There are so many options for tide pools in/near San Diego but we decided to check out Cabrillo’s! We also wanted to see the Lighthouse, so it was win-win. As you can see, the entrance fee is $10 to enter and the pass is good for a full week.
It was an overcast, semi foggy morning (as so many San Diego mornings are!) when we visiting in June. The guard at the entrance told us that was the best weather to visit the tide pools. The parking lot at the bottom is pretty small (maybe about 20 spots or less) so we drove to the upper parking lot. As you can see, the upper lots are definitely not stroller or wheelchair friendly, so just keep that in mind. Other than that it was less than a 10 minute walk down to the tides. Be sure to keep a close eye on little ones, though, as there were a couple steep 10-20 foot drop-offs.
This was actually our family’s first time visiting a tide pool- we don’t exactly have these in the desert of Utah! We weren’t sure exactly what to expect. But WOW! We found hundreds- thousands?-of tiny crabs ALL OVER! It was so fun to see these little creatures. We must of just sat on one rock for 20 minutes or so before we started to venture elsewhere. They were fascinating. The water is pretty shallow, although the rocks can be slippery to walk on.
Oh it was SO fun!! We can’t wait to visit more tide pools!
Lighthouse & Gift shop
A short drive up from the tide pools is the Cabrillo Lighthouse and Giftshop.
The kids really thought the spiral-and steep- staircase was cool!
And the views were gorgeous too!
We spent an evening on Coronado and LOVED it! How can you not?! The first thing we did was rent a Surrey from Bikes and Beyond. There is a nice trail that goes along the ocean, past the shops and restaurants and even past a little park. We biked along that until we hit a major road, then turned around again. It took about an hour and was SO fun. The only funny thing (depending on who you ask- haha) was that on our way back I (Emily) commented how easy the Surrey was to pedal. Then I noticed poor Jeff was just sweating and huffing along. We looked down and noticed that my pedals weren’t connected at all. Jeff was hauling all five of us around by himself. Hahaha. Poor Jeff.
We loved eating dinner at Lil Piggy’s Bar-B-Q and getting ice cream from Moo Time Creamery at the Hotel Del Coronado. Visit this link for more info. on our favorite family friendly eats in SD. The beaches and powdery sand- heavenly! So fun to play in. Next time we’d love to stay on the Island. Where do you like to stay when you visit Coronado?
We bought the San Diego 3-for-1 Pass from Costco. The passes give you unlimited admission to San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and Sea World for 7 days. They are about $105 per child (ages 3-9) and $130 per adult (ages 10+). The passes can take up to 7 business days to ship, so plan accordingly. If you are not a Costco member, you can still purchase the passes for an additional fee.
STARTING THE DAY
Begin your day at SeaWorld by feeding either the Seals and Sea Lions or the Bat Rays. It is $5 per tray of food. We suggest going early in the day (or even first thing in the morning during peak days) because once the food is gone, it’s gone! This was a huge highlight for our kids. The seals were so cute and would get so excited. But watch out for birds! They are fast and know exactly what you have and aren’t afraid to take it right out of your hand.
PLAN YOUR DAY AROUND THE SHOWS
The shows are incredible at SeaWorld. It is what we remember most about going as children. To see these amazing animals in motion and up close is unforgettable. Showtimes are available in advance on SeaWorld’s website or you can also plan your day once you arrive. The schedule is available with your map and is also posted around the park. While the majority of shows are on the schedule everyday, there are a few that rotate, so plan accordingly if there is one in particular you were hoping to see. As far as seating goes, people will start lining up at least 30 minutes or more before the start time during peak season. We would usually get there about 15 minutes before and felt like there were plenty of good viewing/seating options still available.
One Ocean: as you can see this show really fills up. I don’t think there is a bad seat in the stadium–the animals move from side to side. Our kids were dying to sit in the splash zone so we sat on the left side facing the ‘stage’. We really didn’t get too wet– not like the people in the middle did! It was a very hot day so it actually felt great. If you opt to sit near the front, we’d advise a few rows up as you want to sit at least eye level with the top of the water and not below. 2016 was also the final year for this amazing show. They have something else in the works that will replace it so stay tuned.
Dolphin Days: features more than just dolphins! This was probably our favorite show, but just barely. They were all so good.
Sea Lions Live: was hilarious and fun! Arrive early to watch the pre-show antics. You won’t want to miss this one!
