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Top Amusement Parks in San Diego That Your Kids Will Love

Top Amusement Parks in San Diego That Your Kids Will Love

Home to some of the more popular parks in the country, as well as several hidden gems, San Diego might be the ideal destination for a family vacation. Here are some of the places to check out with everyone.

Besides the cultural and natural wonders, San Diego offers plenty of family-friendly attractions for you to enjoy along with your kids. You can find amusement parks with various themes right in the city, and even the world-famous Disneyland is a possible day trip destination.

Your family could easily spend the whole day in every one of the best San Diego amusement parks and not even notice how much time has passed. 

If you don’t know where to start your family adventure, here’s a list of the top places your kids will enjoy the most on your next visit to San Diego.

1. SeaWorld

Naturally, the main attraction of SeaWorld San Diego is the fantastic animals. There are six species of penguins, beluga whales, walruses, and sea turtles to see, but those aren’t the only residents of the park. Your kids will cheer at the sight of lovable dolphins, powerful sharks, gracious orcas, and other wonderful marine animals.

Here, you can see the animals behave naturally in the well-suited environment and even engage in different animal encounters. Kids can come face to face with penguins, dolphins, and charming sloths, although that last encounter might take quite a while due to the animal’s incredibly slow movements.

SeaWorld San Diego also features various rides and rollercoasters, but keep in mind that their availability depends on the circumstances like the weather. 

2. Aquatica

SeaWorld’s Aquatica amusement park is all about water fun, presenting a different experience from the main attraction based around marine animals. This water park features rides of different intensity, from relaxed lounging rides to exciting, fast-paced splashing extravaganzas. 

There are various slides like the Kiwi Curl, Taumata Racer, or Woohoo Falls that are suited for individuals, while four people can enjoy a ride together on the Tassie’s Twister or the Walhalla Wave. 

Some rides also offer several paths and slides. What’s particularly noteworthy is the fact that you can slide in the dark in Woohoo. 

3. Belmont Park

Belmont Park doesn’t deal in themes. Instead, it’s a place for pure, traditional fun with rides and roller coasters. 

Located in Mission Beach, this amusement park’s been in business since the 1920s and it houses the wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster. Although the exciting ride was in disrepair in the ’70s, a full restoration was performed on the Giant Dipper and it has been a widely known San Diego attraction for decades since. 

There are also many great games for the whole family, including mini-golf and other wonderful, fun activities. And if you get hungry at some point, you can grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the parking and entrance to the park are free. Of course, all rides and other attractions inside the park require purchasing a ticket. 

4. Zoo Safari Park

Returning to the wonders of nature, a family-friendly San Diego attraction that you shouldn’t miss is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This is an immense preserve where you can see various African and Asian animals in a natural environment. 

But more than the usual visit to the zoo, the Safari Park can even present an opportunity to see herds move across the vast open landscape. 

You can witness the amazing wildlife by jumping on a tram, riding an open bed truck, or even going on a zipline. Alternatively, there are more contained exhibit areas where you can have an up-close experience, such as the Nairobi Village, African Outpost, and the Lion Camp. 

Your kids will have plenty of excitement through this amazing, unique park that no zoo can match. If they love nature and animals, this might be among the best San Diego amusement parks for them.

5. Legoland

Legoland California is an expansive wonderland that will leave the whole family in awe, especially if your kids are very young. 

The first Lego-themed amusement park in the U.S., Legoland California is teeming with great fun. There are over 60 attractions kids can interact with, as well as different shows and rides. 

Legoland also features a water park with several slides, but the most exciting feature here’s the river that you can traverse on a raft you build yourself. You might even convince the kids to help you since they’ll likely be inspired by the thousands of models that adorn the park. 

There are also Lego models of everything imaginable through – cities, dinosaurs, famous imaginary characters, and much more. 

If you can set apart a few days for this fascinating place, consider booking one of the 250 rooms in the first U.S. Legoland Hotel. Don’t worry, though – the fun doesn’t end once you’re inside. All rooms are Lego-themed, just like the rest of the park.

6. Disneyland

While Disneyland California isn’t located in San Diego but rather in Anaheim, the land of fantasy is a mere 90 miles away from downtown San Diego. Those visiting from other states would be wise to use this opportunity to go on a relatively short ride to visit the most famous amusement park in the world.

Nothing is lacking when it comes to shows in Disneyland California. Whether your kids want to meet their favorite Disney princess or prince or experience the Star Wars universe, fun is guaranteed. Of course, there’s also the classic Pirates of the Caribbean ride that launched a successful movie franchise and the famous Haunted Mansion that awaits those with nerves of steel.

If you or the kids grow hungry, there are many dining options in Disneyland. You can even order food on the go no matter where you are in the park. 

Perhaps an even more extensive offer than the attractions are the numerous shops, so you may want to be careful with your budget. 

Fun for the Whole Family in San Diego

San Diego is an excellent place for a family vacation filled with adventure, excitement, and all the fun you can take. Visit one or all of the best San Diego amusement parks and you’ll be left with dear, long-lasting memories. 

Go on a short trip to San Diego today and the kids will have stories to tell about the amazing experiences for years to come.

San Diego

Balboa Park (And Six Other Must-Visit San Diego Sights)

Balboa Park (And Six Other Must-Visit San Diego Sights)

San Diego offers so many attractions that it might be challenging for anyone to choose between them. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the sights you absolutely shouldn’t miss.

