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Old 02-05-2010, 08:39 AM   #1
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Sea World vs. San Diego Zoo vs. Legoland

I'm traveling to the San Diego area in early April with my family. We have two kids, ages 4 and 6, and I'm trying to figure out which park to visit. (We'll mostly be in the LA area, but are driving to San Diego for a day.)

What would you do in San Diego (with kids) if you only had to pick one thing? Are there other, better things to do instead of going to one of these parks? I know it's Spring Break time, and we'll be battling the crowds. But I'd love any suggestions on what is most worth our time.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:16 PM   #2
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It just really depends on what your kids like.

They are all worthwhile parks, but if your kids are really into whales and/or Sesame Street, then SeaWorld is a good option. Like monkeys? Zoo is your best bet. Legos? That one's obvious.

The zoo is a lot of walking, but is right in Balboa Park, so you could go to the zoo in the morning and spend the afternoon at the museums in Balboa Park. SeaWorld and Legoland are more all-day parks.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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I'm not sure where you're from, but if it is not near a marine life park, then it's worth going to Sea World because it's obviously more rare to see dolphins and whales in captivity vs. the animals at the zoo. The only bummer is that there is heavy construction going on at Sea World until May, so they aren't doing all of their normal shows, and also depending on when you go during the week, the rides might not be operating since April isn't considered peak season (although during spring break they usually are running them at least on weekends). Sea World is also much more expensive than the zoo, so factor that in. The San Diego Zoo is one of the nation's finest, and I'm also a little partial since I work there. If you go, make sure you come to our bird show where I am a trainer!
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:32 PM   #4
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I think Legoland is a totally unique experience, the only one in the USA (until they build the one in Orlando). If your youngest is at least 42 inches, they'll be able to go on everything. (if they are 40 inches they'll only miss a couple things -- check their website). I think most of the stuff at Legoland is geared right for your kids' ages, especially if they like Legos.

Both Legoland and Sea World are pricier if you are just going for one day; the zoo is less, if that's a consideration. Legoland is north of San Diego (in Carlsbad) and closer to LA, so less driving. Sea World's dolphin show is closed until summer, so that's one less big thing to do there.

So I guess I'd vote for Legoland first (pending younger child's height), then the zoo, then Sea World. I've been to all three in the last year and a half.

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Old 02-06-2010, 01:18 AM   #5
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I'd vote for Sea World - it's so unique! The San Diego Zoo is a great zoo but it is a zoo, most cities have that. Legoland is pretty fun for that age range and it's closer to LA so I guess it depends on if you're looking for a more educational experience (Sea World).
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Old 02-06-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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I vote for SeaWorld. It is a very good park.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:40 PM   #7
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I've never been to any, but I'd go w/ LL, based on your kids' ages. It's perfect for them and I've heard it's fun for adults as well. We are going on our first SD vacation as a family this fall and LL is the top priority. My son is a huge lego fan anyway, and I'd like to take them while they're little enough to enjoy it.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:01 PM   #8
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Another vote for Sea World. Even though you have to tear around 'World',the zoo is huge. If you do go to the zoo,splurge and get the pass with the shuttle thingy,saves on walking.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:20 PM   #9
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I'll put my two cents in for Wild Animal Park. It is closer to L.A. than the zoo and a very unique experience. You take an electric train around the park and see the animals in their natural environment. There is also a lion encounter where you can see lions very close. Check out their web site.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:44 AM   #10
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I'd vote for legoland because if you are driving there for the day then the drive is much shorter. A 4 and 6 year old will have more fun there too!
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:02 PM   #11
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Our favorite is definitely Sea World. We have been yearly for the past 4 years (and my kids are 5 and 7 now, 4 and 6 on our last trip last summer). They like the rides at Legoland but a lot of the rides there really are typical amusement park rides though the theming is unique. My girls are not much into the Legos per se, but they like rides so they like the park.

The zoo we stopped going to after the second trip---way too much walking and too much meltdown producing downtime between animals. It just didn't work for us.

Sea World though---we love it. The girls love all the shows, and we have seen them all multiple times. Shamu is a huge hit, and we usually start the day with Breakfast with Shamu. The Pets Rule show is a favorite as well. They also never tire of Cirque de la Mer. The up close animal viewing in Wild Arctic, the Manatee Rescue, the Penguins, the Sharks etc are wonderful. You can feed Sea Lions. We never even venture into the Sesame Street kiddie ride area because we are so busy with the shows and animals, but that is an option too. Sea World is definitely a favorite day for us and we would choose it first.
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