A Day in Balboa Park, San Diego, California

Spend a half day taking in the beautiful gardens and playgrounds at Balboa park, and when you're ready to head inside, choose one of the excellent kids attractions. Because of the variety of options, this itinerary is suitable for any type of weather.

Bread & Cie

Address 350 University Ave, San Diego, CA Map, Tel 619-683-9322 Call, Hours M-F 7am-7pm; Sat 7am-6pm; Sun 8am-6pm, Bus 1, 3, 16, 25, or 908 Website

Bread & Cie is known as the best bread bakery in San Diego. It's a great spot to pick up sandwiches and salads for a picnic at the Zoo or Balboa Park. Try the Roasted Eggplant and Feta cheese sandwich served on black olive bread with roasted red peppers & red onion more

Balboa Park

Address Balboa Park, San Diego Map, Website

Balboa Park is the country's largest urban cultural park. It houses 15 major museums, performing art venues, and the San Diego Zoo. Of course there are also beautiful gardens and playgrounds. The Balboa Park website lists a changing calendar of events. more

Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre

Address 2130 Pan American Place, San Diego, CA 92101 Map, Tel (619) 544-9203 Call, Hours Performances Wed-Sun, check website for hours, Cost $3 for adults; $2 for ages 2+ Website

This puppet theatre has performances for all ages featuring hand puppets, marionettes, finger puppets, and other types of puppets. Performances are year round. The theatre has 200 seats, so arrive early for a seat near the front. Weekday morning performances are lightly attended. more

Ruben H. Fleet Science Center

Address 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 Map, Tel (619) 238-1233 Call, Website

The science museum has hands on activities for kids beginning at age 2, an IMAX theatre, and changing special exhibits. There is an indoor play area upstairs that's great on a rainy day. more

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

Address 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 Map, Tel (619) 696-0199 Call, Hours Tue-Fri 11:00 - 4:00; Sat & Sun 11:00 - 5:00, Cost 15+ $6.00; under 15 free Website

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is the world's largest model railroad museum. It contains four different model railroad layouts, all of which are works in progress for the model railroad clubs that meet here. Everything is at grownup height, so kids will need to stand on platforms or be held. On Tuesdays and Fridays, the museum hosts kids days with crafts, stories and other activities for kids, and there is also a kids area with three Thomas Train setups for kids to play with. Every winter there is a Lego train exhibit from late Nov to mid Jan. more

San Diego Zoo

Address 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA Map, Tel 619-231-1515 Call, Bus Take the #7 bus from downtown Website

Considered one of the best Zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo is spread across 100 acres and animals live in lush "natural" habitats rather than tiny cages. There's also a gondola to take you across the park and a miniature steam train! If you arrive early in the day, a good way to beat the crowds is to take the gondola one way to the far end of the park and work your way back on foot. more

Balboa Park Miniature Train

Address Florida Dr and Morley Field Drive Map, Tel +1 619 239 4748 Call, Hours 11a-4:30p Sa-Su in winter; extended hours during summer, Cost $2 for ages 1 and up Website

The miniature railroad, just outside the zoo entrance, is a fun three minute ride for little kids. more

The Mission - University

Address 2801 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104 Map, Tel (619) 220-8992 Call, Hours 7am-3pm Website

The Mission restaurant, popular with locals, specializes in simple, healthy, Mexican inspired breakfasts and lunches. There are three locations, SOMA (downtown), Mission Beach, and University Ave. The mapped location is close to the San Diego Zoo. more