Are you searching for San Diego Zoo discount tickets? Well, stop the search and start the savings with Reserve San Diego. We make it easy to save money while going wild at America’s favorite zoo.

Instead of waiting in the never-ending ticket lines, purchase your tickets from Reserve San Diego for extraordinary savings and convenience. You’ll spend less money and more time exploring one of the top zoos in the world!

San Diego Zoo discount tickets

What to Expect at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo offers 100-acres of endless animal fun with 4,000 rare and endangered creatures of more than 650 species, as well as more than 700,000 exotic plants. From lions to crocodiles, there’s something wild to see around every corner.

Some of the wild animals you’ll encounter along the way include:

  • Camels
  • Bonobos
  • Elephants
  • Flamingos
  • Wolves
  • King Cobras
  • Tropical Birds


Of course, that’s only a handful of the 4,000+ rare and endangered animals at the San Diego Zoo! In addition to animal exhibits, the San Diego Zoo boasts a myriad of experiences you don’t want to pass up.

The Guided Bus Tour is one of the best ways to maximize your experience at the zoo. This 35-minute bus ride is included in your San Diego Zoo tickets and offers a narrated tour of the zoo. Keep an eye out for your favorite animals!

If you’d rather see the zoo from up above, head over to the Skyfari® Aerial Tram for an unparalleled sky-high experience. Although, if your family prefers to keep both feet on the ground, check out the zoo’s 4-D Theaters and Animal Shows for a wild time!

Tips for Visiting the San Diego Zoo

Once you’ve got your San Diego Zoo discount tickets from Reserve San Diego, you’ll likely want to know how to best plan your day. Luckily, we’ve got you covered there too! Watch this quick video for everything you need to know about visiting the San Diego Zoo.

More Ways to Save at the San Diego Zoo

Having San Diego Zoo discount tickets is only the start of your savings. Save even more money with these tips:

Free Parking
The San Diego Zoo offers free guest parking, so there’s no need to take extra cash out of the ATM for the day.

Bring Your Own Stroller
If possible, we recommend saving money and bringing your own stroller. However, if needed, stroller and wheelchair rentals are available from the zoo on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pack a Lunch
To save money, pack a lunch for your family. You are allowed to leave the zoo and return, so long as you get your hand stamped on the way out. Pack a lunch and have a picnic at the designated areas around the park. Remember, that while you can bring food into the park, coolers and large containers are not permitted.

Purchase the 2-Day/2-Park Pass
If you’re visiting the San Diego Zoo, you’ll want to also visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. To get the most for your dollar, purchase the 2-Day/2-Park San Diego Zoo discount tickets from Reserve San Diego. The best part is that you have the choice to use the admission for both parks or two days in one park. It’s completely up to you!

San Diego Zoo discount tickets

Save Big with San Diego Zoo Discount Tickets

For a wild family vacation, head over to Reserve San Diego and purchase your San Diego Zoo discount tickets today!

Have you been searching far and wide for a water park the entire family will enjoy? If so, Aquatica San Diego (by SeaWorld) should be your top choice. From thrilling water slides to private cabanas, this water park has it all. Before you go, read our Aquatica San Diego tips to guarantee your family has the time of their lives.

Aquatica San Diego Tips


1. Arrive as Early as Possible

To ensure a safe and exciting experience for all guests, Aquatica San Diego has a limited per-day capacity. Arriving as early as possible will confirm your family’s entrance to the water park. Otherwise, you may be faced with a full water park and some unhappy family members.

While Aquatica San Diego’s hours of operation vary per day, the park opens daily at 10:00 am.

2. Bring Extra Money for Parking

A day at a water park can add up quickly between tickets, food, and other extraneous expenses. When visiting Aquatica San Diego, always make sure you have extra money for parking. The parking fees are as follows:

  • $15 for Cars
  • $20 for RVs
  • $10 for Motorcycles


Remember, arriving early will also help you claim the best parking spots!

Aquatica San Diego Tips

Image via Aquatica San Diego / Facebook

3. Know What to Bring

When visiting a popular water park such as Aquatica San Diego, it is best to be prepared. Make sure you bring the following items for your trip:

  • Appropriate swim attire
  • Towels
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses


If you wish to bring a personal life vest, it must be in good condition and clearly marked with a USCG – Type II or Type III approval. Life vests must also be approved and tagged by Aquatica San Diego staff in order to be worn. Also, note that the park does offer life vests free of charge for guests.

