San Diego area to-do list

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by lisakramer, May 16, 2013.

  1. lisakramer

    lisakramer Mouseketeer

    Apr 27, 2011
    Hey all -
    We will be out the last week in Jan and 1st week in Feb 2014. I'm looking at all the things we would like to do and I'm not sure I'll be able to fit it all in, so I was hoping for some guidance on what may be the better things to plan on doing.
    The set up - the 3 of us are coming out for DH's work conference and adding on a week to go to DL after the conference. This basically means that DS (will be 6) and I will be on our own for our time in SD. I've got 5 days to fill however the kiddo and I want to fill them!
    Here is my to-do list right now:
    1- Legoland - a must do for DS
    2- SD Zoo - a must do for me
    3- SD Wild animal park - pretty sure I want to do this as well
    4- Sea World - maybe?
    5- Knott's Berry Farm - looks fun, but I'm not sure
    6- Belmont Park - another maybe
    7- New Children's Museum - another maybe
    8- Whale watch cruise

    Given the time of year we will be out there, I'm not sure that we will want to spend much time at the beach/tide pools, etc. especially since we really aren't beachy people anyhow.
    I'm pretty open to suggestions if there is something you feel like I should add to the list.
    DS is a pretty normal 5/6yr old boy. He is NOT a daredevil and does not like coasters, etc. He loves legos, baseball, animals, etc.
    TIA everyone!
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  3. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba <font color=darkorchid>Mouseketeer since birth!<br

    Jul 7, 2008
    Knott's Berry Farm is a long drive from San Diego, unless you are planning on doing it on your way to Disneyland.

    It's a perfect time of year for whale watching.

    Your son is at a great age to enjoy Sea World.

    If your son loves baseball, look into a behind-the scenes tour of the Padres stadium, Petco Park.

  4. Camonkeygirl

    Camonkeygirl DIS Veteran

    Feb 9, 2011
    SeaWorld would be fun for a 5year old. That time of year the Zoo and Safari Park will be open 9-5' and SeaWorld 10-5. The are several ticket options to look at. The "Go Card" gives you access to lots of things in Southern Ca, including the Zoo and occasionally SeaWorld may be included.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the Safari Park is 30 miles from the downtown area and there is no public transportation.
  5. GenGen22

    GenGen22 DIS Veteran

    Aug 12, 2011
    I would pick Sea World over the wild animal park. Ive been too SW & the SD zoo when my daughter was 3 & she loved them both. I've heard at the wild animal park that you. Don't always see animals whi h might not be something to take a lil one too because they get bored easy legoland is also very fun for young ones we've been there too our boys loved it. My daughter not so much but she was older. Also knotts has a lot of older kids stuff & roller coasters. We also lile this park but you may wanna wait til your child is older aatleast 8-10 yrs imo.
  6. Purrkins

    Purrkins Mouseketeer

    Apr 16, 2012
    I'd do either the zoo or the wild animal park - and free yourself up an extra day. They are quite similar, especially for a quick trip.

    Your son might like the Midway Museum (aircraft carrier).
  7. ImDMous

    ImDMous DIS Veteran

    Dec 1, 2011
    The zoo and the Wild Animal Park are very different places, I would do both but maybe put something else in between and not do them two consecutive days.

    As PPs have said, Knott's is further north than DL and has a lot of coasters, probably could skip. We like to go, but it doesn't compare to DL.

    Sea World is great.

    The only thing Belmont Park has going for it is an old wooden coaster. If your son isn't into coasters, probably not a must-see.

    We did the Midway museum last summer, it was really much cooler than I thought it would be.

    Julian is actually a really cool place to go. It's an old gold rush town up in the mountains about an hour east of SD. If you're not afraid of some curvy roads, take the I-8 east out of town, make a left on Sunrise Highway and drive along the top of the mountains overlooking the dessert. It's really a beautiful combination of ecosystems and you'll end up in Julian for some delicious apple pie. I think you can tour an old gold mine too. (It does snow up there, so this would be weather dependent).

    We did a whale watching trip this past March. It was right after a storm so the water was very choppy, but we saw a few whales and a ton of dolphins and seals. Really fun.
  8. bellanapoli

    bellanapoli Mouseketeer

    May 31, 2010
    I'd skip Belmont Park. I took my son (7) there a few weeks ago and found it underwhelming.
  9. kymom99

    kymom99 DIS Veteran

    May 24, 2008
    The first 3 are my top suggestions. If your son is not a daredevil, I would skip Belmont Park. I suggest you drive up to La Jolla to see the beaches. Your son will probably like seeing the seals. I also suggest Torrey Pines Park for some walking. You could do both in the same day. For you, I suggest Coronado Island. You may also like taking a harbor tour, although I didn't do this when I was there.

    I was also going to suggest Julien, but someone beat me to it. We did this the same day as the Safari Park.

    I second the position that the zoo and safari park are very different. The zoo is packed with exhibits and very crowded. The safari park was virtually empty when we were there and was HUGE! This is best described as a research and breeding facility.

    We didn't do a whale cruise because we had done one in Cape Cod, but if you have never done one, they are very cool.


    Oct 11, 2002
    Knotts is three hours north of San Diego. How about a short drive to Coronado? Beautiful area. Walk around the Hotel Del, go on the beach, have ice cream at the Del.
  11. Galaviz

    Galaviz Earning My Ears

    May 5, 2013
    Whenever we go to San Diego we ALWAYS visit Hodad's! Great burgers and shakes :-)
  12. luvndizny

    luvndizny Mouseketeer

    Dec 5, 2009
    If I remember correctly, Jan and Feb are the best months for whale watching. We went in late March and they (Hornblower Cruises) had to go several more miles out to see them.

    If you do go, it will get chilly outside on deck- bring very warm jackets/coats and chap stick! You can go inside to get a break from the wind blowing in your face. Don't forget your binoculars or rent some from them if you do.

    Now, because of how much time we had to spend actually trying to find the whales (and almost had to turn right back around after finally finding them), my kids, ages 12 and 11 got pretty bored on the trip out. (They were okay about it, but still.) Me, on the other hand, I could be out there all day, but I am also the animal fanatic in the family. :-)

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