The holidays are just around the corner and there’s no better place to be than San Diego’s sparkling Mission Bay where distinctly California festivities await!
Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
Mission Bay lights up December 13 during the Parade of Lights
Everybody loves a holiday parade. But in San Diego, they don’t just happen in the streets. A unique maritime way to make some merry this holiday season is the popular Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on December 13, featuring dozens of boats festooned with holiday lights and décor sailing around Mission Bay.
All are welcome to this free aquatic pageant which attracts tens of thousands of spectators to the shoreline.
The boat parade begins at 7:00 PM from the Quivira Basin. The best viewing spots are from Crown Point, Santa Clara Point Park (by Sail Bay), the east side of Vacation Island and west side of Fiesta Island. Check out this map of Mission Bay to scope out the area beforehand.
Also on Mission Bay, SeaWorld San Diego makes a big splash with its annual Christmas Celebration, beginning this Saturday. Festivities include Christmas-themed animal shows, holiday décor throughout the park, Santa’s Cottage for the kids, the 320-ft. Skytower Christmas Tree of Lights and SnowWorld, a winter wonderland with hills of snow for kids to sled down and practice making snowballs. Yep, it snows in San Diego! (we just have to make it 😉
Have you heard? It’s Kids Free month in San Diego! Nope, that doesn’t mean San Diego is free from kids. But rather, just about everything for a kid’s visit (with their family) to San Diego is Free – as in free admission to all the major attractions, museums and so much more.
Kids Free month deals abound in Mission Bay!
One area that was made for play is Mission Bay, a 4,600-acre aquatic wonderland of beaches, walking/bicycling trails, family-friendly resorts, water activities and famous attractions like SeaWorld.
Following are some of the coolest free offerings I scoped out around Mission Bay:
SeaWorld San Diego
Kids can enjoy the Dolphin Interaction Program at SeaWorld for free!
SeaWorld San Diego offers kids 3-9 years old free admission (1 child per paid adult), free Dine With Shamu (1 child per paid adult) and free Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Programs (1 child 10-13 years old per paid adult).
Free kids rides on the Giant Dipper roller coaster by Mission Bay!
At nearby Belmont Park, home of the thrilling Giant Dipper roller coaster, kids can enjoy unlimited free rides and laser tag (1 child per paid adult). They also ride for free (1 child per 2 paid riders) on FlowRider or FlowBarrel.
Paradise Point Resort
The tropical Paradise Point Resort offers kids free bike rentals to cruise the bayside plus free kayak and standup paddleboard rentals.
For five decades, SeaWorld has surprised and amazed guests with unique entertainment, thrilling rides and up-close encounters with marine animals. The original SeaWorld® park opened its gates for the first time in March 1964 on Mission Bay in San Diego, and starting this March 21, <a title=”SeaWorld”s 50th Celebration” href=”http://www.SeaWorld.com/Celebration” target=”_blank”>SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration will feature a Sea of Surprises™, an 18-month celebration that highlights some of the most memorable SeaWorld experiences.
During SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration, visitors will be invited to take part in the celebration through new interactive experiences, shows and pathway performances and even more up-close animal encounters throughout the park. Plus, the SeaWorld “Surprise Squad” treating guests with prizes every day.
The biggest birthday present for visitors to the park is the debut of the new <a title=”Explorer”s Reef” href=”http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-sandiego/attractions/exhibits/explorers-reef/” target=”_blank”>Explorer’s Reef™, which immediately immerses park guests into an undersea oasis. Visitors will actually enter nbso online casino reviews the park beneath an immense wave sculpture that is nearly 30 feet tall and 100 feet long. From the moment they enter the park, guests can connect with the sea through multiple pools featuring shark pups, rays, skates and cleaner fish. The expansive renovation also makes entering SeaWorld faster and more efficient.
SeaWorld”s entrance gets a redesign to celebrate the park”s 50th birthday.
The gift that SeaWorld has given the public through education and research includes programs to rescue and rehabilitate injured marine animals, with the goal of returning them to the wild. For their anniversary, the park also commissioned environmental art group Washed Ashore for a collection of larger-than-life sea-themed sculptures. The materials used to create these pieces come from the billions of pounds of garbage—mostly plastics—that wind up in our oceans. These amazing works of art point to the urgent need to protect marine animals from such dangers and preserve their ocean habitats.
SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration also includes new ways for fans to connect to the parks and each other though digital devices. The parks will be launching a variety of enhancements, from interactive apps to new games and video content.
SeaWorld San Diego”s 50th anniversary activities run through September 2015, so don”t miss your chance to take part in this historic occasion. For more information about SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration and the Sea of Surprises, visit SeaWorld.com/Celebration.
Rumor has it that San Diego’s favorite newsman, Ron Burgundy, heads to the Big Apple in the upcoming Anchorman 2, but San Diego will always be Ron’s hometown.
Stay Classy and live like Ron with your own Panda Watch at the San Diego Zoo!
You, too, can tour the city that spawned Ron by entering the #StayClassySanDiego Photo Contest! To enter, simply share a photo of yourself (or a friend) in your best Ron Burgundy impersonation. One winner will be selected at random for the Grand Prize: two nights at the Bahia Resort Hotel on scenic Mission Bay, two tickets to the San Diego Zoo (where you can hold your own Panda Watch), and two tickets to SeaWorld San Diego, one of the filming locations for Anchorman 2.
Visit Ron’s co-stars at SeaWorld San Diego
Stay Classy and Enter
To enter, select your best photo of you as Ron Burgundy and choose one of the following:
Just because the sun shines year-round in San Diego doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty of holiday cheer this December. San Diego’s most famous attractions go big for the holidays, offering visitors special shows, festive lights and the chance to frolic in some rare San Diego snow.
LEGOLAND® California’s Holiday Snow Days
Real snow is one of the few things not made out of LEGOS at LEGOLAND during Holiday Snow Days.
You don’t have to drive to the mountains to enjoy snow in San Diego County this winter; children can now enjoy a snow-tubing experience gliding down 7-foot-tall snow-covered “runs” at LEGOLAND California Resort. The park’s Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights features more than 50 tons of real snow, festive treats and activities, and holiday entertainment. During Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights, the Fun Town area transforms into a winter wonderland where families throw snowballs at LEGO themed targets and build snowmen using LEGO® accessories. Park guests can also sing along with holiday entertainment including live music featuring LEGO Friends Live, Jingle Jammers, the Big Test Holiday show and the Holiday Character Dance Party. The Miniland U.S.A area of the park is decorated for the season with LEGO holiday scenes including Santa arriving on top of the White House in Washington, D.C. Fireworks spark each night Dec. 26-30 at 7 p.m. Holiday Snow Days feature a nightly lighting of the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree and concludes with a Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31.
Dates: November 29–-December 31, 2013
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
Even killer whales get excited about the holidays at SeaWorld Christmas Celebration.
Keep on your scarves and gloves and experience more snow, lights and holiday performances when you visit SeaWorld San Diego’sChristmas Celebration. Festivities include Shamu’s Christmas presentation with a live choir and musical soloists, and a new holiday-themed sea lion and otter comedy show along with a new Elmo’s Christmas Wish show. Guests can also enjoy festive décor throughout the park, Madagascar Live! Operation: Christmas Vacation, a live show performed at the Mission Bay Theater, The Pets Rule Christmas show, and a nightly lighting of SeaWorld’s 320-ft. Skytower Christmas Tree of Lights. Also returning in 2013 is SnowWorld, a winter wonderland of snowmen, snowballs and a snowball target area that the kids will flip over.
Dates: Weekends and select dates November 16, 2013 – January 4, 2014.
The San Diego Zoo’s Jungle Bells
The San Diego Zoo stays open late for fun holiday activities, shows and light displays during Jungle Bells.
Even if you’re lucky enough to be a member of the San Diego Zoo and get to go fairly regularly, there’s something special about visiting on a winter’s night for Jungle Bells, the zoo’s special holiday-themed evenings in which they stay open until 8 p.m. and offer festive activities and light displays throughout the park. “Light Up the Night” is the new music and light show in the front plaza, and guests can see the lights throughout the park on the Twinkle Light Trolley ($3 for adults, $2 for children), a tractor-pulled trolley decorated for Jungle Bells that gives guests a fun ride around part of the zoo. A holiday-themed animal show will take place at Wegeforth Bowl every night at 6:30., and a tree lighting ceremony occurs each night.
