LEGOLAND California San Diego SoCal Guide

LEGOLAND California is a wonderful park for a wide variety of ages. There are play areas for toddlers, rides that will please elementary-aged kids and LEGO displays that will put any teen or adult in awe. I have the LEGOLAND tips on everything there is to see and do at this theme park in San Diego. Here’s what you can expect of a day at LEGOLAND California, with my LEGOLAND insider tips for building the best day!

LEGOLAND provided complimentary day passes for me & my family. Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you! This post was originally posted on Jan 20th, 2015 and contains updated information.

LEGOLAND Overview

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to LEGOLAND California since it first opened! There are over 60 rides and attractions in the 128-acre park. LEGOLAND has grown quite a bit over the years but some things have remained constant throughout. This theme park is family-friendly with an emphasis on younger guests that is safe, clean and well-kept. LEGOLAND is located in Carlsbad, about 45 minutes drive north of downtown San Diego and about 60 minutes drive south from Anaheim (where Disneyland is located). These are my LEGOLAND tips for visiting with kids.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

These larger-than-life LEGO master builder models are located all over the park.

LEGOLAND California Tips

These LEGOLAND tips for traveling with kids will help you properly plan your day. The park is very easy to navigate, but includes a lot of walking with stops for rides and attractions along the way. Start your planning by looking at the LEGOLAND California park map and plot out your day. Even on a visit during non-peak season, you’ll be hard-pressed to see and do everything in one day. Hours at LEGOLAND California vary throughout the year, so always check the calendar before your visit. LEGOLAND does have mid-week days when it’s completely closed in the off-season.

What Should I Bring to LEGOLAND?

LEGOLAND California is located in Carlsbad, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It can be chilly and windy, especially during the winter and spring. Bring a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt. Definitely pack your sunscreen. While it might be overcast early in the day, the sun often peeks out after noon and it may get very hot.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Parking at LEGOLAND

The LEGOLAND parking fee is $20 per car, per day. If you arrive early, you’ll be very close to the front entrance, though there is still a short (slightly inclined) walk to the front entrance. It’s not necessary to purchase the “preferred parking”.

Security Checks

All backpacks, bags, purses and strollers will be checked before entering the park.


From cool rides, water parks and billions of bricks, here's why you should plan a LEGOLAND California vacation!

Mia’s Riding Camp

Save Money on Your LEGOLAND Vacation Tickets!

Before your vacation, you can purchase LEGOLAND California tickets online. You can purchase discounted LEGOLAND vacation packages or just LEGOLAND tickets on the Get Away Today website. You can also purchase park tickets at the booths but you will pay full price. I highly recommend purchasing the tickets from Get Away Today before your trip to save money!

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529

READ MORE: My friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes shares more LEGOLAND budgeting advice.

Newest Must-Do Attraction at LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND’s newest attraction, LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure is a cool hybrid attraction that’s part interactive treasure hunt, submarine ride and aquarium. Riders board a submarine, then peer through the portholes and windows to peek at the 2000 types of real sea life, including sharks! There are fun LEGO items to spy along the way as well. The touch-screens inside the ride encourage kids to treasure hunt on a search for items on the checklist.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Deep Sea Adventure is part interactive treasure hunt, submarine ride and aquarium.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Inside the new Deep Sea Adventure interactive submarine ride

Tips for LEGOLAND Attractions:

  • Download the LEGOLAND California Resort mobile app to check ride wait times, see an interactive park map, dining options and show times.
  • Many queue areas have LEGO building stations. Kids can build here while parents are waiting in line.
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGO play areas in queue

Thrill Rides at LEGOLAND in San Diego

A majority of the rides at LEGOLAND California are geared for younger kids. However there are a few thrill-type rides that are appropriate for elementary-aged kids and would please teens and adults as well. Nothing too crazy but still thrilling! The tallest height restriction is 42″ and several rides have an age requirement as well, so check the signage.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

The Knight’s Tournament has several “levels”, including this one that tosses guests upside down!

  • LEGO Technic Coaster
  • Knight’s Tournament
  • The Dragon Coaster
  • Coastersaurus (at 36″ height restriction, it’s a good first coaster for younger kids)

Tips for LEGOLAND Thrill Rides:

  • Don’t like waiting in lines? Consider purchasing Reserve ‘n’ Ride. This add-on offers three levels that will reduce wait times 25-99% at an additional cost from between $35 to $100 per person.
  • Rides offer a “parent swap” so that one parent can wait with a non-riding child and then switch places so that the other parent can ride.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

More Can’t Miss LEGOLAND California Attractions

  • Bring out the competitive spirit on the Lost Kingdom Adventure ride to shoot laser guns and tally points.
  • Get soaked on a warm day at Pirate Reef or Splash Battle, both located in the Pirate Shores area. Kids can even get wet by splashing at the Heartlake Fountain and Swabbie’s Deck (feel free to bring swim suits and towels to let the kids get wet).
  • LEGO NINGAGO is a small area in the park that features a very cool 4-D, interactive ride. There’s no height restriction so anyone can ride.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

  • Fun Town really is…fun! Kids love participating as a team with their family at the LEGOLAND Police & Fire Academy.
  • Skipper School and Driving School with their trackless vehicles are can’t-miss LEGOLAND attractions. Most kids will say these are their favorite attractions. There is also a Junior Driving School for little ones aged 3-5. Kids can even purchase their own LEGOLAND Driving School license.
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Skipper School lets kids drive their own trackless boat.

LEGOLAND Miniland USA

LEGOLAND’s Miniland USA is an awesome attraction that is at the heart of what LEGO is all about. Built by their “master builders”, these city representations include New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington DC and Las Vegas. There are small buttons kids can push to play a sound clip or to make one of the features in the scene move. Tiny LEGO cars move, LEGO figures dance and more. Plan to spend at least an hour exploring Miniland USA, as there’s lots of see in this detailed area.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND California Miniland USA Las Vegas

After you’ve explored the Miniland USA cities, take a walk on the Miniland USA “Block of Fame” and see famous faces (like this one of Elvis!). There are also famous Star Wars characters as well.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

The LEGO Star Wars area in Miniland USA does not disappoint. There are some amazingly detailed scenes from the movies featured here! This area is incredible and a must-see for any Star Wars fan.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Miniland Star Wars

Other Fun Things to Do at LEGOLAND

Even if you never step foot on an actual ride at LEGOLAND, there’s so much to keep busy kids active throughout the day. Check out these other great things to do at LEGOLAND after the rides.

  • If you have a child who can’t get enough of simply building LEGO creations, be sure to stop inside several of these areas (Imagination Zone Build and Test, LEGO Mindstorms, Heartlake Stables and LEGO Life Zone). Kids can build and play with the thousands of LEGOS that are available in these areas.
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

The Hideaways play area

  • If your kids need to run and play, there are a few areas where they can burn off steam. The Hideaways is a complex arrangement of rope ladders and slides. There’s only one way in and out so parents can sit on the wall surrounding the play area and not worry their kids will leave without them. There’s a rock climbing wall in LEGO Ninjago area. In Land of Adventure, kids and adults can slide down the Dune Raiders. In Pharaoh’s Revenge, kids can shoot foam balls at each other.
  • Watch LEGO NINJAGO Master of the 4th Dimension, a 4D show inside the LEGO Show Place Theater.
  • The Adventure’s Club walk-through is a favorite for my older ones though my preschooler was a little nervous of the darker areas and sounds inside.
  • Don’t miss the LEGO Factory Tour to see how LEGO bricks are made!
These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Keep your eyes open for the quirky LEGO humor!

LEGOLAND Dining Options

If you’re expecting the same boring theme park options for dining, no fear! LEGOLAND California offers only fresh, made-on-site meals that are unique and delicious. Quite often dishes are prepared right in front of you. This makes for a hot meal that’s made to order. It can also mean that wait times for meals can be longer than normal for amusement parks.

Choose from items like the pork belly bao sandwiches, pesto chicken salad sandwich or freshly prepared stir fry from Wok n’ Bowl (photo below). The Pizza & Pasta buffet is a popular place for all-you-can-eat with a great salad bar and creative offerings. We’ve also enjoyed the Knight’s Smokehouse BBQ with slowcooked Texas BBQ dishes and craft beer.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

And yes, you can still find the usual burgers, fries and soft serve cones if that’s what you want to eat! For dessert, you have to grab a box of Granny’s Apple Fries. You might not want to share!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Assisted Access Pass

If you have a guest with special needs, visit Guest Services before entering the park. You’ll be supplied with a simple “Assisted Access Pass”. This business card will be noted with the date, number of people in your party and the name of the person for whom the card is issued. We used this card in the past for my daughter (who has autism). Instructions on the card let us know that we were permitted to enter rides through the exit and wait there so we didn’t have to stand in a crowded queue.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Carefully read signage in regards to age & height restrictions

LEGOLAND with Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

There are quite a few rides in LEGOLAND that do not have height restrictions, so they’re perfect for babies and toddlers. I highly recommend the Fairy Tale Brook, Mia’s Riding Camp and Coast Cruise. There are a few rides that have surprising height restrictions, though they seem appropriately aged for toddlers (like Safari Trek), so be aware of signage before getting in line.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Duplo Playtown is a must with toddlers and preschoolers!