4. Know What Not to Bring

Listen up! This is one of the most important Aquatica San Diego tips.

To provide a safe environment for all guests, Aquatica San Diego does not allow the following items into the park:

  • Flotation devices such as noodles, swimmies, in-suit flotation devices, personal swim rings, and boogie boards
  • Swim masks
  • Coolers of any kind
  • Umbrellas
  • Wagons for carrying children/items
  • Furniture such as folding chairs


As a family-friendly water park, Aquatica San Diego offers a world of amenities for guests. Many of the services and items you need are already offered within the park.

5. Don’t Bring Outside Food

Aquatica San Diego does not allow guests to bring outside food or beverages into the water park. However, for frugal individuals like myself, there are a few ways to navigate around this rule:

  • Empty refillable water bottles may be brought into the park.
  • Have a picnic in the designated area outside the park before entering.
  • To purchase more affordable food outside the park and return, remember to have your hand stamped.


I highly recommend bringing in a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. Just remember to empty all liquid before you pass through the water park entrance.

6. Know What Your Family Can/Cannot Eat

Speaking of food…

Aquatica San Diego understands that guests may have specific food allergies or dietary restrictions. To accommodate this, the park has created “Allergen Cards” that detail what guests can and cannot eat. Simply visit Guest Services or any of the meal areas throughout the park to request your card. If you have questions, ask to speak with a supervisor about your particular restrictions. The staff is happy to help you find something tasty and safe to eat!

Aquatica San Diego Tips

Image via Aquatica San Diego / Facebook

7. Reserve a Private Cabana

As one of my personal favorite Aquatica San Diego tips, I suggest reserving a private cabana for your family. When you reserve a cabana, you can choose from Standard, Premium, or Ultimate cabanas which each offer a wide variety of amenities including:

  • Wi-Fi
  • A private area for your family to relax
  • A welcome basket
  • Mini-fridge
  • Bottled water
  • And more


Considering the limited capacity of the park, these reservations fill up fast! Be sure to book yours well in advance.

8. Rent a Locker

Carrying your bags and items around the water park is not ideal. Instead, rent the locker size that suits your family and enjoy a carefree day at Aquatica San Diego. Standard lockers are available for $12, large lockers for $15, and jumbo lockers for $20.

9. Take Advantage of the Cashless Wristband

Remember the days when you’d have to carry a plastic Ziploc bag with your cash/credit cards and other personal items around the park and on rides? Say goodbye to that pesky plastic bag and “Hello!” to cashless wristbands at Aquatica San Diego.

Cashless wristbands allow families to splash, swim, and play to their heart’s desire without worrying about or carrying their monetary belongings. When you arrive, present your credit card to pre-authorize $50 for your wristband. When you use up this amount, the system will automatically pre-authorize another $50 to your wristband.

To pay, all you have to do is scan your wristband at any meal service or gift shop register.

Tips for Aquatica San Diego

Use Quick Queue to head to the front of the line!

10. Use the Quick Queue

Considering this park is quite popular, one of the ultimate Aquatica San Diego tips is to use the Quick Queue option. By purchasing this additional experience, you’ll receive priority (and speedy) boarding on some of the top water park rides including:

  • Kiwi Curl
  • Walhalla Wave®
  • Whanau Way
  • Tassie’s Twister
  • Woohoo Falls®


Instead of spending the majority of your days waiting in line, you’ll already be speeding down the waterslides you love most!

Use These Aquatica San Diego Tips for a Memorable Experience

For a smooth and enjoyable day at the water park for all, be sure to follow our Aquatica San Diego tips.

Bonus tip: don’t forget to purchase your Aquatica San Diego tickets from Reserve San Diego for exceptional savings and to skip the ticket line!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could spend an entire family vacation relaxing by the beach? While it sounds ideal, it’s not realistic for those traveling with kids. The beach can only provide so much entertainment. Instead, turn your trip into an exhilarating learning experience by visiting these eight educational things to do in San Diego.

Your kids will love the hands-on activities, historic landmarks, and wild adventures and you’ll love all that they learn. It’s a win-win vacation for everyone!

Let your kids explore their creative side at the New Children’s Museum. Photo via the New Children’s Museum / Facebook.

The New Children’s Museum

For interactive activities and endless learning, bring your family to the New Children’s Museum. This particular museum focuses on art-related activities with the goal of promoting creativity among kids. In addition to the mesmerizing and engaging art installations, the museum also offers art projects, labs, and activities for kids and adults alike to enjoy.

