Last week, I took the kids and my parents to San Diego for a week long mini vacation. I spent a few years in my early 20s in La Jolla while I was finishing school so I am pretty familiar the neighborhood and thing to do. However, this would be my mini’s first time and I had high anticipation to see what fun things they get to explore and see San Diego through their eyes. We departed LA on Monday via the Pacific Surfliner of the Amtrek train.
Why take the train you ask? Well, first of all, traffic from LA to San Diego usually is pretty bad. While I was going to school at UCSD, I would take the train every other week from San Diego to LA and study or do my home work on the ride. Not only is the ride scenic, comfortable, it also has Wifi. My son absolutely LOVES the train so this ride pretty much up his ally. From the moment we got on, his little face was glued to the window not wanting to miss a thing. There is a stretch between Newport and Carlsbad where the train is parallel to the beach, it is my favorite part of the ride. To my mommy friends in LA, if you want to give yourself a break from braving the traffic, consider taking the train and adding icing on the cake: Kids ride 50% Off Everyday!
Whether you’re an art fan, nature lover, model train aficionado or science geek, Balboa Park has something for everyone. 2018 marks the 150th Anniversary of the establishment of San Diego’s iconic crown jewel, now a global destination for arts and culture and a regional resource for unparalleled recreational and horticultural experiences. Must-see attractions are everywhere throughout Balboa Park. From iconic San Diego landmarks, to massive trees, to watching artists at work, to the World Famous San Diego Zoo, experience the history of yesterday, the beauty of today, and the potential of tomorrow through these memorable attractions, and their stories.
Spanish Village Art Center
Located between the Zoo and the NAT these quaint buildings and colorful courtyard depicted a charming old town square of a village in Spain. Today the Village continues to be a thriving community of over 200 local artisans who share their talent and the love of all things art with you. Independently juried local painters, sculptors, metalsmiths, jewelry designers, clay artists, gourd artists, photographers, printmakers, fiber artists, basket makers, mixed-media artists, glass artists, enamel artists and many many more awaits. I absolutely adore the colorful floor tiles and the quaint feeling of this place.
Balboa Park Miniture Train
The Balboa Park Miniature Train is operated by the San Diego Zoo. The train pulls out of the station for 3-minute rides around a portion of Balboa Park. The train station is located outside the Zoo’s exit. train is a model G16 – now a rare antique with as few as fifty currently remaining. I cannot tell you how fun it is to ride on this train, even as an adult because this mini train is not your ride in the mall, it is a real experience and the kids absolutely LOVED it, we rode on this thing for about 5 times!!
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
While we are on the subject of trains, at 28,000 square feet, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is the world’s largest operating model railroad museum. This unique museum contains four enormous scale and model layouts, built by separate clubs, which depict railroads of the Southwest. With highly detailed recreations of beautiful train routes, including Tehachapi Pass, the Cabrillo Southwester, San Diego and Arizona Eastern and the Pacific Desert Lines, the Model Railroad Museum offers a eagle’s eye view of some of the most stunning of landscapes. In addition, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum features a Toy Train Gallery with an interactive Lionel layout for children and state-of-the-art theater lighting.
San Diego Air and Space Museum
Did you know that San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s Official Air and Space Museum? An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a flight-worthy replica of Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis,” the actual Apollo 9 Command Module, and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world. View artifacts from the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra and other aviation and space pioneers!
Of course a trip to San Diego is not complete without a visit to Sea World! Prior to this visit I think the last time I was at Sea World was probably when I was in Junior High school. So I haven’t been back for over 20 years! While I understand that in recent years, there has been a little bit of controversy with regards to Sea World by various animal rights group and activists, I am impartial to either side. My view on visiting Sea World is the same as visiting the Zoo. It can be very educational and entertaining for the kids.
There are many marine mammals and creatures in the park and it is a great chance for the kids to see them up close and personal. From habitat protection and supporting ocean health initiatives to our many rescue and rehabilitation efforts SeaWorld is part of conservation projects across the globe. SeaWorld and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have partnered to work together as advocates for the ocean and its animals. For more than five decades, the SeaWorld Rescue team has provided a second chance at life to more than 31,000 animals, always with the goal of rehabilitating them and returning them to the wild.
So there you go guys, my little guide for things to do in San Diego. It is a partial list because we had limited time and didn’t get to see many of the items on our agenda (The Zoo, Safari Park and various other museums inside Balboa Park). But we will have to leave that for our next visit!