Duplo Playtown is going to be a hit with your toddler! There are quaint little houses set up like a town including a fire station with a pole and tons of stairs and slides. The LEGOLAND Express, a small train, circles around here as well. Plan for plenty of time in this area if you have a toddler or preschooler, they’ll absolutely love this place!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND strollers available for rent in the parks

There are areas that are appropriate for toddlers to hang out while waiting for older siblings to ride. My daughter enjoyed playing in the sand at Dig Those Dinos. Queue waiting areas sometimes have larger Duplo blocks but check for the tiny LEGO bricks, which may be a choking hazard for toddlers.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Royal Joust

The Royal Joust is for kids aged 4-12 only (and must be 36″ as well). This adorable horse ride takes kids on a journey through the Castle Hill area. Make sure to ride Coast Cruise, where you’ll be able to see LEGO displays from around the world, including the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower or George Washington getting his ears cleaned at Mount Rushmore!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Where to Get Discounted LEGOLAND California Tickets

Did you know that each October in San Diego, there are many theme parks and restaurants that offer FREE entertainment for kids?! LEGOLAND is a participant in this special offer, so click through and find out how you can get your kid’s free offer! Kids FREE in San Diego for October!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND California Water Park

When the weather warms, our thoughts turn to the water-play activities at the expansive LEGOLAND Water Park! From toddler splash pads, water slides for big kids and a giant wave pool, there’s plenty here for the whole family. Entrance to the water park is on top of the regular park admission. Water park days and hours of operation vary upon the season, so check the LEGOLAND website to make sure it’s open during your visit before you pack your swim suits!

Read More: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting the LEGOLAND California Water Park

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Halloween Special Event

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND offers children and their families trick-or-treating and entertainment throughout the Park on Saturday nights in October. This is a special ticketed event that is not included with regular park admission. Guests are invited to dress in costume and there is candy given, certain rides are open during the event as well as a costume contest and not-too-scary Halloween-themed entertainment for kids.

Read More: Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration at LEGOLAND® California Resort

LEGOLAND® California Resort Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Halloween Celebration

LEGOLAND Holidays

All of LEGOLAND gets into the holiday spirit during the winter season, with festivities and shows that are included in the regular park admission. There are also seasonal foods and treats, holiday decor and special gift shopping areas. Visit Miniland U.S.A. to see more of the Christmas spirit, where many of the buildings have fun holiday touches, including Santa and his sleigh and wreaths decorating the LEGO White House.

Read More: Holidays at LEGOLAND California – Ultimate Seasonal Guide

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

LEGOLAND Sea Life Aquarium

The Sea Life Aquarium combines a real, learning aquarium of actual sea life with fun LEGO models. Guests can see jelly fish and seahorses, spy octopus and sharks, reach inside touch pools, and experience feeder talks.

The Sea Life Aquarium is compact and will take about an hour to completely walk through. During busier seasons and holiday events, strollers are not allowed inside so make arrangements for little ones (I brought a front carrier for my baby so I wouldn’t have to hold her in my arms the entire time). Admission to the Sea Life Aquarium can be purchased separately or as an add-on to your LEGOLAND park ticket.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Inside the LEGOLAND Sea Life Aquarium

LEGOLAND Hotels

LEGOLAND is known for their unique, tongue-in-cheek humor so it was no surprise to me that these unique hotels feature a disco ball in the elevator and a treasure hunt inside the rooms!

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

Rooms at both the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel and the original LEGOLAND Hotel are heavily themed. At the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel guests can choose from castle-themed rooms, naturally – Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard. And at the LEGOLAND Hotel, pick from Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, Friends, and LEGO NINJAGO.

These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium.

LEGOLAND Castle Hotel

A stay at one of the two LEGOLAND hotels includes a complimentary buffet breakfast. Kids will also receive a welcome treasure hunt with a LEGO prize. One of the nicest features (for the benefit of the grown-ups!) is a separate kid’s sleeping area with entertainment center, bunk bed and pull out trundle.

READ MORE: My friend Karen at Desert Chica has a review on the new LEGOLAND Castle Hotel with in-room photos.


These LEGOLAND California tips for traveling with kids is the ultimate guide to enjoying this San Diego California theme park. Find out more about what to see & do, visiting with teens, what to eat and more about the LEGOLAND water park, seasonal events and aquarium. #LEGOLAND #LegolandCA #California #SanDiego #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #Carlsbad #ThemeParks #AmusementParks #LEGO

Kids FREE in San Diego for October!

Head West in the fall and take advantage of all that’s available for kids free in San Diego for October! There are 100+ free activities and deals for kids in the month of October throughout San Diego county. October is a great time to visit San Diego. The summer crowds have thinned, the weather is still quite warm and of course, all the fun and free things for kids that are being offered in the San Diego area for the entire month.

Kids free in San Diego?! 100+ free kids attractions, theme parks and dining in San Diego for the month of October.

LEGOLAND California’s newest attraction

Kids Free in San Diego

From free restaurant dining, free museum visits, free amusement park tickets, free whale watching to free transportation, there’s enough here for a month of fun! Keep reading to find out where you’ll be able to visit in San Diego with the kids for free and where to find those special admission tickets.

Kids free in San Diego?! 100+ free kids attractions, theme parks and dining in San Diego for the month of October.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Editor’s Note: This post originally published Sept 29th, 2015 and has updated information for 2018

Kids free in San Diego?! 100+ free kids attractions, theme parks and dining in San Diego for the month of October.


BUY ADULT TICKET AND THE KIDS TICKETS ARE FREE!

Book your San Diego vacation directly through my affiliate Get Away Today and save even more!! You can even purchase your adult tickets on the site and the kid’s tickets are free.

100+ free kids attractions, theme parks and dining in San Diego for the month of October.

How to Get Your Tickets

You can purchase adult tickets for the following attractions at Get Away Today and one child’s ticket per paying adult will be included for free! Click each of the locations below to find out where to buy your tickets.

LEGOLAND California

SeaWorld San Diego

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Safari Park

U.S.S. Midway

Flagship Cruises

Old Town Trolley Tours

Kids free in San Diego?! 100+ free kids attractions, theme parks and dining in San Diego for the month of October.

The Halloween event at SeaWorld is included in the day pass!

What’s FREE for Kids in San Diego?

We are talking big deal savings here (click the links to read one of my personal posts with tips about each attraction)

READ MORE33 Things to Do Outside In San Diego with Kids

Kids free in San Diego?! 100+ free kids attractions, theme parks and dining in San Diego for the month of October.

SoCal Guide – San Diego Zoo with Kids and Families

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to the San Diego Zoo since I was a baby! The park has changed immensely over the years but some things have remained constant throughout. The San Diego Zoo has always been a place for learning, fun and unique experiences. It’s always safe, clean and well-kept – the ideal place to spend a sunny afternoon in San Diego. These are my tips for visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids.

Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

This post was originally published Oct 17th, 2014

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo with Kids – SoCal Guide Overview

At a vast 100 acres, the San Diego Zoo is a sprawling paradise in the middle of the city. Plenty has evolved at the zoo over the years including a move away from isolated cages towards lush, natural exhibits that mimic that animal’s habitat. The Zoo is one of the must see things in San Diego.

The San Diego Zoo is a pleasurable outdoor experience that takes all day to properly explore. It is home to around 3500 rare and endangered animals of more than 650 species (the largest collection of species in the world). It also boasts a gorgeous botanical collection with 700,000+ plants.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo Guide

My San Diego Zoo with kids guide tips will help you properly plan your day. The park can be a challenge to navigate, with so much ground to cover. There are also varied elevations so unless you’re up for a long hike, you’ll want to know how to properly see everything. Start your planning by looking at the park map and plot out your day. It is quite possible to see all of the exhibits in one day. You’ll have to stay from morning to night and not linger too long in any one place. You’ll also probably walk 4 miles to cover the entire Zoo!

Zoo Location: The San Diego Zoo is located in the heart of Balboa Park. This 1200 acre park features museums, walking trails and gardens.

Tickets: San Diego Zoo tickets might be higher cost than you’re used to for local zoos. However this zoo is a non-profit and all proceeds go towards the animals. I recommend pre-purchasing discount tickets ahead of time. You can purchase discounted San Diego Zoo vacation packages or just Zoo tickets on the Get Away Today website. You can also purchase zoo tickets at the booths but you will pay full price.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Buy tickets from Get Away Today for the best pricing!

What Should You Bring to the Zoo?

The Zoo is located in downtown San Diego and it can be chilly and windy during the winter and spring. The Skyfari ride can be especially cold. Bring a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt. A considerable amount of the park offers large tree shade protection but you should still pack your sunscreen. While it might be overcast early in the day, the sun often peeks out after noon and it may get very hot.

Parking: 

Parking at the San Diego Zoo is totally FREE! There is a very large lot in front of the park, however during busy seasons, it does fill up. You can also seek parking elsewhere in Balboa Park and then walk to the Zoo.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and what NOT to miss!

Is Outside Food Allowed at the San Diego Zoo?

The San Diego Zoo allows outside food so feel free to bring a picnic lunch, bottled water and whatever snacks you need for the day.

Security Checks:

While most San Diego area theme parks will check your packages, backpacks and purses before park entry, there are no such security inspections at the San Diego Zoo.

Rides at the San Diego Zoo

There are many ways to explore the San Diego Zoo. Guests can take a 35-minute Guided Bus Tour on double-decker buses that give a good overview of the Zoo. There is also the option of the “Kangaroo” Express Bus that stops at several locations for guests to access different areas. The Guided Bus Tour & Kangaroo Bus is included in your admission price.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Also included in the Zoo admission is unlimited rides on the Skyfari Aeriel Tram. This ride will transport you quickly across the Zoo to the higher regions and you can work your way back downhill. I love this amazing view of the city and Balboa Park museums over the lush treetops of the zoo!

