Family San Diego trip
September 4, 2006 9:40 PM   Subscribe

Soon to visit San Diego with a toddler. Would you help me to visit the nicest beach, tide pools and toddler/pocketbook friendly tourist spots?

I hear the zoo is nice but lots of hlls make it a long visit. Sea World, is it worth the 55 bucks a person for a 2 year old to get a few thrills? This is our first family vacation and as such we just want to relax and do the beach/ siteseeing thing.
posted by BrodieShadeTree to Travel & Transportation around San Diego, CA (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I like the Torrey Pines State Reserve. A nice beach, interesting trails through the reserve, good parking. ($8.00 in the lot, free if you can find an open spot along the beach; come early!)

Also, the Stephen Birch Aquarium is close by. Much cheaper than Sea World, and probably just as interesting to a two-year-old.
posted by SPrintF at 10:12 PM on September 4, 2006

Lots of great recommendations in this previous thread. I can't do much better and I grew up there.

Personally i think Sea World is overpriced and I also think the Zoo rocks as does the Wild Animal Park.
posted by vacapinta at 10:22 PM on September 4, 2006

Response by poster: I have read that entire previous post, and it is great. I am hoping for some more specific toddler views.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 10:27 PM on September 4, 2006

The Wild Animal Park is cool, but it's also big, with steep hills to navigate to some of the better parts (such as the new-ish Lion Camp exhibit). If you had to choose Zoo or Park, choose the Zoo.

The Birch Aquarium is also cool, but somewhat small. But that could be perfect for a two-year-old. Sea World is expensive, but you really can't go wrong with it, considering.

If you go to the Birch, combine it with a trip to the nearby La Jolla Cove, where you can see seals and sea lions in the wild.
posted by frogan at 11:03 PM on September 4, 2006

It's mentioned in the thread mentioned above, but I have to put in another vote for the Cabrillo National Monument.

It's one of the best places in town - both for what you've mentioned that you're looking for and the best view of the entire city of San Diego anywhere.

If you should decide to go there, don't forget that right next door is the Coast Guard Station - which allows day access under the same pass you get to the Cabrillo monument. They have tidal pools and great views of the Pacific.
posted by matty at 5:20 AM on September 5, 2006

My mom always used to take me to the Pepper Grove playground at Balboa Park. You could also wander through the park and look at the fish in the lily pond by the botanical garden.
There are also always lots of fun things going on at the local libraries that are specifically geared toward kids:
San Diego County Library
San Diego Public Library
posted by exceptinsects at 7:52 AM on September 5, 2006

I'm from San Diego, and we took my best friend's two-year-old around a couple months ago. She threw a tantrum at the zoo (a lot of walking) but did better at the Wild Animal Park (tram safari=less walking). Mission Bay is a great place for a picnic and scampering around. Old Town is full of color and music and life, the kind of place all three of you will enjoy. Here are some other suggestions, but I don't recommend whale-watching for little kids as the whales are few and extremely far away, and the two-hour tour can be a bit boring.
posted by changeling at 8:49 AM on September 5, 2006

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