Denise

Spring Break in San Diego – The Perfect Family Getaway

Family Enjoying La Jolla Shores - Spring Break in San Diego

San Diego is known as the place where summer never ends, so why wait until summer to visit? Pack up the kids and head to San Diego for spring break – and don’t forget your sunscreen because you’ll need it. From our sun-kissed beaches and family friendly attractions, to discovering San Diego’s history and the great outdoors, there are so many fun things to do in San Diego that your only problem will be deciding what to do first.

Hit the Beach this Spring Break

Family Enjoying La Jolla Shores - Spring Break in San Diego

Bring the family to San Diego for a Spring Break beach vacation

Get outdoors and visit San Diego’s 70 miles of awesome beaches where there’s plenty of room for the whole family to splash in the Pacific Ocean this spring break. Whether it’s catching a wave on a boogie board, building a magical sand castle, or playing a rousing game of beach volley ball, this is the place to make special family memories. And, for families on a budget, this is an economical way to spend a day that’s easy on your wallet.

Attraction Action

Checking out the Panda - San Diego Zoo

See many of the new baby animals at San Diego attractions.

Journey to the San Diego Zoo’s Lost Forest zone, and pass the time away hanging around the world’s rarest monkeys, gregarious hippos, and other exotic animals. You can also step into a real-life adventure at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and immerse yourself in an active safari experience where herds of animals roam in a 1,800-acre reserve. Or come celebrate the wonders of the sea at SeaWorld San Diego and experience the amazing Shamu show, and thrilling rides like Journey to Atlantis, Shipwreck Rapids and Wild Arctic. If the kids are more in the mood for a creative, interactive day, let them play at LEGOLAND California where there are more than 60 rides, shows, attractions and lots of Legos!

Live the Adventure of a Lifetime at the U.S.S. Midway Museum

USS Midway Flight Deck

Take off into excitement aboard the USS Midway Museum

Prepare yourself for a lifetime memory aboard the USS Midway Museum, one of the longest-serving aircraft carriers in U.S. history. Experience 60 exhibits, get an up close look at 25 restored aircraft or hop into a simulator and feel what it’s like to be an aviator launching off a flight deck, engaging the enemy and then returning safely. This is an unforgettable adventure for the entire family.

Explore Balboa Park

Balboa Park Fountain

Explore many educational wonders or just relax next to a flowing fountain in Balboa Park

Besides being home to the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park is often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West” because it offers 15 diverse museums, most of them very kid-friendly. Here are a few to get you started this spring break: the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center brings science to life with hands-on experiments; escape from the ordinary and step into the shockingly odd world of Ripley at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! special exhibition at the San Diego Air & Space Museum; and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum has an extensive, interactive Lionel layout that kids love.

Think, Play Create at The New Children’s Museum

New Children's Museum in Downtown San Diego

Think, Play and Create at the New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego

The New Children’s Museum is a dynamic, new museum model for kids with inventive and engaging art experiences. From toddler to teen, there are fun-filled exhibitions, hands-on art making activities, special artistic performances and fun, educational happenings.

Discover the Cabrillo National Monument

Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument

Explore the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument

The Cabrillo National Monument is where Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first landed in San Diego in 1542. Now a U.S. National Park, the area offers dazzling views of San Diego Bay and tons of activities for kids. Families can hike a scenic two-mile trail, explore the Old Point Loma Lighthouse first lit in 1855, check out the tide pools and more. But first things first, be sure to stop at the Visitor Center to learn how your child can become a Junior Park Ranger during your visit.

> Discover more Spring Break Family Fun in San Diego

Tell us where your favorite family friendly place is to hang out during spring break! 

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 14-17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Festival in Balboa Park

The combination of warm weather and great events this week will surely make your friends green with envy. Here are our top things to do this weekend in San Diego:

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day Festival in Balboa Park

Sunshine kisses the Irish and Irish for a day in San Diego

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly event or a wild party, St. Patrick’s Day in San Diego has you covered:

> St. Patrick’s Day Family Fun in San Diego – 2013
St. Patrick’s Day Parties – 2013

Science on the Rocks: Pizza, Pinot and Pi!

