Summertime is a great time to be in San Diego, especially for families. There is no shortage of things to do for both parents and kids, whether you're visiting from out of town or if you're an area resident. Here are some top picks for San Diego family fun centers and amusement parks.
OK, this is about as obvious as it gets, but rightfully so: the San Diego Zoo is arguably the greatest zoo in the world and residents are proud of their world-famous zoo. A big claim to fame for the Zoo is that it is home to giant pandas. The Monkey Trails exhibit is also a popular area to visit.
Sea World is another San Diego animal-centric amusement park. Famous for Shamu and other entertaining animal shows, Sea World blends animal encounters with amusement park thrills. Take a ride on Shipwreck Rapids then encounter penguins, sharks, and dolphins.
Legoland California is great family fun, especially for the younger set. A number of interactive activities at Fun Town will keep kids occupied and thrill rides abound, including the Dragon Roller Coaster and the newest attraction, Bionicle Blaster. Pirate's Shore features Splash Battle and Soak and Sail.
The San Diego Zoo's sister facility, the Safari Park is everything you never thought of in a zoo. For one, the animal enclosures are measured in *acres* -- huge habitats emulating Asia and Africa where animals live together. Lion Camp is one of the most popular attractions and you can see a pride of lions closer than you think would be possible.
The Birch Aquarium in La Jolla is like a living museum. Run by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, your family will learn everything about sea life and our precious ocean resources. It's a great place to get a sense of what San Diego's coastline is about.
Just about every longtime San Diego resident has been to Boomer's at one time or another, whether for a birthday or just a night out. And why not? Boomer's has go-karts, batting cages, bumper boats, and miniature golf. There is something to entertain both kids and adults at Boomer's, making it a family-friendly outing. Locations are in Kearny Mesa, El Cajon, and Vista.
Forget those slick theme parks and turn your attention to Belmont Park. Located on the Mission Beach boardwalk, Belmont Park is an old-time amusement park. The centerpiece is the restored and grand Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster. Younger tikes can take in more kid-friendly rides, too. Shops, restaurants, the Mission Beach Plunge swimming pool are also found here, as well as the quintessential beach scenery.