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Trip Ideas

7 Should-See Stops In San Diego With Younger Grandchildren

San Diego in sunny Southern California is the proper journey with the grandkids. You might simply preserve busy for weeks right here and by no means repeat an exercise, however you’ll discover many you’ll need to do many times.

My daughter and I needed to take the youngsters and get away for per week’s trip. She at all times loves to flee our Michigan hometown and head to California. I discovered that flights on Independence Day had nice ticket costs, so I booked a ticket for the 2 of us and my two younger grandchildren.

With such nice climate 12 months spherical, it doesn’t matter if you go to San Diego. Getting open air is at all times enjoyable. Our journey centered on wild animals and getting out on the water for essentially the most half. So when you’ll discover many extra issues to do in San Diego, listed below are the must-see stops with the grandchildren.

A topiary elephant greets visitors outside of the San Diego Zoo

The zoo presents six distinctive excursions and experiences that you just gained’t need to miss.

Picture Credit score: James Kirkikis /

1. San Diego Zoo

Situated in Balboa Park, The San Diego Zoo sits on 100 acres with over 12,000 animals of greater than 650 species. The zoo presents six distinctive excursions and experiences that you just gained’t need to miss. The primary three listed are finest fitted to ages 5 and up, whereas three are good for all ages. 

Word that each one these excursions require a ticket, irrespective of the kid’s age. As well as, they require admission to the zoo as a separate cost.

Loopy About Cats

When you have cats at residence, this 90-minute tour will carry you to the massive cats, the place the kiddos might even see a lion, tiger, jaguar, mountain lion, leopard, fishing cat, ocelot, or serval. The tour begins earlier than the zoo opens, the place your information will drive you round in a golf cart. They train the littles how the zookeeper cares for the cats and the way they might help cat species. Moreover, you’ll have a close-up assembly with no less than one cat.

Animals In Motion

The zoo options unique cats on this interactive expertise the place the youngsters will get a close-up view of the animals. Then the wildlife specialists take you behind the scenes, the place you’ll have some nice picture alternatives.

zoo keepers feeding the cheetahs

You’ll take a 60-minute guided tour led by a information who is aware of all about cheetahs.

Picture Credit score: Nature’s Appeal /

Early Morning Cheetah Expertise

In case your younger grandchild asks lots of questions, that is the tour for you. You’ll take a 60-minute guided tour led by a information who is aware of all about cheetahs. They’ll inform tales in regards to the animals and vegetation as they drive you across the zoo on a cart, with alternatives to get off and get a more in-depth look. You’ll additionally study in regards to the zoo’s conservation work. They require a two-to-one ratio (one grownup for each two youngsters).

Discovery Automotive Tour

The Discovery Automotive Tour is a 60-minute guided tour utilizing an expedition cart. You’ll have an opportunity to ask plenty of questions and find out about how the zoo’s conservation work impacts the world.

Unique VIP Expertise

The VIP Expertise is an unique tour the place you’ll spend 5 hours discovering the zoo together with your zoo information. They tailor what you see to your loved ones’s curiosity. As well as, the zoo features a sit-down lunch on this VIP expertise.

Inside Look Excursions

This 90-minute journey presents an insider’s take a look at how the zoo cares for its animals. The information shares experiences and tales whereas driving you across the zoo in a deluxe golf cart.

Professional Tip: ADA Compliance

The zoo operates a complimentary ADA shuttle service for individuals who need assistance with mobility. As well as, the zoo map notes ADA elevators and paths. I’ve some mobility challenges, so the power to see the zoo by way of varied golf cart excursions added to my enjoyment. 

San Diego's Balboa Park at twilight in San Diego California USA

With greater than 15 museums, the realm will preserve the entire household entertained for greater than a day.

Picture Credit score: f11photo /

2. Balboa Park

With greater than 1,000 acres, Balboa Park is one place we might have spent extra time. With greater than 15 museums, the realm will preserve the entire household entertained for greater than a day. Sadly, we solely had about half a day right here, and it wasn’t almost sufficient. Whereas the San Diego Zoo is in Balboa Park, you’ll discover lots of kid-friendly actions. Listed below are just a few.

Decide your favourite animal and take a journey. The carousel was constructed close to Buffalo, New York, in 1910, reviews 10 Information San Diego, and in 2022, it celebrated its a hundredth 12 months anniversary in Balboa Park. Amazingly, it operates with most of its unique elements.

Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater

The puppet theater is enjoyable for all ages, and even the grandparents will benefit from the present. The puppets are native San Diego puppet stars. 

Balboa Park Miniature Practice

The Balboa Park Miniature Practice begins close to the zoo and takes you on a half-mile journey across the park grounds.

Pepper Grove Playground

If the kiddos have to blow off some steam, let the youngsters play on the Pepper Grove Playground. You’ll discover the proper shaded bench to take a seat and relaxation on whereas maintaining a tally of the youngsters. They’ll have swings, climbers, and slides to get pleasure from.

Professional Tip: Customer Heart

Start on the customer middle, the place they’ll orient you to all that the park presents. Maps, brochures, and free guided excursions of the park can be found right here.

Entrance sign at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California.

Situated about 35 miles northeast of the San Diego Zoo in Escondido, California, the San Diego Wildlife Safari Park sits on 1,800 acres.

Picture Credit score: Rosamar /

3. San Diego Wildlife Safari Park

Situated about 35 miles northeast of the San Diego Zoo in Escondido, California, the San Diego Wildlife Safari Park sits on 1,800 acres. You gained’t discover cages with the three,600 animals of 300 species inside. As a substitute, we noticed the animals from an open-air safari truck. The animals mingle in a sprawling savanna. Plan your go to to final about 4 hours.