Light Up the Night: was very cool! We sat directly in the center, a few rows above the platform. This is technically the splash zone. We had on ponchos and really only needed them once. They were great seats but it was definitely cooler so getting drenched might not be the funnest. This show is usually the last one of the day, right before the park closes. Lines start to form early so plan accordingly.
There are many other great shows (like Cirque de la Mer, Killer Whales Close Up, etc.) and even seasonal shows- visit SeaWorld’s website for a complete list.
ANIMAL INTERACTION PROGRAMS
Pictured above is one of the Dolphin Interaction Programs. There are many different programs, most have a minimum age and require an additional fee to participate. For more information on pricing, programs and availability, visit here. It’s also important to note that in the month of October, SeaWorld has a special that with a paid adult, kids are free to participate in some of the programs. When we were there over the summer, they also had special same day pricing at Dolphin Point.
BAY OF PLAY
This Sesame Street-themed attraction is filled with family-friendly rides geared toward younger children (we’d say around 10 and younger, although adults and older children can participate in all the activities).
There are a few little rides (minimum height requirement is at least 42 or 48 inches, depending on the ride), a giant climbing structure with a slide, bounce bubble, an obstacle type course, a section for 3 and under to play, and a spot to meet Elmo and pals (check schedule for times).
We would say to block out at least an hour here, two hours should be plenty. For more info. on the Bay of Play, click here.
SHARK ENCOUNTER AND TURTLE REEF
There are many attractions to see in between shows. Our kids loved both of these–riding a giant ‘escalator’ with sharks swimming directly above you was very cool!
The Turtle Reef was so calming and relaxing. Our kids were mesmerized by these giant sea turtles and colorful fish.
Dolphin Point has certain times throughout the day (refer to your map) where the trainers will practice different tricks with the dolphins in an up close and open exhibit. After the mini training session, they will have free play, tossing different toys into the water for the dolphins. Sometimes the dolphins will toss a ball into the audience and guests can toss them back. Our kids loved watching the dolphins up close, although they were very sad we never had the opportunity to touch one. We would definitely recommend you add this to your schedule, but be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes early to secure a spot right up front. Little kids will have a hard time seeing the back.
During the heat of the summer, this cool exhibit is the place to go. Plan to go late afternoon when temps are at their peak.
The beluga whales were so playful and fun to watch. Bonus: There are benches near the back for mom and dad to rest tired feet 🙂
In addition to the whales, polar bears and walruses are also in the Wild Arctic. Penguins are just across the way so be sure to catch them too!
There are several touch pools throughout the park. The kids really enjoyed these! You’re guaranteed to touch these sea animals.
With a young family, the rides outside of Bay of Play weren’t really on our schedule. We did try out the Shipwreck Rapids. It was a lot of fun, but you will get wet. Drenched! We were freezing after and were glad for the family-sized dryer near the exit! For a complete list of rides, click here.
If you’ve done any research on SeaWorld, you’ve probably seen that they offer an all day dining option. We weren’t sure initially if it would be worth it, but after researching we decided it would be the best (and easiest) dining option for our family of five. So, what do you get for the money? Every single hour you can get 1 entree, 1 side (fries, salad, fruit cup, veggies, etc.) OR dessert (cake, pudding, whale cookie, jello, cheesecake, etc.) and 1 beverage (including the ice cold bottled water- our fave!) Each participating member gets a wristband that they scan every time you go through the line. We ate lunch, dinner, and then grabbed fruit cups and water every hour and finished with a late ‘dinner/snack’. As you can see below, individual meals were all priced around $12 or more, so it was definitely worth it to us! All restaurants were ‘cafeteria style’ meaning most of the food was already prepared and we could quickly grab it and go!
At our time of visit, the following restaurants were included in the all day dining option:
Shipwreck Reef Café (baby back ribs additional charge)
Mama Stella’s Pizza Kitchen
Calypso Bay Smokehouse
(baby back ribs additional charge)
Hand Crafted Burgers — located inside Café 64
Flatbreads & Fry Cones
Pineapple Pete’s Island Eats —
(Funnel Cakes & Waffle Cones not included)
The dessert options were pretty much the same at every restaurant. Different cakes, jello, cheesecake cupcakes, etc.
Calypso Bay Smokehouse & Shipwreck Reef Café were our favorite places to eat. Shipreck Reef Cafe was very crowded at lunch, but if you turn right after the cash registers (past the bathrooms) there were more tables. Calypso Bay had plenty of tables and wasn’t crowded for dinner at all.
