1. San Diego Zoo

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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.


Gorilla at San Diego Zoo

2. Balboa Park Carousel

prac_info Balboa Park • Adm

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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.


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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.

4. Adventure Kids in Egypt at the San Diego Museum of Man

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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.

5. Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater in Balboa Park

prac_info Balboa Park • 619 544 9203 • Adm •

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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.

6. Harbor Seal-Watching at Children’s Pool

prac_info Coast Blvd & Jenner St, La Jolla

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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.

7. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

prac_info 1875 El Prado • 619 238 1233 • Open 10am–6pm daily (to 8pm Sat) • Adm •

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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.

8. San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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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.

9. Belmont Park

prac_info 3190 Mission Blvd • 858 488 1549 • Adm for rides

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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.


The Giant Dipper at Belmont Park

10. Birch Aquarium at Scripps

prac_info 2300 Expedition Way • 858 534 3474 • Open 9am–5pm daily • Adm •

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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.

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