Currently on display is the Sketch Aquarium, where ocean drawings come to life! You do not want to bypass this interactive exhibit that’s making waves (literally) throughout San Diego.

Educational Things to Do in San Diego

Your kids will discover an underwater world at Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Speaking of aquariums…

Instead of sitting by the ocean, why not learn about the thousands of animals and plants that live in it? Boasting more than 5,000 fish in 60+ habitats, it’s no wonder that Birch Aquarium at Scripps is one of the most popular educational things to do in San Diego. Watch as your kids learn about everything from sea turtles to seahorses in a single day. Don’t forget to catch the shark tank feeding!

From giraffes to cheetahs, your family can experience it all at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Do your kids love animals? I bet they do. All families should visit the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. After all, what trip would be complete without visiting these iconic San Diego attractions?

At the zoo, your kids can learn about the entire animal kingdom while coming face-to-face with their favorite animals. With more than 650 species onsite, you’ll have a wild time exploring everything the zoo has to offer. But the animal fun doesn’t stop there.

At San Diego Zoo Safari Park, your entire family can embark on a one-of-a-kind safari and learn about endangered animals from around the globe. For an exceptional safari experience, use these quick tips.

Learn about life aboard the USS Midway at this one-of-a-kind museum in San Diego.

USS Midway Museum

Also among the many educational things to do in San Diego is the USS Midway Museum. Guests can climb aboard this historic naval aircraft carrier and experience a day in the life of a sailor. The museum has onsite docents who have served in the Navy and even served on the USS Midway. Your children will love walking around the ship, checking out the flight simulators, talking to the sailors, and listening to the self-guided audio tour.

Check out restored historic vessels at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Maritime Museum of San Diego

For even more historic and nautical fun, bring your family to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. This intriguing museum has a global reputation for exceptional vessel restoration and captivating educational exhibits.

Kids can explore historic vessels including a 1914 tall ship, an 1898 steam ferry, and an accurate replica of an 18th century Royal Navy frigate. The museum also hosts revolving special exhibits and festivals all year long for even more fun. What’s even better than touring these vessels? Sailing in one! For an additional charge, the museum offers various sailing experiences including whale watching tours.

Enjoy hands-on science activities at the Fleet Science Center. Photo via Fleet Science Center / Facebook.

Fleet Science Center

Do you have a science-obsessed kid on your hands? If so, head over to the Fleet Science Center for a world of immersive learning opportunities. From IMAX movies to self-guided exhibits, the Fleet Science Center has everything a science-loving kid could possibly want. Your child can learn about the science behind constructing a building, discover the cells of the human body, create their own inventions, and more all in one place.

With so much to do, see, and learn, it’s easy to see why the Fleet Science Center made our list of exciting educational things to do in San Diego.

By Robert Arends (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cabrillo National Monument

The Cabrillo National Monument is one of the top tourist destinations in San Diego. The statue commemorates the moment Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to step foot on North America’s west coast in 1542.

Your first thought might be, “Sure, it’s an iconic landmark. But what can my kids learn from a statue?” The answer is: a whole lot. There is far more to do at this historic area than stare at a finely constructed statue.

At the southern end of the park, you’ll find the low tide pools. Here, your children can get a glimpse at the aquatic life living below the water. Tide pools are made up of three different zones: splash zone, the middle intertidal zone, and the subtidal zone. With different aquatic species living in each zone, your children will go on an adventure trying to find and identify each species they discover. From crabs to sea urchins, there’s a whole universe to be explored in the Cabrillo National Monument tide pools.

While at the monument, your family can also see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse that has watched over the bay since 1855. Although the lighthouse no longer operates, guests are invited to learn more about the history of the San Diego Bay and the famous lighthouse.

17 museums. Multiple performing arts venues. Tons of gardens and trails. One educational experience.

Balboa Park

Once you step foot in Balboa Park, you’ll see why it is arguably one of the top educational things to do in San Diego. Noted as “where culture, science, and nature collide” the park boasts 17 museums, several performing arts venues, spacious gardens, various trails, and other educational attractions.

Your family can easily spend more than one day exploring all that the park has to offer, from the Japanese Friendship Garden to the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT). For the ultimate experience (and best savings), I recommend purchasing the Go San Diego Card.

Visit San Diego for the Best in Educational Fun

Clearly, there isn’t a shortage of educational things to do in San Diego. From soaring in a flight simulator to coming up close with a giraffe, the learning opportunities are endless. Start planning your educational San Diego adventure by visiting Reserve San Diego today.