Science on the Rocks: Pizza, Pinot and Pi! - Reuben H. Fleet Science Center - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Join us to celebrate Pi Day (3.14) and Einstein’s birthday with exclusive access to tasty tidbits, engaging entertainment, and inspired interaction. Pen a Pi-Ku and add a link to our Pi Chain. Sample assorted pies and see which pizza has pizzazz. Explore the power of pi(e)s of all kinds! Science on the Rocks is an after-hours party for adults 21 and older.

Where: Reuben H. Fleet Science Center – 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 14, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $18-$25
> Find out more about Science on the Rocks: Pizza, Pinot and Pi!

San Diego Epic Beer Festival

San Diego Epic Beer Festival

Bring your friends and support a charity while enjoying San Diego craft beer

The Inaugural Epic Beer Festival – San Diego will feature 80+ craft breweries and over 200 beers to sample. Even better, your admission benefits Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a California-based non-profit that transforms the lives of disadvantaged children and young people with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related medical care.

Where: San Diego Convention Center – 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 15-16, 2013
Times: Three Sessions
– Friday: 7:00 to 10:00 PM
– Saturday: 1:00 to 4:00 PM and 7:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $40. Designated Driver – $15
> Find out more about the San Diego Epic Beer Festival

Golf Fest

Golf Fest San Diego

Test out the newest in Golf technology at Golf Fest

If you’re a golfer looking for great deals, then Golf Fest is your one stop shop! TaylorMade, Cleveland/Srixon, PING, Cobra, Nike, Wilson, Yonex, Adams and more will be at Golf Fest introducing their new products.

Where: Oaks North Golf Course – 12602 Oaks North Drive, San Diego, CA 92123
When: March 15-16, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $10
> Find out more about Golf Fest

Balboa Park Science Family Day

Balboa Park Science Family Day - Paper Airplane Festival

Learn how to make a paper airplane and more at the Balboa Park Science Family Day

Families will discover how much fun science can be at Balboa Park’s annual Science Family Day. Kicking off the weeklong San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering 2013, various museums and cultural institutions will offer science-related hands-on activities and special programs for kids of all ages.

Where: Balboa Park
When: March 16, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost:
– Some activities are free
– Participating museums – Children 12 and under free with paid adult admission
> Find out more about Balboa Park Science Family Day

Butterfly Jungle

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Meet a few of the over 10,000 butterflies in the Butterfly Jungle

Each spring the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Hidden Jungle exhibit is filled with over 10,000 amazing and delightful exotic butterflies of all colors and sizes, and guests can walk among them, take photos, and enjoy pointing out different species using a butterfly identification guide. There’s something for everyone, from fun kids’ activities to special presentations to fascinating facts about these wonderful winged insects.

Where: San Diego Zoo Safari Park – 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027
When: March 16-April 7, 2013
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Film Screening: Andy Warhol’s San Diego Surf

San Diego Surf by Andy Warhol

See the never before seen Andy Warhol’s “San Diego Surf.” Image courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the last films in which Warhol had direct involvement. San Diego Surf was filmed in La Jolla in May of 1968. Filmed in color on 16mm with two cameras, manned by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey, the film features superstars Viva, Taylor Mead, Louis Waldon, Joe Dallesandro, Tom Hompertz, Ingrid Superstar, Eric Emerson, Nawana Davis, and others. Its loose narrative concerns an unhappily married couple with a baby who rent their beach house to a group of surfers.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – La Jolla – 700 Prospect St. La Jolla, CA 92037
When: March 16, 2013
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: $5-$8. Members are free.
> Find out more about the Film Screening: Andy Warhol’s San Diego Surf

Latino Film Festival

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wc1YcrObb8]

San Diego’s proximity to Mexico makes it a natural venue for this prestigious 11-day film festival, now celebrating its 20th year, focusing on works by Latinos or about the Latino experience. More than 160 films and videos from across Latin America and the United States will be screened with many of the directors and actors in attendance.

