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San Diego for 48 hrs

Old Feb 28th, 2008, 09:58 AM
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San Diego for 48 hrs

My wife and I will be in San Diego from noon on a Thur until Sat afternoon. We then get on a cruise for a week. We will be staying downtown at the Embassey Suites Thur and Fri nights. We plan to walk around downtown on Thur and go to dinner in the Gas Lamp district. We will have our 4 kids along-- ages 1,3,5,8. On Friday we are planning on renting a mini van just for the day.

What would be the best thing to do on Friday?? Is doing the zoo and wild animal park too much in one day? We are from Chicago, and so w/ the 2hr time change we will all be up early. Thanks in advance,
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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I would say that doing both the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park in one day is close to impossible! The WAP is about an hour's driving time from downtown San Diego.

IMO, the Zoo is better for little kids anyway. There's more for them to see close-up and they can walk a lot and get tired! If you run out of things to look at in the Zoo, you can walk in Balboa Park. Either the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center or the Natural History Museum might interest your kids (and you!).

http://www.balboapark.org/

It would be hard to come here from Chicago with little kids and not let them run on the beach. You could drive to the beach on Coronado, or to La Jolla Shores. Both are huge beaches.

When will you be in San Diego?
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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I would definitely advise against going to the gas lamp district when i was there a year ago there was alot of homeless people on the street, sure there are a lot of restuarants but it was a little depressing. The zoo is great for the kids, there also have a tons of musuems u can walk through next to the zoo. There are japanese gardens, botanical, history, art, is truly beatiful. corandado hotel is another great spot. Old town is another great place to eat, there are many authentic mexican restuarants, shops, its like a mini mexican village, good for kids. When planning to rent a mini van definitely go with enterprise there rates are good and they also let u choose which mini van u would like to use. Every time i fly there i go to them, service is five star. ps san diego zoo is huge need the hole day to walk it, be sure to wear comfortable shoes alot of walking and hills. Check out the sea lion show, the kids will love it. great place for family fun
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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Seaport Village might be a good alternative to downtown, but located pretty much downtown. It's a more family-friendly place. I would also second the vote for Old Town and Coronado.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 05:22 AM
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Thanks for all your responses!

We are coming to San Diego at the end of March. I have a couple of follow up questions.

Is balboa park near the zoo? Does the science and history museums have admissions? I got a coupon for $8 off the admission to the zoo, does anyone know of other deals?

I am still conflicted about choosing the zoo over the wild animal park. Here in Chicago we have some nice zoos, so I was thinking that the WAP might be something very different for my kids.

Are old town and the gas lamp district two distinct different areas? Or does one kind of run into the other? Can anyone reccomend a place for dinner that would be good for our family.

We are set on the Embassey suites. I was able to use points for free nights and it was one of the few hotels I found that allowed for an occupancy of 6 in one room. It is also close to were we embark on our cruise.

Thanks again!
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 05:40 AM
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ignoring the spam about Egypt

The Zoo is in Balboa Park. The advantage of the zoo over the Wild Animal park is that it is much closer to everything. The WAP is ~ 45 minutes from the city and is a lot more walking. Animals are farther away as well.

The Gaslamp and Olde Town are completely different. Old Town is an old Mexican district. Gaslamp is where all the nightlife is.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:04 AM
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Food type preference? Will you have car & will be driving to dinner?
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:38 AM
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Gaslamp is the old downtown. Used to be all adult theaters and dive bars...now it is mostly updated, but it is still mainly restaurants and bars that are the draw.

Old Town is the historical settlement of the the early spanish/mexican settlers. It is roughly inland from the airport and north of where the cruise liners come in . Very old buildings, like shops, a schoolhouse, blacksmith's shop, plus mexican restaurants and a mexican shopping bazar. Plan on a hour or two here.

My kids always loved it, as well as the Presidio nearby. It is an old fort up on the hill above. Bring cardboard boxes for sliding on the grass!

The SD Zoo is pretty amazing. It is in Balboa park, so you can visit the Reuben H Fleet space center (with IMAX) and the museums in the park all from one parking stall-two if you'd rather start your useums from the opposite end.

Another thing kids love near downtown is the Star of India sailing ship. You can take tours of it and other historical boats docked very close to the cruise ships. The new (but looks old) boat which was used in the filming of Captain and Commander is there also.