Menus and individual meal pricing from Shipwreck Reef Cafe.
For more information on the all day dining, click here.
Chances are if you’re planning a vacation to San Diego with kids, you’re probably planning a stop at the San Diego Zoo. Which, of course, you should! This Zoo is amazing. With more than 3,ooo different animal species–including pandas, bears, gorillas and hippos (my favorite!), all nestled on 100 acres of gorgeous, rolling hills, there is something for everyone! Be sure to wear good shoes, bring sunscreen, and a water bottle. And yes–in one day you will have more than enough time to see everything! The trick is to take advantage of the awesome–and free– transportation options they have for getting around the zoo.
Tickets: We bought the San Diego 3-for-1 Pass from Costco. The pass gives you unlimited admission to San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and Sea World for 7 days. They are about $105 per child (ages 3-9) and $130 per adult (ages 10+). The passes can take up to 7 business days to ship, so plan accordingly. If you are not a Costco member, you can still purchase the passes for an additional fee.
There are many other places to buy discount tickets as well. We love Getaway Today and you do not need to be a member to purchase discount tickets from them. You can find tickets here.
Parking is free! Be sure to pay attention to where you park, because if you’re anything like me you really won’t remember. I usually snap a picture of my parking section with my phone.
We started off our day with a ride on the Guided Bus Tour. This is the perfect first stop on your visit because it takes you on a 35-minute tour of the entire zoo allowing you to see nearly all the animals. Plus, starting first thing in the morning when it is still cool outside is a huge bonus if you plan to ride on the upper deck. Plan to grab a map for each child so they can follow the driver’s audio tour as you go.
The tour starts with a short informational film about the history of the San Diego Zoo. After the film, you will exit the doors on the right side of the room. If you want to ride the upper deck of the bus, you will go up the stairs after the film. Otherwise, remain on the bottom level.
We went for the upper level of the double-decker bus,which gave us a great view throughout the entire tour. I don’t think there is a bad seat on the top, however we happened to get the seats near the handicap access ramp and they were perfect! We could see everything and had extra leg/wiggle room to boot. Don’t worry about people in front of you blocking your view- the bus drives right next to the animals so you will be looking out the side of your window and not the front. Again, it gets very hot during the day, so if you want to ride on top of the bus, plan to go first thing in the morning or late in the evening.
A sample of the great views we had! We saw the elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos, and tigers–just to name a few of the animals! The tour runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is included with all admission tickets.
The panda exhibit is a great stop after finishing the guided bus tour. Be prepared for a wait–ours was about 30 minutes, although it can be much longer. The panda is one popular animal! As the bulk of the wait is in the sun, this would be a good animal to visit either in the morning or late evening when it’s a bit cooler. When we saw this guy, he was so alert. We could have watched him for hours!
As you plan your day, take note that the entire Lost Forest (left side) of the zoo is almost entirely engulfed in large shady trees. This section is huge and home to the gorillas, orangutans, tigers, hippos, birds, and many more animals. During the heat of the afternoon, take a break from the sun and keep cool in the Lost Forest. The right side of the zoo, which includes the Elephant Odyssey, Urban Jungle, Northern Frontier and Outback, are almost all in direct sun and are best seen late in the evening or first thing in the morning. The animals tend to be more active when it’s cooler. We explored the right side late in the late evening, when it was cooler, and the animals were all awake and playful, plus we had more energy and covered a whole lot more ground than earlier in the day when it was so hot. In fact, we actually went back to our hotel during the heat of the afternoon and took naps! Then we went back in the evening. We still had plenty of time to see all the animals.
Not far from the Panda Exhibit, these escalators are nestled between the trees and can get you across the park to the Lost Forest rather quickly. Plus the kids thought they were fun to ride! Double strollers (including rentals from the zoo) won’t fit on them and you’ll have to fold them up. After seeing the pandas, we jumped on these and headed over to the Lost Forest.
The Skyfari Tram will give you a bird’s eye view of the zoo. Unlimited rides are included with your ticket and can fit up to four passengers. This is a great way to get from one side of the park to other (boarding takes place just on the south side near the Children’s Zoo and the west side near the Northern Frontier). Small strollers can be folded and brought on board, otherwise you’ll need to leave your stroller in the stroller parking section. Our kids LOVED this and we may have gone back and fourth just a few times. Sunset was an especially pretty time to ride on it.