Tips for San Diego Zoo Rides & Tours:

  • Jump on the Guided Bus Tour first thing in the morning. From there, plan your own walking tour to deeply explore other areas.
  • You’ll be able to see the animals better from the first deck of the guided bus (rather than sitting on the top of the bus). I recommend sitting on the right side of the bus towards the middle for the best views.
  • The line for the Skyfari is always longer at the front of the park since most people take it to the top elevations and then walk back. Visit early in the day (try right after the Guided Bus).
Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

See the Skyfari in the distance?

Must-See Exhibits at the San Diego Zoo

There are many pathways that guests can walk, which reach aviaries and enclosures that you won’t see on the bus.  Please note that many of the trails are quite steep so be sure to take advantage of the Skyfari Aeriel Tram to take you to the top of the hill.

Bird Aviaries

Accessed only by the walking paths, making your way through the cool confines of one of the aviaries is one of the most fascinating parts of a San Diego Zoo visit. If you walk too fast you’ll miss a lot so make sure to find a bench to bird-watch. Many of these birds are camouflaged in the lush trees and bushes and you won’t see them until you pause to look. Keepers set up trays of fruit and the birds stop over to nibble.

Panda Canyon

Panda Canyon has two giant pandas on exhibit, one of the few zoos outside of China. These adorable pandas are so fun and playful to watch as they climb trees and strip bamboo. If you plan to visit the pandas, do so first thing in the morning.

Hippo Trail in the Lost Forest

The hippos have a cool upper and lower exhibit so you can watch them swim (so graceful under water!)

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Koala Outback

The San Diego Zoo has the most koala as well as the most successful koala breeding program outside of Australia!

Elephant Odyssey

Take a stroll through Elephant Odyssey for a close look at both African and Asian elephants. Last time we were there the elephants were loping around to grab branches from each other!

Monkey Trails

Monkeys, gorillas & orangutans are housed in these open air enclosed under deep shade. This is a lovely walk in the heat of the day.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Africa Rocks

The newest area at the San Diego Zoo, Africa Rocks is the new home for leopards and African penguins. Be sure to walk behind the big waterfall for an unforgettable photo experience.

Insect House

Located inside the Children’s Zoo area, the Insect House is one of the most fascinating places to get up close and personal with bugs! The creepy-crawlies are all behind glass (except when a trainer brings one out for a closer look). We loved watching the busy Leafcutter Ants and Diving Beetles.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Animal Interactions at the San Diego Zoo

The zoo offers a few shows and animal presentations. The shows are a nice place to get off your feet for a bit though you will be in the sun. Check out the animal encounter section on your daily map to see what Keeper Talks are planned during your visit. We usually catch them on Front Street coming in and out of the park. On our last visit we “met” a giant walking stick inside the Insect House!

Other Fun Things to Do at the San Diego Zoo with Kids

  • There are several 4-D theaters located at the Zoo and you can watch a show inside for an additional fee.
  • Looking for a major splurge for adults? Try the San Diego Zoo Keeper for a Day! Shadow either a giraffe or koala keeper, which includes preparing food, stepping inside the enclosure and even cleaning the exhibit.
  • Before coming to the Zoo, show your kids the live internet cams on the San Diego Zoo website to build up excitement for the visit!
  • Even if you don’t have young kids with you, make it a point to stop in at the Children’s Zoo area. There are animals here that you won’t find in other areas including the amusing Naked Mole-Rats.
  • Just outside of the Zoo gates is a children’s mini train and carousel. It’s a fun way to end your Zoo day with a ride on these (extra cost).
Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

The mini train located outside the Zoo entrance

San Diego Zoo with Kids, Toddlers and Babies

Toddlers and babies will greatly enjoy the outdoors at the San Diego Zoo. Because the Zoo is so large, I highly recommend bringing your own stroller or renting a stroller inside. There are some exhibits with high bushes so you may have to lift your little one out of their seat for them to see the animals. In other exhibits, the windows reach the floor and your baby will have a great view from the stroller.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Visit the Petting Paddock inside the Children’s Zoo where kids can pet the goats. Just inside the entrance to this area there is also a playground so we usually spend about 30 minutes letting our stroller-bound toddler run around. There are several other play areas around the park where kids can explore.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Dining at the San Diego Zoo

Dining at the Zoo is mostly walk-up with outdoor patio dining. Offerings are wide and include sandwiches, grilled burgers & chicken, salads, wraps and Chinese. The only full-service dining restaurant, Albert’s, offers a more elegant selection and happy hour. There’s also soft serve ice cream at many locations in the park (which makes my kids very happy on a hot day!)

You can also bring in any of your own food from home (which we frequently do). Have a picnic lunch in the Treetops Cafe seating area. There’s plenty of covered seating and an amazing view of the city. Please note that straws are not permitted as they are a choking hazard to the animals.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Chocolate soft serve in the Treetops area of the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Special Events

Nighttime Zoo

Throughout the entire summer, the San Diego Zoo stays open late for Nighttime Zoo. Included in your daily park admission, the Zoo is open as late at 9 pm for special evening shows, live music and animal encounters. There are also summertime food offerings including Berry Walnut Salad and a Loaded Hot Dog.

Extra Zoo Experiences

The San Diego Zoo offers special experiences at an additional fee, including an early-morning tour to visit the pandas, overnight sleepovers in the park or even children’s birthday parties. Educational classes and camps can also be booked.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Meerkat lookout

Kids Play FREE at the San Diego Zoo in October!

Yes, in addition to free admission at the San Diego Zoo, kids also get in free at LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld. They’ll also dine free at participating restaurants. Read more about the kids free in San Diego for October promotion.

WATCH THE VIDEO for more San Diego Zoo with Kids tips!

Read this post for more tips if you only have one day to explore the San Diego Zoo.

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo.

Peeking at the tortoise


Save Money on Your San Diego Zoo Vacation!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).

If you’re also planning to visit SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo with kids consider purchasing a discounted ticket bundle that includes both locations.


READ MORE:

Visiting the San Diego Zoo with kids? Read this ultimate guide on what to do and see, what's new at the Zoo, how to navigate and where to purchase discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo. #California #SanDiego #SanDiegoZoo #Zoo #Travel #TravelwithKids #FamilyTravel #SoCal #ThemeParks


8 Things to Do in Palm Springs with Kids of All Ages

Whether exploring the golf courses in Indian Wells, the water park in Cathedral City, the zoo in Palm Desert or the aeriel tramway in Coachella Valley you’re sure to find adventure in Palm Springs with kids of all ages. With a toddler, 6-year old and two teens in our family, finding activities that interest all of them can be a challenge. Occasionally when we’re on a family vacation, my husband and I have to divide up so that the big kids can do activities just for them. It’s worth it for some activities, as you’ll read. I’ve also included a list of activities that are family friendly and that young kids and adults alike will enjoy together!

Visit Greater Palm Springs arranged complimentary admission to several of these activities (Living Desert, Children’s Discovery Museum, Wet n’ Wild Water Park & Red Jeep Tour). Renaissance Indian Wells provided lodging and dining credit. All opinions are my own.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

Palm Springs With Kids

While my family of six has taken California road trips in the past, we’d never explored Palm Springs together. Palm Springs takes approximately 2.5 hours to drive from San Diego, though we did run into some traffic that extended the drive on a Friday afternoon. We stopped for healthy snacks at a convenience store along the way. I’m sharing tips on where to stay and advice for lots of family activities when taking on Palm Springs with kids.

Renaissance Indian Wells

If you’re looking for a Palm Springs kid friendly resort that’s also classy and high in family-friendly amenties, the Renaissance Indian Wells is perfect all-around. From the moment we arrived, the staff made us feel welcome, telling us about the resort amenities (including complimentary bikes for touring the resort).

My family of six were placed into a 1 bedroom Executive suite, with a connecting two Queen bed room. Each room had a private balcony with an incredible pool and mountain view. Seriously, it was gorgeous waking up to this view! The spaciousness of the rooms and the ability to close doors between the spaces was ideal. While my big kids slept and my husband watched television, I was able to sit with the toddler in the quiet living space until she fell asleep.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

Roomy queen bed room at the Renaissance Indian Wells.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

The spacious living room in the executive suite.

What’s for Families at the Renaissance Indian Wells?

The large and beautiful pool at the Renaissance Indian Wells is a big draw for families. After my 6-year old got over the disappointment that the resort pool didn’t have a water slide, he consoled himself on the sandy beach and in one of the two hot tubs! The pool area does get extremely crowded during the day and it’s easy to lose track of the kids. Also there aren’t any lifeguards on duty, so keep a close eye. There are towels available poolside, but bring your own flotation device for non-swimmers. I had to do a Target run for our toddler to purchase one.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

The pool area is open very late which means if you have a pool view, you’re going to hear the noise. On one of the nights of our visit, there was an extremely loud “dive in movie” at the pool going on until nearly 10 pm. I recommend bringing ear plugs if you’re an early sleeper. A sleep mask is another good thing to pack as there were no blackout curtains in our room and the shutters didn’t fully block all the light.

There’s plenty to do at the Renaissance Indian Wells without the kids too. Check the young ones (ages 4-13) into Camp Oasis for the morning or evening session (reservations are recommended). Then adults can enjoy the resort spa, Spa Esmeralda with a variety of pampering services and treatments. My husband let me sleep in with the kids one morning while he took advantage of the fitness center and free classes. For dining, we enjoyed the unique and delicious burgers at CAVA for lunch. We found this location to be upscale but still comfortable enough for kids. There’s also Japanese specialties at Glo Sushi or Italian dining at Sirocco Pizza Company. Read my travel dining hacks with kids.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

A variety of burgers and fries to share at CAVA, Renaissance Indian Wells.