From the docks right next to the Star of India, you could take the foot ferry to Coronado and walk around, rent a bicycle surrey, and eat dinner. Much more kid friendly than Gaslamp. There are some very good restaurants right where the ferry lands, or the actual "town" and beach are about 8-10 blocks up from where the ferry docks. With four kids, you might jump on the shuttle bus or take a fast cab ride.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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I just reread your post; it looks like you have no car the first day so dining around downtown seems to be the choice. There are over 150 restaurants in downtown; however, I only can think of some OK/good kid-friendly restaurant w/ casual food:

1. Sam's California Pizza (there are other dishes beside pizza; large portion).

2. Royal India

3. Buca Di Beppo-- chain restaurant.

4. Food court in Horton Plaza & a few other restaurants on top level. Can try Panda Chinese restaurant.

I would recommend Rei do Gado ( Brazillian buffet) if you are a carnivore gt; ; kind of expensive. Call them to check the kids price.

For Fri dining, I'd recommend to make reservation ahead unless you dine early (prior 6:30PM). There are many good neighborhood eateries in nearby neghborhood; within 10' drive. Need to know your food type preference to narrow down the list.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Old town and gaslamp are two entirely different areas. The gaslamp area is a night-time entertainment area with excellent restaurants and rock bands. Might be good to drive through when you have the car, to see what it's like. On the other hand, Old Town is very family friendly and very interesting. It shows you the California heritage, and you can get some good Mexican food at the restaurants.
SeaPort Village is very touristy, but cute.
The Wild Animal Park is really unique, but it's a long drive from downtown. With kids, I'd stay at the Zoo and use your extra time to visit the Reuben H Fleet museum. It has really fun activities for children.
Sue
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 09:08 AM
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I'm not sure whether kayla means Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

http://www.sammyspizza.com/

or California Pizza Kitchen.

www.cpk.com

Two different places, but both are good with small children.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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I meant: Sammy's California Woodfired Pizza.

Thanks for the clarification of the name. I'm like a zombie this AM fr. just a few hrs sleep last night. gt;
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Arrg, let's try again: Sammy's Woodfired Pizza.

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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Seaport Village is right by downtown.

To do the zoo properly takes about the whole day. If your kids like model trains, there is a nice museum in Balboa Park.

The Midway aircraft carrier is much more interesting than the Star of India
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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Yes the gas lamp district and old town completely different. Gas lamp district has lots of restuarants, but i have to warn you i would never go there again especially with kids. Old town is like a quaint mexican village really cute and fun for whole family. Balboa park is right around the corner from the zoo. But not in walking distance really its about a minute car ride. Some of the musuems have a couple of dollar charge depending upon which ones you were interested in. I liked the natural history, botanical gardens and eygptian mueseums the best. plus there alot of trails to walk on with beautiful gardens, its quite breath taking. The science musuem is about a five min ride from balboa. so there all in close proximity. I would choose wisely because you will definitely need the whole day for the zoo. Ps my aunt lives in california and recently took her son to the wild zoo, she wasn't crazy about it and said that the animals where all hiding. My top pics would defifinitely be go to old town for dinner and walk around. Go to the zoo and balboa park. And finally sea world is great to.
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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WAP is very nice and very different from the zoo. Barbara makes a good point about the zoo vs WAP and the up close factor.

Have you considered Sea World?

The gaslamp and old town aren't that far away from each other since you have a car. I think the gaslamp might be a little boring for the kids.

You could always take the ferry over to Coronado on Thursday, it's a quick trip and IMO, much nicer than the gaslamp.
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 05:15 AM
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when you don't have a car, old town is an easy trolley ride away from downtown
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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 08:10 AM
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Here's some clarification: The Zoo and all the museums are IN Balboa Park. http://www.balboapark.org/

The park itself is huge. The east side (across Park Boulevard) is of little tourist interest. It has a wide variety of athletic facilities as well as the Naval Hospital and a few other facilities. All museums (there are about 20) are fairly close together in the western half of the park--surely within walking distance of each other, with a free tram that runs frequently throughout the day.

The Zoo is a ten minute or less walk from the central "museum" area.

Most museums and other attractions charge a fee (exceptions are the botanical conservatory, the Timken art gallery, the International Cottages--generally open only on Sunday afternoons, and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion--free concerts at 2:00 every Sunday). The admission costs for adults are generally $5 to $10, less for kids.

You can get there by bus from downtown or take a 2-3 mile cab ride, probably no more costly that bus fares for all of you. The #3 and #120 buses run uptown on Fifth Avenue from downtown--get off at Laurel and walk about 1/2 mile east to the center of the park. They go back downtown on Fourth Avenue. The #7 bus goes from Broadway and Front streets (near your hotel, I think) and leaves you off 15-20 minutes later on Park Boulevard, just a few minutes east of the museum area.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 08:20 AM
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I meant to include this link in my previous post:

http://www.balboapark.org/maps/BalboaParkMap.pdf

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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 08:28 AM
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I'd suggest the ZOO! I absolutly love San Diego Zoo and I have been to some great zoos. Also an idea is Sea World for the kids.

Seaport Village (across the street from the Embassy) is a neat place and has a few good restaurants to eat at.
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