One hundred aces, 3,700 animals, and over 650 species – this is the San Diego Zoo. A true modern marvel, the zoo is one of the finest in America and should be a part of any San Diego vacations nearly impossible to see it all during one day, so it is best to have a plan of action before you enter the park. Come along as I guide you on how to make the most of your day at the zoo.


Getting Started

The San Diego Zoo offers a guided bus tour that covers 70% of the park. I suggest hopping aboard this tour to get an overview of the park before you take to the pavement. Tours depart starting at 9 am, and last about 35-45 minutes. The open air upper deck of the bus has the best animal sightseeing, so try to sit there if you can. During the tour, you’ll get to see Elephant Odyssey, Africa Rocks, Outback, Urban Jungle and Northern Frontier. I was impressed with the views of polar bears, giraffes, elephants, and lions. Plus, the tour lets you see some areas of the park you might not have time to traverse to during your day. After all, this park is massive.

The San Diego Zoo

All the Animals

Once you have a good overview of the park, it’s time to get an up-close look. Grab a San Diego Zoo map, then head to Panda Canyon.  It is an absolute must visit as the San Diego Zoo is one of the only four U.S. zoos home to these amazing mammals. Visit this attraction first thing as it is extremely popular. A baby panda born July 29, 2012, currently calls the zoo home too. If that doesn’t make you hightail it here I don’t know what will. Fill your camera with multiple “aww-inducing” shots. Then head to other areas not seen on the tour such as Lost Forest.

There are a lot of winding, hilly trails within this area but it’s worth the trek. I’m absolutely crazy about apes, so the stoic gorillas and acrobatic orangutan’s were amazing to see. At the time, the orangutan had a baby leading to infinite cute sights. In the Lost Forest, you’ll also want to hit the Tiger Trail. The open viewing areas here provide excellent observation and photographing points. Head to the hippos next. They might be hiding, but look for them. When you find them, you’ll wonder how you missed them as they are some of the largest hippos I’ve ever seen!


What’s Included with San Diego Zoo Tickets

At the Zoo a SkyFari ride is included in your one day San Diego Zoo tickets. I used it to traverse have the park in 4-minutes, and save myself some walking. Take it to the Northern Frontier to see the polar bears swim and play in their large water enclosure.   There’s still a lot to see at the Zoo, but you’re probably feeling a bit tired from all the walking. Luckily, the Kangaroo Express Bus is available in this section of the park. The Express Bus lets you hop on and off at five different stops throughout the Zoo. Just wait at one of the stops for a bus with a green Express banner to arrive, about every 15 minutes. Use the bus to see lions, elephants, giraffes and more. Don’t forget about the koala bears either!


The San Diego Zoo

Discover More

This exceptional Zoo provides an in-depth look at a diverse array of animals. With exhibits designed in a natural form and a lush botanical garden surrounding much of the park, a true habitat-inspired atmosphere thrives. Explore the San Diego Zoo for a closer look at the wild side.

Keep in mind, the earlier in the day you visit the better. The sun won’t be as warm, which many of the animals seek refuge from making them less lively. Plus, the lines and crowds aren’t as bad early in the day so you can get even better views of the animals at the zoo.

Visiting San Diego soon? If so, SeaWorld is most likely at the top of your vacation itinerary. As the premier aquatic park on the West Coast, it welcomes millions of visitors each year. Not only can you get up close and personal with amazing marine life, you can also experience incredible shows and attractions designed with families in mind.  To make the most of your day at the park, be sure to use these SeaWorld San Diego tips.

SeaWorld San Diego Tips: An Insider’s Secrets

1. Buy your tickets in advance
Not only will get to save (Reserve San Diego currently has discounts of $20!) but you can skip the will-call lines and go straight to the turnstiles. Instant access to the park guaranteed!

seaworld San Diego tips

2. Make Time for Feedings and Shows
One of the most helpful SeaWorld San Diego tips is to schedule your activities around the shows. After all, these are some of the best ways to discover more about the marine life at the park. Pick up a show schedule when you arrive at the park or browse the offerings before you arrive. I also recommend stopping by Pacific Point and Manta to get a feedings schedule, so you can feed sea lions and bat rays by hand during your day at the park.

3. Bring a Waterproof Camera
Let’s face it – you’re at an aquatic park and might get splashed a time or two.  Especially at live shows at Shamu Stadium, where the Splash Zone makes the performance even more fun.  Watching the reactions of your kids is a better memory than trying to keep a fancy camera dry. Even at other aquatic attractions a waterproof camera, disposable or otherwise, comes in handy.  You never know when the animals you’re viewing might make a splash! Note:  The splash zone of shows is the first 13 rows at Shamu Stadium.

