Belmont Park is San Diego’s beachfront amusement park and entertainment center, located 1 mile west of SeaWorld. Sure to please the entire family, Belmont Park is right on the surf and sand in Mission Beach and offers free parking and free park admission. Visitors can enjoy traditional and contemporary amusement park rides for a small fee, including a historic wooden roller coaster (the Giant Dipper); play mini golf, arcade and midway-style games; shop; and enjoy an array of cuisine throughout the park, which includes beachfront restaurants as well as boardwalk fare. Visit www.belmontpark.com for more information.
Lovers of all types of marine life will delight in a tour of this world-renowned aquarium and oceanographic museum. Splendid examples of marine life from around the world are featured in more than 60 habitats and interactive displays, an education center and an artificial tide pool. Visit www.aquarium.ucsd.edu for more information.
Located in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND is a 128-acre family theme park geared for families with children ages 2 to 12. LEGOLAND offers great amusement rides, astonishingly accurate Lego brick models, lively music and a chance to let your imagination run free. Also on-site is the Sea Life Aquarium, two themed hotels and, for summer fun, LEGOLAND Water Park. Visit www.california.legoland.com for more information.
San Diego Zoo
The world-famous San Diego Zoo occupies 100 acres of Balboa Park and houses 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies and more than 700,000 exotic plants. The exhibits feature animals in their natural shared environments, and the zoo is known for its conservation work, especially with giant pandas from China. Visit www.zoo.sandiegozoo.org for more information.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The park, which is east of Escondido, is a sister facility to the San Diego Zoo. It boasts a natural habitat to wildlife and endangered species from every region of the planet. The nearly 2,000-acre wildlife preserve features more than 3,500 free-roaming animals that live in enclosures that simulate their natural habitat. Visit www.sdzsafaripark.org for more information.
SeaWorld is one of San Diego’s main tourist attractions and one of the most popular marine-life parks in the world. The founding principles of education, entertainment, research and conservation make SeaWorld an ideal place to learn about, enjoy and gain an appreciation for some of the ocean’s most fascinating animals. Spread across 189 acres on beautiful Mission Bay, SeaWorld San Diego is known for its animal shows, interactive attractions, aquariums, rides, beautiful landscaping, dining facilities and education programs for all ages. SeaWorld exhibits range from the Penguin Encounter to the underwater viewing tunnel of the Shark Encounter. Visit www.seaworldparks.com/seaworld-sandiego for more information.
SeaWorld also has a water park in Chula Vista. Aquatica San Diego blends up-close animal experiences, water from serene to extreme, high-speed thrills and a sandy beach. Visit www.aquatica.com/san-diego for more information.