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San Diego Amusement / Theme Parks

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There is no shortage of fun places to go and fun things to do in San Diego. So, grab your spirit of adventure and let’s go!

Knott’s Soak City, Chula Vista – Open May through September, this water wonder world’s 33 acres are packed with 22 rides, a family funhouse, a wave pool and much more – all sporting a 1950s San Diego surf theme. Kids of all ages love to cool off here, and there’s truly something for everyone – from high-speed tube and body slides to the more low-key wave pool and lazy river ride. (

Belmont Park – San Diego Amusement / Theme Parks

Belmont Park, Mission Beach – Built in 1925 and reopened in the late 1980s, this is San Diego’s only beachfront amusement center, and it offers “old-time fun” for the whole family. Attractions include the historic Giant Dipper Roller Coaster (this original wooden roller coaster is a local landmark), Vertical Plunge, Bumper Mania, Tilt-A-Whirl, Liberty Carousel, Thunder Boats and Pirates Cove, a large indoor children’s play center. (

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Legoland California, Carlsbad – While the “thrill rides” here are geared to the kids-under-12 set, the intricate, primary-colored, snap-together-block creations are enjoyed by all ages. Miniland is especially worth exploring, where some of the nation’s notable architectural structures have been replicated. The 128-acre amusement / theme park has 40 hands-on interactive exhibits and family rides, and you can observe Lego bricks being manufactured, as well. Note that the park has seasonal hours and is closed periodically during some of the less-busy months; call or check online for operating info for the dates you plan to visit. Also, if you are AAA member, bring your card for possible discounts on your admission and gift shop purchases. While the discounts aren’t always in effect, it never hurts to ask! (

Wild Animal Park – San Diego Amusement / Theme Parks

San Diego Wild Animal Park, Escondido – This 1,800-acre park is home to 3,000+ animals (representing 400+ species, including the largest crash of rhinos in any zoological facility and one of the world’s only California Condor exhibits) and 3,000+ species of unique plants. Civilized and wild exist side by side here, and you can get up close and personal with elephants, zebras, lions, cheetah, gorillas and giraffe. Don’t forget to bring your camera! (

Boomer’s, Kearny Mesa and El Cajon – Miniature golf, laser tag, bumper boats, batting cages, go karts – all sorts of fun! (

SeaWorld Adventure Park, Mission Bay – One of California’s most popular, year-round amusement / theme parks, this 189-acre park features several major shows, including “Believe” starring Shamu, the famous killer whale. A whole host of rides, shows, attractions and fascinating exhibits entertain and educate visitors about the world’s fascinating marine life. Do you want a really special SeaWorld experience? Click on the “Experiences” section of the “San Diego” section of the website, and then check out the “Behind the Scenes” options. If you mouse-over the small, “Click an Experience Below” photos, you will see options such as: Dolphin Interaction Program, Trainer for a Day, Private VIP Tours, etc. (You can also call 800-25-SHAMU for info; at the time of this writing, you would press “7” for the relevant information.) While these options are not inexpensive, they are truly “thrill-of-a-lifetime” quality! (

The Wave Water Park, Vista – Owned and operated by the City of Vista and only open during warmer months, the 3-acre park features 35 water slides, and Rippity’s Rainforest allows children 12 and under to ride smaller slides or climb through an obstacle course. (

Photo of Belmont Park by nalilo via flickr (Creative Commons); Photo of Wild Animal Park by andryone via flickr (Creative Commons).

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Related posts:

San Diego Vacation Ideas

San Diego Museums

San Diego Tourist Attractions

Misc. Travel Resources

Note: Information in this article was accurate
when it was published, but hours, prices, etc.
change constantly. Please confirm details
with local contacts before traveling.

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