Raising a family can be expensive, and many save up all year for a family vacation. Yet parents often have a difficult time locating destinations that are affordable and thus, often look for locations that have free children’s activities. While many desirable cities have children’s attractions, few have many free activities that children of various ages will find enjoyable. That’s not the case in San Diego. Besides the ideal weather, numerous public beaches, and perfect location which is convenient to other recreational areas, San Diego has a number of free, child focused activities that will delight the whole family. In addition, many San Diego hotels have packages allowing children to stay and eat free and free meals for children can also be found in various venues around the city.
Free Things to Do in San Diego: Children’s Activities
Often it’s hard to keep children entertained when on vacation especially when traveling on a shoe string budget. San Diego is just the place to visit if looking for enough children’s activities and attractions to keep the entire family entertained. Some of the top San Diego Family Attractions are listed below.
New Children’s Museum – Free the second Sunday of every month to all visitors, the museum was designed for children with extended hours and on these days offers special performances and activities in addition to the child friendly exhibits, interactive displays and large play space.
U.S Olympic Training Center – This 150 acre complex is dedicated to training future Olympians and has successfully sent a number of athletes to the Olympics since it was built in 1995. Free tours of the facility which include the opportunity for children (and adults) to talk to some of the trainers/coaches and athletes are offered Tuesday – Saturday (call for times) and self guided tours are allowed 9:00 am – 5:00 pm 7 days a week.
Old Town State Park – Free educational tours are provided of this large park which is the location of the original foundations of the city. Several buildings of interest remain within this area, but by far the favorite of children of all ages is the Whaley House, alleged to be the most haunted house in America.
San Diego Public Libraries – San Diego city and county libraries offer a variety of activities for children and is a perfect option for days when you may feel a bit burnt out on non-stop excitement. There are numerous branches one of which is bound to be close to wherever you are staying and each offers a number of different options including arts and crafts, story time, children’s cartoons and movies, creative writing, among others. Let the children enjoy themselves in a safe environment while you check out the latest bestseller of just relax with an old favorite. Most branches also offer refreshments for the children.
Sea World Fire Works – The great thing about fireworks is they don’t put on a show until way up high. This means you can see them for free if you can find a good viewing area. And Mission Bay is just such a viewing area from which to get a perfect view of the spectacular display put on by Sea World from April through September.
Stargazing at the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center – On the first Wednesday of each month giant telescopes are set up on the grounds of the Fleet Science Center at dusk, so little astronomers can see the stars as they first begin to show then pick out stars and planets as a narrator leads them through the visible star formations. Children are encouraged to ask questions and the program is intended to be interactive to maintain children’s interest throughout. All ages from young to adult are welcome to take part for free year round.
This list should provide some ideas to help structure a family vacation to San Diego that is filled with enough activities to keep the children happy while not breaking the bank. Be sure to call individual attractions or sites prior to departing as there are many free San Diego attractions for kids that are specific to seasons or holidays. No matter what time of year you decide to visit, however, San Diego will definitely have every family member smiling.