Old Town San Diego is a historic California town that features antique buildings, quaint shops and cultural dining at many of the town’s restaurants. The city’s officials have maintained the town’s history, and as a result, visitors have the opportunity to view structures that are more than a hundred years old. In addition, the city presents several annual summer events and festivals.
Events and Festivals
When travelers decide to visit San Diego in the summer, they should consider booking their trip over a weekend because the “Old Town Saturday Market” is held every Saturday. The market is the perfect place to purchase unique souvenirs as artisans sell handmade merchandise, such as jewelry, pottery and blown glass, as well as home décor and clothing. The market event is free to attend, and guests will welcome the opportunity to bring home an exceptional handmade item.
On May 17 and 18, the “Chocolate + Jewelry: A Purely Decadent Event” will be held at the Bazaar del Mundo Shops. Attendees will have the chance to taste complimentary chocolate samples and view merchandise like chocolate-themed cookbooks and other chocolate-based items. Several local chocolatiers will share their cooking tips, and guests can shop for jewelry and treats.
The annual “Fourth of July” event is a memorable celebration that includes historic activities such as wagon rides, antique games and a pie-eating contest. In July and August, the city presents “Stagecoach Days,” which includes historic recreations, cannon and anvil shootings and activities for children.
While in town, guests can reserve a Ghost Tour and visit the historic Whaley House, which locals claim is haunted. In fact, it is frequently called America’s most haunted house. The tour also includes a trip to the Adobe Chapel. The Mormon Battalion is another entertaining attraction where guests can pan for gold and build bricks. Visitors will also enjoy the venue’s video tours and interactive computers.
Old Town Trolley and State Park Tours are additional attractions in the area. During the Trolley Tour, guests will take a trolley bus through the city while the tour guide provides historical information along with funny stories. The tour is two hours long, and guests will welcome the opportunity to rest their feet. When visitors arrive for a State Park Tour, they’ll view physical reminders of the city’s past. The tour features the structural changes that occurred when San Diego transformed from a classic Mexican village into an American community. The venue includes reconstructed structures and early 20th century buildings along with museums, charming retail shops and several dining establishments.
The town offers guests a variety of dining options. Be sure to sample some of the area’s authentic Mexican specialties from establishments like the Barra Barra Restaurant and Saloon. The Café Coyote and the Mexican Café are popular eateries with the locals, and guests will enjoy cultural dishes such as burritos, fajitas and enchiladas. In addition, visitors will find plenty of places that serve fine tequila and frosty margaritas.
If visitors prefer other food styles, then they can dine at Jack and Giulio’s Italian Restaurant where they can order a pasta, poultry or seafood dish. Additional food styles in the area include traditional cuisine at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant along with international food and European baked goods at Twenty Five Forty.
For this year’s summer entertainment, consider visiting Old Town San Diego. The city stages a number of memorable events and offers guests a glimpse into its past. While there, visitors will surely enjoy an authentic meal at one of the city’s many exceptional dining establishments followed by a stroll through the area’s distinctive shops.
San Diego has always been known for its range of eclectic eating. In fact, with so many options to consider, it can be difficult to find the best and most popular spots. Fortunately, San Diego always has something distinctive to offer. From new restaurants to established venues with renewed life, the dining scene in San Diego is constantly changing. This can be a real benefit for diners, but only if they know where to go for the best food options in this exquisite Oceanside city.
To taste the latest trends in San Diego for 2013, consider the three following restaurants.
1. Sora. The dining scene in San Diego is highly competitive, so the fact that Sora is being talked about as the next big thing in 2013 is significant. Sora offers a distinctive mix of Italian and Japanese inspired dishes. Some of the more unusual choices at Sora include traditional boxed Bento-style lunches and a full range of fromage and other ready tapas. Sora also has soups, salads, cured meats and pasta in addition to an extensive selection of entries. In true Japanese style, Sora has authentic sushi on the menu. Not to neglect the Italian influence, diners can also choose from a range of fresh pizzas as well.
