San Diego - First Family Trip

Old Jan 30th, 2014, 06:07 PM
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San Diego - First Family Trip

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 toddlers looking to travel to SD area in early March. Plan to fly into SAN and rent a car. Would like to visit the Zoo, Safari Park, Midway, the beach, and Legoland. Would welcome suggestions on specific accommodations or area (PB or Mission or other). Open to rent house/condo/townhouse.

-Budget TBD, but something nice but not Del Villas nice
-Would like lodging that allows for separate sleeping area for kids
-Will go out for some meals but like flexibility of preparing some meals so would like a kitchen or kitchenette
-Kids still nap so need close proximity to attractions
-Beach view a plus!

Pretty much same requests for Carlsbad. Best way to book La Costa? Two nights enough for Legoland?

Thanks for your advice and recommendations!!
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 03:11 AM
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You might look at the Roar on Snore program at the Zoo. I've thought it would be interesting to spent the night there with kids.

No Seaworld? There is a lot to do a Balboa Park(other than just the zoo).

Sounds like you have things planned out nicely. We've only been to SD once, I'll let others suggest lodging.
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 03:19 AM
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There are tons of lodging options - and suggest you google away.

For great access - more or less a two star category - check out the Hotel Circle area, and if you want to stay at a beach resort - try the Vacation Village on Mission Bay - close to Sea World, but there are many others, especially this time of year.

Check our the two day package for the Zoo and Safari park - where you get a discount - and they even add SewWorld on a 3 day ticket discount.

And as Sprio says - lots else to do in Balboa Park - including the games/scientific exhibits at the Reuben E. Fleet - and the Natural History Museuem just across the Prado - both of which have IMAX theaters and a selection of good films.

The kids might also like the Model Train museum.
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 03:25 AM
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Actually - the Natural History Museum has converted their theater to 3D - but they still have some great films and a Dinasour exhibit. I can't cut and paste on this laptop (or don't know how?) - but check out the Balboa Park webpage for the various museums, things to do.
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 01:51 PM
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For a place to stay you might look at Capri by The Sea in PB for a condo rental.
http://www.allseasonsresortlodging.c...pri-by-the-sea

The kids might like the Aquarium nearby
http://aquarium.ucsd.edu/

When you go to the USS Midway next door is Seaport Village and they have a historic carousel that the kids might find fun
http://www.seaportvillage.com/entertainment/attractions
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 07:03 PM
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without a budget...we could be wasting our time giving you ideas. can't guess if it's $150 or $500. "not Del Villas nice" and i should guess how much those are or google it myself...can't help you if you don't help us.
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 07:13 PM
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The Midway, with toddlers, could be tricky. They aren't likely to enjoy it. There was a lot of climbing up and down narrow stairs etc. that would be really hard with each of you carrying a toddler.

http://www.localwally.com/
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 07:48 PM
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I agree w/ DebitNM -- I can't even imagine visiting the Midway w/ one toddler let alone two.

It would help if you could give us some ode of your budget.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2014, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for your advice, especially about the Midway. Budget is around $350 per night. Sorry, I assumed that most on the forum were familiar with the Del Coronado, so just listed it as a reference example. Capri by the Sun seems to get good reviews, so I'll look closer at that.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 11:52 AM
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I am planning a very similar trip to MPT, but with only 1 toddler. Near Carlsbad we were also looking at the Four Seasons Aviara Residences which has a buy 2 nights get 1 free special which made it around $425/night, which is high but it has a full kitchen and 2 heated pools. There are also many great choices on VRBO. I've never stayed in a vacation rental, but it seems to be the way to go with little ones as lots come with beach toys, wagons etc.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 02:13 PM
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I just too my two grandson's (along with DD) to Legoland a few months ago. One is 4 the other 2 1/2. The 2 1/2 year old couldn't do a lot of rides because they strictly enforce a height limit. The 2 1/2 year old was literally about 1/4" too short. This meant the two kids couldn't go on the same rides and it posed a problem. I didn't enough Legoland and thought it was ok but not that much fun for very young kids.

The San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park are a wonderful day. Balboa Park has numerous museums like the Natural History (which I think has a Pirate exhibition on right now), a hands on Science Musuem (and 3D movies). The pirate exhibit might be too old for younger kids though.
https://www.sdnhm.org/exhibitions/up.../real-pirates/

The La Jolla Cove has sea lions to observe (as well as other tide pool sea life you can explore) and around the corner at the "Children's Pool" you can watch the seals.
http://www.sandiego.gov/lifeguards/beaches/cove.shtml
http://www.lajollabythesea.com/la-jolla-childrens-pool

Then about an hour or slightly more north of downtown San Diego is the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park
http://www.sdzsafaripark.org/

I would recommend Vacation Villag at Mission Bay.
I wouldn't recommend Pacific Beach or Mission Beach with a young family (it is more of a college age drinking area). I also don't particularly like Mission Valley or Mission Circle area (there are lots of cheap hotels) for families.

