Posts Tagged ‘Outdoor fun’
Avoiding the Tourist Trap
A reader from Michigan recently contacted me asking for a blog post on the free and low cost outdoor things to do in San Diego instead of just the “tourist trap” attractions and museums.
I love the topic, but need to clarify that the attractions and museums we write about are not at all tourist traps. When we buy annual passes, family memberships or take advantage of one of the numerous special promotions that occur each year, I feel we get MORE than our money’s worth of entertainment and education. Our museums and attractions are awesome and are a major reason why I think San Diego is the best place to raise kids.
However, I am happy to dedicate today’s post to the free and low cost outdoor things San Diego has to offer, especially for those moms like our Michigan reader who might not be aware of just how much America’s Finest City has to offer families.
First, I’ll state the obvious: BEACHES
Tide pooling, sea glass collecting, sand castle building.
Learn to sail, learn to paddle board, learn to swim, surf, snorkel or scuba dive.
Watch the whales, the dolphins or sea lions. Watch our gorgeous sunsets and try to catch the elusive green flash.
We have found that the bay is best for little kids. Mission Bay with its large park and fire pits is super popular for parties, especially when you’re craving s’mores. Our favorite bay spot is Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach, which is more of a neighborhood hangout than tourist attraction.
When visitors think San Diego, they may not be thinking lakes, but our lovely lakes are terrific for picnics, duck feeding, fishing and paddle boating. Santee Lakes is our favorite with its playground, water sprayground, fishing and family-friendly events like the upcoming Spring Eggstravaganza.
A few years ago Santee Lakes built waterfront cabins, and we’ve thought many times about spending a weekend in one. If cabin camping sounds like fun for your family, take a look now, because these cabins sell out months in advance!
San Diego’s nature reserves and lagoons offer family fun in the form of hiking, exploring and bird watching. Many families enjoy volunteering for lagoon clean up and restoration days. It’s a great way to enjoy San Diego’s natural beauty while giving back to our beautiful community.
HIKING AND BIKING
While not always kid-friendly, San Diego offers numerous opportunities for hiking and biking including Balboa Park, Cowles Mountain (which I can see from my backyard!) and Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is gorgeous. Our kids are just at the right age to give Torrey Pines a try, so it’s on the list for spring time family outings.
The boardwalks through Pacific Beach and Coronado are fun for walking, strolling, scooters and bikes as are the paths at Lake Murray and Lake Hodges. Mission Trails Regional Park is a really nice place to hike with kids, plus they offer guided tours, art classes, nature study classes and other special events throughout the year. The annual Explore Mission Trails Day is coming up on May 18th.
Check out this month’s article in San Diego Magazine for more great outdoor ideas.
San Diego has parks on the beach, parks next to lakes, parks in neighborhoods, urban parks, toddler-specific parks…we have no shortage of parks for sure. In addition to our lovely neighborhood parks, we love Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach, the park at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Kellogg Park at La Jolla Shores.
SDplaygrounds.com is far from a perfect website, but it’s the best I’ve found to help families find the perfect park. The mom who created it doesn’t even live here anymore, but she and her toddler sons spent many months researching and recording all of the parks listed on the site. A really cool feature is that visitors to the site can add their own updates and photos.
It was another beautiful day in San Diego. Did you do something outdoors that was free and fun? Share it here!
FREE Demo Day with Super Soccer Stars!
Saturday, September 20th
Carmel Mission Park – (Corner of Carmel Country and Carmel Mission Road)
9:00 – 9:40am: 2-3 year olds
9:45 – 10:30am: 3-young 4 year olds
10:35 – 11:25am: Older 4-5 year olds
9:45 – 10:45am: 5-7 year olds
10:50 – 11:50am: 8-10 year olds
Spaces are limited, so be sure to save your spot!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619.577.4009!
Super Soccer Stars teaches soccer skills to children 2 and older in a fun, non-competitive and educational environment. Through our age-specific curriculum, we use soccer to nurture, build self-confidence and develop teamwork. Low child-to-coach ratios and positive reinforcement ensure that each child improves at his or her own pace while having a blast!
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Boys (and girls!) who love things that “go” have a lot to love in (and near) San Diego. Here are some favorite ways kids can enjoy automation and aviation…
Located at 1960 Joe Crosson Drive in El Cajon, Gillespie Field hosts an annual air show in June, is home to a San Diego Air & Space Museum annex and features the Gillespie Field Cafe.
