Archive for the ‘parents’ Category

Places in San Diego that will Entertain your Kids (and You!)

January 4, 2009

The Usual Places

There are, of course, the usual places that are more expensive that will entertain your entire family. These include Legoland, the Wild Animal Park, San Diego Zoo and Sea World. These places are great, but tickets and annual passes are expensive.

Quail Botanical Gardensquaill_collage

The San Diego Botanical Gardens is located off of Encinitas Blvd at Interstate 5. Admission price is $12 for adults and $6 for kids 3-12. Younger children are free. The first Tuesday of the month, however, admission is free for all; one only has to pay the $2 for parking. The park itself is 35 acres of trails, with an area call Seeds of Wonder which is especially for kids. Here one can watch the miniature train run its course, play in the playhouse, in the dinosaur garden, or check out the bamboo tunnel, sculptures or topiaries. There is also a section with bubble making mixture and utensils with a nice grass area to eat lunch. The trails take you through the flora of Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and many other areas. There is a lookout point where one can can see the ocean and everything nearby. It is a great place to meet someone and hang out or just relax with the kids. They recently finished the Hamilton Children’s Garden, which is a beautiful area for both children and adults. This new area boasts a tree house with jungle canopy, a music area and much more.

Parent Movie Morning at UltraStar Cinemas

Ultra Star Cinemas in La Costa, Poway and Del Mar have a Parent Movie Morning on Wednesday and in Mission Valley on Thursday at 10 AM. It costs $5.50 for parents and children 4 and up. Younger children are free. The movies they show are movies adults want to see, not children’s or animated movies. This is perfect for parents with infants and toddlers since “Crying, feeding and diaper changing are expected.” The features include stroller parking, dimmed lights, reduced volume and changing facilities in the auditorium. Movies change weekly.

Miniature Railroad
Miniature Railroad

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a place that should be a requirement for everyone with kids. The 1200 acres of beautiful grounds is located next to the San Diego Zoo, admission to the Park grounds is free, but each institution has its own admission fee. The Botanical Building, outdoor gardens and some additional attractions are also offered free of charge. The Balboa Park Miniature Railroad takes a 3-minute, ½-mile trip through four acres of Balboa Park. Kids crazy about cars, trains and planes or dinosaurs, planets or sports or art, flowers and animals will all find something to enjoy. There are 13 museums, including the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center which is home to Southern California’s only IMAX® Dome Theater and 100+ hands-on science exhibits for all ages. There are also railroad, natural history, air and space and automotive museums. Please check out the website because there is way too much to go into here and the pictures of the Park tell the story of how beautiful it is.

Bates Nut Farm

Bates Nut Farm is a 100 acre ranch in Escondido that is perfect if you want a relaxing day to have a picnic in a tree filled park or feed the menagerie of farm animals. In October they have the oldest, largest and most well-known Pumpkin Patch in San Diego County. They also have arts and crafts fairs and other shows throughout the year. The store carries many fresh products and unique gifts. It is a fun place to go for all.


Escondido Children’s Museum

The Escondido Children’s Museum is a fun and educational place to spend a day. Admission is $5 for anyone 12 and over, free for kids under 12. Various structures and multi-sensory activities develop gross and fine motor skills in 0-4 year olds with plenty of seating room for “kids at heart”. The Wildlife Treehouse features an amazing climbing structure with a growing array of exhibitry on native plants and animals. They also have puppet shows, information on fires, places for group activities and birthday parties, gardening and other outdoor activites to keep everyone happy.

Dove Library

Dove Library is a kid friendly 64,000 square foot library located in Plaza Paseo Real near the Ultra Star Cinemas at Aviara Parkway and El Camino Real. It has a young adult area and children’s program area and garden. They offer stories, songs and a puppet show. There are 2 shows: the 10:00am show is for 2 yr olds and younger and the one at 11:00am is for 3-4 yr olds. There is also a great grassy patio/garden area in the back of the children’s portion of the library if you want to let your kids roam and play back there.

Kid-Friendly Parks in North County

Several parks stand out as being better than most.

  1. Cottonwood Park is perfect for a picnic. This park has a toddler and bigger kids play area – they even have a miniature rock climbing wall. The kids love the park and it is just beautiful. There is flowing water in the play area so if you have a water lover, bring a change of clothes 🙂
  2. Stagecoach Park is a 28 acre park that offers topnotch facilities. It has a picnic area and tot lot in which the sand lot features a variety of children’s playground equipment, including a scaled-down version of a stagecoach to echo the historic background of the park. The park has a community center, multi-use playing fields, active and passive play areas. The City Recreation Department has various instructional classes, Youth and Adult Sports leagues at the park. Community groups also use the park for sports leagues and organizational meetings.
  3. Calaveras Park has nice bathrooms for potty-trainers, shade and a pretty large play structure surrounded by sand.
  4. Discovery Lake Park is located in San Marcos. It has an easy, flat 0.8 mile loop around the lake. Children will enjoy fishing or feeding the ducks from a dock that extends into the lake, and a playground in the adjacent park has a small fountain area for children to splash in. The trails are populated with walkers out for an evening stroll, parents pushing baby strollers, teens rollerblading, high school runners practicing, people walking dogs, etc. This is a very enjoyable area. The link on the bottom of the wesite shows a map of where it is.
  5. Hidden Canyon Park has nice bathrooms for potty-trainers, shade and a pretty large play structure surrounded by sand. The park is a passive recreational park with walking paths, scenic seating and picnic areas, rest room, turfed areas, two tot lots and a recreational trail leading to Carlsbad’s ever popular and first “Dog Park”. This park is formerly known as Larwin Park. The 22 acre park site (3.5 acres developed) is divided by a large canyon which contains vegetation that supports endangered wildlife (the California gnatcatcher). For that reason, much of the park will remain as undisturbed permanent open space with trails that connect to the Carlsbad. It is located at 2685 Vancouver St., Carlsbad, CA 92010.