Family of 3 at Balboa Park

Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

As a boutique business providing family photography services, I work with all kinds of families to set up their photo sessions and then deliver their digital images. Over time, in these family sessions, I have observed what families enjoy doing together and what they struggle with. Starting this year, I am striving to provide better and more encompassing services for your family to help you connect as a family and to offer tips and advice. As a mother of three, I can also relate and understand the struggle of raising a family in this day and age. I am hoping these blog posts will provide helpful information to better serve your needs as a family.

The first thing I want to address is what fun activities you can do with your kids. Sometimes it can be a struggle to get out of a rut (Covid rut? Winter rut?), so trying something new will help. This is also helpful for those families who may be coming to visit San Diego and are looking for what’s happening on their visit.

  1. San Diego Zoo – I’ve been to a lot of zoos around the country, but this one is, by far, my favorite! Our family loves to elephants, giraffes, koala bears, and polar bears. There is a lot to see in this zoo, so I definitely recommend a full day to visit. I also recommend taking the guided bus tour. It’s a 35-minute ride in a double-decker open bus that takes you around the entire zoo and gives you a nice glimpse of everything in the park. The tour is included in your ticket, but I recommend getting there early because it’s first-come first-served and doesn’t allow for reservations.

San Diego Zoo

Penguins at San Diego Zoo

 

  1. San Diego Safari Park – I may slightly prefer the Zoo’s sister park, the Safari Park, over the Zoo based solely on the Africa Tram. You get a 25-minute tour around the African Plains to view different animals out in the wild. I also love seeing the kangaroos jump about in Walkabout Australia.

Tiger at San Diego Safari Park

San Diego Wild Safari Park

Bird at San Diego Wild Safari Park

 

  1. Balboa Park Museums – Dinosaurs, science, trains, oh my! There are many options for museums to choose from here… a total of 17! My kids’ favorites are the Natural History Museum and the Fleet Science Center. So many fun, interesting, and interactive exhibitions to view in both places. We also love the films in the Giant Screen Theater at the Natural History Museum and the IMAX shows at the Fleet Science Center. My personal favorite museum at Balboa is the Museum of Photographic Arts. The Museum of Us, the Air & Space Museum, and the Model Railroad Museum are a few other of our favorites!

Fleet Science Center

Fleet Science Center

 

  1. Beach Day – It’s like the saying, “when in Rome…” – “When In San Diego, do as the San Diegans do” and go to the beach! With so many options, you can’t go wrong. But I do have a few favorites depending on which part of town you’re in. If you’re close to downtown, trek over the Coronado bridge and visit the beach by Hotel Del Coronado. There are sand dunes, rocks, and a lot of beach space to spread out in. If you’re up further north near La Jolla, my favorite is Windansea Beach. I always check the tides before I go to this one though. High tide makes it difficult to get down to the beach, but if you can go during low tide, I highly recommend going and checking out the tide pools. You can also check out the tide pools at Sunset Cliffs, Ocean Beach, and La Jolla. Such a fun adventure, especially with kids!

Family of 4 at Coronado beach

Girl at Windansea Beach

Mother and Son at Sunset Cliffs tide pools

 

  1. Visit a Park – San Diego has so many wonderful parks in the area. Two of my favorites in particular are Kate Sessions Park and Marian Bear Memorial Park. Kate Sessions Park is my favorite to sit on the grass, have a picnic lunch, and look out at the beautiful view of Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The view is just stunning from the park. Marian Bear Memorial Park is one of my favorite places to photograph families, but it’s also a fun place for kid-friendly hikes. There are many trails and areas you can trek across for a fun adventure, and most are easy and relatively flat.

Family at Marian Bear Park

Mother and Son at Marian Bear Park

 

A really wonderful resource, that I personally use for getting the latest updates on things happening in the area for families with young kids, is Fam Diego. This mother of 2 boys shares a ton of tips and tricks about the area and all the latest events. I highly recommend checking out her website or her Instagram for more information. She has a wealth of helpful information, and because of her, I’ve even found new beautiful spots to photograph families

As I find additional resources for families, I will be sure to share them here so thank you for reading and I hope you stay tuned!

 

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Kim Belverud