Where: UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center – 7510 Hazard Center Dr, San Diego, CA 92108
When: Through March 17, 2013
Cost: Varies
> Find out more about the San Diego Latino Film Festival

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Maren

Behind the Scenes on a Caravan Safari at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Giraffes - Caravan Safari - San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Giraffes get up-close and personal on the Caravan Safari at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park makes a weekend jaunt to the African Plains possible – no passport required! And there is no better time to visit the park, as San Diego’s slightly cooler winter temperatures and sunny skies provide the perfect setting to enjoy one of their numerous safari experiences. I recently got up-close and personal with a host of giraffes, rhinos and gazelles on a lovely day in San Diego during a Caravan Safari at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Read to the bottom for details on how to enter to win tickets to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Behind the Scenes on a Caravan Safari

Feeding a Giraffe - Caravan Safari - San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Feeding Bagetti, a Uganda giraffe, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The Caravan Safari travels through the park’s two largest enclosures, the African Plains and the Asian Savanna. The African Plains is home to the elegant and endangered Uganda Giraffe, who is anything but shy. It must be common knowledge that each caravan comes equipped with a bucket of Acacia leaves (the giraffe’s favorite food), for within moments we are surrounded by the tall, dappled creatures, ready for their leafy treat and requisite photo-op.

Petting a Rhino - Caravan Safari - San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Petting a one-horned rhino in the Asian Savanna at San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

When the caravan travels to the Asian Savanna, it’s a bucket of apples that tempts the one-horned rhino to stop by our truck. And while she enjoyed her apple treat, being in such close contact with a large, wild and powerful creature was treat enough for us on board.

White Rhino - Caravan Safari - San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park has the most successful captive rhino breeding program in the world.

The tour was filled with interesting and entertaining information about the animals at Safari Park, most of whom are there due to Safari Park’s extremely successful conservation and breeding programs. They have the most successful captive rhino breeding program in the world and are helping increase numbers amongst the endangered Uganda giraffe, with a total of 115 calves born and more on the way this year. All in all, the upgrade experience at Safari Park is a win-win for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed getting personal with my favorite animal ambassadors, and my ticket price went to keeping the world’s animal populations at a healthy equilibrium. It’s a holiday gift anyone would enjoy giving or receiving!

Giraffe Close Up - Caravan Safari - San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Giraffe hoping I have acacia leaves to eat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Information

Address: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92027-7017 (map)
Website: www.sdzsafaripark.org
Phone Number: 800.407.9534 (Toll-Free) 619.718.3000

Benjamin Eastman

An Evening With The Animals in San Diego

Summer in San Diego is always fantastic! With it being light out later in the evening we have even more time to go to the beach, jog around Fiesta Island, have a picnic dinner at a park, etc.  Even the major attractions around town get in on the fun by staying open later, featuring new and different shows – and don’t forget the summer fireworks!

Nighttime Zoo – China Celebration

Chinese Warriors - San Diego Zoo Nighttime

The Wonders of China Await at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo stays open until 9:00 PM each night through September 3rd to allow visitors the chance to discover a different side of the zoo. Not only do you get to see the more than 4,000 animals at a different time of day when their behavior is different, the Zoo also puts on a great evening show.  The Nighttime Zoo – China Celebration includes music and performances all day long – culminating in the Front Street Finale at 8:00 PM near the front entrance.  Acrobats, stiltwalkers, musicians and trampoliners gather together for one ultimate performance that will leave a lasting memory for years to come.

Summer Nights at SeaWorld

Shamu Rocks the House during Summer Nights at SeaWorld

SeaWorld San Diego also celebrates Summer Nights with nightly extended hours (until 11:00 PM most of the summer), special evening performances and nightly fireworks shows (at 9:52 PM). They’ve even got Club Atlantis – an all ages dance club Thursday – Sunday nights from 7:00 to 10:00 PM open through August 12th! SeaWorld’s special events happen nightly through August 19th and then on weekends through September 3rd.