4. Meet and Greet the Shamu and Crew Characters
They are easiest to catch between 9am-Noon near the front entrance of the park. In addition, you can meet the Sesame Street characters in the Bay of Play after each Sunny Days show. Be sure to grab a park map to get a full list of the park’s character encounter times during the day of your visit.

5. Prepare Properly for Water Rides
Riding Journey of Atlantis?  Choose your seats carefully as the front seat of the ride will get you soaked! You’ll also get wet on Shipwrecked Rapids, but that should come as no surprise considering the name. I suggest bringing some expensive ponchos with you as you’ll fork over a lot for the plastic protectors at the park.


6. Beat the Heat at Cool Zones
It can get hot during sunny California days.  Cool off at attractions like Wild Arctic, Penguin Encounter, Turtle Reef, Shark Encounter and one of three indoor aquariums.

7. Eat Breakfast Before You Arrive
There are delicious breakfast spots located in neighboring Mission Beach.  The Mission Café is a bustling, friendly option with exceptional French toast.   With a full belly, you can start your day off right and save lunch for later in the day.

8. Slather on the Sunscreen
SeaWorld San Diego tips aren’t just about saving money or skipping lines. They’re also about keeping you safe! Be sure to pack sunscreen in your bag so you can reapply as needed throughout the day.  There are shade spots at the park, but most of it is open and sunny.  Which means, you’ll want to avoid a sunburn – the worst vacation companion!

9. Save on Drinks
SeaWorld doesn’t allow outside food, but you can bring in outside water bottles.  Freeze some the night before to drink throughout the day.  If you’re a soda drinker, invest in a $7.99 cup you can refill throughout the day for $1.


10. Arrive Early for the Shows
To get the best seats, arrive 30 minutes early for the shows.  Especially at productions like Sea Lions Live, where Clyde and Seamore perform hilarious pre-show antics.

11. Get your Hand Stamped
Do this when you arrive at the park to ensure you can come and go from the park as you please.  The more flexibility you have with your day, the more enjoyable it will be.

12. Purchase a Quick Queue Pass
If you’re visiting the park during it’s peak times, such as summer or the holiday season, purchasing a Quick Queue pass is a good idea. Why? Because it allows you front-of-the-line access to Journey to Atlantis, Wild Arctic, Shipwreck Rapids, Bayside Sky Ride and Manta. Upgrade to the Premier Pass for reserved seating at SeaWorld shows (excluding Madagascar LIVE).

Keep these SeaWorld San Diego tips in mind to have the best day ever at this amazing aquatic park. With these helpful hints and tricks, you can stay focused on the fun at SeaWorld San Diego CA, knowing you’ve got the inside track on what to do, where to go and what to see.

Find out more about visiting SeaWorld »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting San Diego to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Did you know San Diego is a haven for whales during the winter season? Each year, beginning in December, over 20,000 gray whales make the long journey from Alaska to the warm waters of Southern California. Female whales give birth to their calves during this time, and stay for several months ensuring their young have time to grow strong for the trip home. All of this makes whale watching in San Diego a popular activity, with viewings available from both land and sea.

San Diego whale watching

San Diego has over 70 miles of coastline directly in the migration path of the whales. In order to see these majestic creatures from the shore, check out:

  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Torrey Pines State Reserve
  • Cabrillo National Monument


To view these impressive mammals up-close, go on a San Diego whale watching tour. Recommended excursions include:


Reserving a San Diego whale watching tour allows you to not only get close to the migrating grey whales, but you can also experience the ocean of the southern coast as well as gain access to expansive views of the San Diego skyline. In addition, these tours are led by knowledgeable guides who inform you of the whale’s migration habits as well as interesting facts about whales and other marine life. Most of the whale watching in San Diego tours also include a sighting guarantee which means if you didn’t see a whale on your trip you can visit again free of charge!

Not visiting during the winter season? No worries! You can still view whales in San Diego during the summer season. From mid-June through September, the largest creatures on Earth – Blue Whales – can be found of the southern coast. In fact, these endangered mammals form the largest group of blue whales in the world with 2,000-3,000 whales journeying here each year. They’re easy to spot, too, as they spout a 30 foot column of water from their blowhole signaling their location. In order to see the blue whales, a tour is necessary as they tend to stay further from the coast than their grey whale cousins. The Hornblower Summer Whale Watching Adventure comes highly recommended. In any event, in any season, you can view whales in San Diego.

