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Key Info

500 Sea World Drive

Price & Hours

Ticket prices vary seasonally
Hours vary seasonally

Details

Amusement Parks, Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Though you may spot wildlife at any one of San Diego's beaches (especially Pacific and Mission Beach) none put on quite as good a show as the performers at SeaWorld. Here you'll get to see a range of animals, including dolphins, California sea lions, California otters and sea turtles, among others. As for the rides, travelers love the lightning fast Manta Ray rollercoaster, but caution against the Journey to Atlantis or Ship Wreck Rapids ride if you don't want to get wet. For something a little more low-key, head to any one of the park's animal exhibits, like the shark underwater viewing tunnel, the penguin habitat, which features nearly 300 penguins, or the vast Wild Arctic ride/exhibit, which features the chance to see beluga whales and polar bears. There's also the Sesame Street Bay of Play, which features various playgrounds wet and dry as well as arcade facilities and smaller mechanical rides for the really little ones.

Recent visitors had a blast at SeaWorld, especially those with kiddos in tow. Travelers say you can't miss a show, with many being fond of the dolphin show in particular. But make sure to get there early though, as lines can get long. Travelers also highly recommended wearing good walking shoes and bringing an extra jacket or change of clothes in case you get wet on the rides or at the shows (there's a splash zone for most). Travelers who didn't bring a change of clothes said they were miserable walking around the park wet and gawked at the high price of clothing available at the park.

Regardless of whether or not you purchase souvenirs here, recent visitors say be prepared to spend some cash. Food here is pricey, not to mention admission for single-day tickets for adults and children costs $91.99, as long as you purchase your tickets online. If you buy your tickets at the park, expect to pay as much as $20 more per ticket. Parking is another expense to budget for; it'll cost you $22 per car. You'll find SeaWorld San Diego about 7 miles northwest of the downtown area. SeaWorld is open year-round, but park hours fluctuate depending on the day and month; check SeaWorld San Diego's website for the opening and closing times.

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#1 Balboa Park

Home to the renowned San Diego Zoo. this 1,200-acre park is the city's cultural hub. Located in downtown San Diego (about 2 miles north of the city center), Balboa Park is a great place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic. Wander around the park's many gardens while admiring the intricate Spanish-Renaissance architecture that permeates the grounds (the best examples are the California Building and the House of Hospitality). The Botanical Building is a great starting point in Balboa Park. The building is one of the most photographed places in Balboa Park and is one of the largest lath structures in the world. But don't just look at it. The famous botanical building features more than 2,100 permanent plants, including striking collections of tropical plants and orchids. The park also features a cactus garden, rose garden, a Japanese-style garden as well as a palm tree canyon, among many others.

But if you find yourself growing antsy just walking around and smelling the roses, there are plenty of attractions located here (many of them free). Take in a show at the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre, visit the Spreckels Organ Pavilion to see one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs, or the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater if you got the kiddos in tow. Museums are just as aplenty, with enough to suit all types of interests. Art lovers will enjoy the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts and Mingei International Museum while science enthusiasts will enjoy the Fleet Science Center and the Museum of Man. If you're traveling as a family, take some time to check out the San Diego Air & Space Museum or the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the world's largest operating model railroad museum. There's also an automotive museum and the San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum, dedicated entirely to San Diego's sports history.

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