Summer Safari

Acrobatic Excitement at the Summer Safari

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park also gets in on the evening excitement with their Summer Safari. Running through August 19th, visitors to the Safari Park have a few extra hours (until 7:00 PM) to hear their favorite lions growl, hyenas’ howl and see their favorite gorillas scowl! Evening entertainment includes African dance and music from Akayaa and Bolga Zohdomah. Guests will also be entertained by African acrobats, exotic bird shows and watching the fastest land mammal on earth try to break its own speed record. Needless to say, an evening at the Safari Park will be filled with excitement!

So take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight, the gorgeous weather and the tons of evening opportunities around town while you can!  Daylight savings won’t be around forever…

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

La Jolla Concours d'Elegance

This weekend is going to be full of exciting things to do around San Diego. From butterflies and a car show to the Crew Classic, there is something for everyone this weekend in San Diego!

La Jolla Concours d'Elegance

La Jolla Concours d'Elegance

1. La Jolla Concours d’Elegance 2012

The La Jolla Concours d’Elegance features various types of fine automobile gems. Past years have showcased horseless carriages, Italian marques, British marques, woodies, 50s classics, American sports cars, and the automobiles of Carroll Shelby. Spectators from all over the nation come to the breathtaking shores of La Jolla to view their favorite classics. This year, the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance is back with Italian automobiles to illustrate again that if diamonds are forever, then cars are timeless. Be sure to check out the amazing cars on Sunday, April 1 from 9:00 – 3:00 pm. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of event.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Butterfly Jungle

San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Butterfly Jungle

2. Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Head up to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and capture the scene as hundreds of butterfly pupae are emerging as we speak to dazzle you at Butterfly Jungle! Remember to wear bright colors to attract the butterflies and bring your cameras to take part in their photo contest. Butterflies will be fluttering about until April 15th.

San Diego Crew Classic - After the Start

San Diego Crew Classic on beautiful Mission Bay

3. 39th Annual San Diego Crew Classic Regatta

Rowers from across the country come to Crown Point Shores on Mission Bay to participate in one of the most distinguished rowing competitions in the U.S. Harvard, Stanford, USC, and UCSD are among the 20+ teams competing.

Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Family Fun at Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion

4. Family Festival Day at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Families with kids of all ages are invited to share an up-close-and-personal experience with the king of instruments during the free Family Festival Day at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on Sunday, April 1 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm. Activities start at 1:00 pm with backstage tours, demonstrations by young organists and booths with coloring, hands on activities and music makers. Representatives from the San Diego Youth Symphony, Girl Scouts, San Diego Pug Rescue, San Diego Park and Recreation Department and other organizations will be on hand.

HMS Surprise at the San Diego Maritime Museum

Movie Star HMS Surprise. Photo courtesy of San Diego Maritime Museum

5. Spring Sailor’s Days at the Maritime Museum

The Star of India as well as other ships will be having Sailor’s Days everyday from March 24-April 7 from 9:00 – 2:00 pm. Adults and children alike can experience first hand various activities such as what it is like to make robe for sailing, move cargo, raise and lower huge sails, tie sailor’s knots, climb through a steam engine and many more fun things to see and do. Each child can also participate in a scavenger hunt around the ships learning about history while having fun. All activities are included with regular admission.

For a complete list of upcoming events, be sure to check out our Event Calendar.

Tell us in the comments below, what do you suggest for the upcoming weekend?

Aki

Attraction Action! Explore San Diego Zoo Safari Park

One of the best features of San Diego as a vacation destination is the countless number world-renowned attractions that offer adventure, thrills, education and engagement for your family. For those of us lucky enough to live here, especially with children, every weekend or holiday poses a dilemma of choosing which attraction to explore. From the Zoo that made San Diego world-famous, to close encounters with Shamu, there’s some serious voting and lobbying that goes on in our house when deciding what to do on a gorgeous San Diego weekend.

One attraction that often wins out on these debates is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park) and as a member of the San Diego Zoological Society, our annual pass gets us in. February and March are great months to explore the park, when the temperatures are still mild and the animals are quite active.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Located 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego in the beautiful San Pasqual Valley in Escondido, the drive out to Safari Park is always a treat. Taking in the gorgeous mountain views and wide open vistas, the journey there serves as a precursor to the Safari adventure ahead.

