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Children and parents can explore the natural world, learn about the environment, play freely and create their own arts. The New Children’s Museum provides opportunities for free play riding on wheels, sliding and building with mattresses, or rock climbing. Creative play and exploration for children of all ages can be found in the rain house, the car paint, sculpture making, shadow world and dress up. Toddlers have their own activity room featuring bears in the woods, with soft “grass” to play on and tree hollows to hide and seek in. Each day and hour brings special activities throughout the museum where children and parents can interact, play and create.
Rev up your engines and cruise on over to the San Diego Automotive Museum dedicated to the last 100 years of automotive development. From 'horseless carriages' to the 50s 'hot rods' parked in front of a simulated diner, car buffs will enjoy checking out the scores of shiny automobiles on display. Research sources are available, as are great gift ideas for any car enthusiast.
One of the most important ballparks of Major League Baseball (MLB), Petco Park is a baseball fan's haven and the base of the San Diego Padres. Its unique architectural layout is an ode to the region's geography and its natural allure. The framework of the stadium resonates of the surrounding peaks while the steel edifice and enclosing structures are designed like canyons. Landscaped with indigenous plants and featuring a lush area picnic hill, this magnificent stadium boasts to have the best seats for not only sports lovers but also concert goers.
This Balboa Park theater is dedicated to Marie Hitchcock, who delighted San Diego children for decades with her puppet shows. Both professional and amateur puppeteers stage performances here all year long. The shows, each lasting 30-45 minutes, include marionette and hand-puppet performances, as well as rare ventriloquist acts. The theater only seats 230 people, so guests are advised to arrive early. Tickets are not available until the day of the performance.
San Diego's anthropological museum is home to 70,000 artifacts, folk art and archaeological finds from all over the world. With mummies and ancient carved monuments, the treasures inside the San Diego Museum of Man are abundant but the building itself is also a San Diego treasure and city symbol. The California Building with its tile-capped tower was designed in 1915 by Bertram G. Goodhue and reflects a whimsical "California Mission" style of architecture. Exhibits inside explore the culture and lives of ancient civilizations of the Inuits, the Mapuche, and the Mayans among others.
'Mingei' is a composite word that is now accepted as meaning "art of the people," and this museum is surely that. Housed here, visitors will find an eclectic collection of folk art, crafts and designs from around the world including ceramics, pottery, textiles, dolls, masks, stone carvings and other decorative objects. Kid's are welcome too, every Sunday the museum features hands-on art projects, and the giant alligator sculpture at the entrance to the museum is great for climbing on. Complimentary tours take place daily at 2p sharp in the lobby. Permanent and rotating collections are on display for visitors to enjoy and encourage curiosity about other cultures.
This museum houses the world's largest indoor model railroad, along with many other exciting exhibits. The museum's aim is to preserve the history of model railroading and to educate the public on its varied aspects. There's a toy train gallery as well while another area of the museum is dedicated to four large-scale models depicting the main railroads of the Southwest. A gift shop offers t-shirts, overalls and books. Note that the first Tuesday of the month is free for San Diego County residents.
The San Diego Natural History Museum is the second oldest scientific institution in California. A bi-national museum, its mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education and exhibits. The museum strives to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment. Between exhibits on dinosaurs and the Arctic to mammoths and the Titanic, this museum is sure to interest the old, young and everything in between.
These hands-on science and technology exhibits open a window into the future. Take a multi-sensory simulated space mission and encounter a rogue comet. Also found here is the world's first Omnimax Theater, a dome 10 times larger than a typical movie screen. If the exploration of the science center makes you hungry, pay a visit to the museum's Galileo Cafe for a snack or a cup of coffee.
The centerpiece of the blissful Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo is a prolific destination for adults and children alike. Spread over 98.84 acres (40 hectares) of diverse landscapes, the zoo is home to an excess of 3,500 fauna that belongs to 650 species or subspecies. Established in the year 1916, it is one of the few non-profit wildlife conservation zones to nurture the highly-endangered Giant Panda. Laden with man-made habitats that emulate various topographies from around the globe, the park's most-visited exhibits includes the Monkey Trails, the Polar Bear Plunge, Elephant Odyssey, Tiger River, Koalafornia and the Panda Trek. Virtually every nook and corner of the zoo is made conveniently accessible by the beloved Skyfari, a gondola system that spans across nearly 75 percent of the property.
The Whaley House is one of a select few authenticated by the United States Department of Commerce as being 'haunted'. Thomas Whaley, a New York entrepreneur who came to California during the Gold Rush, built the two-story brick home in 1856 in order to provide East-coast civility for his wife. Used as the county courthouse and government seat during the 1870s, artifacts and period furnishings of the house remain intact even today. And apparently, the ghost does too.
Plaza Bonita mall has 140 specialty stores and four major department stores to choose from. Also on hand are more than 15 restaurants, a movie complex, and beauty salons. Everything from appliances to toys can be purchased at this major bi-level shopping mall serving clientele in the South Bay area for nearly 20 years. The mall has undergone an extensive makeover in the past few years and is bigger and better than ever. Extra perks include Wi-Fi facility throughout the mall, a family lounge and a mall walker program.