Located at 3750 John J Montgomery Drive in the Kearny Mesa area, Montgomery Field has three runways, meaning lots of plane traffic. Casa Machado Mexican restaurant sits atop the main terminal building, offering very good food and even better views of the planes.
Featuring meticulously restored aircraft from World War II to Operation Desert Storm, the USS Midway aircraft carrier is one of San Diego’s most popular attractions. Featuring an annual 4th of July event with excellent views of San Diego Bay fireworks, the Midway is located near Searport Village. Children under age 6 tour for free! Midway.org
Miramar Air Show
The Miramar Air Show is scheduled for October 3-5 at MCAS Miramar. This annual event features the Blue Angels, Navy Leap Frog parachute teams, aircraft displays, fireworks and more. Miramarairshow.com
Air & Space Museum
Aviation history unfolds at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, located in Balboa Park. The museum offers educational camps, birthday parties and has a small children’s play area. Sandiegoairandspace.org
Offering “open cockpit days” throughout the summer, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is located at MCAS Miramar and honors the contributions of marine aviators. Flyingleathernecks.org
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association
This non-profit educational organization is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of railroads as they existed in the Pacific Southwest. Although it operates the small La Mesa Depot Museum, open on Saturdays from 1 – 4 p.m., the museum is better known for its weekend excursions on portions of the San Diego & Arizona Railway utilizing actual vintage equipment, and special events like the North Pole Limited ride with Santa. Sdrm.org/npl
Poway Midland Railroad
The Poway-Midland Railroad is a full-size, narrow-gauge railroad in Old Poway Park that carries passengers aboard vintage and antique railroad equipment. The railroad is owned by the City of Poway, and operated as a non-profit. The trains run on Saturdays and Sundays. Fairs range from .50 for kids and up to $2.50 for adults. powaymidlandrr.org
Balboa Park Miniature Railroad
Take a 3-minute, ½-mile trip through four acres of Balboa Park on the San Diego Zoo’s model G16 – a rare antique with as few as fifty currently remaining. The train runs on Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays. Tickets are $3 for anyone over age 1.
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Enjoy one the largest indoor model railroad displays in the world right here in San Diego. Residents can visit for free on the first Tuesday of each month, and children 5 and younger are always free. The museum offers summer camps and birthday parties. Sdmrm.org
The North County Transit District operates the Coaster commuter train, which runs between Oceanside and downtown San Diego. Families can take the Coaster to Padres games and the fair, students can take advantage of a classroom day pass program, and each December hundreds take the 90-minute Holiday Express train ride, mingling and singing with Santa, Mrs. Claus and The Grinch. Gonctd.com
San Diego Trolley
Our city’s red trolley is a great way to reach family-friendly destinations like Qualcomm Stadium for Chargers games and Petco Park for Padres games, but it’s also fun for kids to simply ride the trolley to nowhere in particular. Children 5 and younger are free with any paid passenger. Sdmts.com
Orange Empire Railway Museum
While not in San Diego, Day Out With Thomas is worth the 1.5 hour drive to Perris, CA for Thomas-crazy kids. This annual November event offers children and their grownups the opportunity to take a 25-minute ride with the classic story book friend Thomas the Tank Engine and meet Sir Topham Hatt. Oerm.org
Lee’s Kiddie Train
It’s fun to make a trip to the mall with mom when you get to climb aboard the adorable train at Westfield UTC. Don’t forget to bring your mom’s guide BOGO ad for your next visit!
Whether they love race cars, police cars, garbage trucks, military vehicles, school buses, your kids will love Touch-a-Truck. If it has wheels you’re likely to find it at the annual Touch-a-Truck event. Touchatrucksd.com
San Diego Automotive Museum
The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park offers a wonderful selection of vintage and classic American and European vehicles and motorcycles. Kids 6 and younger visit for free, and residents are free on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Sdautomuseum.org
Back to the 50s
The La Mesa Car Show transports kids and adults “back to the 50s” every Thursday night in June, July and August. Lmvma.com
Soccer Shots: THE Children’s Soccer Experience Developing Stronger Youth
Introduce your child to the wonderful world of sports through Soccer Shots, starting at age 2!
