San Diego is a wonderful city for families. With all kinds of kid activities in San Diego, it’s a city that will keep the kids interested and engaged throughout the entire trip. Visit the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway, and so much more. Your kids will have a blast at these top kid activities in San Diego and you’ll make tons of family memories that will last for a lifetime.
Table of Contents
- Kid Activities in San Diego
- Kids Free San Diego
- San Diego Zoo
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park
- LEGOLAND California
- SeaWorld San Diego
- Aquatica San Diego Water Park
- Belmont Park
- Old Town San Diego
- Seaport Village
- Balboa Park
- San Diego Botanic Gardens
- Birch Aquarium at Scripps
- USS Midway Museum
- Maritime Museum of San Diego
- The New Children’s Museum
- San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
- Living Coast Discovery Center
Kid Activities in San Diego
Kids Free San Diego
If you’re visiting San Diego in October, Kids Free San Diego is a resource you should take full advantage of. It offers free admission, meals, and hotel stays at more than 100 participating restaurants, hotels, and attractions. It’s the perfect time of year to visit the city as a family because you’ll have access to all the great kid-friendly spots in San Diego for the kids without going over budget. Adults must buy a qualifying ticket to use this promotion, but it’s easy to do and well worth it.
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is a world-famous zoo and is one of the most memorable kid activities in San Diego. It’s is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals, as well as a display of over 700,000 exotic plants spanning its 100-acre campus. See such highlights as the Polar Bear Plunge, Skyfari Tram, offering panoramic views as you ride, the Children’s Zoo, and Africa Rocks. Visitors can also take advantage of upgraded tours and experiences, many of which take place before the park opens.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Schedule a safari experience at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park where more than 2,600 animals like giraffes, elephants, lions, and other beautiful creatures roam in large, free-range enclosures. While there, be sure to check out the Africa Tram tour that goes around the entire park and the Skyline Safari zip line which goes over some of the animal enclosures.
https://www.legoland.com/california/LEGOLAND California is a full-on LEGO-themed resort that any kid will love. Featuring LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE Aquarium, LEGOLAND Water Park, LEGOLAND Hotel, and LEGOLAND Castle Hotel. While the park is best for kids aged 2 to 12, die-hard LEGO-loving teens and even adults will enjoy the park, as well. Be aware that the water park is seasonal, and the park closes every Tuesday and Wednesday during the school year. If your kids are fans of Lego [and even if they aren’t], this is one of the more unique kid activities in San Diego.
SeaWorld San Diego
Tourists worldwide flock to SeaWorld San Diego to take advantage of its up-close animal interactions, rides, and educational experiences. Visitors can take special behind-the-scenes tours to learn more about penguins, rays, dolphins, sea otters, and other sea animals. Coasters like The Manta and Electric Eel are perfect for thrill-seeking older visitors, while Sesame Street Bay of Play is perfect for younger guests.
Aquatica San Diego Water Park
Aquatica San Diego is San Diego’s only water park, but it doesn’t feel like a solo player. In fact, this fantastic water park can compete with any park in the country. Enjoy wave pools, lazy river, water slides as tall as 78-feet, interactive play areas, private caban rentals, and more. You’ll even be able to purchase discounted tickets through SeaWorld.
Belmont Park is a seaside amusement park and is one of the top kid activities in San Diego. Featuring a historic roller coaster, arcade, tons of rides, giant ice creams coops, a zip line, laser tag, and so much more, Belmont Park is perfect for kids from toddler to teen. It’s right off the beach and even has some tasty dining options and even a Dole Whip truck.
Old Town San Diego
Old Town San Diego offers family-friendly fun without a ticket. Known as the birthplace of California, Old Town features a rich historical feel with historic sites, a park, and more. In addition, it has a variety of restaurants and shops, as well as The Serra Museum, which showcases Kumeyaay Indians Spanish and Mexican exhibits of San Diego history. Families can even visit The Whaley House – one of the coolest kid activities in San Diego and also one of the best haunted houses in the country.
