10 Fun Things to do with Kids in North County San Diego
1. ANTIQUE GAS & STEAM ENGINE MUSEUM
Who can resist trains, tractors and steam engines? Definitely not the kids! The Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California is a hands-on kind of museum. Unlike other museums, all equipment at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum is in working condition. Your kids (even big kids, like dad) can wander and play to their heart’s content. Visit on a Saturday to watch weaving, learn blacksmithing, and let the kids operate the Short Track Railroad.
For many adults, Lego brings nostalgic memories of childhood. For many kids, Lego is the hottest trend in the world! LEGO CHIMA Water Park presented by Cartoon Network, an extension of the LEGOLAND Water Park, is a wonderland for these kids. Even a non-Lego fan would enjoy this theme park with features like Mt. Cavora, a floating mountain in the center of the Lion Temple Wave Pool, an interactive play area and, of course, water slides.
3. CALIFORNIA SURF MUSEUM
Where else can you find an entire museum dedicated to everything surfing, including its history? Here at the Carlsbad Surf Museum in Oceanside, California, you’ll see wooden surfboards from the 1900s to today’s foam and fiberglass boards. The permanent exhibit includes the surfboard pro surfer Bethany Hamilton was riding and swimsuit she was wearing when she was attacked by a shark and lost her left arm.
4. GOLF CLINICS
There are golf clinics galore for kids all over San Diego. Aviara Golf Academy Junior Camps are for ages 10-18 where mornings go over the basics of putting, chipping, pitching, bunkers, and full swing. Then, the kids play the course with their instructors. For kids interested in staying longer, there’s an overnight option, too. Omni La Costa also offers half-day, full-day and overnight camps for ages 7-17.
5. BATES NUT FARM
Bates Nut Farm, a family-run farm in Valley Center, California, began as a walnut farm and has grown to include nuts, chocolates, homemade fudge, picnic areas, a store, and a petting zoo. Kids can feed the many animals including goats, llamas, pigs, sheep and chickens. Special events are held year round including an Easter egg hunt, arts & crafts fairs, and (drumroll please!) - the largest pumpkin patch in San Diego County!
6. SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK
San Diego Zoo Safari Park is a delight even for those who have experienced too many zoos in their life. The San Diego zoo features impressive trails and sights, and showcases over 3,500 animals representing 260 species. It gives a breathtaking view of 1800 acre of wildlife preserve. The zoo also has day camps and overnight camps for kids ages 2-17. You can also take up the zoo adventure a notch by going behind-the-scenes with a tour of keeper-only areas. Older kids will probably enjoy zip-lining over animal enclosures!
7. WATERSPORTS - CARLSBAD LAGOON
The Carlsbad Lagoon is full of family fun activities. Rent jet skis, kayaks, ski boats, aqua cycles and more from California Watersports. Summer camp for kids is something to look forward to if you are scouting for a great activity and get-away for your kids.
8. TOUR PALOMAR OBSERVATORY
Have an astronomy buff on your hands? Though it’s owned by California Institute of Technology, the public is welcome to visit the Palomar Observatory. Here, scientists look for near-Earth asteroids and study galaxies far, far away with many telescopes. Do note that the observatory is subject to closure periodically, so best to call in advance before going to make sure it is open.
9. LEO CARILLO RANCH HISTORIC PARK
Looking for some exploration adventure with your kids? Drop by Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park in Carlsbad, California. Formerly owned by actor Leo Carrillo, the Leo Carrillo Ranch is a designated Historic National Landmark where peacocks freely stroll among the landscape. Kids will love them! You can watch a short movie about Leo Carrillo Ranch in the Visitor Center theater and then proceed to enjoy the scenery with a walking tour. You can’t see the interiors of the buildings unless you take a docent-led free guided tour.
10. K1 SPEEDTRACK
Kids who are taller than 48″ can experience Junior Karting at K1 Speedtrack. Their Arrive and Drive program allows guests to show up and race the clock over 14 laps in high-performance, all-electric karts. Call first to make sure they’re not closed for a private event.
Want to know more things you can do with kids in San Diego North County? I still have a lot in my list that I would love to share with you. Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of my blog.
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