Dates: December 14, 2013 – January 5, 2014 (closed at 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 24). Most Jungle Bells activities occur between 4-8 p.m.
Will you be visiting one of these fun, festive San Diego holiday attractions? Let us know in the comments below.
Which waterslide at Aquatica San Diego will you ride?
This past weekend my husband and I with our 12 year old son and a pal in tow, visited the new Aquatica San Diego waterpark in South Bay. I can sum up the day with just one word – awesome! The park just opened in June and SeaWorld has turned the formerly Knotts Soak City site into a waterpark paradise.
To start with, the water slides are everything they should be. Gentle slopes for little ones, medium slides with speed for teens, tweens and old ladies like me, and the flat out knurly HooRoo Run for adrenaline junkies. Our favorite was the WooHoo Falls where you have a nice long ride, either open air or in an enclosed tube, sitting on an intertube.
Apart from slides the park is everything you’d expect from SeaWorld. The landscaping is lush; there are scattered animal encounters, including up close interaction with flamingos; the grounds are clean; and the food is good. In addition to the typical amusement park fare, they offer some healthier choices like wraps and salads. For those over 21, Aquatica San Diego also serve strawberry and lemon lime margaritas and beer on tap.
We went early on Sunday expecting large crowds but the morning was actually light and we were able to find seating in the shade next to the wave pool.
My son’s favorite part of the day was that his friend and he were able to go off on their own to experience the park. The contained nature of the grounds and the easy to navigate layout made it easy for even helicopter parents like us to let our boys run free. All and all, a great way to spend the day.
Location: 2052 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911 Park Hours:
– Weekdays: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
– Weekends: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Admission: Starting at $25 with special online offer > Get your Aquatica San Diego tickets today
Celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom 4th of July extravaganza.
It’s not too late to make plans to be in San Diego on the 4th of July to celebrate the birth of our nation and to see one of the spectacular fireworks shows around town. Gather up the kids, or get together with your best travel buddies, and watch the San Diego skyline light up from San Diego Bay to Del Mar to South Bay and the inland communities. San Diego’s exciting pyrotechnic displays never disappoint and always go off with a bang! Here are just a few:
San Diego Bay, also known as “The Big Bay,” is fittingly home to the West Coast’s biggest and most fabulous fireworks extravaganza. Honoring San Diego’s rich military past and present, the Big Bay Boom is billed as “A Salute to the Military Families of our Service Heroes.” Prime viewing locations include Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero and Seaport Village along the bay, as well as the Coronado Ferry Landing in Coronado. Spectators can also view the show on Broadway Pier and the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal on downtown’s waterfront.
The San Diego County Fair is themed “Game On” and runs mid-June through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The fair comes to a close on Independence Day with one of the summer’s best fireworks displays. The evening festivities begin at 7:00 PM with the “Hometown Heroes Parade,” followed by a special tribute to the victims of 9/11 and a fireworks finale. Because the fair is already outside, there’s no better place to watch the show than from the fairgrounds.
When the sun goes down, SeaWorld heats up at night with a fantastic fireworks display – not just on the 4th of July, but all summer long. The display is set to the orchestral music of the Blue Horizons attraction, and colorful fireworks fill up the sky all around Mission Bay. Spend the day in the park, and in the evening, settle in for an impressive display of sparkle and excitement Shamu-style.
Fireworks start time: 9:30 PM
Coronado has a full lineup of activities on July 4th starting with an annual Independence Day 15K Run-5K Run/Walk, an “America the Beautiful” parade, a concert at Spreckels Park and fireworks over San Diego Bay. For the best views, stakeout a spot near Glorietta Bay or Tidelands Park along the waterfront.
Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM
Ocean Beach Pier
Ocean Beach is one of San Diego’s most laid-back beaches and the fireworks show is a favorite among locals. The fireworks are launched from the end of the pier, which is also one of the longest piers in Southern California extending a good ½ mile out to sea. Best viewing is from the beach.
Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM
Imperial Beach Pier
Imperial Beach fireworks show is synchronized with the Big Bay Boom extravaganza at San Diego Bay. The day kicks-off with several bands playing country, jazz, the blues and other music, leading up to a spectacular fireworks display after dark. Best viewing is from the beach.
Fireworks start time: 9:00 PM
The Imperial Beach Fireworks have been canceled for 2013.
Experience an old-fashioned 4th of July at Kennedy Park in El Cajon, which is located in San Diego’s East County. The day starts with a centennial-themed picnic with food, carnival games, crafts, kiddie train rides and musical entertainment. In the evening, grab a blanket and find a spot at the park to watch the fireworks.
This week in San Diego, enjoy America’s favorite pastime with a baseball game during the San Diego Padres home opener week and/or one of these other top things to do:
San Diego Padres Home Opener Week
It’s not spring in San Diego until the first pitch is thrown at Petco Park. Here’s a rundown on what’s going on this week during the San Diego Padres Home Opener week:
East Village Association Opening Day Block Party
Join in with locals to celebrate the San Diego Padres home opener as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Enjoy a Stone Brewing Beer Garden, live entertainment, DJs, tastes from local restaurants, food trucks, local artisans and businesses, and live broadcasts of the ball game from local radio stations.
Home Opener Series – Padres v. Dodgers – April 9-11, 2013
To open up the 2013 home games, the Padres will take on their bitter rivals, the LA Dodgers. If you are lucky enough to have tickets, I would suggest wearing Padres brown or the free opening day t-shirt. Home opener starts at 3:40 PM PST.
Kids will enjoy the balloon animals and other activities at the Third Avenue Village Street Faire
Here you can enjoy live entertainment on two stages, diverse food items, custom-made crafts, business specials, classic car displays and more. Bring the kids for carnival games and inflatable rides, face painting, balloon making and magic shows, and educational exhibits and more. The 21 and up crowd can kick back, enjoy the scenery and take advantage of drink specials at participating Third Avenue eateries.
Take to the high seas on an adventure cruise aboard the tall ship Californian
This Sunday, join the crew of the tall ship, Californian, and haul a line, man the helm and end the day with a cannon salute. Watch the crew as they scamper up and down the rigging to set and furl the sails. Listen as the Californian’s crew relates the history of sailing and exploration in San Diego, tales of whaling and sea otter trade, local sea battles, the art of ship’s gunnery, life at sea and more.
Take a trip to the Rockies while never having to leave San Diego
Rocky Mountain Express propels audiences on a steam train journey through the breathtaking vistas of the Canadian Rockies and highlights the adventure of building a nearly impossible transcontinental railway. Spectacular IMAX aerial cinematography, archival photographs and maps, and the potent energy and rhythms of a live steam locomotive immerse audiences in this remarkable story from the age of steam.
Halloween isn’t just for the 31st anymore, especially if you have kids. Browse the list for fun things to do with your kids this Halloween season.
1. LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights
Cruise on over to LEGOLAND California for Halloween Fun.
Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is back for its one-of-a-kind party every Saturday Night in October from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. Several monstrously fun areas of LEGOLAND are open late for Party Nights, including Land of Adventure, Castle Hill and the Imaginati
Halloween fun for kids isn’t just on the 31st anymore. Browse the list for fun things to do in San Diego with your kids this Halloween season.
on Zone. Be sure the little ones come in costume; prizes will be given for Best Pirate, Most LEGO Themed and Most Creative. And visitors who stay until 9:00 PM will be treated to an awesome fireworks display!
Haunted Pirate Ships and More at the Birch Aquarium
Ghouls and buoys of all ages are invited to spend a safe and “spirited” Halloween with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Discover what lurks beneath the surface and soak up spooky science activities and explore the aquarium’s “wreckage” for sunken treasures. Kids can come in their costume for a chance to win great prizes!
The Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego is place to be on for all aspiring ghosts, goblins and princesses to gether for some ghostly tales of enormous proportions. Creepy treats will be given to all who dare attend and kids are encouraged to wear costumes.
Get ready for the ultimate family vacation! During the entire month of October, kids eat, stay and play for free throughout San Diego. Take advantage of great deals at over 100 participating partners including Amtrak, world-class attractions, museums, hotels, restaurants, surf companies, tour companies and more.