Tips About Palm Springs with Kids

The Palm Springs area is quite easy to navigate. The Renaissance Indian Wells is located towards the southern end of the Palm Desert area. Driving on the 111, we were able to access many of the family activities around Palm Springs within 30 minutes or so. As California natives we’ve done a lot of exploring outdoors in San Diego. If you’re not used to the warmth of the desert you’ll definitely have a few extra considerations. Use sunscreen and reapply a lot. Drink plenty of water to maintain hydration. Aim to avoid the direct sun mid-day, seeking indoor activities when the weather is hottest.

1. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

While my husband and older kids took a guided tour on a jeep, my toddler and I explored at the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert. We’ve done children’s museums in San Diego before but I was thrilled by the unique variety of things for my toddler to do here! We definitely could have spent the entire day playing here, my daughter was having a wonderful time.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

The Children’s Discovery Museum offers over 80 hands-on exhibits, some of which are traveling for a limited time. My daughter is recently 2 years old and I was pleased that there was so much she was able to do here. She happily played “veterinarian” to stuffed puppy dogs, shopped for groceries, tested how balls and silks could “balance” on air jets and had a tea party in Toddlertown. I know that my six year old son would have enjoyed the museum and some of the more scientific experiments as well.

There are both indoor playgrounds and grassy areas outside (with balls and toys). There are also shaded picnic benches. When you enter into the main building be sure to head outside to visit the other galleries. Each of the buildings is air conditioned but you’ll be in the sun when walking between the galleries. Seating is limited for adults inside the galleries but that’s only to encourage grown ups to play alongside their kids!

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

You might not think to pack the sunscreen for a museum but you’ll be walking outside between galleries.

2. Palm Springs Golfing for All Ages

Palm Springs is known for their golf courses. But you might not think to take the kids! The Indian Wells Golf Resort is conveniently located right next door to the Renaissance Indian Wells resort. Guests of the Renaissance Indian Wells resort can practice putting or driving balls for free after noon! You don’t even need your own clubs or reservations, just show up. A complimentary shuttle transports guests back and forth.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Springs. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert of Palm Springs with kids of all ages.

Free putting in Palm Springs

My older kids (and my husband!) were so excited to try “real” golfing for the first time. While my husband and older kids played, the toddler and I walked around the pretty resort, taking pictures of the landscaping. There is a grill and bar with food for purchase, or complimentary water to stay hydrated.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

I took a few swings with the club too (it’s harder than it looks!)

3. Palm Springs Ariel Tramway

I have to admit that I declined the offer to take the Palm Springs Ariel Tramway. My fear of heights got the best of me and I just knew I wouldn’t be able to take that ride! However if heights don’t bother you, I highly recommend taking the tramway and you can read more about it on this TravelingMom post.

4. Palm Springs Red Jeep Tours

If you’re looking for a desert adventure, here are many tour companies that will take you on a Jeep tour of  Joshua Tree National Park, Indian Canyons or Mecca Hills. The San Andreas Fault Jeep tour is what my family took with Desert Adventure’s Red Jeep Tours. Complimentary hotel pickup is available for guests staying in Palm Desert or Indian Wells. I opted out of taking the toddler so my three older kids and husband took the Red Jeep Tour. Phil was their tour guide. He picked them up directly in front of our hotel, which was extremely convenient. If your child rides in a booster seat, you’ll need to install it into the Jeep.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

The tour takes place at the private Metate Ranch preserve on the San Andreas Fault. Phil tailored the private tour for my husband and kids. The tour takes place along an active earthquake fault system, which my teenagers thought was cool. My family learned about the Cahuilla Indians, about the plants and animals in the desert and saw a natural palm oasis with bubbling water from an underground aquifer. They also had time to explore in the deep canyons and take a brief hike. After panning for gold, my kids received a vial with some of the gold chips they’d discovered.

This is quote from my 6-year old about the Red Jeep Tour experience:

I liked panning for gold. I learned about a fire in the palm trees and heard stories about the Indian spirit words. Mine was called “Bright Spirit”. I like when I got the Indian arrowhead at the end.

This guided tour was my teenage son’s favorite part of our entire Palm Springs weekend:

It was a day to remember. I enjoyed the humor of our tour guide Phil and learning the history of Palm Springs. My favorite part was going to visit the reservoirs and see how they get water in the desert.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Springs. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert of Palm Springs with kids of all ages.

5. Palm Springs Air Museum

With one of the world’s largest collections of flyable WWII aircraft the Palm Springs Air Museum will appeal to aviation fans and history buffs alike. My friend (and self-professed “aviation geek”) Leslie of Trips with Tykes talks more about the Palm Springs Air Museum.

6. Cabazon Dinosaurs

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are one of the quirkiest roadside attractions! Located along the 10 fwy, you can’t miss this collection of dino statues while driving into the Palm Springs area. If you’re a fan of the movie Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure you’ll recognize this area as one of the scenes. If you want to climb inside Mr. Rex’s mouth like Pee-Wee did, there’s a additional fee. Otherwise you can view and take photos of the other dinosaurs without any charge.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

7. Living Desert Zoo

As a San Diego native, I’m very familiar with our San Diego Zoo and didn’t know what to expect in Palm Springs. I was so pleased with our visit to the Living Desert Zoo! We visited early on Father’s Day and the crowds were very light, something I’m definitely not used to at the overly crowded San Diego Zoo. We were easily able to get close with the animals and linger as long as we wanted. I personally love the giraffes and it was incredible to be so close to them! You can even feed them for an additional fee.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

My husband and teens were excited to point out some of the plants in the botanical gardens, recognizing them from the jeep tour the day prior. There are 1,400 different species of plants here, all beautifully maintained.

In addition to the gardens and animals, the Living Desert also has nature hiking trails in its preserve. Each of the three trails is varied in difficulty. The Living Desert Zoo itself is very walk-able. We didn’t even bring a stroller for the toddler, allowing her to walk freely on the paved paths and the dirt trails. I do recommend close toed shoes. I wore sandals and my feet were quite dusty after walking through the exhibits! If you want to minimize walking or enjoy more of a tour, there is an in-park shuttle service for a small additional fee.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Springs. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert of Palm Springs with kids of all ages.

Take time for the kids to admire the trains garden. This G-scale model train display is large and intricate with lots of fun interactive areas. Another can’t miss for young kids is Gecko Gulch. This play area offers plenty of shade and gives kids the chance to run around. The Saguaro cactus slide was a favorite!

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

The train exhibit at the Living Desert is a must-see for kids.

Note that summer hours are abbreviated. On the day of our visit (mid-June) the park was only open from 8 am to 1:30 pm. Also some activities, like the carousel, camel rides, nature trails and lorikeet feedings aren’t available year-round so be sure to check the online calendar.

8. Wet n’ Wild Water Park

If you’re visiting Palm Springs in the summer you might wonder how you can beat the heat. A day at the Wet n’ Wild Palm Springs water park was a great way for us to cool off as a family. Wet n’ Wild has attractions for everyone, including an intermittent wave pool, lazy river and several family-type slides. Of course there are also thrilling water slides for the adventure seekers too!

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Spring. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert with kids of all ages.

There are plenty of dining options, offering the usual burgers, fries, pizza and nachos. Ice cream, funnel cake and Dippin’ Dots are choices for your sweet tooth. Unfortunately outside food is not allowed inside the park. However you can leave and return without additional parking charges (just keep and show your receipt) if you want to leave and eat elsewhere.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Springs. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert of Palm Springs with kids of all ages.

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Springs. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert of Palm Springs with kids of all ages.

You can bring bottled water, sports drinks and juice inside the park. You’ll also need your own towels. Lockers are available to rent and if you arrive early, grab a chaise under the shade. There are cabanas available to rent at an additional charge. Wet n’ Wild is not open year-round so be sure to check their online calendar before your visit.

What’s your favorite family-friendly activity in Palm Springs with kids?

There are lots of things to families to do in Palm Springs. Find out the top 8 desert adventures including golfing, museums, and water parks. Lots of tips on where to stay and what to do in the California desert of Palm Springs with kids of all ages. #PalmSprings #VisitGreaterPS #RenIW #Desert #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #California

 

33 Things to Do Outside In San Diego with Kids

With its temperate climate year-round, San Diego is a beautiful place to explore outdoors. Fortunately there are tons of things for families with kids to do in San Diego county. From the beaches to the mountains (and all the spots in between!) I’ve included my top 33 things to do outside in San Diego with kids.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Things to Do Outside in San Diego

I’ve lived in San Diego my entire life and I have a confession to make. Even I haven’t done everything on this list! There’s just so much to see and do outside in San Diego with kids. It’s my goal to get through everything here with my kids. We’re going to hit all the outdoor adventures in San Diego from North County to the South Bay! I have suggestions for things to do with toddlers and teens, and all ages in between. I’ve even included some free things to do in San Diego! These are my suggestions for the best San Diego attractions for kids to do outside.

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

Fly a kite, ride a bike or just run on the grass at Embarcadero Park.

If you’re looking to save money on your San Diego vacation, check out these specials from Get Away Today, my travel partner. There are hotel discounts, ticket savings and even a San Diego travel coupon book! Also if you book a SoCal vacation package, use my special code REWRITTEN for an extra $10 off!

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo Monument.

Outdoor Learning for Kids in San Diego

Julian – Step back to the Gold Rush days in the quaint town of Julian. Particularly popular in the fall (during apple pie season) or winter (when there’s lots of snow on the ground).

Living Coast Discovery Center – Located south of downtown San Diego in Chula Vista, this zoo & aquarium offers environmental education and animal encounters with SoCal wildlife.

Cabrillo Monument – Located in the Point Loma area, see where Juan Cabrillo first landed in San Diego nearly 400 years ago. The Cabrillo Monument houses a visitor center, lighthouse, trails and tide pools. The only cost here is $10 per vehicle. Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn and Suites is an ideal overnight location near Shelter Island.