Africa in San Diego

The sheer scale of the park alone is impressive. Situated on a 1,800-acre preserve, wild animals roam free over vast expanses as they would in their native habitats of Africa and Asia. Upon our arrival, we always beeline to the African Plains first, for the Journey into Africa Tour. Hopping aboard an open-air tram, this Safari tour bring us at eye-level with exotic animals like white rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, Roosevelt’s gazelles and African crowned cranes. The ride is quite long too, lasting 30 minutes, which takes you around the perimeter of the park’s three expansive African field enclosures: Lion Camp, Heart of Africa and Nairobi Village. This ride is free with park admission and is a great way rest your feet while observing the animals.

Flightline over Africa and Asia

Seeking some thrills? Why not fly 400 feet across the park at speeds up to 60 mph on the Flightline zip-line. You’ll need to make reservations, as the 1.5-hour experience features a training lesson, behind-the-scenes narration and an aerial adventure that soars across the Asian and African field exhibits. It’ll cost you $70 per person on top of park admission, but the experience is well worth it.

Get up and close at Safari Park

In addition to the various Safari rides that get you up close to the animals, Safari Park features plenty of exhibits to walk around, like the Elephant Overlook, Lorikeet Landing, and Hidden Jungle. Many of these exhibit house endangered species in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats, and offer visitors an intimate encounters with these magnificent animals.

What’s your favorite Safari Park encounter?

Suzzanne

Kids are FREE at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park in October

San Diego Zoo

I know where we will be in October!

In celebration of the organization’s fouding,  children 3 to 11 years old will receive free admission to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in October.  Throughout the month, the Zoo and the Park are offering extra on-grounds presentations on the weekends, a coloring contest and all new online activities on the San Diego Zoo Kids Free site. 

The San Diego Zoo was founded in October 1916 and “Kids Free” honors this historic event.  Weekend visitors to the Zoo and the Park will experience even more kid-friendly activities with additional animal meet-and-greets, keeper talks and costumed character walk-arounds.  Kids Free is offered during the entire month of October.  The Zoo and the Park are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, but opening weekend only, the Zoo will be open until 6:00 pm on October 1 and 2.  Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paid adult during their visit to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Suzzanne

5 to Try: Grandparents Edition

Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 12th! In honor of all the grandparents out there, here are our 5 to Try with the grandparents. Our kids and the grandparents have tried all of these activities and I think all would give them two thumbs up!

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: On Sunday, September 12th, the Science Center is offering free admission for grandparents and their grandkids! The Science Center offers exciting “do touch” science exhibits for visitors age 1 to 101. Our favorite area is the “block buster’s.” Visitors can build fun structures with thousands of KEVA planks – no glue or connectors necessary!

San Diego Botanic Garden: This is a great outdoor activity for both grandparents and kids. The grandparents will love the 36 acres of distinct garden displays and the kids will LOVE the largest demonstration children’s garden on the West Coast, which features a 20-ft climbable tree house. I can tell you first hand, that tree house is super fun!

USS Midway Museum: When my dad came to visit a few months ago, he suggested visiting the USS Midway Museum with him and the kiddies. At first I think I was the only one with some hesitation. But I have to say it is one of my favorite places to bring guests when they are visiting San Diego. It’s really fascinating to learn about the ship, and the kids love to walk up and down the stairs and explore the different areas of the ship. This museum has a lot of stairs and small corridors to walk through therefore I would only recommend it if the kids are big enough to maneuver it on their own and the grandparents are up for a lot of stair climbing.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park: We have taken both sets of grandparents to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Why? Well for starters, it’s only about 15 minutes from our house; but it could be 15,000 miles. Our favorite is of course the Park’s Journey into Africa tour. This open-air vehicle brings visitors to eye level with animals. On one of our last visitors we did the Balloon Safari with the grandparents. It provides a birds-eye view of the Park. It’s really fun!

Old Town San Diego: Old Town, considered the “birthplace” of California is a really fun way to spend the day with the grandparents. We took my mom there recently and she loved the historic Victorian houses. My kids loved the candy shop! They really have the best taffy.

What are your weekend plans?