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Top 10 Family Attractions in San Diego

San Diego is like the cool kid in high school -- beautiful, popular and always busy with exciting activities! The seaside destination is also sought out because it's so ideal for family vacations. There are more than enough family theme parks and attractions to satisfy all members of your clan. There is so much to do that deciding where to begin can seem overwhelming, so here is a list of ten family attractions in San Diego you surely don't want to miss.

Sea World San Diego

There’s so much more happening at Sea World San Diego than you ever imagined. Make plans to participate in the Wild Artic Interaction, where you’ll dive into 55-degree waters in an environment simulating the arctic wild. Here you can interact with live beluga whales, walruses, seals and polar bears. Move about freely in their midst as you touch and feed these magnificent creatures.

Everyone knows that Shamu the killer whale is the undisputed star of Sea World San Diego. Now you have the chance to get up close and personal with the superstar by Dining With Shamu. This won’t be just any meal, either. You will experience the famous whale up close and personal while seated at a reserved table next to Shamu’s private pool. Dine in style on delicacies like Beef Bourguignon or Chicken Dijon, your choice of mouthwatering sides, freshly baked rolls and desserts to die for. After your meal, enjoy private interaction with Shamu and the Sea World Trainers for an exclusive, unforgettable experience.

San Diego Zoo

You’ll want to stop by the Giant Panda Research Station to catch a glimpse of the brand new panda, one of three born into captivity the zoo! See San Diego Zoo’s animal attractions in your choice of a double-decker bus tour, or high above the trees in the Skyfari Aerial Tram. You may also enjoy a safari through the wild plains of Africa on the ENTCO Wild Each Safari Ride observing surrounding animals as they move about freely.

San Diego Wild Animal Park, is also part of the San Diego Zoo, but is located 30 miles south. This 2,100-acre preserve contains over 3,200 animals moving freely throughout surroundings that closely resemble their Asian and African homelands. As soon as you enter the park, you are greeted by the many exotic birdcalls of the African Aviary. The Lion Camp is a must-see, with two new cubs joining the pack. Keep a look out for the new elephant calf as well.

LEGOLAND California

Got a thing for LEGOs? Then this is the place for you. LEGOLAND California is only one of four locations in the world. Younger kids will love it -- there are bunches of interactive activities for them. It offers so much more fun that just LEGOS (which are totally fun and a big draw, though!). It is also a park with rides like the Dragon Roller Coaster and Bionicle Blaster.

Biplane Air Combat and War Bird Adventures

Satisfy the thrill seeker in you by embarking on a biplane ride for one or two. Soar over the coast in these open cocker planes making loops and rolls in the sky in an authentic WWI War bird. You may opt for a much gentler ride in the sky, enjoying the high ride above the ground. This exhilarating experience is one you don’t want to miss.

Knott’s Soak City

Knott’s Soak City U.S.A. Is located next to Knotts Berry Farm. This is a thrilling water park adventure for the entire family. The park is a sprawling 32 acres containing 22 wild water rides themed to the surf woodies and long boards of the 1950s southern California coast. Feeling adventurous? Take a ride on the Banzai Falls Six, the multi-lane speed slides that shoots riders head first on a mat from a platform over 41 feet high. What a rush!

ARCO/U.S. Olympic Training Center

Here is your chance to see Olympic gold in the making. Enjoy a free, guided tour through an official U. S. Olympic Committee training facility. This all-weather, 150-acre Olympic Training Center features 4,000 of the very best Olympic hopefuls each year engaging in nine different sports including archery, rowing, canoe/kayak, soccer and more.


Formally known as Family Fun Centers, Boomers is a great place: leave your San Diego hotel and take the entire family to just hang out and have a blast. There is laser tag, bumper boats, batting cages, miniature golf and so much more! An affordable day of fun for everyone, and enough action and excitement to wear out even the rowdiest kids – guaranteed!

Belmont Park

This old-time park is charming throwback too much simpler times. Many of the rides are appropriate for young children. Belmont Park is located along the Mission Beach boardwalk, centrally located to restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

Japanese Friendship Garden

This beautiful San Diego landmark was originally built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition. For more than 30 years, the Teahouse has symbolized the strong cultural and commercial ties linking two of the world’s leading nations. In 1950, Yokohama was recognized as a sister city to San Diego, further deepening the relationship which had been established. The Teahouse is located in San Diego’s cultural center, Balboa Park. Visit the Teahouse’s infamous Japanese Friendship Garden featuring a koi pond. The Tea Pavillion serves traditional Japanese Green Tea and other specialty teas, noodles, rice bowls, and many other exotic delicacies.

A visit to one or all of these San Diego vacation hotspots is sure to leave you and your travel partners grinning from ear to ear.

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