Another great way to get around this large zoo is the Kangaroo Bus. You can hop on and off every 15 minutes at four different stops on the north side (Elephant Odyssey, Outback, etc.) of the zoo. Look for the hopping Kangaroo icon on your park map to see the exact locations of the stops. Strollers can be folded and brought on the bus. Definitely take advantage of the many different transportation options the zoo offers. It’s such a large zoo, tiny (and big) legs alike will welcome the short breaks from walking.
Food! The Zoo has so many food options–from nachos, rice plates to pizza, sandwiches and wraps, to kid friendly hamburgers, hot dogs and nuggets–there really is a meal option for all diets. With every member of our family wanting something different (pizza, chicken nuggets + fries, wraps, mac ‘n cheese and salad) we settled on the Sabertooth Grill near the Elephant Odyssey with its wide variety of fresh and kid friendly options. It was a bit out of the way, but the cafeteria-style eatery got us in and out quickly–a definite win for starving kids. There is a large patio for dining with tables and shade umbrellas. While the zoo does allow you to bring food stored in small containers (lunch boxes/backpacks) into the park, large coolers are not allowed. With such a large territory, we decided we didn’t want to a) carry around a heavy backpack all day and b) didn’t want to rent a locker because we weren’t sure exactly where we’d be come meal time. We didn’t want to have to go from one part of the zoo to the other come dinner. If you’re interested in locker locations, you can find that information here.
For a complete list of dining options, visit their website.
The Children’s Zoo is a great place to let children, well, be children! This isn’t a stop we’d necessarily go out of our way for, but at the end of the day, after we’d seen all the animals, it was a nice stop. Kids can climb and slide on the playground, see porcupines, mice, sheep, and other small farm animals. There’s a decent amount of shade as well. There are several other kid-friendly climbing structures throughout the zoo.
Well, that’s how we did San Diego Zoo! How do you?
You may be wondering if the USS Midway is worth your time and money, especially if you have young children. We were to. Would they have fun? Get anything out of it? Be bored out of their minds?? We decided to take a chance and check it out. We were SO glad we did. It was incredible. Our kids loved it. They really did. There were so many amazing planes to see- 29 restored aircraft to be exact, 60 exhibits- several that are hands-on…but more about that below 🙂
TICKETS are available at the main gate for $20 per adult and $10 for youth ages 6-12. 5 and under are free. There is a $2 discount available online if you buy in advance here. The museum opens at 10 am daily and closes at 5 pm, although the last entrance is at 4 pm. We would say to plan for about 2-3 hours in the museum, although you certainly could spend a lot more time inside this large ship. Parking is available adjacent to the museum for $5 per hour, $10 maximum.
JUNIOR PILOT PROGRAM
Your first stop (after receiving your headset and earphones) should be to this information desk where the star is. It is right across from where you get your headphones. Here you can pick up a little map/booklet for each child that is filled with different clues/stops that will take you throughout the ship. There are about 60 stops on this family-friendly tour. Our kids loved it. Each stop will have a special code you put on your headset that will allow you listen to a small audio snip related to your exhibit. It is very engaging- we listened to it along with our kids and learned a lot in a fun, story format. Check out a sample of the tour here.
The tour will take you on all levels of the ship! Our kids had fun climbing in the many different planes.
It was definitely easy to imagine what life on this ship must have been like. Our appreciation for those who serve our Country has only doubled after this.
These are only pictures of the few of the stops on our tour. Not pictured are the Sick Bay, Chow Line, Post Office- all of which are located below deck and stops the kids thought were really interesting.
After you’ve completed the tour and filled out your brochure (they check!) stop back by the information desk and pick up a pair of wings! Our kids proudly wore their wings the rest of the day.
We also had to check out the Unconditional Surrender Statue of the of the iconic photo taken of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square as they celebrated the end of World War II in 1945. We ABSOLUTELY had to make the kids blush (cue the eye rolls) by trying to recreate the pose ourselves. Have some fun with it 🙂 This is located just outside of the USS Midway.
This was our family’s first time at Safari Park. We weren’t sure what to expect but we were definitely pleasantly surprised. We used our San Diego 3-for-1 pass from Costco that will give you unlimited access to the Safari Park, San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld for 7 consecutive days. I would say one of the main things that sets the Safari Park apart from any other zoo is the different ‘safari options‘ (a few are pictured above) they offer. They are an additional cost to your entrance ticket or pass. We opted not to do any this time, but man! They had some fun options. If the extra ‘safari’ options aren’t in your budget or plans, no worries! We had a great time without them. Here are our top 3 attractions not to miss the next time you go!
