During seasonal holidays and summer, Dr. Zoolittle presents his entertaining science shows and guest performers delight the crowds. The zoo also offers summer camps and art classes, while special family events are held throughout the year.
Balboa Park • Adm
Kids will love the carved animals and hand-painted murals of this unique 1910 carousel, right by the zoo. Its Brass Ring game gives riders the chance to win a free turn.
Children are fascinated by the 30 million plastic bricks fashioned into famous landmarks and life-sized African animals. In Fun Town, kids can drive electric cars or pilot a helicopter; at the Imagination Zone, they can build robots. Other attractions here (see Legoland) include a 4-D movie adventure and a waterpark.
On the museum’s second floor, kids dress up as pharaohs and learn about ancient Egypt by building a pyramid, deciphering hieroglyphics, and listening to the god Anubis explain the mummification process. At a re-creation of an archeological dig, kids dig through sand for treasure and also learn to identify an artifact’s age.
Balboa Park • 619 544 9203 • Adm • www.balboaparkpuppets.com
Named after the park’s beloved and skilled “puppet lady,” the Balboa Park Puppet Guild houses a wonderful collection of marionettes and hand, rod, and shadow puppets. The Magic of Ventriloquism, Pinocchio, and Grimm’s classics are some of the shows here.
Coast Blvd & Jenner St, La Jolla
Children used to swim at this sheltered cove, but harbor seals had much the same idea. The seals are protected by federal law so the beach is now closed, and children must view the entertaining crowds of marine animals swimming and sleeping from behind a rope.
1875 El Prado • 619 238 1233 • Open 10am–6pm daily (to 8pm Sat) • Adm • www.rhfleet.org
Science can be fun for all. At Kid City, children aged 2–5 can play with conveyor belts, air chutes, and colorful foam blocks. Older kids go wild building complex structures at Block Busters! and enjoy other hands-on areas. In the Virtual Zone, kids can explore symmetry in time as a video camera records movement.
This park has more than 3,000 wild and endangered animals from Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia. Herds of animals roam freely in enclosures that replicate their natural habitats. Compatible animals are mixed, allowing visitors to observe their interactions. Kids will enjoy the safari adventures – ziplines, cheetah runs, and an open-air caravan are among the most popular attractions.
3190 Mission Blvd • 858 488 1549 • Adm for rides
This old-fashioned fun zone keeps the kids entertained for hours. They can board the Giant Dipper roller coaster, take a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl, and go on an antique carousel; enjoy the Bumper Cars; or climb high above the ground on the challenging Sky Ropes Adventure. For indoor adventures, there’s Laser Tag, Laser Maze, rock climbing, and mini golf.
2300 Expedition Way • 858 534 3474 • Open 9am–5pm daily • Adm • www.aquarium.ucsd.edu
Coral reefs, seahorses, octopi, and undulating jellyfish have a high ooh-and-ah factor for kids. The aquarium presents special hands-on activities, scavenger hunts, and craft workshops throughout the year, among more than 30 tanks filled with brilliantly colored fish. Kids love the sea-dragon display and the baby seahorse nursery.