Coronado is nice for families (not the Hotel Del because of the price) but you should be able to find something much cheaper. It is a very family friendly town with a lot of lovely parks, a child friendly library, and a great place to take a family bike ride around the island. If you have a car it is less than 10 minutes from downtown and Balboa Park, 25 minutes to La Jolla. I would not recommend any hotels in the Coronado Cays as they are way outside of the city of Coronado and a fairly long drive back and forth.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 02:20 PM
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elizzie mentioned the Birch Aquarium (part of Scripps Institute of Oceanography/UCSD). We love this place and go there often. There is a children's outside play area south of the actual inside aquarium. My grandkids (ages 8 to 2 years) love the activities there. It also has tables were you can bring a sack lunch and relax and watch the kids play.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 11:18 PM
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You don't mention how old the toddlers are. I know 2 yrs ago when my nieces were 2 & 4 it was a big problem because the 4 yr old was able to go on rides that the 2 yr old couldn't and there was a lot of tears shed. So I agree with nanabee.

However, nanabee mentions 'vacation village.' I'm not aware of where that is in San Diego. Is that a mistake and means Paradise Point? Or ? If it is just be aware that most of the resorts on Mission Bay are not walking distance to any restaurants or shops outside of the resort itself. For a lot of people this is a problem but some don't care. The Catamaran is an acception.

The Safari Park is approx 45 minutes from San Diego and may not be the best choice for toddlers. My nephew who grew up going there still hasn't taken his kids until they get older.

As far as staying in Pacific Beach it's no longer legal to drink on the beach so it's fine with a family. Some recommended places are Capri by the Sea, Pacific Terrace Hotel, Best Western Blue Sea Lodge. All north of the pier where the hub of bars are so are not affected.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 01:27 AM
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My bad - Elizee - it's Paradise Point by Sea World - on Mission bay. Was it called Vacation Village years ago?

While I agree with Nanabee in general that PB is more of a "beach scene" - Capri by the Sea has great views of the Ocean (and is north of the Crystal Pier Cottages - another possible place to stay) - and you can easily just walk down to the beach and you would be fine, as you can at Paradise Point - with a young family.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 10:40 AM
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The kids are 4.5 yrs and 2 yrs. thanks very much for bringing up the height requirement. Now I'm a bit worried. I are there any rides that the 2 yr old can ride. Can't imagine going to SD and not go to Legoland!

For Safari Park, is it because the close proximity to the animals scares the younger kids?

Is it best to book Capri via its website or a third party like Priceline, etc?
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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>

No. It's because there is a lot of walking and the animals are at a distance mostly so not always easily seen. To get the best views of the animals you have to buy an "add on" or "Safari" of some kind.
http://www.sdzsafaripark.org/safarit...l_safaris.html

>

Legoland rides - from Legoland's website:

http://california.legoland.com/Docum...strictions.pdf
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 12:04 PM
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For Capri by the Sea - personally I would go through their website and talk to the agents and tell them you want a unit that has been updated. That you don't want a unit that the owner hasn't updated. They are all individually owned. You could cross-check on VRBO for prices.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 03:55 PM
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Elizzie is right, the animals at the Wild Animal Park (Safari Park) are typically seen at a great distance as they roam in a large area like they would be in the wild. It's nice but the SD Zoo might be easier - they have a number of very kid friendly shows and a Children's Petting section with a little playground area.

TomSD, yes it was Vacation Village years ago - old habits die hard.

Legoland: There is a real problem with children being different heights and not being allowed to go onto certain rides. Like I said our 4 yr old grandson could go on some things and the 2 1/2 year could not - he had a major meltdown and it was sad for him but trying for everyone else! I will not go back for a long time. It's ok fun but not worth the hassle and the expense.

I would still check out Coronado which I prefer over PB (and I live in Bird Rock a mile from PB). Coronado has a top rated beach very clean, very safe, family friendly. If you have a rental car, you are only a quick drive from Coronado to downtown & Balboa Park (maybe 10 minutes). It's actually closer to there from Coronado than it is from PB to Balboa Park (around 25 minutes).
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 04:01 PM
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The biggest problem MPT with Legoland is the height measurements may not match with how you measure your child. My daughter had a doctors note saying he was a certain height (I don't remember the height measurement right off) but the guy at LL who measured him against their "stand" said he was too short (by like 1/4") and they wouldn't let him go on any rides with his older (4 yr old) cousin.

We were really ticked off as we've been on other "rides" at other parks and they are far more accommodating and pleasant.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 04:06 PM
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>

Our grandkids really enjoy this place- if they like trains!

Right outside the entrance to the SD Zoo is a model train that adults and kids can sit in the little cars and a conductor takes you on a little train ride. It's really fun. There is also a wonderful carousel which has been well maintained and was built in 1910. It's one of our favorite places to spend time and it's right outside the Zoo as well.

You should check the dates & times as it doesn't operate year round.


http://www.balboapark.org/in-the-par...-park-carousel
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