School is almost out for us and I am excitedly putting together some plans and ideas for our first summer living here in San Diego. There are so many great places to go in San Diego, but we also have to watch the budget! I think we’re all familiar with the more expensive places to have fun (Sea World, San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Legoland, etc.), so this list will stick to some of the more budget-friendly activities to do in the area.
1. The Beach – of course, I have to start with the obvious. We’re planning to spend a lot of time at the beach. Which beach is the best? We’re still figuring that out and plan to check out many of the local beaches. We’ve enjoyed Torrey Pines and La Jolla Cove so far and Coronado was recently voted #1 beach in America by “Dr. Beach” (coastal expert). Hours of fun in the sun building sand castles, playing in the waves, and relaxing while catching up on some reading. Can’t wait!
2. Free Summer Concerts in the Park – head to the park with friends or family to enjoy some music at the end of the day. Take a picnic dinner. Relax and enjoy. Check here for the details on what parks and what times.
3. Bowling – Sign your kids up at KidsBowlFree.com, pick your closet bowling alley, and get 2 free games of bowling every day for your kids all summer long. You just have to pay for shoes!
4. $1 Movies – Did you know certain theatres have a summer series of movies that only cost $1 per person? Each week a different movie plays beginning at 10 a.m. on weekdays. Even if you have seen the movie, or even own it, it’s fun to get the kids out in a movie theatre and enjoy the movie on the big screen. And if you want to go every week, you can buy a pass for just $5 per person for all the summer movies! Check out the list of movies here!
5. Free Museum Passes – Remember how great a resource I told you the local library is? Here’s another reason to pay them a visit. The library has free passes you can check out giving you essentially a two-week membership to either the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center or the New Children’s Museum. You can look here for the link to reserve these passes. They have a lot of passes in circulation and guests can check them out for just 2 weeks, so even if your hold is 40 or 50 on the list, it won’t be too long before you get a chance to use them. So reserve your pass right now! The passes include free entrance to the museum for up to 2 adults and 6 children, discounts on IMAX shows, as well as discounts at the museum stores.
6. Visit a nature center – Another free place we plan to visit is the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center. It is a great place to learn about our area’s natural resources with hands-on exhibits, beautiful views and on weekends free, naturalist-guided walks too. Another great nature center is the one in Chula Vista. Although it’s not free, the price isn’t too much, and it also would be fun to visit to get close to native plants and animals. I love getting my kids outdoors learning about plants and animals.
7. Visit the Olympic Training Center – with the Summer Olympics coming up in London (27 July – 12 August), how about a trip to the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Chula Vista. Get your kids excited about the Olympics! It’s a free visit, with guided tours on Saturday mornings.
8. Summer Reading Program with your library – this is another great (and free!) program the local library provides. Encourage your child to enjoy some great reading by signing up for the summer reading program. Participants who read 10 or more books will receive a variety of prizes, including tickets to a San Diego Padres game and the San Diego Zoo! The library will also be holding a lot of extra activities with hands-on fun, cultural events and special story times. So be sure to include the library in your fun summer plans. Read more about the summer reading program here. Sign-ups begin June 15th.
Hopefully these spark some new ideas for the summer. There are also many great museums to explore, hiking trails and lakes to visit, historical sites and more. Next week I’ll be posting with ten ideas for fun with your kids this summer to keep them free from boredom!