Whale watching in San Diego is a prime activity choice for those of all ages. Add a tour to your vacation itinerary for a scenic yet educational experience.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting San Diego to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.


If you’re searching for a place to vacation with the kids, stop! You’ve found it in San Diego, California. With weather that’s wonderful year-round, engaging entertainment options and a family-friendly vibe, this vacation destination does not disappoint. Accordingly, it’s a favorite city for parents and kids to play. Use this list to hop, skip and jump your way around SoCal experiencing the best things to do in San Diego for families.

Plan your vacation around these things to do in San Diego for families.

Family Beach ThinkstockPhotos-478212466

Beach days are the best!

1) The Beach

This one’s kind of a given, right? San Diego has miles of sunny and sandy coastline just begging to be visited. Parents like the fact several San Diego beaches are super family-friendly, too. With that in mind, here are a few kid-approved beaches:

  • Silver Strand State Park
  • La Jolla Shores
  • Oceanside


Pando Zoo-77816_1280 Pixabay

San Diego Zoo is one of the only zoos in the world with pandas

2) San Diego Zoo

One of America’s best zoos is located here. And it’s can’t miss! With world-class animal exhibits, including rare pandas, parents will enjoy this outing just as much as the kids. Be sure to go on the guided bus tour, great for getting an overview of this 100-acre zoo. To learn even more expert tips for visiting San Diego Zoo, watch our insider video.

Balboa Park 463680953

Balboa Park is one of the prettiest in America

3) Balboa Park

San Diego Zoo is technically located within Balboa Park, but there’s a whole lot more to see here. Home to 14 museums and gorgeous gardens, you can easily spend a whole day exploring with your family. Highlights for families include:

  • San Diego Natural History Museum: animatronic dinosaurs
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: hands on science exhibits
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum: Dress up like an astronaut


La Jolla Beach_Seals_CC

View seals in their natural environment at La Jolla Cove

4) La Jolla Cove

Upscale home and shops surround La Jolla Cove, but the real gem of the area is its cove. The picturesque cove, and its surrounding sea cliffs, have a large population of sea lions. Get out and mingle with them. Your kids will flip! And you’ll probably take about 100 photos. I know I did!


Cabrillo National Monumnet: By Ctorbann, via Wikimedia Commons

5) Cabrillo National Monument

The Cabrillo National Monument is a fun way to give your kids a hands-on history lesson. Tour the museum highlighting the first expedition to San Diego as well as Point Loma Lighthouse. In addition, the Point Loma Tide Pools are nearby. Kids love checking out the scenery and the sea life there.

legoland-california-land-of-adventure-cargo-ace RSZ

Hand up for fun!

6) LEGOLAND California

If you’re kids are young, and love LEGOs, you’ve got to go to this theme park. It was created with them in mind, with everything from hands-on exhibits to kid-sized rides. Moreover, there’s an on-site water park perfect for those hot San Diego days.


Up close experiences are a signature of SeaWorld

7) SeaWorld San Diego

You’re near the ocean, so why not learn about it at SeaWorld San Diego? This marine park has immersive exhibits dedicated to sea life. Thus, you can explore penguins, sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles and more. Combine this with exciting shows and rides and you’ve got one of the top things to do in San Diego for families.

Birch Aquarium FB2

Kids can’t get enough of the Birch Aquarium: Birch Aquarium/Facebook

8) Birch Aquarium at Scripps

This La Jolla aquarium is another way to get an ocean education in San Diego. There are touch pools and tanks with up-close views of moon jellies, sharks, lion fish and more. All of this means families with babies and toddlers will especially enjoy Birch Aquarium.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

The beach and sea cliffs of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

9) Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines is stunningly beautiful and one of the best showcases of the natural beauty of San Diego. For this reason, it’s one of the best places to get outdoors in SoCal. There are eight trails to trek, with the Beach Trail and Razor Point trail two favorites. You can easily make a beach day of it here, too, as the Beach Trail has beach access.


The USS Midway is educational yet fun for kids

10) USS Midway

Located along Navy Pier in downtown San Diego, USS Midway Museum features the longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Kids will get a kick being aboard this real life carrier, where they can engage in activities like listening to real pilot conversations during Desert Storm, climbing in bunks, and more.

