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|California: San Diego, Family Vacation Ideas - Lions and Galaxies and Beaches, Oh My!
Imagine sunshine and sea breezes, starry nights and seahorse secrets, lions roaring and whales splashing. Then add a luscious California morning mist waking the sun, a picnic by the sea, few Pacific sunsets and a perfect family vacation has been created. San Diego is sweatshirts and sunscreen; ice cream and tacos. San Diego is fun for families of all ages.
Legoland, located in Carlsbad, is a must for children younger than the age of 12. A bright red welcoming dinosaur, made completely from LEGO bricks, stands nine feet tall and 34 feet from his nose to the tip of his tail. With more than 50 kid-sized adventure rides, this park was created for younger children and is a long trip because most young children find rides they want to do over and over again. Some of the popular attractions include a pirate adventure on the high seas, a Knights’ Tournament, and a test track rollercoaster. Discovery:
The “Land of Adventure” invites families to explore the Lost Kingdom to uncover a forgotten empire, hunt for treasure and blast targets with lasers. (Legoland One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008. (760) 918-5346 or http://california.legoland.com
See the sea.
As almost everyone with kids knows, SeaWorld San Diego is the home of Shamu making it a “must do” for families. In addition to terrific, delightfully wet shows, entertainment choices all fit in the fun category. From wild water rides and sky top views to realistic arctic research station with polar bears, beluga whales, walruses, arctic foxes seals and an ice wall. Discovery:
It is possible to dine with a whale, swim with the dolphins or be a trainer for a day. Bonus points
: During the summer months the nights become celebrations with fireworks and additional shows that include music and amazing acrobatics. (SeaWorld San Diego 500 SeaWorld Drive San Diego, CA 92109. Toll-free 1-800-25-SHAMU (1-800-257-4268) or www.seaworld.com/sandiego
Become one with the ocean.
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is an inspirational place. In addition to the dramatic coastal setting the facility has innovative exhibits and countless programs available to the public. The aquarium frames a central lobby. Three main interpretive areas include; The Hall of Fishes with more than 60 tanks; The Hall of Oceanography, perhaps the largest display on oceanographic sciences in the US; and an outdoor plaza with a demonstration tide pool and discovery station. See dive shows and speak with marine specialists. Watch leafy and weedy sea dragons, touch tide-pool residents, watch the earthquake monitor in action. Discovery:
Explore how moving water is a powerful force in “Go With the Flow” by altering panels that control the speed of water and get the facts on the world’s hottest topic in “Feeling the Heat: the Climate Challenge.” (The Birch Aquarium at Scripps 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, 92037. (858) 534-FISH or www.aquarium.ucsd.edu
Ride over the zoo.
Located in beautiful Balboa Park, the 100-acre San Diego Zoo cares for more than 4,000 individual animals representing 800 different species. It is recognized as one of the finest zoological parks in the entire world. In addition to seeing state-of-the-art bioclimatic habitats that place animals in familiar settings, visitors may get a birds’ eye view of wildlife from the Skyfari aerial tram or stroll tree shaded pathways and boardwalks. The variety of interesting programs and animal encounter is endless. Discovery:
Families may take behind-the-scene tours, participate in mini wildlife workshops or make a visit at night. (San Diego Zoo 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, 92101. (619) 234-1515 or www.sandiegozoo.org
Walk on the wild side.
The San Diego Zoo has a sister site just 32 miles northeast of the Zoo near the city of Escondido. The Safari Park is 20 times larger than the Zoo and is a totally different experience. The 1,800-acre wildlife preserve provides visitors with fantastic views of exotic animal herds in terrain that is similar to habitats of Asia and Africa. The Park has more than 3,500 animals representing 260 species, and is also an accredited botanical garden. Discovery:
During the summer months the Safari Park hosts a Wild Animal Camp, for children. The program is designed for children entering grades 1 through 9. Camps range from two to five-day camps and overnight stays at the park are included. The San Diego Zoo (15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, 92027-7017. (760) 747-8702 or www.sandiegozoo.org/wap
Visit the big one.
Palomar Observatory is the location of the largest telescope in the United States. The Observatory is open to the public daily (except December 24 and 25) for a self-guided visit to the 200-inch telescope. The gallery at the 200-inch dome affords a view of the Hale Telescope. Because this observatory is a working research center night visits by the public are not possible. Discovery:
One exception, The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center conducts a limited number of night-guided tours, which are appropriate for ages 10 and older. (Palomar Observatory 35899 Canfield Road, Palomar Mountain. 92060-0200. (626) 395-4033 or www.astro.caltech.edu
Touch science and technology.
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is a blast for all ages. The exhibit galleries provide "hands-on," "do touch" interactive exhibits that make unique self-guided learning experiences for all ages. They have cutting-edge virtual reality exhibits ideal for teens and young adults. They also have a special discovery area for ages two to six. Enjoy an IMAX evening or take a special tour to Palomar Observatory and see one of the largest and most famous telescopes in the world. Discovery:
The private off-site tours include the Observatory Museum, a close up look at the famous 200-inch telescope, an astronomy guest speaker and, weather permitting, a view through the biggest telescope used for naked-eye observing. (The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center 1875 El Prado, San Diego, 92101. (619) 238-1233 or www.rhfleet.org
Researched and created by FamilyTravelFiles.com. Images provided by members of San Diego CVB. Copyright 2012.