Sora is open daily for lunch and dinner, and happy hour extends from 3-5 PM each day. The restaurant is located in San Diego’s financial district. The interior is large and decadent with bright red touches and fantastic ambiance. Sora’s unique blend of styles can be traced to its founders, Alessandro Minutella, Noriyoshi Teruya and Daniele V. Gilardi. Minutella has extensive experience establishing restaurants while Teruya is a well-respected chef, previously working at Nobu in New York. Sora also has an outdoor lounge and a savory list of wines, beers and cocktails.
2. Burlap. Burlap is actually located in Del Mar, which is just a few miles from the heart of San Diego. Even so, this restaurant is definitely worth a little extra commute. Burlap operates under the slogan “West Eats Meat,” which inspires its succulent range of meat dishes. Burlap is more than an average grill, however. For a little added flair, Burlap also borrows from Asian influences and incorporates a strong selection of fresh seafood into its hearty menu. Dinner options are divided into simple categories such as Green for salads, Land for meat and Ocean for seafood. Burlap also specifies dishes that feature local meat and seafood including responsibly raised poultry.
Burlap’s Asian Cowboy ambiance is available for lunch and dinner. Happy hour is available five days each week, and the restaurant is also open for Sunday Brunch. The menu is controlled by Executive Chef Brian Malarkey’, who provides unexpected and fun touches to the food and the atmosphere. The interior is decorated with deep colors and touches of Eastern serenity, all of which makes dining at Burlap a truly memorable experience. The bar is one of its more spectacular features with rich wood and ample lighting from dangling decorative bulbs. Burlap is also available for private events and catering upon request.
3. Eclipse Chocolate. Unlike the other eateries on the list, Eclipse Chocolate is more focused on desserts and sweet treats than actual meals. The counter at Eclipse Chocolate is full of options for delectable chocolate dishes including Asian truffles, burnt caramel rocky road and chocolate bars of all sizes and flavors. There is also a wide range of chocolate drinks available, all of which are expertly made. Eclipse Chocolate operates under the mantra of “Know Your Chocolate” and prefers to think of its selections less as confection and more as chocolate-making by alchemy.
Despite this range of sweet treats, Eclipse Chocolate also serves paninis and soups. Every Saturday and Sunday, Eclipse Chocolate hosts a Sweet & Savory Brunch. During this time, guests can choose three plates for $16. Menu options for brunch will vary by season and feature soups, salads, main courses and desserts. Eclipse Chocolate also has wines and beer available. There is also an exclusive dining experience each month called Small Plate. Small Plate offers thematic, three-course meals with Eclipse Chocolate’s touch of decadence. These events usually require a reservation, but the cafe is open daily starting at 9 AM.
From Asian flair to western boldness, from fresh pizza to decadent chocolate, these three hot spots have a little something for everyone. There may be many places to eat in San Diego, but the hype on these three restaurants is hard to ignore. Sora’s unique blend is alluring, Burlap’s vigor is hard to match, and there is simply no way to top the rich flavors and affordable prices of Eclipse Chocolate. Be sure to see what all the talk is about and make plans to visit Sora, Burlap and Eclipse Chocolate in 2013.
San Diego is a wonderful town for year-round fun. However, there is still something special about the spring. The cooler winter winds give way to warm breezes, and the entire coast comes alive with growth and color. The sun shines longer, the trees start to fill out, and the flowers begin to bloom in earnest, enlivening the city with new vibrancy and energy.
Many tourists plan summer getaways in San Diego, and others opt for winter retreats. Because of this, many festivals and tourist attractions are teaming in those prime months. However, those who venture to San Diego in the spring may be pleasantly surprised by all the exhilarating options. To get started, consider the following list of springtime activities in San Diego.