San Diego Harbor – Take tours on the USS Midway aircraft carrier or Maritime Museum of San Diego with the Star of India and HMS Surprise.

Free Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

If you’re looking for more free things for kids in San Diego, check out this post with all the freebies offered annually in October.

Balboa Park – You could spend a week in this huge outdoor venue and still not experience everything! From weekly outdoor concerts at the organ pavilion, hiking trails and free special events, there’s a lot of ground to cover at Balboa Park.

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

So many outdoor places to explore at Balboa Park.

Embarcadero Park – Walking and biking paths along with lots of shady trees and green space for napping or running around. Bring a kite as this location has some of the best kite flying wind around!

Old Town – The perfect place to start if you want to give kids a history lesson on the beginnings of this city. Kids can walk through the free museums of Old Town, including the old school house to see how people lived in San Diego 150 years ago. Consider staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Old Town.

Waterfront Park – Kids can make a splash in this outdoor play area with splash pads and fountains along San Diego harbor. Free to play, just bring water shoes and a towel.

Outdoor Places to Eat in San Diego with Kids

Liberty Station – This hip center houses many restaurants, a movie theater, art studios, boutiques as well as historical museums, rose gardens and fountains. You can work up an appetite walking the length of the large Liberty Station area. We personally enjoyed the al fresco dining at Officine Buona Forcetta. The authentic Italian food is incredible and there is a play set outside for the kids.

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

The outdoor patio at Buona Forcetta (there’s a play structure for the kids on the lawn)

Little Italy – This tight-knit community is host to a weekly outdoor mercado farmer’s market. There are also many family-friendly patio cafes, including our favorite restaurant in Little Italy, Civico 1845.

Seaport Village – This 14-acre shopping district is located along the bay, with some beautiful boardwalk views. Seaport Village offers a lot of outdoor dining, including Buster’s Beach House (order the Short Board Sampler!)

Dine with Orcas at SeaWorld San Diego – Definitely one of the most memorable meals! Click through to read more about Dine with Orcas (and find out how to get discounted tickets).

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

Gardens to Explore with Kids

Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch – This seasonal event includes oceans of gorgeous flower gardens, tractor rides, mazes and Santa’s Playground. Check the website calendar when specific days are designated for kids with face painting, bubbles and more.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – Families can hike the Pacific Crest Trail to see some of the beautiful wildflowers that bloom in this 600,000-acre state park. Cost is per vehicle, charged Fri/Sat/Sun.

Water Conservation Garden in Rancho San Diego – Kids can learn about water conservation, drought tolerant plants and rain water collection in this large series of gardens. Kids especially enjoy the sensory garden. I’ve loved the gardens as a pretty place for taking photos of the kids. No cost for admission, though donations are accepted.

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

The Water Conservation Garden has some beautiful back drops for portrait taking of the kids.

Carlsbad Lagoon – Rent an aqua cycle, stand up paddleboard, canoe or peddle boat to get kids active on the water! For more power they also rent waverunners, pontoon boats and power boats.

San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas – Kids can play in several of the beautiful gardens and look at the 4,000 different species growing here.

Outdoor Recreation in San Diego

Santee Lakes – Grab your fishing pole and toss a line into one of the many lakes here. Bring a bike, a suit and towel for the splash pad or just play at one of the playgrounds. There are also boats for rent.

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

Enjoying the weekend with a fishing pole at Santee Lakes

Batiquitos Lagoon in Carlsbad – The tidal wetlands trail here is stroller friendly and you can spy habitats for birds, fish and other animals.

Mission Trails – Start at the Visitor Center where you can learn history of the area and about natural wildlife. Then lace up your hiking shoes for one of the many rugged trails here (not stroller appropriate).

Old Poway Park – While the park is open each day, the Poway-Midland Railroad, Nelson House and Heritage Museum are only open on weekends.

Biking at the Beach – My two little ones and I enjoyed a bike ride along the coast in Carlsbad last year. Pedego Electric Bikes gave me a bike with a seat in front for my toddler. They even had a bike with training wheels for my kindergartner! You can find bike rental locations all over San Diego, especially near the shore.

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego

Adventures Outdoors in San Diego

Coronado Ferry – Hop aboard one of these “Flagship Cruises” that take you from downtown San Diego over to Coronado Island. Takes about 15 minutes total for less than $5 per person one way. Once at the Coronado Ferry Landing, you can walk or bike the paths along the water and enjoy the grassy areas, playgrounds, sandy beaches and public restrooms.

Aquatica Waterpark- Everyone can have fun in the sun at SeaWorld’s water park (located in South Bay, not near SeaWorld). Be sure to check the schedule online as to when this water park will be open.

Potato Chip Rock – Adventurous kids who like to hike will enjoy standing on this famous rock near the top of Mt. Woodson in Poway.

Petco Park – What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the sun, watching a major league baseball game in downtown San Diego. Purchase tickets in the Park at the Park and kids can kick back on the grass (bring a blanket!) Join the Compadres for Kids and after Sunday home games, kids will have access to special activities like running the bases, bounce houses, playing catch on the field, autograph signings and more.

San Diego Theme Parks for Kids

Click the red links to find out how you can purchase discount tickets to these popular attractions!

Sea World San DiegoEveryone can make a splash at the aquariums, thrill rides and family fun theme park. SeaWorld San Diego has a focus on animal education and learning in a safe environment with touch pools, shows and sealife interaction.

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

LEGOLAND California and Waterpark – LEGOLAND is a family favorite with amusement park rides that are best suited for ages 3-10. The LEGOLAND waterpark is a newer addition that just keeps growing. It’s a great place for teens and adults as well with giant wave pools and adventurous slides. Here’s what you should know before visiting

San Diego Zoo This is the ultimate zoo for nearly every animal under the sun! Read more on how to cover the San Diego Zoo in a single day.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park These are the animals you’d see on safari. Bring your walking shoes, this 1800 acre park in Escondido covers a lot of ground. Don’t miss the Africa Tram, you’ll be able to get a closer view of the animals.

Best Beaches in San Diego for Kids

Mission Beach – Arrive early to grab free parking in one of the lots to enjoy this popular boardwalk beach with lots of sand and waves. Mission Beach also houses Belmont Park with amusements like the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, Wave House and other kid-friendly activities. I’m partial to nearby Mission Bay, with the grassy parks and playgrounds. Consider a stay at the Bahia Resort Hotel, right along beautiful Mission Bay.

Carlsbad – There are 2 great beach spots for families here including Tamarack-State Beach and South Ponto Beach. Both have lifeguards on duty and public restrooms with showers.

Snorkling in La Jolla Cove – You’ll find Garibaldi and leopard sharks (both tame to swim around) in the beautiful waters of La Jolla. Bring your snorkle to spy these creatures. The beach here is very tiny and extremely popular so arrive early to stake out parking and a spot on the sand.

Dozens of ideas on outdoor activities to do with kids in San Diego, from the beaches to the mountains (and everywhere in between!) Includes suggestions for FREE events and locations as well #SanDiego


 

Review of Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park California

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a family-friendly combination of live theater, dinner and dramatic entertainment. Located on Beach Blvd, this dinner theater is in the same area as Knott’s Berry Farm and Medieval Times. Disneyland is a 15 minute drive away. With so many excellent entertainment choices, is Pirate’s Dinner Adventure a good choice for your family? Keep reading for my full, honest review!

My family and I received complimentary tickets to attend Pirate’s Dinner Adventure. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Buena Park

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is located in Buena Park, a city in Los Angeles/Orange County. It’s just a few blocks from Knott’s Berry Farm and about 15-minutes drive from Disneyland. My family (including my husband, toddler, six-year old and two teenagers) visited Pirate’s Dinner Adventure for the first time.

For more ideas on what to do in the Buena Park and Southern California area, be sure to check out my post.

Many guests were dressed in pirate garb, which is encouraged for young and old alike. My son brought his pirate hat and we saw many guests wearing bandanas and carrying light-up pirate swords. There are, of course, plenty of costuming accessories for sale in the souvenir shops inside the lobby. The lobby is appropriately decorated with a giant pirate’s map and skeletons.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Purchasing Tickets for the Event

When I was at the ticket window getting our tickets there was a family of 7 next to me trying to get seats for that night. Unfortunately the show had sold out, which I understand is fairly regular. Don’t expect to just show up and try to purchase tickets, it’s best to buy ahead of time. Tickets can be found on the website or through Groupon (for select nights only). Sign up through Ebates first, then click Groupon to purchase – you’ll receive an additional 9% cash back! Even with your Groupon ticket, you’ll still need to call ahead of time to book your reservation.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Pre-Show Entertainment & Appetizers

Before entering the theater you’ll have your group photo taken. Printed pictures will be brought to you tableside during the show. You can purchase them, or not. It was recommended that we arrive 60 minutes before the show. This allowed plenty of time for purchasing a drink at the bar, souvenir shopping, taking in the pirate decor and a restroom break. There is the opportunity to have your child’s face painted for an additional charge. Unless you’re planning on shopping, I don’t think you need to get there quite that early. We did a lot of standing around, waiting for the doors to open. Actually we have a toddler, so technically that just meant we took turns chasing her through the crowds!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

As far as the pre-show appetizers, they are tray-passed through the lobby. We saw meatballs on toast, ham and cheese open-faced sandwiches, and carrots and celery with ranch dressing. Not too special, I’d wait to eat and save room for the hearty dinner instead. However you can purchase both alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty drinks in the lobby, then bring them into the theater.

