In case any other members are headed out to La Jolla - and want to enjoy the fruits of our research on things to do with young kids - here are a couple of observations about where to eat with kids, and how to take in San Diego’s attractions, gathered from several trips....
Since the Concierge doesn't have small kids, the following things might not have occurred to her...
Where to Eat with Little Guys:
Favorite Mexican Restaurant in Old Town is Casa Guadalajara at 4105 Taylor between San Juan and Sunset St in Old Town, San Diego. Does not take reservations---Great back patio and kid friendly mariachi band; Get there before 6:00 pm or face a wait! Free chips and salsa, great margaritas! Portions are generous…
Sushi Ota (Near Mission Bay and the freeway, in a mini-mall, next to a Planned Parenthood)---very casual service, family type of place, casual, delicious sushi, not cheap!
Albert's, actually inside the San Diego Zoo, near the Gorilla Enclosure---if you don't have a reservation, you'll have an hour wait for lunch. Dinner unjams quite nicely. Request the patio for cooler air...(Waterfall)(619) 685-3200
In Balboa Park itself, outside the zoo--- Sculpture Court Cafe in the San Diego Museum of Art. Outside in the fresh air under a canopy, has great food and salads; service is slow---get there 15 minutes before the noon rush and it all turns out OK. Kid menu on the backside of the menu.
The best La Jolla Carry out/Patio Dining with kids is "Prep Kitchen"---delicious food at gourmet pricing.
Sushi, in a kid friendly environment----Sushi Ota, near Mission bay. It’s excellent!
Legoland: The restaurant upstairs at the entry building, where the Sea Life attraction is the less crazy and slightly better food quality place to eat.San Diego Zoo
Could have visited the zoo three times in one stay of a week’s duration and enjoyed every visit, particularly with an evening visit mixed in.Special Tours
Inside Look Tour: For up to 7, in a golf cart ferrying you around with a private guide introducing you to animals and skipping the lines; two hours, $69/person, kids under 3 free---and purchase of zoo admission for at least one day for each person. Possible to buy out tour if you want to make it private; Call 619-718-3000 or 800-407-9534. Same-day purchase on site also offered, subject to availability. Usually includes close viewing of animals and feeding opportunities (e.g., herbivores’ grazing and elephant boots!) Guide can arrange lunch reservations at Albert's in the gorilla area while on tour. Itinerary changes every time and includes going into enclosures.
Discovery Tour: Blow through the zoo in 60 minutes (??? Special tour cart) and at the end, get preferred seating to a zoo show. No close interactions or viewing of animals. Call 619-718-3000 or 800-407-9534. Same-day purchase on site also offered, subject to availability. $39/person, kids under 3 free, MUST purchases at least one day pass per person to zoo as well.
BackStage Pass: Get close to animals and have your picture taken with creatures like cheetahs and rhinos! 1.5 hours. $99/per person, minimum age is 5 years old, plus must purchase zoo admission for each person. Walking Tour, not a golf cart. Tough in the summer heat. Call 619-718-3000 or 800-407-9534. Same-day purchase on site also offered, subject to availability.
Nighttime Zoo (Summer, 3-9 pm)—Full admission price unless you are returning for the evening after being out for the day and kept your tickets….Lots of animals become more active at night and the temperatures are cooler as well---and it’s less crowded…---Ambush Acrobats, doing a show, down near the Gorilla enclosure—and Monkeys, near the Pandas---sort of tepid but they do try to involve the little kids, so points for that.
---Splash Animal show (painters doing art of animals with splashing paint, just to left of main entrance); fun, loud and music plays, with Q&A afterwards.
---Children’s Zoo and Dr. Zoolittle; animal presentations and explanations
---SOAR: in the Hunte Amphitheatre, near the elephant enclosure; with a free flying bird show; very popular with lots of kids lining up at 7:40 and so on for the 8:00 pm show…
---Three Hour Tour Calypso band, just to the right of the main entrance of the zoo.
---Skyfari is operating (overhead lift to polar bears)—pretty views of City.
Parking lot does has a theft problem, don’t leave anything in sight in the car; if the San Diego Police put up their big white observation tower---consider parking near it (police surveillance).Outside the Zoo
Balboa Park Miniature Train starts at 11:00 am and lasts 3 minutes—About 100 feet from Zoo entrance.