1. Art Alive. Art Alive is a spectacular annual event that takes advantage of the vivid array of blooms in the spring. Organized by over 100 floral designers, Art Alive transforms the San Diego Museum of Art into a flower-filled paradise. Borrowing inspiration from the museum’s timeless collection, Art Alive recreates the artwork in floral form, giving guests a scintillating display of beauty and creativity. The 2013 event starts on April 25 and last for three days.
2. Butterfly Jungle. This yearly event lasts for three weeks and is hosted by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. During this event, the Safari Park fills its Hidden Park display with thousands of butterflies, giving guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with the insects. The butterflies come in all colors and sizes, making the Butterfly Jungle a true visual treat. This year’s display starts on March 16 and runs through April 7.
3. San Diego Padres. The Padres kick off their baseball season each spring in San Diego, and guests can benefit greatly by choosing to attend one of the early games. The Padres play in PETCO Ballpark in downtown San Diego. Guests who visit during the spring can see the team as it comes together, getting a great sense of the season to come. Game dates and times vary, and the season starts in April and runs throughout the summer and into the early fall. The 2013 season opens on April 9 against the Dodgers.
4. Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo. The Latin holiday of Cinco de Mayo is a crucial part of the culture in San Diego. To best celebrate this exciting day, guests can attend the annual celebration in San Diego’s Old Town State Historic Park on May 4 and 5. To commemorate the holiday, the fiesta features authentic Mexican food, dancers and music. There are even historical reenactments to help people of all ages understand the importance of this spectacular Latin holiday. Guests can also experience more Mexican culture by visiting the nearby Bazaar del Mundo Shops, which also feature special events and displays for Cinco de Mayo.
5. Annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival. Avocados may not be the first thing people associate with spring, but this unique plant has a special place in nearby Fallbrook. Fallbrook, which is located north of San Diego, is known as the avocado capital of the world. The town takes this distinction seriously and puts on a yearly festival to honor their most famous produce. In addition to many unique dishes featuring avocado, there are also arts, crafts and other activities during this one-day festival. The 2013 festival is on April 21.
6. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Every year, San Diego honors the Irish in everyone with a buoyant parade and festival. The parade kicks off the festivities, starting near Balboa Park and extending through the city. After the parade, guests can enjoy food, beer gardens, live performances and more. This year’s parade is on March 16. Then, the next day, guests over the age of 21 can move on down to the Gaslamp Quarter, which transforms itself for a rocking night of music, drinks and dancing with ShamROCK.
7. The Coronado Flower Show. Located in nearby Coronado, this annual flower show is a springtime must. The show is centered at Spreckels Park, and flower displays are set up under tents all around the gazebo. The displays are so numerous that this annual event is one of the largest flower shows in the country. In addition to the bountiful displays, guests can purchase flowers, talk to the designers, enjoy fresh food and listen to live music. The 2013 show is on April 20 and 21.
8. Spring Busker Festival. Spring is about new life, and there is no better way to feel alive than attending the distinctive Spring Busker Festival. Located in San Diego’s Seaport Village, the Spring Busker Festival is a venue for street performers to wow guests with the best and latest tricks. Some of the performances include juggling, sword swallowing, Didgeridoo and other stunts. All of this makes the Spring Busker Festival an experience that is hard to replicate at any time of the year. Check it out this year on March 23 and 24.
9. Flower Fields of Carlsbad. There is nothing more quintessential in the spring than fresh flowers, which is why the Flower Fields of Carlsbad are so popular. The display runs from March through May, depending on the weather, and features over 50 acres of vibrant blooms. The display has ornate gardens and unusual mazes, offering a tantalizing distraction for all visitors. The Flower Fields of Carlsbad also host 50 All American Rose Selection winners, ensuring that guests will certainly see the very best flowers San Diego has to offer.
10. Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. Starting in March, this concert series is an inviting option for music lovers. All performances are in the evening on Shelter Island. Guests are sure to enjoy the outdoor theater, which can seat up to 1,400. The performances will vary including selections of jazz, blues, rock and more. There are even hysterical comedic performances and other special guests during this ongoing event. Performances run throughout the spring and summer, ending in October.
San Diego, California, is a spectacular vacation destination.
While there is much to see and do throughout the entire San Diego area, there is perhaps no district more perfect for a visit than Seaport Village. This spot is located near downtown San Diego, occupying 90,000 square feet along the shores of the San Diego Bay. The area was developed for tourism in the 1970s and has become a popular stopping place for visitors and locals alike thanks to its ambiance. Seaport Village may be small in size, but it is large in potential. Guests can indulge any preference and many pastimes in Seaport Village as long as they know where to look.
Therefore, before planning a trip, it is important to know the full range of options. To get started, here is everything you need to know before your trip to this secret place.
Sights - Seaport Village Tourism: Safe Convenient Location and Great Family Spot
It may seem obvious, but one of the best reasons to visit Seaport Village is the view of the water. Seaport Village is prime waterfront property, and guests can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the bay. Many of the restaurants feature seating with water views, making it easy for everyone to appreciate the water during their time in Seaport.
Better still, this place may be a newer development, but it was built with aesthetics in mind. The buildings may not be historical, but they are distinctive and diverse, representing architectural styles ranging from Victorian to traditional Mexican. Seaport Village was also designed with foot traffic in mind. Since the entire area is meant to be car-free, there are walking paths instead of streets, making it easy to wander through Seaport Village, appreciating the views and the overall atmosphere.
Seaport Village may be relatively small, but there is still plenty to do. Guests can enjoy a variety of street vendors during their time in Seaport Village with options for face painting, balloon art and more. There are also a number of free concerts near the East Plaza Gazebo including a performance every Sunday afternoon. There is also a range of seasonal events in Seaport Village. This includes selections such as Breakfast with Santa or Easter Bunny Photos. Seaport Village is also a stop on larger San Diego tours like the Old Town Trolley and SEAL Tours.
While all of these activities are enjoyable, there is perhaps nothing more noteworthy than the historic carousel. This carousel is over 100 years old and features hand-carved wood. There are 54 animals to choose from and two horse-drawn chariots that are well suited for younger and older riders. Rides are $2 per person, making the carousel an essential attraction during a visit to Seaport Village. A whole Family retreat…
Though Seaport Village is geared toward tourism, there are still opportunities to gain a little cultural depth while visiting. Seaport Village has participated in a variety of art events and has even been part of San Diego’s popular Art Walk during the summer. There are several galleries in Seaport Village that are open all year. Art selections may vary widely, but there are collections that reflect Seaport Village’s connection with the water by featuring a wide variety of marine life.
Seaport Village has some of the most spectacular eateries in all of San Diego. In addition to the water views offered by many restaurants in the area, Seaport Village also has restaurants that provide an eclectic variety of high quality food. For high end tastes and unbeatable views, guests can try the San Diego Pier Cafe or the Edgewater Grill. Perhaps the most distinctive restaurant is the Harbor House, which is built on a pier overlooking the water.
There are also a number of more casual dining opportunities in Seaport Village, making it easy to satisfy any taste and fit any budget. Guests can try fish at Marion’s Fish Market or indulge a need for Latin flair at Margarita’s Kitchen and Cantina. Other restaurant selections include Greek, delis, pizza, American and more. For dessert, guests can try Frosted Robin Cupcakes, Candy Shack & Yogurt and the Seaport Cookie Co.
Ultimately, it is easy to never eat in the same place twice while staying in Seaport Village, which is why people from all around San Diego stop here to fill their stomachs.
If the dining is spectacular, the shopping in Seaport Village is simply unparalleled. Seaport Village is home to over 50 shops, representing a wide range of retail opportunities. There are numerous shops for clothing including San Diego Surf Co. and Del Sol. There are also specialty clothing stores like Urban Girl Accessories or Harley Davidson San Diego.