There is a pre-show in the bar area which introduced the pirates. We were in the entryway room but were able to watch on a television. Each pirate walks through the lobby, carrying a colored flag and leading guests that are seated in his colored section. We waited until the orange pirate came through and then followed him with the rest of our group into the theater!

Seating Inside Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

If you choose a seat in the upper part of the theater, know that you won’t be allowed much elbow room. Guests were squeezed in pretty tight in those last few rows. Also, there are some seats that don’t have very good views of the action. In fact some spots have obstructed views with all the pirate ship rigging and poles in the way.

I recommend opting for a seating upgrade that allows for more space and an unobstructed and closer view of the action. My family and I were seated in the second row of the orange section, which offered us a perfect view of the stage.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Food Review

The Pirate’s Dinner Adventure includes a three-course meal. Non-alcoholic drinks like soda, water, lemonade, coffee and tea are included. You can also request a vegetarian. gluten-free or vegan meal in place of the traditional dishes. Children will receive the kid’s platter, which includes small portions of mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, and cubed melon alongside a generous amount of chicken nuggets.

Soup or Salad – Guests have their choice of either a large dinner salad or a small bowl of vegetable soup. I ordered the salad, which was large for a dinner salad. It was already covered with ranch dressing, which was fine, except that the server never asked me what kind of dressing I wanted (and I usually request dressing on the side). My older two kids ordered soup.

Main Course – Roasted quarter chicken leg and thigh. The meat was moist and flavorful. There was a veggie and shrimp skewer, which was also tasty. Carrots and zucchini are served on the side (zucchini was slightly under cooked, which was better than being overcooked in my opinion). Creamy mashed potatoes rounded out the plate. Our server did bring a platter with more chicken to see if anyone wanted another piece (my husband did).

Dessert – A slice of tres leches cake that is drizzled with chocolate. Usually not my favorite dessert but this was delicious!

Overall the food is good and our platters were served hot. Note that your entire party may not be served at once (my older kids didn’t get their plates until about 5 minutes after their dad and me). There are additional upgrades that can be made to your meal, including adding lobster and champagne or three-layer chocolate cake.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Service

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a loud and boisterous place. This means it can be a challenge to get messages to the server. We were seated at a long bench table and if you’re seated in the middle, you won’t really be able to speak to your server directly without yelling! I had to “talk” to the server by telling my husband and having him pass the message to the server. Meal plates are passed from the ends to the guests in the middle of the table. Not every seat is like that in the theater, but having the bench seats without server access made it difficult.

We received beverages at the beginning of the show but they were never refilled. Guests are encouraged to “Drink! Drink!” at times during the show and my 6-year old said to me with his stein turned upside down, “I can’t drink, my cup is empty!”

Audience Participation

Throughout the show, the audience is encouraged to participate. Each colored seating section is assigned their own pirate. We sat in the orange section and cheered on our themed pirate throughout the show. Shouting, standing, banging your cup and cheering is all encouraged! My husband was given the job of raising our orange flag. Some children were invited to the stage to ride in one of the row boats. Other guests were included in the show as well. It’s a boisterous place and that adds to the fun!

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

The Show – Legend of the Loch Ness Monster

This action-packed show takes place on what looks like a Spanish galleon. The ship is surrounded by 200,000 gallons of water on which row boats float. The “stage” is impressive for sure, and the colorful lighting and dramatic music adds to the effect. Did I mention the shirtless pirates? These singing, dancing and sword fighting pirates swing from ropes, leap on trampolines and duel each other throughout the show. Each pirate has their own personality and allows for plenty of comic relief in between the drama.

There is also a comedic “pirate in training”, a headstrong princess, an acrobatic gypsy girl, a teensy-bit of romance and lots of one-on-one pirate battles. The stunts are all great quality. The swinging ladder was my favorite part (I held my breath the entire time!) Don’t bother trying to figure out the story plot in between eating. Just watch and enjoy (ahem, shirtless pirates!)

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Can You Take a Baby or a Toddler?

We mentioned on the reservation that we would have a toddler with us. I asked initially if there were high chairs and was assured that there were. However our seats were in the second row, which was all bench seating with one long table. There wasn’t any way to get a high chair there for our toddler. I asked our server for a booster seat, but it was never brought.

The seat and table were too far away from each other for my petite toddler to sit at (she is just a few weeks shy of her second birthday). My husband and I ended up taking turns holding her on our laps so that she could reach the table to eat. She watched most of the show but started to get bored towards the end (naturally, after the cake was served!) I took her out into the lobby to run around until the show was over.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Trying to hold a squirmy toddler while watching the show.

What Age Is Most Appropriate?

We attended Pirate’s Dinner Adventure with our almost-2 year old daughter, 6 year old son and two 14 year olds (boy and girl). I already shared about my toddler in the section above. There are some loud moments (like thunder sounds or cracking whips) that might startle young children. The show is appropriate for all ages but at 2 hours, it might be too long for some children. My older three kids were highly entertained. They all liked the food and enjoyed the action. My 6 year old lamented that he wished he’d been chosen to go onto the stage! There is one scene at the end that frightened my son and he hid under the table (I promise, it’s not that scary!) My teenagers both liked the show though my jaded older son said it was a “little corny”, but I don’t think that was a bad thing.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark

Who Will Enjoy Pirate’s Dinner Adventure?

If you’re looking for a high-brow, elegant dinner, this is not the place for you. If you like to relax, enjoy live entertainment and can get into the fun atmosphere, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a great family place! You can read my review of Medieval Times (which is literally a block away from Pirate’s Dinner Adventure) so you can compare the two and see which is the better choice for your family.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Buena Park is a combination of live theater, 3-course meal and swashbuckling entertainment. Read my honest review on who should go, what the food is like and what to expect during the show. #VisitBuenaPark


What You Need To Know About Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival

Knott’s Berry Farm is already a fantastic theme park. Throw in a three-week food festival that features over 75 one-of-a-kind boysenberry-inspired dishes and now you have an AMAZING theme park! But it’s not all about the food, as there is also special entertainment, springtime decorations and historical influence. Find out more about the must-do events during Knott’s Boysenberry Festival 2018.

Knott’s Boysenberry History

Knott’s Berry Farm isn’t just a name, there is a history behind this unique theme park. It’s really located on the spot where the Knott family farm used to stand. The boysenberry is a cross between a loganberry, red raspberry and blackberry. It was named after its originator Rudolf Boysen, then successfully harvested and sold by the Knott family.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

While my family and I have been going to Knott’s Berry Farm for many years, this was our first time visiting during the popular Boysenberry Festival. Fortunately for us, boysenberries are a favorite fruit and we were so excited to try all the delicious foods during this special event! For 24 days in 2018, this celebration of all things boysenberry is taking place at Knott’s, starting March 16th and running through April  8th, 2018.

My family and I were hosted as a guest at the Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival. We received complimentary park admission and tasting cards. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Tasting Card

There are over 75 boysenberry foods available during the festival. This includes cotton candy, Jelly Belly and the 8 popular choices available on the tasting card. This tasting card costs $30 and you are able to mix and match between the eight options. You can also purchase the items à la carte but you’ll for sure get a better value with the card.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

These are the foods available on the tasting card (we tried them all, except for the hummus – somehow we missed that stand!) Flip the tasting card over and there is a numbered map that shows where each stand is located. Most are in the same area. You’ll simply snap off one tab and present it when ordering at each stand.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boysenberry Festival Food

Boysenberry Cheese Quesadilla – A boysenberry flour tortilla is filled with cotija and mozzarella cheese. It comes with sides of boysenberry salsa and sour cream. The salsa has a little kick (not joking, we licked it clean, it was delicious!) I give this a Knott’s Blue Ribbon as my favorite dish!

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boysenberry Sausage on a Bun – A savory sausage in a freshly baked bun. Add your own toppings (boysenberry ketchup, mustard and relish). Unfortunately they had run out of the boysenberry ketchup but it was still very tasty with the mustard! This is a great value, it’s quite filling. This was my eldest son’s favorite item.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boysenberry Elote –  This popular Mexican street corn is grilled, then rubbed with a coating of boysenberry butter and boysenberry mayonnaise. It’s then rolled in parmesan cheese, wow! You can sprinkle on your own lemon pepper or cayanne. The boysenberry flavor is pretty light. This one gets a little sloppy!

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boysenberry Pierogies –  Dough is stuffed with a blend of Canadian cheddar cheese and Yukon potatoes. A generous helping of applewood bacon, sauteed onions, sauteed boysenberries and sour cream makes this another large dish that’s a great value.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Slow Cooked Boysenberry Short Rib – Ribs are marinated overnight and braised slowly. Served on a generous amount of rice and topped with boysenberry hoisin sauce and green onions. A fantastic value and a wonderful dish! This was my husband’s favorite (he ate two!)

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boysenberry Coconut Macaroon –  This rich dessert is deliciously sweet. The coconut cookie is dipped in purple chocolate ganache and was the top voted dish of my six-year old. You’ll receive one cookie and they will box them for you to-go if you wish.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boysenberry Chicken Wings – Slathered in boysenberry Buffalo sauce, these sticky wings were my eldest daughter’s fav.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boysenberry Hummus with Grilled Pita Bread – This is available on the tasting card, but we didn’t get a chance to try it.

Festival Tip: Stands were much busier mid-afternoon. Get there early to avoid the crowds!