IMG_6453 RSZ

Bonus: Catch a Game

If your family are baseball fans, why not catch a game in San Diego? Petco Stadium, home to the San Diego Padres, does a top notch job of creating a unique atmosphere for ball games. Not only is weather pretty much always optimal, the stadium serves food key to the San Diego culinary scene. Think burritos, barbeque and pizza. Couple that with a better-than-most craft beer selection and you’ve got an activity sure to please every member of the family.

Which Things to Do in San Diego for Families Are For You?

With this list of the top 10 things to do in San Diego for families you’ve surely found a few perfect for your vacation. Did we miss a favorite San Diego activity? Let us know what your family loves to do here and we’ll be sure to include it in our list.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting San Diego to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

As the first park to fuse amusements with marine life, SeaWorld San Diego has long been a staple of the San Diego vacation scene. It’s easy to see why as the park manages to create real, amazing experiences through shows, encounters and rides. If you’re planning a trip to SeaWorld San Diego, use this complete list of must-do SeaWorld attractions as a check-list. It’s an easy-to-follow guide detailing the best SeaWorld has to offer.


Clyde gets in the groove at Sea Lions LIVE

10 Must-Do SeaWorld Attractions

1) Sea Lions LIVE
Of all the sea life at SeaWorld, the Sea Lions are my favorite. They have such personality. This show is a riot, with the stars – Clyde and SeaMore – giving a whole new meaning to slapstick comedy.

2) Wild Arctic
Right here in sunny San Diego you can experience the chill of the Wild Arctic. It starts with a perilous, motion-simulated helicopter ride before landing at base camp. There, you’re surrounded by real life arctic animals like polar bears, walruses and beluga whales. Totally cool.

3) Dolphin Point
Dolphins are seriously smart, which in turn makes them seriously fun to watch. They easily take commands from trainers, almost yearning to please (and get that fish!). Watch as they whirl, twirl and spin through the lagoon pools at Dolphin Point. Then, stick around for a presentations by trainers where you might even get to touch a dolphin!

SeaWorld_San_Diego_(58716) (1)

Manta features wild-but-mild thrills

4) Manta
To get your coaster fix, be sure to ride Manta. It’s the park’s signature coaster, winning over guests with its wild-but-mild thrills families can enjoy together. Top speeds are a smooth 43mph. Likewise, there are twists, turns, and drops, but no upside down loops. Bonus: You can touch, and even feed, a sting ray in the area surrounding the ride.

5) Journey to Atlantis
Part coaster, part water ride, Journey to Atlantis has long been a favorite of mine. Why? Well, you get two thrills for the ride wait time of one. The first part is a daring log flume drop. Then, barrel down a twisting track as the roller coaster curves kick in. After, view stingrays and leopard sharks in the adjoining aquarium.


Turtle Reef really amazes

6) Turtle Reef
Sea turtles are mesmerizing to watch. These graceful, ancient creatures are on full display at Turtle Reef. In total, there are over 60 swimming amongst other tropical fish and sea creatures.

7) Penguin Encounter
If you didn’t get enough of the Arctic before, you can double down at the Penguin Encounter. There are over 300 penguins, and over seven species at the Encounter. This is due to a successful captive breeding program, one of the only in the world.

8) Dolphin Days
After visiting Dolphin Point, you probably fell in love with dolphins. SeaWorld attractions excel at connecting people with their ocean environments. This is epecially true at the Dolphin Days shows. Watch as they glide through the water and jump through the air, alongside trainers and pilot whales. Once the show is over, you can enhance the experience by adding a dolphin encounter.


Go ahead a touch a ray!

9) Explorer’s Reef
Kids and adults alike will say “Wow!” at Explorer’s Reef. Immersive and engaging, the Reef provides real hands-on experiences with stingrays, brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks. I also recommend visiting the Tide Pools. There, you can touch star fish and sea urchins.

10) Bayside Skyride
Unique to the San Diego Park, the Bayside Skyride is a gondola ride that doesn’t get as much love as it should. The 6-minute ride over Mission Bay is a scenic route worth the detour.

You’re all set! Pack these 10 SeaWorld attractions into one day at the park to experience the best of SeaWorld San Diego.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting San Diego to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Do you want to explore San Diego, but aren’t sure where to start? With the Go San Diego Card, you’ll be able to visit the quintessential San Diego attractions—all at a discount. Attractions include the SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND® California, San Diego Zoo, Belmont Park, Birch Aquarium, San Diego Safari Park Zoo, USS Midway Museum and more.

