Discover, Explore and Play at the San Diego Botanic Garden

San Diego Botanic Garden Hamilton Children's Garden Sign

During the entire month of October, kids can eat play and stay for free in San Diego with over 100 kids free offers from San Diego museums, restaurants, hotels and attractions. Participating attractions include all the kids’ favorites: SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND and the New Children’s Museum. But don’t overlook the opportunity to introduce youngsters to attraction they may not yet know – such as the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, home of the largest interactive children’s garden on the West Coast.

San Diego Botanic Garden’s Hamilton Children’s Garden

San Diego Botanic Garden Hamilton Children's Garden Sign

The botanic garden’s 1-acre Hamilton Children’s Garden is fertile ground for growing young minds – a great place for nurturing a child’s love of nature. It includes 14 themed sites – ranging from a butterfly garden to a rhythm garden, where kids can make music playing nature’s instruments.

Flora at the San Diego Botanic Garden

Youngsters can make mud pottery in Art’s Garden,  practice their ABCs at the alphabetical Spell and Smell Garden and be awed by fruits, vegetables and flowers growing from bales of hay.

Kids Climbing a Tree at the San Diego Botanic Garden

A favorite destination is the massive kid-friendly tree house that combines a man-made trunk, with living trees that kids can explore from roots to canopy through tunnels, walkways and rope ladders.

Explore Even More With Over 36 Acres of Flora

Beyond the Children’s Garden there are 36 more acres for exploring – with plants and trees from 15 geographic regions, including Central and South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, the Canary Islands and Mediterranean regions. Visitors can wander everything from an “undersea” succulent garden that simulates a coral reef to a tropical rain forest. There are herb and topiary gardens – and of course, plenty of native plants and trees.

There’s also a small gift shop, a plant shop, a snack bar and the Children’s Garden has picnic tables.

Location: 230 Quail Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024 (map)
Hours: Daily – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $12 for Adults. During October, each paid adult gets to bring along two kids, 12 or younger, for free – Click Here to Download the Kids Free CouponAdd $2 for parking (except cars with four or more passengers get in free).
Website: www.SDBGarden.org

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Alison

About Alison

I’m a junkie. Addicted to travel. Logged 15 years as Travel Editor at the San Diego Union-Tribune – a labor of love. But always appreciate coming home to my favorite city: San Diego. My newest labor of love is an app – San Diego Essential Guide – a tool that lets me share with other travelers what I love most about my hometown.

How would you describe your ideal San Diego Day?

I’d meet girlfriends at South Mission for a low-tide walk along the ocean front to Pacific Beach. Before heading back, we’d hit a boardwalk restaurant for an eggs Benedict breakfast.  We’d spend the afternoon at La Jolla Shores with our boogie boards – sun and fun in 72-degree-plus waves.  I’d meet my husband for a sunset picnic on a grassy oceanfront bluff at Coast Boulevard Park. We’d end up at Humphreys Backstage Live on Shelter Island, dancing the night away.

If you were invisible, where would you go?

Can’t think of anyplace I wouldn’t want to be seen in San Diego – except maybe Lindbergh Field, if it would help me speed through security and avoid the body scanner.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguini and red wine?

Dad was a commercial fisherman, so I’m spoiled. Give me barely seared ahi, fresh crab or a fish taco.

What’s your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Fishing – it’s in my blood. But I’m happy doing anything where I can smell saltwater: paragliding from Torrey Pines, kayaking the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, riding my boogie board, picnicking on the beach, chillin’ at a Summer Pops concert.

Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player?

I’m downloading more apps than music these days. My iPod is full of funky Old School stuff – the best of MJ, Gap Band, Gnarls Barkley, Cameo, Hammer and lots of old Motown sounds: Temptations, Four Tops, The Miracles.

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