1. The CHEETAH RUN is definitely a must see! As you can see in the picture below, you are only a few feet way from this amazing animal as it runs across the field.
The Cheetah Run starts at the north end of the strip. If you blink, you just might miss the run! Cheetahs are fast (like 70 mph!) so have your camera ready if you plan to take photos.
Crowds start to line up at least 30 minutes before. With younger kids, a front row view is a must. We lucked out an snagged a small spot up front. Typically the Cheetah only runs once but sometimes they will run the Cheetah a second time. We stayed after the first run to watch the Cheetah eat (raw meat–the reward!) and they decided to do a second run. So be sure to stick around and watch. They do have a reserved seating option (pictured above) for an extra $12 per person if you are interested. They also have a ‘meet and greet’ with the Cheetah that is about 15 minutes for an additional fee.
2. The AFRICA TRAM was so fun! It was amazing to see the animals out in the open fields, mingled together.
Our kids had a lot of fun riding the bus/train too. By the time we wound our way back to tram (not far from the Cheetah Run), we sure had tired feet. This was the perfect rest from walking!
3. The LEMUR WALK was so cool! Located in the Nairobi Village, guests 5+ can walk through the lemurs habitat and watch these little creatures run and play. It was so fun!
And even though we visited the park near the end of June, there were many cooling misters and even a splash pad that kept us from getting too hot! Next time I might even bring swimsuits for the kids.
The many details, like the lily pads our kids were hopping on above, made it such a fun place! We didn’t even mention how cool the Tiger Trail was. There were several kid-friendly paths to explore in addition to the amazing tigers. The free entertainment was equally mesmerizing. We hadn’t planned to sit and watch the acrobatic chair/bottle show, but we couldn’t take our eyes off it! We definitely can’t wait to go back.
We live a day’s drive from San Diego, so we took a little road trip with the family and had a wonderful week there. Such a beautiful place- perfect weather, so many fun things to do, and of course- yummy food to eat! To see what activities we did, check this out.
We packed a cooler full of snacks and treats to last us the entire week. In addition to that, we found some yummy places to eat. One of our favorite things about going on vacation is trying out new restaurants- especially ones that are unique to where we are vacationing and that we don’t have in Utah.
Richard Walker’s Pancake House
We LOVE going out for breakfast and RWPH did not disappoint! Be prepared for long lines. We waited for about 20 minutes at around 9 a.m. When we left, the wait was closer to an hour. We were talking with a local who lived around the corner from RWPH and he said he there was always a line, didn’t matter the time. Hey, good things take time 🙂 Our kids entertained themselves just fine- playing tag up and down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. As we got closer, they brought us menus to look at. As soon as we were seated, we placed our order and within 10 minutes, we were enjoying our food! Wow! The speed and the customer service was definitely a good thing for hungry kids (and parents!).
*Not pictured are the amazing banana pancakes. They are a pancake house, after all, so be sure to try one of a dozen varieties- like blueberry, strawberry or BACON–yes Bacon.
Visit there website for locations and the full menu.
Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q
We spent one evening on Coronado and what a wonderful time we had! There is so much to do on this beautiful island. We started out on the Ferry Landing side, where there are many boutique shops and restaurants. We knew we wanted something kid-friendly and affordable, but not fast food. Our kids love BBQ, so this seemed like a great option. And we were right! It was so yummy. While Jeff waited at the restaurant for our table (approximately 15 minutes), Emily and the kids walked along the path and checked out some of the fun boutiques nearby. Portion sizes were great as was the menu. It was crowded at dinner time, but after we ordered our food didn’t take that long to come out. The atmosphere was great and the food was delicious! And it’s ok to get messy! Haha- wet wipes are a given here.
One last thing- we found these daily specials for LP BBQ. If you happen to be on Coronado on a Wednesday, kids eat free! Nice. Visit their website for menu and hours.