Go San Diego Card

San_Diego_Harbor_Cruise_(38836)It’s easy to use the Go San Diego Card as it’s extremely flexible. Admissions come in bundles of 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 days, with over 40 options to choose from. Plus, the 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day passes included SeaWorld San Diego as a bonus attraction, adding even more fun (and savings!) to your time in Southern California. To use the Go San Diego Card, you’ll first need to decide which pass is right for you.

San_Diego_Zoo_(74331)For my recent trip, I opted for the 3-day pass as I would only be in the city for an extended weekend. It gave me the maximum benefit at a minimum cost, saving me over 50% off of gate price. I knew in advance I wanted to visit the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Knott’s Berry Farm, Balboa Park Museums, go on a harbor cruise and kayak with La Jolla Kayaks. That’s a lot to do in three days, but I was up for the challenge! However, you can choose to visit as many attractions you want or feel free to take your time at each. The choice is yours! Also, if you’re more the spontaneous type you can totally choose your attractions on-the-go.

You can receive your pass one of two ways:

  • Balboa Park 463680953Instantly on your mobile device and via email. Just print out your pass or display it right on your mobile device.
  • Via mail.


How exactly does the pass work? It’s super easy. The pass is activated at the first attraction you visit. Then, just keep your pass on hand to Knott_s_Berry_Farms_(95196)visit any of the other San Diego attractions available through the Go San Diego Card.

With the Go San Diego Card you can visit multiple attractions for one low price. It’s perfect for families, for couples and for solo travelers. It’s a choose-your-adventure pass that lets you experience the best of San Diego.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting San Diego to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

San Diego, California is famous for its waterfront – especially The Big Bay. The San Diego Bay is 34 miles of scenic open waters line with restaurants, shops, attractions, marinas and quaint parks. Spend time exploring this area on foot, but before you do take a San Diego Harbor Tour with Hornblower Cruises.


One of the longest running harbor cruise company in San Diego, Hornblower offers the best sightseeing on the bay. You can choose between a one or two hour tour, each of which is professionally narrated. I opted for the two hour San Diego Harbor Cruise excursion as I wanted the get the full scope of the bay. Covering all of the highlights of The Big Bay, sights seen include:

Harbor Island: The park-like setting of Harbor Island serves as the waterfront gateway to downtown San Diego. The “island” includes several marinas which harbor thousands of small boats, as well as several restaurants, two high-rise hotels, and Harbor Island Drive Park.


Shelter Island

Shelter Island: Shelter Island is 1.2 miles long and only a few hundred feet wide, and isn’t an island at all. The single street of Shelter Island Drive runs the length of the Island and connects it to the mainland. Created to accommodate the larger ships of the Navy and serve as a shelter for boats in harbor, this entire section is Polynesian themed.

Point Loma: This seaside community is a hilly peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Historically, it is defined as the landing place of the first Europeans to come ashore in present-day California.


Point Loma

Cabrillo National Monument: Cabrillo National Monument is home to the Point Loma Lighthouse and looks back at San Diego’s nautical history.

North Island Naval Air Station: Located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula, NAS is home to several aircraft carriers of the United States Navy. It is part of the largest aerospace-industrial complex in the United States Navy and is the official birthplace of Naval Aviation because the Navy’s first aviator, Lieutenant Theodore Ellyson, and many of his colleagues were trained here.


Coronado Bridge

Submarine Naval Base: Current commands at this naval base include Current major commands onboard include Commander Third Fleet, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, and Submarine Squadron Eleven.

Coronado Bridge: The distinctive curve and soaring sweep of the 2.1 mile Coronado Bridge was the first structural conquest of San Diego Bay, joining the Island of Coronado and City of San Diego.


Star of India

Naval Base Shipyard: Sometimes called 32nd Street Naval Station, this is the largest base of the United States Navy on the West Coast. It is the principal port of the Pacific Fleet, consisting of 54 ships and over 120 tenant commands.

Star of India: Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship. She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Retired in 1926, she was not restored until 1962–63 and is now a seaworthy museum ship home-ported at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

These are just a few of the sights you’ll see on the two-hour tour of San Diego Bay. I highly recommend taking the cruise to get a perspective on the San Diego’s famous Big Bay. Sit back, relax, soak up the sights, listen to the narration for interesting facts, and even grab a snack or beverage if you’d like. The tours are offered throughout the day, from 10am-5:30pm. Choose the time that works best for your vacation. Do a later tour if you can, as it’s a great way to see the sights during the day as well as dusk – great for picture taking!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting San Diego to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.