Butterfly Ride is next to the Carousel on the exit drive to the Zoo, also good for little kids (3 minutes). Has its own little parking lot.Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Located at 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 238-1233
Bus: Park Bl & Village Pl
Open Mon-Thu 9:30am-5pm; Fri 9:30am-8pm; Sat 9:30am-7pm; Sun 9:30am-6pm
Smaller version of San Francisco’s Exploratorium science museum; Pretty much ALL hands on, so kids enjy the heck out of it. IMAX Screen, with nature movies that sometimes scare 3-4 year olds and under (Predators eating things)
One of the world's largest model railroad museums features a scale model railway that replicates San Diego's tracks.
Tuesday through Friday 11:00 - 4:00
Saturday - Sunday 11:00 - 5:00
Adults - $7.00 ,Seniors (65+) - $6.00 , Students (with ID) - $3.00 , Active Military (with ID) - $2.50 Children under 15 - FREE when accompanied by an adult
The museum is located on the lower level of the Casa De Balboa on the Prado. in Balboa Park.
Summer hours June 9 through September 6: Wed-Sunday, 11am, 1 & 2:30pm Can be weird in its programming.San Diego Air and Space Museum
2001 Pan American Plaza San Diego, CA 92101-1636 (619) 234-8291
Hours: Daily 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. last admission 4:00pm
Summer Hours: through Labor Day: Daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (last admission 5:00 p.m.)
Summer Hours: 9-11 mostly all summer long
Gates open at 9:00, but Sesame Street Bay of Play does not open until 10:00 am---
4-5 hours seemed fine for 3-7 year olds and no interest in a second trip back during a week there (the usual routine…)
Preferred Parking is a little more at the parking lot entrance, gets you into the front 5 rows near the entrance/exit gate to the park.
Stroller rentals are available, as well as scooters for bad knees
Bat Ray feeding: $6/tray of sardines to feed bat rays
Climbing structure and Net Course in Sesame Street Bay of Play ; A full rope course---wear tennis shoes, not sandals (ropes!!) and consider sailing gloves for tender adult hands; No skirts if modesty is your thing. Kids as young as three and half love this area and up to 10 love clambering on the ropes and nets.
Bathing suit and change of clothes for kids’ splash pads in Sesame Street area---adults can stay dry if that’s all you do…
BUT--- for the Adults who ride on the ShipWreck Rapids ride; you don’t get a little wet, you get SOAKED. To the skin. Adults may need an entire clothing change. They sell dryer time in booths for $5 (!) at the end of the ride. Take Zip Lock bags for your technology (this goes for the whale shows as well, if you decide to sit in the front row “soak zones”.
There is no good dining in the Park; it’s all mediocre. SighLa Jolla Shores Park
At 8200 Camino Del Oro in La Jolla. Most gentle waves and one of the nicest beaches of almost all of San Diego’s beaches on the ocean and therefore, superb for kids. Gentle gradient to bottom with no sudden drop off. There is a rip current, like all beaches, but it’s very, very manageable. In the afternoon and evening, shallows warm up. Generally, 350 car lot starts to have waits on summer weekdays by 10:00 am; on weekends, by 9:00 am or earlier! Parking is free and all day.
Two large restroom areas with outside freshwater showers for rinsing off. Southern one is the newer and nicer.
Children’s Playground, right off the beach, is new and in great shape, by the Southern washrooms/showers.
Lifeguards all over the place.
At about lunch, the beach divides; the surfers are generally pushes North of a Yellow and Black checkered flag, the swimmers and boogie boarders to the South. Lifeguards are OK with little kids dashing in and out of waves in the surfing area.
Sand is soft and pillowy and white. Sand is HOT HOT HOT in the afternoon; have shoes/flip flops.
Avenida De La Playa, 2 blocks south along Camino Del Oro, has shops with sandwiches, frozen yogurt, snack food, beach stuff. 3 blocks inland (call it 5 clocks from the beach). No actual food is sold at the beach---but ice cream trucks sometime park on Camino Del Oro.
Anyway, hope this helps travels to La Jolla. Oh, and BTW---the house is darn nice too!