|San Diego, California
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3100 block of Mission Boulevard
Located directly on the Mission Bay Boardwalk, this park features a beautifully restored wooden roller coaster guaranteed to delight enthusiasts of classic amusement park rides.
World Drive off I-5
One of San Diego's premier attractions, Sea World gives visitors the opportunity to view impressive performances by Shamu the killer whale, be amazed and amused by the acrobatic antics of dolphins, and come face to face with fearsome looking sharks in the Shark Encounter. Those who wish to keep nature at a slightly greater distance can view one of the bird shows occurring periodically throughout the day. Other featured attractions include the Penguin Encounter, Manatee Rescue, Wild Arctic and Shipwreck Rapids ride.
San Diego Harbor Excursion Whale Watching
1050 N. Harbor Dr
Seemingly placid by comparison to the more widely known killer whale, the California gray whale is by no means less beautiful. Those wishing to observe the California grays during their southerly migration can do so by means of daily tours departing both morning and afternoon from the foot of Broadway (downtown).
San Diego Wild Animal Park
Highway 163/I-15 to Via Rancho Parkway (in Escondido)
For those wishing to see nature in an uninterrupted state, the Wild Animal Park is the place to go. With two animal shows, a quiet monorail, and unobtrusive paths, this 851 hectare (2,100 acre) preserve dedicated to the preservation of endangered species strikes a balance of preserving nature while still allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty of the animals and exotic plants found within its grounds.
San Diego Zoo
In Balboa Park
One of the most widely known zoos in the entire world, the San Diego Zoo is also one of the largest. Numbering among its eight hundred species of animals are some of the rarest and most exotic species in captivity. Most widely known for the animals it houses, the Zoo also contains a wide variety of tropical and semitropical plants. Its 40 hectares (100 acres) feature over 6,500 species of plants. Some of the featured exhibits at the Zoo include the Tiger River, Sun Bear Forest, Gorilla Tropics, Polar Bear Plunge and the new Ituri Forest and RainForest Aviary. Also available to visitors at no additional price are a guided bus tour and a skytram.
Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla
The Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum, associated with the world-renowned Scripps Institute of Oceanography, is the largest oceanographic exhibit in the U.S. With over 3,000 fish from waters cold to tropical, the museum features enough species to keep even Jacques Cousteau busy. The museum's bookshop sells a variety of works focusing on marine science and oceanography and includes teaching materials.
With perhaps the most to offer of any area of San Diego, the beautifully landscaped acres of Balboa Park include museums featuring world class collections, the San Diego Zoo, the Starlight Bowl outdoor theater, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, the Old Globe Theatre complex, rose and cactus gardens, and the Japanese Friendship Garden, where the occasional traditional tea ceremony can be observed. If you are in the mood for a walk or a picnic, this is the area for you. Even the open areas feature entertainment with both artists and street performers being common sights during the weekend.
San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado, Balboa Park
The largest museum in San Diego, the Museum of Art features works by Old Masters from several continents.
San Diego Natural History Museum
In Balboa Park
For those who enjoy the collected works of nature more than the collected works of man, the San Diego Natural History Museum presents to its visitors a variety of environmental habitats. These include desert, ocean and shore habitats, as well as displays of a variety of gems and minerals.
Old Town State Historic Park
The six blocks of San Diego's first settlement is a pedestrian-only zone that preserves the original site and Mexican influence of California's oldest city in its reconstructed and restored 1800s structures.
Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center
1875 El Prado, Balboa Park
With activities both entertaining and educational, the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center has something for every member of the family. With the latest technology, giant OMNIMAX films treat visitors to a variety of entertaining, educational topics. From the comfort of their seats, visitors can go on exciting adventures or view planetarium shows. The Science Center portion of the facility is definitely a hands-on experience, where visitors are both invited and encouraged to experience the variety of exhibits firsthand.
San Diego Aerospace Museum
2001 Pan American Plaza
Located in Balboa Park, the San Diego Aerospace Museum is the place to be for aviation enthusiasts both young and old. Whether it is an interest in historical flight or merely a child's fascination with the wonders of flying that brings one here, there is plenty here to view, entertain, and educate.
Cabrillo National Monument
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr., Point Loma
With over 1.2 million visitors each year, the Cabrillo National Monument is one of the country's most visited national monuments. Dedicated to Juan Rodruiguez Cabrillo, who arrived in the San Diego area in 1542, the monument consists of a statue that sits at the tip of Point Loma. Visitors can also view the restored lighthouse (circa 1855), or visit the nearby Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. Visitors are invited to partake in guided tours of the Cemetery or view one of the hourly films on Cabrillo, the history of San Diego, and the California gray whales, whose yearly migration can be seen from Point Loma from December through March.
1572 Columbia St
Complete with shiny fire engines, hand and horse-drawn engines, a turn of the century steam pumper, and historical memorabilia such as antique alarms and fire hats, the Firehouse Museum is a complete collection of firefighting artifacts. In fact, the only thing missing is the Dalmatian.
1306 N. Harbor Dr.
Consisting of three uniquely historical vessels, the Maritime Museum exhibits the variety of naval architecture and function of the 19th and early 20th century. Visitors can board each vessel and explore for themselves or view movies on-deck (April - October). The vessels that comprise the Museum are the full-rigged merchant vessel Star of India (1863), whose impressive masts are an integral part of the San Diego cityscape, the gleaming white San Francisco-Oakland steam-powered ferry Berkeley (1898), which worked round-the-clock to carry people to safety following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the sleek Medea (1904), one of the world's few remaining large steam yachts.
San Diego Museum of Man
1350 El Prado, Balboa Park
Those interested in the early history of American Indian, Mayan, and Egyptian art and culture can view exhibits here. The exhibits vary from American Indian art to early Egyptian mummies. The museum also features a Children's' Discovery Center for younger museum patrons.
Mission San Luis Rey
4050 Mission Avenue
View a piece of the early history of California, as well as look through a window into the lives and culture of the early Californians. Beautifully maintained and restored, Mission San Luis Rey is the largest of California's missions. The main sanctuary is of particular interest, while the well cared-for grounds offer the opportunity for a picnic.
1047 B Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
If an interest in getting away from it all has led you to San Diego, let upscale shopping and beautiful white sand beaches bring you to Coronado. Spend a few hours strolling or shopping, explore the yacht harbor or visit the Imperial Beach, then relax and enjoy one of the many excellent restaurants located on this beautiful island.