Soccer Shots is for families who want the best for their young children (2+ years), are actively engaged in their education and are looking for a fun and age appropriate sports activity.
Soccer Shots is THE Children’s Soccer Experience that introduces children to soccer with a focus on character development.
- We are a national organization of caring individuals positively impacting children’s lives through memorable and engaging experiences.
- Our carefully selected coaches are passionate about teaching children, have an intimate knowledge of soccer and are professionally trained in using our acclaimed, creative and non-competitive curricula.
- We provide timely rich communication to families about their child’s enthusiastic participation and the Soccer Shots experience.
Who? We have a 2 year old specific program, a 3-5 year old program and also a 6-8 year old program. Each age group curriculum is different and extremely age appropriate.
What? We focus on having FUN, while guiding kids through imaginative type games that teach basic soccer skills but that also give us the venue to teach the kids the positive character traits that come along with being part of a group and a team and having a coach.
Why? Development of your child’s Confidence, Character, Teamwork, Coordination, and Imagination are all vital to their success in life.
Come try a class for FREE and see why Soccer Shots has been rated the #1 Children’s Fitness Program in the USA by Entrepreneur Magazine year after year.
For more information and to see a schedule of weekly classes at park locations close to you visit www.SoccerShots.org/SDCC, call 619-566-9566 or email email@example.com.
Summer of Soccer
USA! USA! USA!
If your home is like mine, the World Cup is on whether USA is playing or not. Haven’t you heard? Summer is for Soccer!
If your family has soccer fever, check out Soccer Shots World Cup Summer Camps.
My kids have played two seasons of Soccer Shots camps, and both my son and daughter loved the coaches, learned a lot and want to go back again! This weekend Soccer Shots is offering free trial classes, and I’m excited to be able to give one lucky mom’s guide reader a FREE week of summer camp.
Each week this summer, Soccer Shots is offering half-days of action packed fun. Children are split into two different age groups (3-5 years & 6-10 years) and each camp curriculum includes the World Cup, player skill development, and character development.
Soccer Shots camps feature:
• Energetic, professional coaches
• 1:10 coach to player ratio
• Individual soccer skill development
• Team building
• Fun fitness activities
• Coordination, balance, and agility development
• World Cup lesson-of-the-day
Every Camper Receives:
• Soccer Shots T-shirt
• Special end of camp prize
• Summer Camp certificate
• Player evaluation
To enter to win, simply list which Soccer Shots location would work best for your family in the comment section. Choose from:
Carmel Valley / Del Mar
Pacific Beach / La Jolla
Mira Mesa / Sorrento Valley
Mission Valley / Serra Mesa
For more information, please visit SoccerShots.org, or contact Jim Hill at 619-566-9566 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soccer Shots World Cup Camp winner will be selected this Thursday morning while USA is playing. Go Team!
Treat Your Pumpkin to the Fall Harvest Festival
Looking for a sweet way to celebrate the season with your little pumpkin that doesn’t involve huge crowds and spending lots of money?
If yes, join me on Sunday, October 5th for San Diego’s annual Fall Harvest Festival where for just $10 per child (adults are free), your family will enjoy the kid-friendly tunes of Hullabaloo Band, pumpkin decorating, animal encounters, face painting, crafts, obstacle courses, bounce houses, story time activities, professional photos and more.
That’s right…more…and for only $10 per child. No activity tickets or long lines.
We have loved the Fall Harvest Festival for years. I keep waiting for Mal & Gage to outgrow it, but every year the Parent Connection adds something else we want to try. This year it’s laser tag for the older kids. They’re also looking forward to the “spooky” petting zoo and meeting a skunk and lizards up close.
The Fall Harvest Festival will be held in Carmel Mountain Ranch at Manna’s Martial Arts. Activities will be held both indoors and outdoors. Food trucks will serve up lunch and tasty treats like gluten free cupcakes and organic cotton candy. Hope to see you there!
Oct. 5, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Manna’s Martial Arts
12285-B World Trade Drive
San Diego 92128 (in Carmel Mountain Ranch near The Home Depot)
$8/child for Parent Connection members before Oct. 1
$10/child for nonmembers
$10/child on or after Oct. 1
Children under 1 year old and adults will be admitted FREE
Tickets on sale now at www.sandiegoparent.com
Tickets will be sold at the door