The options do not stop with clothing. There are stores like American Nostalgia, which features memorabilia, and Apple Box, which sells a range of unique toys. There are stores that sell household items, kitchen accessories, bath and body supplies and other accessories. Guests are also sure to discover plenty of souvenir shops to find the perfect knickknack to commemorate their visit.
The shops are all easily accessible from the walking paths. This convenience makes shopping not only easy but enjoyable as well.
Seaport Village is designed to be car-free, but there is parking available outside the walking paths. To this end, Seaport Village is accessible from I-5 and 163 through downtown San Diego. Exits are clearly marked to help facilitate traffic flow. Parking is paid and is determined by hour. Discounts are available for visitors who purchase at least one item during their stay in Seaport Village.
Seaport Village is located within walking distance of many areas of San Diego and is connected to various hotels and the convention center via boardwalk. This makes Seaport Village easily accessible by foot from a variety of locations throughout San Diego. Guests can also use public transportation to reach Seaport Village, and the area is part of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. There are also various tours that include Seaport Village as part of their overall route.
Located just off the coast from San Diego, California, Coronado Island is eight square miles of pure bliss in the Pacific. Over 24,000 people call Coronado Island home, but the island welcomes countless visitors each year from around the world. Clearly, there is something special about Coronado Island and making the choice to visit is relatively easy. However, in order to get the most out of the trip, it is important to be prepared.
To get started, here is an overview of what you should know before your upcoming trip to Coronado Island.
As an island, much of Coronado’s aesthetic appeal comes from its gorgeous views of the water. The water provides a scenic backdrop that is hard to beat, and guests can witness spectacular sunsets. A popular landmark on the island is the Silver Strand, a 10-mile isthmus that connects the island with the mainland. This iconic strip of land defines the island in more ways than one, making it a popular sight for photography.
Another must-see location on Coronado Island is Hotel del Coronado. Since opening in 1888, this hotel has housed countless celebrities and has been featured in a number of films. This strong legacy has earned it a place as a National Historic Landmark. While people still come from all around the world to stay in the Hotel del Coronado, the hotel is more popular as a landmark, and many visitors stop by the grounds for a few quintessential snapshots of American history.
People also like to see the wreckage from the SS Monte Carlo, which is visible at low tide from Coronado Beach. This ship was a gambling vessel that sunk in the 1930s. Although most of the hull remains submerged, it is still a popular landmark amongst tourists, and there is still speculation that there may be money stuck in the waterlogged slot machines.
Coronado Island may have a lot to see, but the island is really the perfect place to get up and move. Coronado may not have a lot of square footage, but the island is dedicated to giving residents and guests alike ample room to explore. There are a number of parks on the island, many of which are well equipped with walking trails, playground equipment, barbecue stations and more. One of the most popular options is Tidelands Park, which features 22 acres of land on the bay front and offers guests the chance to walk, play basketball or even work out on a beach exercise course.
As an island, it is no surprise that Coronado has plenty to offer in the way of water sports. The beaches on Coronado are well developed to support a number of recreational activities including volleyball and surfing. Silver Strand State Beach is regarded as one of the best beaches in California for kiteboarding. Opportunities for boating are also readily available along the shore. Guests can also enjoy a round of golf at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course.
There are few things more relaxing than a day at the beach, and Coronado Island has some of the best beaches in the world. Coronado Beach is perhaps its most famous offering, and it is consistently ranked among the top five beaches in the United States. Stretching for two miles, Coronado Beach has four sections that attract people for fun and leisure alike. There are fire rings, and the north section is a designated dog beach, where canine friends can run without a leash. Silver Strand State Beach is another option, and there is a small section of beach at Coronado Ferry Landing.