A gathering spot for tourists and locals, alike, Seaport Village offers fun seaside entertainment for all. Enjoy a treat from the local fudge store, Frost Me Gourmet cupcakes, a kite store, entertainers that roam the village, ocean vies, and more than 50 restaurants and shops in total. There’s even a historic merry-go-round.
Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park and is home to 16 museums, beautiful gardens, the San Diego Zoo, restaurants, and performing arts. It’s free to enter, although tickets are required for the museums. With all the museums, each requiring a separate ticket, it’s recommended that visitors use either the Balboa Park Explorer Pass or the Go San Diego Pass. The best kids’ museums in Balboa Park are:
Fleet Science Center
Hands-on science education is the name of the game at Fleet Science Center. Explore over 100 hands-on exhibits throughout 8 galleries featuring topics like gravity and building, along with movies in the world’s first dome IMAX theater.
San Diego Natural History Museum
Visitors can learn all about our ancient earth while exploring fossils, San Diego geology exhibits, ecosystems, history, and even scavenger hunts.
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
One of the best things to do in San Diego for train lovers, San Diego Model Railroad Museum is North America’s largest model railroad museum. Visitors can see four enormous scale and model layouts featuring beautifully detailed trains and scenery along with being able to tinker with toy trains.
San Diego Air and Space Museum
Visitors to the San Diego Air and Space Museum can learn about the history of flight from its early roots all the way to space travel. With over 50 aircraft hanging from the rafters and galleries showcasing the Wright brothers, the Golden Age of flight, both World Wars, the Jet Age, and women in flight, the Air and Space Museum is a comprehensive, engaging look into flight.
Museum of Us
The Museum of Us makes history and archeology fun for kids. Featuring the iconic California Tower (for older kids), exhibits that showcase excavating and wrapping mummies, and more, the Museum of Us is an exciting step back in time.
San Diego Botanic Gardens
San Diego Botanic Gardens is the perfect spot for kids to learn about plants and gardening lovers to get some inspiration. Home to 30 gardens with themes such as fire safety, olive trees, plants native to the Canary Islands, and more, there’s no shortage of plant life to explore. In addition, the Hamilton Gardens is packed with activities for kids to enjoy and further learn about the natural world.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is one of the best things to do in San Diego for any sea life love. The public exploration center for the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Birch Aquarium features 60 habitat displays of fish and invertebrates ranging from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters and Mexico, and more. A tide pool area offers panoramic ocean views of La Jolla Shores beach, and there are hands-on educational exhibits that teach kids the value of conservation.
USS Midway Museum
A wonderful attraction for history buffs and kids, the USS Midway Museum is home to 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircraft for visitors to enjoy. In addition to the exhibits and aircraft, kids can try out 2 flight simulators to see what it’s like to really fly.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego can enjoy one of the largest collections of historic vessels in the entire country. Visitors are free to explore the ships, some of which still sail on occasions. Can’t-miss museum features include the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship, and the B-39 submarine. It’s one of the largest submarines ever built to run on conventional power.
The New Children’s Museum
With a motto of “think, play, create”, The New Children’s Museum is all about giving kids hands-on ways to explore the arts. Activities at the museum cover all kinds of performing arts and are appropriate for children from toddlers to teens.
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
The perfect spot for children to have fun and learn at the same time, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum is devoted to learning through play. Its 6,000-square feet of indoor space and an even larger outdoor area house chicken coops, worm farms, and much, much more. In addition, conservation themes are found throughout the museum.
Living Coast Discovery Center
Almost all kids love nature and the animals found in it, which makes Living Coast Discovery Center the perfect place to take the kids. The Center focuses on the flora and fauna of California’s coastline and features experiences like bat ray feedings and reptile meet and greets.
Don’t forget to check out our list of the 5 best beaches for families in San Diego!
No matter which of these top kid activities in San Diego you select, you’re sure to have a great time!