Did you know that San Diego locals call their hometown “America’s Finest City?” If you live there or have visited California’s second-largest metropolitan area, you have likely seen first-hand countless of examples of why this town is worthy of such an accolade. But, if you have never had the pleasure of visiting San Diego, keep reading to find out what your family has been missing.
First, San Diego, is known for it’s temperate weather throughout the year. The average temperature is around the low 70s regardless of the season. It also has an amazing array of cultural institutions that make vacationing here a treat for everyone in the family.
One of our family’s favorite places from our visits is the San Diego Zoo which is home to nine different animal zones, a children’s zoo with more than 30 exhibits, as well as shows designed to entertain guests of all ages. Since the zoo was built in a rather hilly area, it offers some creative ways of helping guests get to certain exhibit areas. For example, an additional fee beyond the regular price of admission, visitors can enjoy a 35-minute guided bus tour aboard a double-decker bus that allows you to see much of the zoo. Or you could hop on the SkyFari Aerial Tram, which consists of colorful gondolas that travel from one side of the zoo to the other. Escalators are also present in some exhibit areas. And, if you want to see even more of the Zoo, consider booking a behind-the-scenes tour or one that allows you to explore the zoo’s botanical garden.
The Robert H. Fleet Science Center is just a short drive from the zoo. The Fleet, as locals call it, has a wide variety of interactive and educational exhibits galleries that cover such concepts as aging, water conservation, physics, and energy sources. While the exhibits are fascinating on their own, your trip could be even more fun if you set aside time to watch one of science-related movies that are shown in the Center’s theatre. (This was a favorite part of our visit.) In addition, the planetarium show and motion simulator ride are also worth experiencing. And, if you’re planning on visiting next summer, make sure you ask to be adding to the Fleet’s mailing list so that you can be alerted when information about summer camps becomes available.
Two of our three San Diego visits also included a drive to Carlsbad, a coastal town about 30 miles (or approximately an hour’s drive) from San Diego, so that we could take the girls to Legoland California Resort. Legoland offers guests more than 60 rides, including Coastersaurus, Coast Cruise, Driving School and Lego® Technic Coaster, and the Dragon. (FYI, these are some of our favorites.) There are also attractions (Miniland USA, an area filled with cityscapes and landmarks made out of Lego blocks), shows and other activities that will make your time there particularly fun and memorable. And, if you are able to do so, you may also want to tack on a visit to the adjacent Lego-themed Sea Life Aquarium, which is home to more than 5,000 creatures, if you have an animal-lover in your family as we do. Just keep in mind that a separate ticket will need to be purchased for entry.
And, if you make it to Carlsbad and are a fan of music, you must plan on stopping by the Museum of Making Music as we did on one occasion. There you will find exhibits designed to teach guests how and why different instruments were created, how they’re distributed and marketed, as well as how various music genres developed over time.