Coronado Island may have made a name for itself because of its beaches, but the island has a rich cultural scene. There are two playhouses in Coronado, the Coronado Playhouse and the Lamb’s Players Theatre. The Coronado Playhouse features performances from a community theater troupe. The Lamb’s Players Theatre, on the other hand, houses a non-profit professional group, which puts on five plays each year.
The island also has a thriving art community. The city supports a public art project, which spreads outdoor art throughout the island. Walking tours are available to see the full collection. Art-in-the-Park is another cultural attraction. Every third Sunday, there is an outdoor display that showcases over 50 artists. The selection includes painting, photography, sculptures and more.
A more in depth look at the island itself is available at the Museum of History and Art. This museum not only displays local art but provides a unique look at the island’s colorful history.
There are ample opportunities for shopping on Coronado Island, starting with Coronado Ferry Landing. With a full range of specialty shops, the Ferry Landing also overlooks the bay and has a great view of downtown San Diego. Ferries are accessible from here, and there are even concerts every Sunday. More shopping is available on Orange Avenue and at the Hotel del Coronado.
With such a booming tourism industry, there are plenty of choices when it comes to dining on Coronado Island. There are over 70 restaurants and cafes, most of which feature seafood and ethnic options. Travelers on a budget can find fast food restaurants, while high end options include Mistral and Primavera Ristorante. Other popular eateries are Peohe’s with fantastic water views and Brigantine with some of the best seafood on the island.
Although Coronado Island is connected to San Diego via the Silver Strand, most people use the Coronado Bay Bridge when traveling. This bridge opened in 1969 and rises to 200 feet above the water to allow for ships to pass through. The island is also accessible with the Metropolitan Transit System, which has several stops on Coronado. Travelers may also utilize the ferries that cross from Coronado Island to San Diego. There are hourly trips by ferry from 9 AM to 9 PM every day. There are also water taxis that run from San Diego to Coronado Island, which are best suited for day trips.
- approximately 10 minutes from our hotel (taxi) – Mission Valley Resort
- Coronado City Beach is a wonderful beach to enjoy an entire day or weekend sprawled out
- Whether you come by car, boat or aboard the San Diego Bay Ferry, Coronado Ferry Landing is the perfect place for your day trip!
People from all around the world are drawn to San Diego for its perfect weather and appealing beaches. The greater San Diego area is well suited for tourists with museums, parks, shopping centers, restaurants and other attractions. However, while all of these spectacular and inviting offerings are wonderful for humans, cat lovers should be aware that this idyllic coastal city has a lot to offer feline guests as well.
In fact, 2013 promises to be the best year yet for cats and their friends in San Diego
To enjoy everything the city has to offer, just consider the following events and attractions throughout the coming year.
1. Cat Fanciers CFA All-Breed Cat Show.
The action starts early in 2013 with this impressive cat show. Known as the “Food and Water Bowl,” this show has been running for nearly two decades in San Diego. Over this time, the Cat Fanciers CFA All-Breed Cat Show has grown to showcase nearly 450 cats from around the nation, which makes this show the largest on the west coast. This year, over 40 breeds are expected to be represented in the action. The show features various events and is open to children and adults alike. There will be local shelters on hand with options for cat adoption readily available at the facility. Other merchandise and educational opportunities will also be available. As an added bonus, guests can even bring their own cats to enter into the Household Pet Class, making the Cat Fanciers CFA All-Breed Cat Show the perfect stop for the entire family.
2. San Diego Humane Society and SPCA Youth Art Poster Contest.
For most cat lovers, the loyalty starts young. This is why the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA features a yearly contest for young pet lovers. Participants must simply create a poster demonstrating what animals add to their lives. The contest is available for all school aged children, starting with kindergartens and including teens in high school. Posters must be on an 11” x 17” entry form for mounting purposes. All work must be original with no cut-outs or tracings accepted. However, children can use any artistic medium they desire, and entries can feature drawing, painting, photography and more. All entries must be completed by February 8 and may be submitted by mail to the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. The winners for 2013 will be announced in April.
