San Diego
Family-friendly Activities

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Our most recommended San Diego Family-friendly Activities

Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

1. Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

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San Diego: Harbor Cruise

2. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

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San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

3. San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

Marvel at the amazing views of San Diego Bay as you look out for sightings of marine wildlife including dolphins, sea lions, gray whales, and more. Your tour will be led by ocean experts as you get a deeper understanding of the ocean ecosystem and the sea creatures that live in it. Discover the San Diego coast on a two-story whale watching yacht, featuring 360-degree views from the main level and upper sundeck, multiple restrooms, and free guest WiFi. You will follow the whale migration path to bring you up close for the best sighting spots, which change every day. Early in the season, whales swim closer to the coast, so the maximum distance is about 3-5 miles. On their return trip, northbound whales swim further out, up to 9-12 miles off the coast. Make sure to wear layers as it can get pretty cool on the bay and don't forget to wear your sunscreen and hat while on this excursion. Bring your camera to capture all the memories you'll make on this exciting adventure.

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San Diego Zoo: 1-Day Admission Ticket

4. San Diego Zoo: 1-Day Admission Ticket

Visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,500 rare and endangered animals, and experience their worlds at the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, and other areas. The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is known for its naturalistic habitats and unique animal encounters. An urban paradise for all ages, the San Diego Zoo is a must-see in Southern California. Winding paths through the tropical oasis of a botanical garden bring you to the zoo‘s rare and fascinating animals, including koalas, Galápagos tortoises, tigers, eagles, flamingos, great apes, and more. Other exotic animals you may encounter include Sichuan takins, Buerger’s tree-kangaroos, arctic foxes, pangolin, and Visayan warty pigs. Explore Africa Rocks to discover penguins, baboons, the mysterious fossa, weaver birds, and other unique creatures. The festive, lively atmosphere makes the San Diego Zoo a great place for family fun and gathering friends. Discover the wonders of wildlife with animal encounters, interactive experiences, and exciting animal presentations and shows. The Zoo’s 17 Galápagos tortoises are now at home at the Fetter Family Galápagos Tortoise Exhibit. When keepers are present, you can pet and occasionally feed the tortoises over a short rock barrier. At the Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge, you can get closer to polar bears than ever before. Climb aboard an Arctic research helicopter, crawl into a bear den, or measure yourself against the size of a polar bear. The Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey is a 7.5-acre habitat and a first-of-its-kind experience. This area combines the fun of a zoo with the experience of a museum by creating an untamed landscape of animals from the past and present. A leader in animal care and conservation, the San Diego Zoo is at the heart of the San Diego experience.

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90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour

5. 90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour

Splash into San Diego’s most unique sightseeing tour. See the best of San Diego on land and in the water. Take a seat on the San Diego SEAL tour, an adventure that takes you through the most interesting sights in the city before heading out into the harbor of San Diego. Your 90-minute fully-narrated tour will wind through picturesque San Diego streets before splashing into the water for a cruise of San Diego Bay. On land, you will pass the Embarcadero and San Diego International Airport. You will learn about the importance of the military in San Diego and other San Diego icons as you travel along the scenic coast. Once you splash into the Big Bay, you will glide by Navy ships, tugboats and fishing vessels throughout the harbor as you listen to stories of early sailors. Experience the history and ecological wonders of San Diego in the comfort and security of a virtually unsinkable Hydra-Terra. Driven by our experienced captains, these amphibious vehicles are specially designed and built to navigate on both sea and land. Each one is Coast Guard approved and meets all passenger vehicle and department of transportation requirements to ensure safety and comfort for all. Both tour bus and boat, the San Diego SEAL journeys through San Diego by land and sea. Our unique amphibious vehicles are Coast Guard approved, ensuring you a safe, one of a kind experience. Relax and enjoy amazing views during the best sightseeing adventure in San Diego.

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San Diego Zoo Safari Park 1-Day Ticket

