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San Diego tips and tricks
Old 08-12-2010, 12:41 AM   #1
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San Diego tips and tricks

Hi all,

I'm going to San Diego with my kids 15/10/8 B/B/G next Monday thru Saturday. We're tenatively planning on:

Sea World
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Wild Animal Park
USS Midway
Legoland

plus possibly:

beach
art museum
model train museum

if we have time. I'm looking for:

  • any tips and tricks for the first five items above, especially ways to get in cheaper (combo tickets, AAA membership, whatever),
  • tips on which day of the week is best for any of the above (I'm assuming weekdays are less crowded in general),
  • any special things not to miss that we might miss if we didn't know about them ("Don't miss the goats at SeaWorld" for example).

Thanks in advance,

2Cor521

[1] As far as I know there aren't goats at SeaWorld. I was just trying to give an idea of the kind of thing that touristy folks like me might miss by thinking SeaWorld was all about Shamu and friends.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:50 AM   #2
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They have the "snore and roar" program at the wild animal park
which is something that's a bit unique. I'm not sure what the cost
but a link w/ info is below ...

San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park Special Experiences - Roar & Snore Sleepovers

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
Hi all,

I'm going to San Diego with my kids 15/10/8 B/B/G next Monday thru Saturday. We're tenatively planning on:

Sea World
San Diego Zoo
San Diego Wild Animal Park
USS Midway
Legoland

plus possibly:

beach
art museum
model train museum

if we have time. I'm looking for:

  • any tips and tricks for the first five items above, especially ways to get in cheaper (combo tickets, AAA membership, whatever),
  • tips on which day of the week is best for any of the above (I'm assuming weekdays are less crowded in general),
  • any special things not to miss that we might miss if we didn't know about them ("Don't miss the goats at SeaWorld" for example).

Thanks in advance,

2Cor521

[1] As far as I know there aren't goats at SeaWorld. I was just trying to give an idea of the kind of thing that touristy folks like me might miss by thinking SeaWorld was all about Shamu and friends.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:29 AM   #3
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I was at Sea World a couple of summers ago. Showing my AAA card got me a big break on tickets. We went on a weekend. It was very crowded and very, very hot. Kids loved it, though. I'd suggest going on a weekday if possible, and dress/prepare for hot weather.

Legoland, as I remember, now has some kind of huge aquarium next to it. We didn't go in, but it looked interesting.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:37 AM   #4
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Its been a while since I've been to Legoland but it seems like it was more focused for little kids (under 8 years old.)

Disneyland/ California Adventure isn't too far away, although they did just raise their prices.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:33 AM   #5
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I lived in San Diego from 1977-1984, and my daughter was born in the big pink Naval Hospital in Balboa Park in 1978.

We spent a LOT of time at the zoo. If you go to the zoo, allow plenty of time. The zoo is huge and fascinating and going to the zoo is my favorite activity in San Diego. We liked it a lot better than the Wild Animal Park, although people differ on that.

The San Diego Zoo has a big gift shop, too, and at that time had some really neat (but pricy) stuffed animals and other souvenirs that your kids might like. Of course this information is 30 years old.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:11 AM   #6
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You can let the 15 year old skip legoland to save money. The 10 year old will probably find many things too young for their taste. .

If you have time before or after Midway walk down through Seaport Village and walk around the Gas Lamp district. When I lived in SD (1991 -1996) the Gas Lamp was a very small oasis surrounded by some very bad areas. They have done a fantasic job of cleaning up the area along with the new stadium.

I take my family on an annual trip to coronado and the beach in front of the Del is great.

I would recommend mid week as much as possible through labor day. Midway might be better than the zoo/seaworld/legoland on the weekend. I don't know about the animal park

AAA is probably your best bet for discount tickets unless you have a link through an employer or prof. organization.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:12 PM   #7
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We spent a LOT of time at the zoo. If you go to the zoo, allow plenty of time. The zoo is huge and fascinating and going to the zoo is my favorite activity in San Diego. We liked it a lot better than the Wild Animal Park, although people differ on that.
The San Diego Zoo has a big gift shop, too, and at that time had some really neat (but pricy) stuffed animals and other souvenirs that your kids might like. Of course this information is 30 years old.
FWIW that info worked for us 1994-97 too...
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:33 PM   #8
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We were there in 2005. I would recommend Tuesday to Thursday for the big places. The Gas Lamp district is nice but pretty small. The Wild Animal Park is great. But it is no replacement for the Zoo. You do ride around though so maybe have it as a break between other walking days.

Coronado Island is a good place to go for lunch after doing the naval stuff.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:38 PM   #9
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There are many ways to save on tickets for the big parks. This site might be a good start to check on some options.

Costco has the "San Diego 3-for-1 Pass" (Seaworld, Zoo, Wild Animal Park) for $99 incl. shipping/handling

For some the annual Zoo/Animal park membership works out too. Comes (at least used to) with free guest admission passes. Not sure those can be used on the first visit?
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:28 PM   #10
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When you go to the SD Zoo, you'll want to take the double-decker bus ride. Do it fairly soon after you arrive to get the lay of the land, then walk after that. Note: Try to sit on top and on the right side of the bus. Seemed like everything the driver/tour guide talked about was on the right side.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:05 PM   #11
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Coronado Island is a good place to go for lunch after doing the naval stuff.
Ditto. Check out the Hotel Del Coronado; great beach and a nice place to enjoy a cocktail. FYI, you can ride the Old Town Trolly to many destinations (includiong Balboa Park, USS Midway, and Coronado Island), or use it to take a general tour of the area.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:28 PM   #12
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Ditto. Check out the Hotel Del Coronado; great beach and a nice place to enjoy a cocktail. FYI, you can ride the Old Town Trolly to many destinations (includiong Balboa Park, USS Midway, and Coronado Island), or use it to take a general tour of the area.
I love Coronado & the Silver Strand....rent some bikes & pedal to Imperial City for some kickass fish tacos. Take the kids to Old Town...its cheap & good food.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:04 PM   #13
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Thanks everybody!!!

2Cor521
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:03 AM   #14
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I liked the harbor cruise also. Boat captain explains the area and you used to be able to get really close to the navy ships. The USS Carl Vincent (carrier) was in port and to see it from the water level is great. Many other great sights on the harbor cruise.
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