3. Walk for Animals.
The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA also organizes the yearly Walk for Animals. After nearly two decades, this walk is one of the best ways for pets and their owners to get out and make a difference. This year’s walk is May 4. Unlike previous years, the Walk for Animals has now relocated to NTC Park at Liberty Station. This new location will give participants more space, and organizers are promising the best courses and activities yet for walkers and their pets. Activities for the day include a pancake breakfast, games, contests, vendors and a scenic two-mile walk. Entries cost $20 for adults and $10 for children. All proceeds from the walk will be used to help save and foster homeless pets.
7. San Diego Zoo Big Cats Exhibit.
The San Diego Zoo is one of the most respected zoos in the world. While there are animals from all corners of the globe housed at this facility, one of the best stops for cat lovers is the Big Cats Exhibit. Located in the Africa Rocks wing of the zoo, the Big Cats Exhibit features five species. To visit the cats, guests can walk on the Big Cat Trail. Here, guests have the chance to see and learn about the Siberian lynx, snow leopards, mountain lions, Chinese leopards and even a jaguar in a flush rain forest habitat.
8. Cat grooming.
People who enjoy San Diego often partake in the sun and sand. However, such things may not be so appealing to feline friends. Regardless, San Diego can still cater to cats, who may prefer to get their rest and relaxation at one of the many cat grooming facilities throughout the city. One of the most exciting places in 2013 is Cat Care. Cat Care has an unparalleled reputation for high quality cat service. With over 50 years of experience, Cat Care offers specialized services including grooming and boarding. Cats who visit Cat Care can enjoy luxurious bathing, complete with combing and clipper work.
9. Cat boarding.
There are many hotels in San Diego. However, for those traveling with feline companions, such resorts may not be the best choice. Thankfully, San Diego has a number of cat boarding centers and cat sitters. High end facilities like Cat Care offer boarding services as well, and cats who stay overnight can enjoy the well maintained Cat Condos for the ultimate escape away from home. Other cat sitters will have various options for long and short-term boarding.
10. Cat sightings.
Most people think of the lovable house cats in their lives, but San Diego is home to larger cats as well. In fact, every year there are sightings of wild large cats in the area. This includes mountain lions and bobcats. All reported sightings are recorded and announced to the public for safety reasons. However, even with the number of sightings, altercations between large cats and the public are rare. Even though San Diego residents and guests are encouraged to respect these large cats, everyone should keep their distance and report all sightings appropriately.
Overall, San Diego may have a reputation amongst humans, but it is full of attractions for cats as well. In fact, the city’s connection with cats is so strong that San Diego was even home to a professional basketball team called the Wildcats from 2006 through 2009. Though the team has disappeared, San Diego’s connection with cats is still alive and well. From cat shows to animal walks and more, San Diego is the perfect place for cats and the humans who love them.
- Cat Reunited with Family, Missing For 7 Years
- The Cats’ House opens their home for cat lovers
- Pets get the royal treatment at Coachella Valley hotels
Most kids balk at the idea of learning in their free time, but most kids relish hands-on experiences. Fortunately, kids can get both with a trip to the Birch Aquarium.
Located in La Jolla, the Birch Aquarium may not have the worldwide reputation of larger attractions like SeaWorld, but this aquarium still has plenty to offer children and families.
Although the exhibits alone are likely to stimulate young minds, the aquarium also hosts a number of family friendly experiences throughout the year.
To get started, just consider these 10 kid-centered options.
The Birch Aquarium is more than a bunch of fish tanks. To the contrary, the aquarium encourages children and other guests to engage the creatures on a more personal level, which is why the aquarium hosts Explore-It sessions throughout the week.
These sessions are guided by a trained staff member who gives added insights into relevant marine topics.
Children will even get to touch and feel live fish. Topics will change seasonally, making Explore-It sessions perfect at any time of the year. This winter, the topic for Explore-It sessions is kelp.