6. San Diego Zoo Safari Park 1-Day Ticket

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an adventurer’s safari paradise in Southern California. The 1,800-acre Safari Park is home to more than 3,000 animals representing more than 375 species—many living in wide, open field enclosures. So jump onto one of our thrilling array of tours and create memories of adventure for you and your family – all while benefiting the conservation of species here and in more than 35 countries across the globe. Welcome to a land of volcanoes, tropical rain forests, a treasure trove of biodiversity—and tigers. Sumatra is home to the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, along with other endangered species such as orangutans, rhinos, and elephants. Tiger Trail provides a journey to discover tigers and their current struggles within their island world. Lion Camp - Get nose to nose with our African lion pride—literally! Bring the kids up close to see lions that may come right up to the glass to check you out. Heart of Africa - The winding trails take you through an African forest and savanna to a serene lake. Stop and cool off at Jamison Research Island. Elephant Overlook - An elevated walkway takes you out where you can get a closer look at our Elephant Cam stars. Don't miss the youngsters born right here! Hidden Jungle - Enter our tropical greenhouse and experience a habitat of exotic birds, insect, and plants, home to our annual Butterfly Jungle event. Wings of the World Aviary - Everything in this free-flight aviary is designed to approximate the natural turf for over 140 birds of 40 species. Condor Ridge - Follow the trail of North American habitats and animals to see bighorn sheep and learn the great conservation story of the California condors. Other activities included in your admission: Elephant Enrichment - Watch our elephant herd enjoy morning treats. Discovery Station - This kid-friendly area is filled with musical instruments, puppets, books, craft activities, and wildlife “toys” and is designed to give children and their adult companions a playful space for animal-themed fun. Savanna Cool Zone - Walk through palm trees offering a gentle mist to three slippery critters that spout water: a turtle, a lion, and a crocodilian. Jameson Research Island Interpretive Center. Africa Tram Safari - Guided tour rides depart 10 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. daily (The Africa Tram Safari is an exciting expedition with brightly colored tour vehicles and our diverse animal collection creating a relaxing adventure. Lorikeet Landing - Watch our colorful rainbow lorikeets swoop down to enjoy nectar offered by guests. Exhibit entrance if free; lorikeet food is available for purchase to experience the thrill of feeding these birds by hand. Petting Kraal - Touch gentle deer and antelope. Have you “herd”? with Robert the Zebra - Robert the Zebra lives in digital, animated form on a large screen, where he can see the people who have come to visit. He asks questions, cracks jokes, talks about zebra life, and is very curious about humans. Frequent Flyers® Bird Show - An East African crowned crane in flight is a stunning sight viewed by only a privileged few, until now! The crane is one of the stars of the Park’s bird show, Frequent Flyers. The program lets you witness birds in full flight and focuses on a variety of birds from around the world. Animal Encounters - This interactive program gives you an opportunity to have face-to-face contact with the Park’s animal ambassadors like a cheetah, alligator, serval, and other rare and exotic animals. You may interact with trainers and ask questions about the species. Cheetah Tales - Come meet our cheetah ambassadors in Heart of Africa. Note: Schedules may vary or be canceled due to weather or animal health needs.

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San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

7. San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

San Diego is one of the best locations to watch whales year-round. Gray Whales migrate winter-spring from feeding grounds in Alaskan waters to calving lagoons in Baja California and back. In summer, the legendary Blue Whales, the largest animals on Earth, commonly feed off-shore of the San Diego coast. You may also spot Fin, Blue, Humpback, and Minke whales during the summer whale watching season. Additionally, you'll often see pods of Dolphins including Risso’s, Common, Pacific White-Sided, and Bottlenose Dolphins. Your captain will also highlight other wildlife such as Sea Lions, various fish like Mola Mola (Sunfish), and a variety of marine birds such as Herons, Terns, Pelicans, and Gulls.  View these extraordinary mammals in the wild on this spectacular cruise. The expert crew will help you locate these creatures and additional marine wildlife, such as dolphins and sea lions. Learn about marine life and local environmental efforts from professional captains and whalers who work at the San Diego Natural History Museum. You may even spot a whale calf traveling with its mother as they return from the Arctic. This is a fantastic and exhilarating journey for all age groups. Guaranteed whale or dolphin sighting. If you don't sight some type of whale or dolphin during the cruise, you'll be issued a pass that's good for another San Diego whale watching or harbor cruise. San Diego is quickly becoming one of the world’s best whale watching locations. The city is home to whales, dolphins, and sea birds, and features one of the world's most beautiful coastlines.  Enjoy live educational narration from captains and trained naturalists employed by the Natural History Museum.  Watch blue whales and dolphins in comfort on a large, fast, and stable boat!

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San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