With the exciting place that San Diego takes in Californian history and the natural beauties of the region, it’s a given there’s plenty to see in the city area. It doesn’t matter whether you’re interested in some amazing sights or want to see the impressive USS Midway and go back in history – you can find it all in San Diego. 

Nature, culture, architecture, cuisine, and more await among the city’s streets. And out of all of the things to see in San Diego, here are seven that’s not to be missed in the colorful, easy-going city.

1. Balboa Park

Balboa Park is an expansive city location that features historical buildings, museums, and an abundance of greenery. Built over a century ago for the purposes of the Panama-California Exhibition event, the park kept the authentic buildings that bear the mark of the mid-1910s. The structures that got retained from the exhibition are low-rise and built in the Spanish style.

The many fascinating museums in Balboa Park cover subjects like art, natural history, and human development. Besides seeing those exhibits, you can also marvel at the natural world represented in the botanical garden, lily pond, and, of course, the renowned zoo. 

The best thing about Balboa Park is that you’ll have a great time even if you choose not to enter a single building.

2. Embarcadero

You won’t find a better view of the San Diego harbor than what you get as you walk down the Embarcadero. The walkway follows the water, offering an amazing view of Coronado Island across the bay as well as other attractions.

While you’re enjoying the walk in the gorgeous surroundings, you’ll also notice the shops and eateries peppered along the Embarcadero. There are also other events held here that will likely grab your attention the most, regardless of the season. 

In the summer months, you can go to the Waterfront Park and relish the fun. During the evening, you could catch the city’s symphony orchestra during Bayside Summer Nights. On the other hand, November is the time for those looking for great tastes, as the Embarcadero houses the Wine & Food Festival.

3. San Diego Zoo

Returning to Balboa Park, you may not want to miss out on visiting the highly-rated San Diego Zoo. But don’t expect to spend less than a full day here as the zoo counts among the largest in the U.S. and welcomes thousands of visitors – kids and adults alike. 

That’s why if you’re looking for things to see in San Diego, you can’t go wrong with the zoo.

Undoubtedly, the giant pandas are among the most popular attractions, but there are many other exotic species housed in enclosures that recreate their natural habitats. Besides the koalas, bonobos, rhinos, and other animals, the zoo has a large collection of plants from the whole world. Unsurprising, really, as the botanical section itself is located along a breathtaking canyon.

4. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve

This natural reserve is very close to San Diego yet represents a perfect natural escape. The area’s beautiful and ready to be explored through the hiking trails where you can see the eponymous Torrey Pines, the rare tree species that decorate the landscape. 

Starting from the mesa, you can come down to the shore where the sea meets the fascinating cliffs. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a haven of the protected biosphere as well as untouched natural landscapes that will make you forget the close proximity of the city.

Finally, you can visit the historic lodge that’s built almost a century ago. The authentic structure perfectly fits the surrounding nature and contributes to further immersion in a quieter, gorgeous world of the reserve.

5. USS Midway Museum

If you wish to travel back to the more tumultuous period of human history, visiting the USS Midway presents a perfect opportunity to do just that. This aircraft carrier served the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1992. It’s the namesake and the only surviving member of its class, as well as the longest-serving carrier in the world. 

The giant ship was active in the Vietnam War, then participated in the Desert Storm operation before finally becoming a museum. 

There are tens of aircraft in the exhibition, including jet planes, helicopters, and propeller planes. You can also explore the crew quarters, ready rooms, and various parts of the vessel. Additionally, there are simulators and cockpits you can enter and documentary films to see aboard the USS Midway.

6. Gaslamp Quarter

The epicenter of San Diego’s nightlife, the Gaslamp Quarter consists of a vast number of restored Victorian buildings. There are shops, restaurants, galleries, and various other venues that will make the evening go by too quickly.

It’s easy to traverse the district on foot. But if you don’t feel like walking, there are bike taxis that can take you around the Gaslamp Quarter’s 16 blocks. When it comes to shows, there’s not much lacking in this area – you can enjoy hilarious comedy routines, amazing theater shows, or feel the bliss of live jazz music.

Those looking for high-end hotels and fine dining will find everything they’re looking for in this central city location.

7. Heritage Park

While not as well-known as some other San Diego attractions, Heritage County Park is a must-see for everyone who appreciates Victorian architecture. Among the things to see in San Diego, this park represents an experience on its own. The houses there represent excellently-preserved examples of historical buildings, with the youngest house dating back to 1896.

That youngest building is the Senlis Cottage, done in the vernacular style. If you want to see the classic American Stick style, there’s the Sherman-Gilbert and McConaughy house that was built in 1887. Meanwhile, the Bushyhead house represents the Italianate style, while the Christian house is a great example of the Queen Anne variety. 

Temple Beth Israel is another outstanding feature. The classic revival synagogue, the first in San Diego, houses two playable organs.

All of the buildings in Heritage Park are museums showcasing late 19th century exhibits. Although it spans eight acres, Heritage Park isn’t as expansive as some other reserves. However, it offers a unique view into the architectural history in natural surroundings.

Explore the Amazing Landscapes of San Diego

There are many exciting sights in San Diego to satisfy every craving. If you’re looking for cultural, historical, or natural sites, the city won’t disappoint and will leave you wanting more. 

You’ll be eager to come back once you start exploring San Diego.

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