2. Tide pool exploration.
Tide pools occur naturally along the coastline, and the Birch Aquarium is fully dedicated to helping educate the public about their wonders.
Throughout the winter months, when tide pools are at their peak, the aquarium hosts tide pool exploration sessions at various locations on the coast.
A staff member will explain how tide pools work and answer questions about the wildlife, giving guests of all ages an engaging view of nature’s splendor. Be sure to check with the aquarium for dates, times and costs. Be sure to plan early since some sessions fill up quickly.
3. Whale watching.
Whales pass by San Diego on their migration south for the winter. Since the Birch Aquarium is located next to the ocean, there are spectacular views of the water that are perfect for whale sightings throughout the winter. To help guests get the most out of the experience, the aquarium provides guided tours to explain, educate and entertain. There are even boat cruises to bring children closer to the action. On these cruises, children may not only see whales but birds, sea lions, dolphins and more.
4. Full moon pier walk.
Most guests will see the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, but since it is closed to the public, very few have the chance to walk down it. The pier is usually reserved for aquarium staff to conduct research and other work. However, throughout the year, the aquarium offers pier walks at night. Children especially will love the ambiance with aquarium staff on hand to teach and engage. Creatures will glow in the dark, and first-hand views of unique wildlife will be readily available. Because of the nature of this event, children must be at least nine and accompanied by an adult.
Most people think of snorkeling as a leisure activity, but with the Birch Aquarium, it can be educational as well. Guided by naturalists from the aquarium, guests can snorkel off the La Jolla coast and see marine wildlife in its natural habitat. There is no better way to bring the ocean to life and to make learning seem so natural and fun. Children must be at least 10, and all participants must bring their own gear.
6. Grunion run.
Most people have not heard of a Grunion, but children will be fascinated by these mysterious fish after a Grunion run at the Birch Aquarium. These runs are seasonal, based on the Grunion’s spawning habits. From April until June, children can go with an aquarium naturalist to see these silver fish riding the waves up and down the La Jolla coast. The experience is punctuated with a live view of a Grunion hatching. Conditions may be cool and wet, and children must be at least six to participate.
7. Think Tank.
The Birch Aquarium never wants its guests to be passive. This is why the aquarium offers Think Tanks. Think Tanks are designed for all ages and guided by aquarium staff. Think Tank guests will be asked to collaborate on a project, working together to come up with ideas and solutions regarding the aquarium and its wildlife. Despite the name, there is more than thinking going on, and the Think Tank leads to creativity and hands-on action.
8. School programs.
While guests are welcome privately, the Birch Aquarium also hosts school events to help learning extend beyond the classroom. These events are specially designed to promote hands-on learning and take place in special classrooms throughout the facility. Classes will have the chance to interact with aquarium staff and will have unique opportunities to engage with the wildlife. School programs must be arranged by the school though parents and teachers are welcome to help supervise children during the sessions.
9. Birthday parties.
The Birch Aquarium is dedicated to learning. However, that does not mean that the aquarium is not perfectly suited for partying as well. The aquarium hosts birthday parties and other special events throughout the year. This way, children can spend their special day in an exhilarating and distinctive environment. Party packages include a private room, access to patio space, personal tours, crafts, decorations and more. Themes vary by age, and parties can be tailored to suit the interests of the child.
10. Summer learning adventure camps.
When school is out, children may be ready to stop learning for the summer. However, this is not the case with summer learning camps at the Birch Aquarium. Camps are offered to children in preschool through high school, and daylong or week-long options are both available. These camps will give children opportunities to learn, discover, create and explore. Camps may even give children the chance to snorkel, surf and more. Spaces may be limited, and dates and costs will vary.
With all this, kids will never be bored at the Birch Aquarium. Be sure to check the aquarium’s schedule and plan a trip today.
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Where to go for fun 2013 in San Diego…