Hash House A Go Go
How can you not visit Hash House A Go Go when in San Diego?! Pancakes as big as yo’ head, outside dining, farm to table eating (our favorite kind!), this place is a must! With such huge portions, our younger kids shared a plate and there was more than enough to go around. Any time we eat out and have the chance to eat outside, we take it. I don’t know why, but eating on the patio is so much less stressful when dining out with kids. FYI: they do not serve chocolate chip pancakes or peanut butter, two of our kids favorites. There was more than enough yummy choices, so our kids were just fine. Emily ordered one of the Farmhouse Scrambles, with bacon, avocado, Swiss and onions (bottom picture) and it was SO, SO good. It’s torturous looking at pictures of it. Jeff ordered the Tractor Driver Combo. Again- so good. The pancakes really are yummy. And can we talk about the plating?! I loved how pretty each dish was served.
We arrived about 9 a.m. and got right in, but when we left about an hour later, the line was out the door. Visit their website for locations and a complete menu.
Moo Time Creamery
I was shocked when I went through our photos and couldn’t find a single picture of what we ordered here! I think we were so excited for ice cream, we just dived right in. Moo Time has two locations on Coronado. We visited the location inside of the famous Hotel Del Coronado. It is a bit pricey and the portion sizes are on the small side (which could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it), but the flavors are super yummy! The husband and I shared a dessert nacho, while the kids each got a cup with a single scoop of ice cream. Be sure to head outside to find a table or bench. It was so fun eating ice cream,with the sights and sounds of the ocean and hotel all around us.
It was a bit tricky for us to find Moo Time because it’s not visible from the beach- we entered the hotel from the backside. If you also enter from this direction, just go right, past all of the outdoor restaurants, and follow the sidewalk around the right side until you see it. Visit their website for information.
A few other places in SD we have to mention:
Panera Bread. We ate there multiple times while in SD (why, oh why don’t we have one in Utah?!). Anytime we asked the kids where they wanted to eat, Panera Bread was their answer. And one that we were happy with too! We love everything at this bakery! Yummy salads, sandwiches, soups and freshly baked treats galore. This is a great, family friendly place to eat. Check out their menu and find a location near you here.
Trader Joe’s. TJ’s is a great place to grab handy, portable meals and snacks. Since our hotel room had a mini-fridge, we stopped by and grabbed a bag of sliced apples, bananas, baby carrots, & yogurt (we didn’t eat out every breakfast, haha! And yogurt was the perfect addition to the granola bars, muffins and Belvita bites we brought from home). Be sure to ask for some complimentary plastic spoons -or whatever utensils you need- at checkout! Visit their website to find a location near you.
In addition, on the drive home we tried out two yummy and HEALTHY places:
WABU Grill. Your choice of protein served over rice with a salad and veggies. Yes please! We all loved it. It was worth getting out of the car for- you know when you’re in that ‘let’s just drive and get home mode’ you don’t necessarily want to stop. But it was a good place to stretch our legs, use a clean restroom and eat a yummy meal! They have multiple locations throughout Cali. Visit their website to find one near you.
Twisted Noodle Cafe. Located in St. George, tucked back on Main Street just adjacent from the splash pad. This was a super yummy place, offering salads, pastas and more. It was really hard to choose what to order because everything looked so good. I settled on the salad of the day, which was a yummy Mexican salad with grilled chicken, while our kids got the spaghetti and Jeff ordered the creamy pesto pasta dish. So good. Clean restrooms and outdoor patio dining made this another great place to stop at on the drive home. Visit their website for the full menu and address.
What are your favorite places to eat in San Diego? We want to know!
Legoland is such a great place to visit with young kids (and old ones alike who just love Legos!) We took our kids when they were 3, 6 and 9 and they were the perfect ages! Legoland is the ideal place for kids 10 and younger as there are several kid-only rides with maximum height restrictions (meaning adults can’t ride- we get to just watch). The Driving School and Jr. Driving School pictured below is an example (this was also our kids’ favorite- who didn’t want to drive a car like a grown-up when you were little?!).
If purchased at LegoLand California, tickets for one day admission are $84 for children (3-12) and $90 (13+), but can be purchased much cheaper through various deals. For example, Lego Magazine always has a coupon, including a free child admission when purchasing an Adult Park Hopper Ticket. The Park Hopper Ticket is good for admission into two parks: Legoland and Sea Life Aquarium or the Water Park (all within walking distance of each other). Costco also has season passes for Legoland California: $95.99 for unlimited admission to all three Legoland California Parks. One day was more than enough for Legoland (and a few hours was plenty for the aquarium), however, if you plan to go to the Water Park, or spend more than one day at Legoland, the pass through Costco is a great deal! Just be aware that there are blackout days in July and August.