Snoopy the Easter Beagle & Boysenberry Decor

There are so many pretty places at Knott’s Berry Farm to take photos. There are spring flowers everywhere, including right at the front entrance. In the morning Snoopy is dressed as the “Easter Beagle” and he greets guests for photos.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

You can meet Snoopy the Easter Beagle here in the morning.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Where to Whet Your Whistle

Getting thirsty after all that rich food? You can grab non-alcoholic beverage drinks including classic boysenberry punch, Calico Soda, Boysenberry Soda, Cream Soda, Mint Soda and Ginger Ale. Step inside the Calico Saloon for boysenberry beer, boysenberry cider, and boysenberry wine.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

If you want a more choices, check out the Wine and Craft Brew Tasting Garden inside the Wilderness Lodge and patio area. Purchase a $25 wine and craft brew tasting card inside the Wilderness Lodge. You’ll be able to choose from four craft brews and over 50 different wines including some drinks with a boysenberry twist (naturally!) You’ll also receive a snack tray with candied almonds, cheese, crackers and fruit. You can bring the kids inside too.

Festival Tip: Check out the art show inside Wilderness Lodge. “Tied Up in Knott’s!” celebrates the history through original art work.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Boot Stompin’ Entertainment

There’s special entertainment taking place during the Boysenberry Festival including fan favorites, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies on the Wagon Camp stage. Inside the legendary Bird Cage Theater, America’s longest running melodrama returns.

In addition, check out these kid-friendly shows and attractions. On the Calico Mine Stage, the entire Peanuts gang presents an audience-interactive musical revue. Kids can get up close to horses, sheep, goats and other animals at the Old MacDonald Petting Zoo. And at the Camp Snoopy Theatre, Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang sing, dance, and celebrate. at the Camp Snoopy Theatre. The characters meet n’ greet for photos immediately after the show.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Additional Boysenberry Delights

Didn’t get enough boysenberry with your tasting card? There are so many MORE treats to try!

  • Boysenberry Boba Tea – This light and refreshing tea has boysenberry flavor with lots of boysenberry tapioca beads.
  • Boysenberry Pie Milkshake – Literally a slice of boysenberry pie blended with vanilla ice cream, wow!!
  • The Fun Stick Deep-fried cheesecake on-a-stick drizzled with boysenberry icing.
  • Cordelia’s Pie Kitchen – Cordelia Knott’s kitchen helped make Knott’s Berry Farm what it is today. Guests can step inside a replica of Cordelia Knott’s first kitchen and make their very own sweet boysenberry tarts with crumble topping.
  • Country Festival Fun in the center of Ghost TownGames and fun every hour, where guests can compete in a Pie Eating Contest or participate in a Pie Walk (the prize is a whole Knott’s Boysenberry Pie!)

Festival Tip: There are 75+ boysenberry foods. Be sure to look at the guide map to the Boysenberry Festival so you can track down your favorites.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

Crafts Fair & Boysenberry Festival Merchandise

Local artisans are offer unique products at the Crafts Fair during Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. These handmade items including bath products, crafts, candles and candy. Some shops will have demonstrations like live glass blowing and chainsaw wood art carving. My daughter fell in love with the handmade boysenberry pie hat and just had to have it! Can’t make it to the Boysenberry Festival? MissDooLittles makes the boysenberry pie hats to sell at Knott’s and has them in her Etsy shop as well.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

A limited supply of boysenberry plants will be offered at the Festival and it’s recommended to purchase early. The official Boysenberry Festival T-Shirt comes with a limited edition festival pin. Purchase festival shirts at the merchandise booth across from the GhostRider entrance.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark


All of the entertainment for the Boysenberry Festival is included in your Knott’s Berry Farm admission ticket. Food and tastings are additional.

Save Money on Your Knott’s Berry Farm Vacation!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).


Read more about Knott’s Berry Farm, including the rest of the theme park and rides on my TravelingMom post.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates at their annual Boysenberry Festival. See what amazing boysenberry-inspired foods there are to taste as well as a guide on what to see and experience during this unique special event! #VisitBuenaPark

FREE 2018 Disney Vacation Planning Video

Planning a Disneyland, Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise vacation can be overwhelming. But if you know what to expect from the beginning, Disney vacation planning can be so much fun and that much smoother. I think that planning a Disney vacation can really add to my overall experience and watching videos before my trip really helps!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!


Disney Vacation Planning

We ordered our Disney planning video several years ago and it’s honestly one of my kid’s favorite things to watch! We’ve watched it over and over, even when we’re not planning a Disney trip because it’s just a great video.

There are two separate Disney vacation videos you can order. Even if you’re just casually considering a Disney vacation or Disney Cruise, go ahead and order the video – they are totally free and there are no strings attached! In fact, you may even receive special vacation discount codes just by ordering the video.

Click the images to get started and keep reading for more vacation planning tips for Disney! If you have a friend planning a trip, be sure to share this post with them so they can order the video for themselves. I also have the images for Pinterest, so you can share there as well!

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEYLAND & DISNEY WORLD VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEY CRUISE VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

Watching these videos before your trip can help prep your kids before your Disney vacation. This is especially helpful if you have anxious kiddos or kids who just like to know what to expect.

Planning a Disneyland vacation? See how you can get your own FREE Disney vacation travel planning video to find out all you need to know about your next California Disney vacation.

Disneyland and Disney World Vacation Planning

If you’ve never been to Disneyland or Disney World, ordering this free vacation planning video is the perfect start. You’ll get an overview of the Parks, the resort hotels, attractions and dining. And even if you’ve been on a Disney vacation before, watching this video will help everyone get even more excited about the vacation planning process!

If you’re a Walt Disney World vet going to Disneyland or a Disneyland fan going to Disney World for the first time, watching these videos is A MUST.

I think that if you’re planning a Disney vacation surprise or gifting Disney to your family for a special occasion, having the video ready for viewing is perfect. Turn the video on and present it with the surprise news, “You’re going to DISNEY!”

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEYLAND & WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation? See how you can get your own FREE Disney World vacation travel planning video to find out all you need to know about your next Disney vacation.

Planning a Disney Cruise Vacation

A Disney cruise is definitely on my short-list of things I’d LOVE to do on vacation!

This free video shows an overview of Disney Cruise Line destinations and ports-of-call. You’ll find out what’s included on a Disney cruise and get to know a bit about the ships. Plus you’ll find everything you need to know about cruise dining, entertainment and activities.

Did you know that Disney has their own private island, Castaway Cay? YES! And many of the Disney Cruise ships plan stops there for guests to enjoy.

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEY CRUISE VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

Planning a Disney cruise vacation? See how you can get your own FREE Disney cruise vacation travel planning video to find out all you need to know about your next Disney vacation.

Beyond Disneyland – Great Things to Do in Southern California with Kids

Orange County is one of my favorite places to spend time because there is so much to do in this sunny SoCal area! Besides Disneyland in the Anaheim area, there are other amusements very close in Buena Park, Santa Ana, and San Juan Capistrano. And you can’t forget the sandy beach side fun all along the Pacific Ocean. These are my suggestions for things to do in Orange County, beyond Disneyland!

Things To Do in Orange County With Kids

Hey, y’all know how much I love Disneyland! But Southern California is more than just a single amusement park. Come to Orange County for one thing and you’ll miss out on some really cool attractions. I’ve compiled a list of my top ten don’t-miss things in the OC.


Start off your SoCal travel planning by checking out this travel guide from Visit Buena Park filled with tips, transportation, maps and special event information.


I have received compensation by Visit Buena Park for writing this post. Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

4 Things to Do at Knott’s

With humble beginnings in the 1930s, Knott’s Berry Farm has built upon the success of the boysenberry and Mrs. Knott’s fried chicken to create a family-friendly destination. The theme park, restaurant, water park and historical  Consider an overnight at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel so all the Knott’s fun will be within quick walking distance.

1. Knott’s Berry Farm

Looking for family fun? How about thrill rides? What about history and a look back into the old West? Or maybe you just love really good food! Well, Knott’s Berry Farm has you covered on all fronts. With Camp Snoopy for little visitors and extreme coasters for big kids & adults, there is entertainment for all. We’ve loved our trips to Knott’s Berry Farm over the years (I’ve been visiting since I was very young). Don’t miss Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. That’s our favorite show (they used to perform in the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland). The amazingly detailed Calico Mine Ride is a don’t-miss family attraction! And my big kids hit all the thrill rides like Xcellerator and GhostRider. For more, read my tips on taking kids of all ages to Knott’s.

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

Knott’s Berry Farm day passes are considerable less expensive than Disneyland. Purchase discounted Knott’s Berry Farm tickets through my partner Get Away Today (under tickets, click “Huntington Beach” to find them).

SoCal Insider Tip: Line waits for the rides in Camp Snoopy can be ridiculously long, especially on the weekend. Be sure to check out my post on how to maximize your time with little ones at Knott’s Berry Farm.

2. Knott’s Soak City

Making a splash under the California sun is a great way to spend the day! Knott’s Soak City features 7 new water attractions including one with an Aqua-Launch chamber – the floor drops out from under your feet! I love a good lazy river and the one at Knott’s Soak City is one-third mile in length – one of the longest water park lazy rivers in the world. Knott’s Soak City is located across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm theme park.

SoCal Insider Tip: This seasonal water park will be open in mid-May 2018 to early September 2018. Be sure to check the schedule online as Soak City is only open select days during the season.

 

3. Knott’s Independence Hall

History lovers will enjoy a side-trip to Knott’s Independence Hall, an exact, brick-by-brick replica of the original building in Philadelphia. This is the nation’s only exact replica of the Philadelphia landmark. View a replica of the Liberty Bell, explore presidential artifacts and hear the forefathers discuss the Declaration of Independence.

Independence Hall is located outside Knott’s Soak City (across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm) and is open every day except Christmas from 10 am – 5 pm. Admission to Knott’s Independence Hall is always free.