My granddaughter was the primary to identify a new child animal that the information reported to the veterinarians the day we visited. It was an thrilling morning.

Professional Tip: Age Restrictions

Some safaris are for all ages, whereas others are for teenagers 3 and older. Earlier than buying your ticket, observe the age restrictions for the journey you propose to take.

4. San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

The San Diego Whale Watching Cruise is a tremendous 3-hour cruise for any age. We visited in July in the course of the migration of the blue whales, the biggest animal on earth. Mighty fin whales are considerable in the summertime too. Though taking the cruise doesn’t assure you’ll see a whale, should you don’t, the guides give you the prospect to come back again one other day and take one other cruise.

You’ll need to carry a digital camera to document the blowing and tails. Though capturing all of it on digital camera isn’t simple, I discovered a video to work finest. This journey was a lot enjoyable. My granddaughters are nonetheless speaking about it.

Professional Tip: What To Put on

Do not forget that the temperature is 10 to fifteen levels cooler on the water than on land, so add an additional layer, perhaps a lightweight jacket or heavy sweatshirt. Put on flat, closed-toe sneakers as you could need to stand whereas the boat is in movement. You’ll additionally need sun shades and sunscreen.

Seal Tour amphibious vehicle at the Marina

The amphibious San Diego SEAL Tour is improbable enjoyable for the youthful grandkids.

Picture Credit score: Conchi Martinez /

5. San Diego SEAL Tour

The amphibious San Diego SEAL Tour is improbable enjoyable for the youthful grandkids. After all, they’re used to driving on land in automobiles and vans, however this automobile driving into the water was an thrilling shock to my granddaughter.

The 90-minute tour is simply the appropriate size to maintain their curiosity, with about half-hour on land and 60 on the water. My granddaughter was notably within the animals. When you’ll see varied birds, like California brown pelicans and egrets, different wildlife can be usually on view.

Word that when you’ll almost certainly see sea lions and perhaps some seals on tour, SEAL Tour stands for Sea And Land Tour and never the animals.

Professional Tip: Parking

Parking might show to be a problem in the course of the summer season months and faculty breaks, so arrive about an hour earlier than the departure of your tour.

6. Maritime Museum Of San Diego

In case your grandkids are into pirates, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is a cease you gained’t need to miss. Whereas the museum presents a wide range of reveals, together with an attention-grabbing one for the youngsters on dispelling the myths of sea monsters, in addition they characteristic a pirate present that takes you out onto San Diego Bay.

The children are a part of the interactive present, the place they turn out to be a part of the crew, learn to bail water from a sinking ship, combat with swords, and swab the decks. The 90-minute performances are a dream come true for the youngsters. They’re proper in the midst of all of it.

If you happen to’re on the lookout for extra issues to do on the water, try this text on the most effective issues to do on San Diego Bay.

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Previous City San Diego State Historic Park

Picture Credit score: Ken Wolter /

7. Previous City San Diego

Previous City San Diego is San Diego’s walkable historic district. So when the grandkids have to get out and stroll round, this makes the proper place to discover.

Previous City San Diego State Historic Park

When you discover Previous City San Diego State Historic Park, you’ll discover a number of museums and restored buildings within the park. Those that notably attraction to the kiddos are:

The Schoolhouse

The schoolhouse will curiosity the littles as you may draw comparisons from their college to what life was like within the late 1800s. The one-room schoolhouse has a wood-framed construction with a shingle roof and 10-foot ceilings. Be sure you level out the water bucket and ladle as an alternative of a water bottle or ingesting fountain. Additionally, distinction the present warmth registers to the pot-bellied range.

Blackhawk Livery Stables

These stables housed horses and wagons in San Diego’s early days. As we speak they characteristic woodworking and blacksmith demonstrations.

The Seeley Steady

This steady features a Harmony stagecoach, a two-wagon freighter, an ox-drawn cart, and a mud wagon. Draw comparisons to how we journey immediately so as to add curiosity for the youngsters.

San Diego Sheriff’s Museum And Training Heart

With its interactive shows, the San Diego Sheriff’s Museum was a enjoyable cease for our household. The museum exhibits the 150-year historical past of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Division. It options an previous patrol automotive and an actual helicopter. As well as, we used the courtroom and jail cell to take some memory-making photographs.

Combination Meal at Café Coyote Restaurant in Old Town San Diego

Mixture Meal at Café Coyote Restaurant in Previous City San Diego

Picture Credit score: Amy Piper

Café Coyote

Whereas in Previous City, cease for an off-the-cuff, relaxed lunch or dinner at Café Coyote. The beloved Mexican restaurant options house-made tortillas which can be remodeled into varied conventional Mexican dishes — tacos, tostadas, and burritos. Refried beans and Mexican-style rice include many of the choices. For the youngsters, the Pup menu has solely Mexican favorites; however for these fussy eaters, in addition they have kid-friendly American meals like hen nuggets. In addition they supply a separate vegetarian menu. After all, the adults will respect the Margarita flights.

The colourful out of doors patio seating is ideal for these children who’ve a tough time sitting nonetheless. They’ll additionally get pleasure from watching the tortilla makers and listening to the Mariachi singers.

Professional Tip: Uncover Previous City

Uncover Previous City presents a enjoyable Children Historical past Hunt and a few money-saving coupons.

For extra assist in planning your journey to San Diego, try these articles:

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