seaworld park in San Diego offers visitors the chance to not only have fun and see some of nature's most famous aquatic creatures, but there's also great fun to be had on the rides that are found on the premises, as well.
See interactive dolphin exhibits and presentations, enjoy more interactive fun with Backyard Adventures, and of course, you won't want to miss the appearance of Seaworld's top attraction, Shamu! There are several concession areas as well as scenic lookout points in which you can relax and take a brief rest from all of the fun.