8. San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

Activities, attractions, and tours included on the Go San Diego All-Inclusive pass: THEME PARKS & ZOOS• San Diego Zoo • SeaWorld San Diego• San Diego Zoo Safari Park• Belmont Park• Knott's Berry Farm• LEGOLAND California OUTDOORS• San Diego Speedboat Adventures• La Jolla: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• La Jolla: Full-Day Snorkel Adventure• La Jolla: All-Day Bike Rental• La Jolla: Surfboard Rental• La Jolla: Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Rental• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr SUP• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr Kayak Rental• San Diego Harbor: 1-hr Pedal Boat Rental• Coronado: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• Coronado: SUP Board Rental• Coronado: Full-Day Bike Rental• San Diego Pier Fishing TOURS & CRUISES• 1-hr San Diego Harbor cruise by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watch & Dolphin Tour - Beautiful Newport Beach• San Diego Hiking Tour• San Diego Beach Tour• San Diego City Tour• Catalina Flyer (ferry to Catalina Island)• One Way Coronado Ferry• PETCO Park tour• GoCar San Diego 30-min tour• Dolby Theater Tour MUSEUMS & PLACES OF INTEREST• USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum• Japanese Friendship Garden• San Diego Air and Space Museum• San Diego Natural History Museum• The Fleet Science Center with IMAX• Birch Aquarium at Scripps• San Diego Museum of Man• San Diego Automotive Museum• San Diego Model Railroad Museum• San Diego Museum of Art• The New Children's Museum• The Whaley House Museum• Coronado Museum of History and Art• Museum of Photographic Arts• Museum of Contemporary Art (Downtown)• San Diego Art Institute• The Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House• Mingei International Museum• San Diego History Center• Living Coast Discovery Center• Museum of Making Music• Hollywood Museum• UTC Ice Sports Center• South Coast Shop & Dine Package The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is an all-access attraction pass offering the ultimate in convenience, savings, and flexibility for visitors to the area. Choose a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7-day pass and save up to 55% compared to the cost of full retail admissions. Enjoy the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND, The U.S.S. Midway, Harbor Excursions, the New Children’s Museum and more. A total of over 50 attractions and tours are included with your pass.  The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass comes with a digital guide including helpful attraction information including how to get there and opening times.

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Grand Baja Mexico Tour

9. Grand Baja Mexico Tour

Bienvenidos a Mexico! In our Baja Mexico Grand Tour, your adventure begins as we cross into Mexico and visit Tijuana, the fourth largest city in Mexico. We will go on a cultural sightseeing tour of the area with stops at: the Cultural Center, the Tijuana Bullring, the Tijuana Zoo, and the Tijuana Tower. We will also have time for some shopping along Avenidad Revolution. This street is the main shopping Mecca south of the border with more than 400 different types of shops that will entice you to bargain like the locals for your Mexican curios. Then it's off to Puerto Nuevo Lobster Village, once a small fisherman town, it is now home to over 50 different restaurants offering the specialty of the house, Puerto Nuevo style lobster meals. This lobster meal is a Pacific Ocean Lobster deep fried to perfection, along with unlimited rice, beans and a welcome Margarita!   After lunch (included) enjoy some time to relax along the Pacific Ocean as Mariachis serenade you. After this memorable experience we will travel to Rosarito Beach which was once the Mexican Hollywood during the 1920's. Now it is a blooming beachside community with endless opportunities to visit the beach, go horseback riding or ATV riding along the sandy beaches. You'll have the time of your life.

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San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: 2-Day Entry Ticket

10. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park: 2-Day Entry Ticket

Experience the best of two worlds with a two-day admission ticket to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Widely regarded as the best in the world, the San Diego Zoo has open-air enclosures and puts an emphasis on animal welfare and conservation. Its sister Safari Park boasts wide open spaces for its many animals to roam freely, mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible.   Explore the San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,500 rare and endangered animals. Experience their worlds at the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, and other areas. Winding paths through the tropical oasis of a botanical garden bring you to the zoo’s rare and fascinating animals, including koalas, Galápagos tortoises, tigers, eagles, flamingos, great apes, and more. The festive, lively atmosphere makes this zoo a great place for family fun and gathering friends. Discover the wonders of wildlife with animal encounters, interactive experiences, and exciting animal presentations and shows.   The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is an adventurer’s safari paradise in Southern California. The 1,800-acre park is home to more than 3,000 animals representing more than 375 species, many living in wide open field enclosures. Join one of many tours and create memories for you and your family. Visit Sumatra and see tigers, orangutans, rhinos, and elephants. Tiger Trail provides a journey to discover tigers and learn about their current struggles. In Lion Camp, come nose to nose with an African lion pride. And best of all, your participation contributes to the conservation of species here and in more than 35 countries across the globe.

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Other Sightseeing Options in San Diego

Want to discover all there is to do in San Diego? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about San Diego

We really enjoyed the harbor cruise while visiting San Diego for a few days. We toured both the north and south harbors and got to see beautiful views from the water and picked up fun tidbits of information from our tour guide.

The check-in was smooth, and the family-owned cruise was a peaceful experience. It is an activity suitable for family members of all ages. The narrator on-board shared his expertise for those of us wanting to explore and learn.

Fun and informative commentary. We had to turn back due to weather, but got a voucher to use for another time that won’t expire.

It was fun learning more about balboa park and something the whole family could do together

Good drinks and nice atmosphere it was very educational I enjoyed myself