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

4. Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant

Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park offers a pretty great All Day Dining Plan. However I still recommend leaving the park for at least lunch or dinner to hit this popular restaurant. You can sometimes walk-in, but to avoid a long wait it’s best to make a reservation.

Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant has been recently remodeled since my family’s last visit. I was able to look at the new design online and it reflects a rustic chic design that is so popular now. The restaurant is very large, with three indoor dining rooms, outdoor seating and a full-service bar (with boysenberry-infused cocktails!)

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

Order the chicken dinner, you won’t regret it! Each complete dinner comes with handmade biscuits, side salad, choice of cabbage or cherry rhubarb, three pieces of fried chicken and mashed potatoes smothered with gravy. And for dessert,  your choice of boysenberry pie or boysenberry sherbet. Seriously, the BEST fried chicken!

SoCal Insider Tip: Share the chicken dinner- the portions are huge. But order an extra dessert, because you won’t want to share the boysenberry pie!

5. Discovery Cube Science Center

Just down the freeway about ten minutes from Disneyland is the Discovery Cube Orange County, a science center with a hands-on focus for kids. Ongoing exhibits (like the water lab and healthy kitchen) are mixed in with limited time exhibits (like Rainforest Adventure). During spring break, their annual Bubblefest is can’t miss (extra add-on cost per ticket).

SoCal Insider Tip: The Discover Cube does not allow in and out privileges and guests cannot bring in snacks or food. There is a Bean Sprouts restaurant inside with healthier options, however the prices are higher than the usual fast food choices.

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

6. Lunch Suggestions All Over the OC

Looking for a reliable and delicious lunch spot in SoCal that the entire family will enjoy? These four restaurants have locations all over the OC. A quick Google search while you’re out-and-about should pinpoint them on a map for you. I’ve chosen chain dining so where ever you are in the area, one of these restaurants should be close by.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill

More than just seafood, through you should at least try the original fish taco. Beer battered fish drizzled with white sauce and topped with cabbage and salsa, it’s a California tradition! I’m a fan of the loaded grilled chicken nachos (big enough to share). Don’t forget to try the salsa verde and roasted chipotle salsa, they are delicious!

Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Fancier dining than you expect for a brewery (crispy tofu appetizers, black garlic fondue, veggie linguine). Or course there’s plenty for kids too, including burgers, mac and cheese and root beer floats. Plan ahead and call to book a brewery tour during your visit.

Blaze Pizza

I love pizza but I don’t always love the toppings that my husband wants to order. And the two little ones always just want pepperoni. I like that Blaze Pizza is super fast – pizzas cook in 180 seconds! And everyone can order their own personal sized pizza with whatever toppings they want.

Souplantation

This is one restaurant we frequently regularly because it offers something for everyone. The large salad bar has amazingly fresh toppings. Then there are the fresh baked breads and muffins, fruit, pasta and soups. You won’t leave hungry! I sign up for their email list and get great coupons.

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

Don’t forget the soft serve after your Souplantation meal!

7. Hit the Beach

No matter where you are along the coast of Southern California, you’re never too far from the sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean. Beaches in the OC feature some great view points, walking trails, tide pools and yes, even ocean swimming. Note that these are not tropical waters and even in the early summer, the Pacific Ocean can still be quite chilly. If you plan on visiting the beach early in the day, bring at least a hoodie to keep you warm from the “May Gray” or “June Gloom”.

Newport Beach

Newport Beach offers ten miles of coastline for surfing, swimming or sun on the sand. The 10.5-mile Back Bay Loop Trail in Upper Newport Bay is great for hiking and biking. Kids will be drawn to the Balboa Fun Zone amusement areas with the waterfront Ferris Wheel and arcade games.

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

Huntington Beach

Enjoy Huntington Beach’s ten unbroken miles of sand for swimming and sand castles by day and beach bonfires at night. If it’s salty sea air in your hair that you’re after consider a ride on Captain Dave’s Dolphin And Whale Watching Safari. Hi-speed catamarans take you out in search of gray whales, blue whales and dolphins. Discounted tickets for the Safari can be found through my partner Get Away Today (under tickets click “Huntington Beach” to find them).

Laguna Beach

Seven miles of coastline include tucked-away coves and viewing-only tide pools in beautiful Laguna Beach. This is also home to the famous Pageant of the Masters theater show in which actors recreate famous works of art (you have to see it to believe it!)


8. Dinner & a Show at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

My kids and I were able to visit the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament a few years ago while in the Buena Park area (you can read about our entire Medieval Times experience here). In a nutshell, this attraction is well worth the cost! Exploring the castle grounds during the pre-show is fun. The meal is hands-on delicious. And the show is really top notch entertainment!

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

9. Farrell’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlour

Farrell’s isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a lot of fun! Yes, they have burgers, salads and sandwiches. But save room for dessert because there are shakes, build-your-own sundaes and a candy shop with old-fashioned favorites.

Back when I was a kid, Farrell’s was the place to have your birthday party. I have distinct memories of spending one of my earliest birthdays hiding under the table because my family had ordered THE ZOO! This enormous ice cream sundae big enough to feed ten was delivered to your table in a loud fanfare of banging drums and sirens! Farrell’s has the same tradition today, should your family order THE ZOO.

SoCal Insider Tip: Dine on Tuesday night and the kids will eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.

10. San Juan Capistrano

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano, the legendary location where the swallows return each year. These birds migrate 6,000 miles from Goya, Argentina to San Juan Capistrano in large groups, arriving every March 19th. Founded nearly 200 hundred years ago, guests visiting the Mission San Juan Capistrano can still see the chapel where Saint Junipero Serra celebrated Mass. Hands-on activities like basket weaving, art and both audio and guided tours are engaging for older children. There are also 10-acres of beautiful gardens and fountains for little ones who just want to be outdoors.

SoCal Insider Tip: There are a number of businesses occupying historic buildings around the Mission, including several museums that offer more details on the heritage of the area.

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! But these are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!)

Photo credit: LaVerne McMillion

Looking for More?

For more information on what to do in Orange County, be sure to download the Buena Park travel guide stuffed with tips, transportation, maps and special event information.

Of course you can't miss Disneyland when visiting SoCal! There are so many great things to do in Orange County with kids! These are the top 10 can't-miss things to see and do in Southern California (other than Disneyland!) #VisitBuenaPark #Snoopy

Holidays at LEGOLAND California – Ultimate Seasonal Guide

While my family and I have been to LEGOLAND California dozens of times, we’ve never been during the holidays! This weekend we had the chance to experience the holidays at LEGOLAND events, including seasonal treats, unique LEGO photo ops and live shows. And did I mention the treats?! Peppermint milkshakes, need I go on? Keep reading for all the fun things to do during the holidays at LEGOLAND, along with my insider tips for an enjoyable day with the family.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Please note that I was provided complimentary tickets for my family and I to experience the holidays at LEGOLAND. All thoughts and opinions are my own and there was no monetary compensation. I include affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holidays at LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND California is open almost every day in December. Opening times vary, as well. Be sure to check the days and hours of operation online before your visit. In addition to all the usual rides, the holidays at LEGOLAND offers special seasonal shows, foods and photo opportunities throughout the park. I’ll share with you how to maximize your day at LEGOLAND and how to experience all that the holidays at LEGOLAND offers.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!


Save Money at LEGOLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Must-Do Photo Ops

LEGO Santa, Reindeer and Christmas Tree

While there are always lots of unique and larger-than-life LEGO figures to pose with throughout the park, make a point of visiting Santa and his reindeer during the holidays at LEGOLAND. This photo op is located in Fun Town, under the glow of the huge LEGO Christmas Tree!

LEGOLAND Holiday Tip – Arrive in this area about 30 minutes before/after one of the stage shows when the crowds aren’t as heavy.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

It “snows” in Fun Land!


Live Entertainment

My kids never want to take a break from all the attractions long enough to watch the shows. However we often catch both shows when walking through these areas.

LEGO Friends Holiday Show

Targeted mostly as young girls, the sweeter-than-sweet holiday show in Heartlake City features the five LEGO Friends.

Fun Town Show – The Yule Tides

This one couldn’t be more jolly! Santa’s elves are singing and dancing old and new Christmas carols on the stage in Fun Town.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

LEGO Friends Holiday Show in Heartlake City

Little LEGO-Sized Touches

Be sure to take a visit to Miniland U.S.A. to see where the Christmas spirit has been sprinkled! We found many of the buildings have fun holiday touches, including Santa and his sleigh and wreaths decorating the LEGO White House.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holiday Eats and Treats

Throughout the park, seasonal treats are sold that will surely get you into the holiday spirit. For lunch, dine on a Holiday Smoked Turkey Sandwich with rustic stuffing and spiced cranberry dressing or a smoked turkey leg. Sip warm apple cider or hot chocolate. And for dessert indulge in churros con chocolate, holiday cookies, peppermint milkshakes, and candy apples!

LEGOLAND Holiday Tip – Dining can get really crowded at LEGOLAND. Also, food is prepared fresh, so it often takes longer than you might expect to receive your food. Have one person order while the other gets the table to save time.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Seasonal shopping is available in the retail shops

Winter Holiday Market

Saturdays, December 9th and 16th till 7:00 pm in Fun Town.

The Winter Holiday Market is all new this year. Guests can purchase authentic “German Christmas Market” inspired treats like grilled sausages, giant Bavarian pretzels, spiced wine, and specialty hot chocolate.

Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!

Holidays at SEA LIFE Aquarium

Take the time for a tour through the SEA LIFE aquarium where seasonal décor appears throughout . There’s even a special holiday themed daily dive show daily from December 1st – 24th.


Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND in California with seasonal shows, treats and LEGO-sized Christmas touches around the park!