The Star Wars Miniland was a huge highlight for our Star Wars loving boy (notice the padowan braid? Aren’t we glad that phase is over now!!).
Miniland USA was so cool- we could just see the wheels turning in our kids’ imaginations. It was SUPER hot, as much of this is in direct sunlight, no shade, so plan to go in the morning or evening when it’s a bit cooler.
In this area, adults (or at least one big kid) is needed to ride both rides as you are the source of power!
Most of the lines throughout the park have little Lego building centers for kids to play in while parents wait in lines. These two rides had the longest wait times while we were there. Consider skipping these rides altogether or go in the evening when it’s not quite so hot.
In this ride, you pull yourself up- work those arms!
On this ride, you must be able to reach the peddles (neither of our young girls could reach- so lucky mom got to do the work!)
Heartlake had a darling carousel, little playground (great for 8 and younger) and of course singing and dancing from our favorite Heartlake City girls!
Although these boats were fun, they were very challenging to maneuver! Our 9 year old had a tough time driving- next time we’d have a parent go with him!
There were several fun parks throughout. This one was nice and shady! A perfect spot to rest tired feet.
There is also a mini splashpad/water park called Soak N Sail in Legoland (not to be confused with the Legoland Waterpark, which is separate). There are locker/dressing rooms to change into swimsuits (yay! no need to wear your swimsuit all day!) and store anything you don’t want to get wet. There is also a big family sized dryer, that for a fee of about $5, you can also blow dry off in. We had a ton of fun in this section! Plan to spend at least 1 1/2- 2 hours here (or more!) and pack towels, swimsuits and sunscreen.
Another park in Legoland- while the kids played, we enjoyed some Granny’s Apple Fries. MMMM. Definitely try some.
Waiting in line was never so fun! For a map and complete list of all attractions (including height restrictions and requirements) visit the Legoland site here.
Other tidbits not pictured:
While we were there, they had a special dining option where kids ate free with paying adults at select restaurants. We took advantage of this- our kids loved the all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta (and salad) at the Pizza & Pasta Buffet. Look for these special deals!
Also be sure to ask a cast member for a “First Time Visit” Button- our kids were so excited to get theirs!
Although we try to avoid busy season, we did visit Legoland in June. It was crowded, but not overly. The majority of wait times were 20 minutes or less.
Have you been before? What are your Legoland tips and tricks??
In our opinion, there’s no place more beautiful then San Diego, California. The weather, the palm trees and nature, and, of course, the beaches!
Here are a few of our favorite San Diego Beaches:
A short 20 minute drive from downtown San Diego, this beach is one of our very favorites. Park along Ocean Blvd, bring the sand toys and towels and enjoy an afternoon at this gorgeous beach with soft sand that stretches on and on. After, take a short walk to the Hotel del Coronado and get an ice cream cone from Moo Time Creamery.
San Diego Skyline Viewpoint
Located along the northeast shore of Coronado, the Bayshore Bikeway (Silver Strand Bikeway) is a little bit of a beach, fun shops, restaurants, and definitely an impressive view of the San Diego Skyline! We chose to explore it on a Surrey and had a wonderful time eating dinner at a local BBQ place after.
Cabrillo Tide Pools
We loved exploring the tide pools at Cabrillo one foggy morning. There was an abundance of crabs, anemones and other sea life. Plan to take your shoes off and get your feet wet! Our children, ages 5, 7 and 10 had a great time!
Read more about our time at Cabrillo and Coronado here.
We asked the staff at our hotel what the best beach would be to take our kids and they said Moonlight. And they were right!! We LOVED this beach! With white sand, dolphins swimming in the distance, a playground, beachside grill and free parking, this beach has it all!! We were sad when it was time to go.
Image Credit San Diego Reader
Children’s Pool in La Jolla
Also known as Seal Beach, this beach is protected by a sea wall built in the 1930s. The area was supposed to be a safe place for children to swim, however, over time the area has filled with more sand than anticipated. The harbor seals gravitate toward the calm water and have completely taken over the area.
You can walk down on the sand to see the seals sunbathing up close, but a rope barrier prevents you from getting too close (for your safety, and the seals. It does stink and the water would be… ahem, hazardous to swim in). If tides and surf permit, it’s also possible to walk out on the sea wall (seen below). Our youngest was 5 when we went and did great-but be sure to hold young children tightly & supervise at all times when on the sea wall.
What are your favorite San Diego Beaches??? Comment below and let us know!