Last Month, my son’s preschool class enjoyed a field trip to Sea World San Diego. This is an annual event for all six preschool classes so I have been lucky enough to take my kids for the past three years. I thought I had seen everything at Sea World until a flock of flamingos paraded by soon after our arrival. School groups are allowed in early, so I’m not sure if this is something that the average tourist would be able to experience, but it was surreal fun for our group to make way for our flamingo friends. I captured this picture of my son’s very first preschool teacher enjoying this spectacle. I’m sure Jared will treasure it in the future.
A few days later, Ken and I took the kids to the San Diego Zoo and captured another happy flamingo moment.
Off to the Zoo on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to share next week!
P.S. Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup. Love this post about her visit to Turkey!
If you are thinking about purchasing a theme park pass, be sure to investigate the extra benefits and privileges that the theme park may offer passholders. Although these vary from park to park, many times these extras will almost pay for your entire membership.
Since my two youngest were born less than a year apart, our family has become experts at the “staycation”. Traveling far from home with two preschoolers seems a bit too crazy for us at this point. Our location here in Carlsbad gives us many options for family fun. Visiting theme parks and zoos is one of the things that we enjoy doing together as a family. In the past three years we have held passes for the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Legoland, and Disneyland.
If you live in Southern California or visit frequently throughout the year, a Legoland membership offers many opportunities for family adventure. In addition to the great special events and members only activities that Legoland holds throughout the year, Legoland offers excellent deals and discounts to its members. Twice a year, members receive coupons for free entrance with a passholder. This gives your family opportunities to bring friends and grandparents along to enjoy a Legoland adventure. Also, if there is a Dad or teenager in your family who won’t be making it to Legoland very often this can be a great way to bring them along to enjoy the fun.
Legoland pass holders also receive free entrance to The Wave in Vista and Wild Rivers in Irvine. In addition to the regular member dining and shopping discounts, Legoland’s quarterly newsletters contain coupons for additional savings. This month I have a $10 voucher for the Ocean Journey Cafe, a free bucket of water balloons at the Raptor Splash, and other discount coupons.
Members benefit from Legoland’s efforts to promote the new Sea Life Aquarium. Legoland is continuing to offer special visitor rates to Legoland members and friends and family. Come enjoy the aquarium for as little as $5 per person! Note that a coupon is required. The curent coupon says that it expires 5/31/09, but keep checking the site. So far they have extended this offer several times.
When we were planning a three day trip to Disneyland, I decided to investigate the price of membership. I knew that we wouldn’t be visiting too often, but since we live only an hour away a few return visits would be fun. After doing my research I decided that the Southern California Select passes offered the best value four our budget. Unlike Legoland, non premium Disney Passholders do not receive many benefits. However, they do receive some limited dining discounts in the parks and shopping discounts at Downtown Disney. Still, with prices that can be less than a multi-day visit, an annual Disneyland pass is worth considering.
San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park
Membership at these attractions is extremely affordable. (Kids passes are only $2 more than the one day Best Value Ticket). Adult members receive two free guest passes which come in handy for out of town guests. Pass holders also receive free admission to the Journey into Africa Tour at the Wild Animal Park…this is a must see! In addition, they receive unlimited Skyfari aerial tram rides at the zoo. These are important since, kids have to do alot of walking at the San Diego Zoo. Membership covers both attractions so your family has plenty to explore.
Members also receive a monthly zoo magazine that contains interesting articles about the animals and great coupons including more free admission tickets for passholder guests. All pass members also receive discounts on Wild Animal Park parking.
Sea World San Diego
We have had the opportunities to obtain discounted entrance to Sea World with our preschool, so I haven’t gone the pass route yet. I am dreaming of an Unauthorized Sea World Guidebook some day, so we may be getting passes next summer.
In the mean time, be aware that Sea World offers the Fun Card which is a great deal. You get a pass good for admission throughout the entire calendar year for the price of a single admission.
Make sure you factor the price of parking into your membership decisions. Sometimes it pays to buy a more premium membership for at least one member of your family in order to get free parking. Be sure to investigate whether the person needs to be the driver or just in the car. Premium child memberships are often cheaper and also offer free parking.
If you don’t live in Southern California, I encourage you to research theme park memberships in your area. You may just discover the ticket to a whole year of family fun.
Ready to Steal Some of the Sea Lions' Fish @ Seaworld California
I have seen birds like this at our local lagoon, but never one this close. Seaworld is very close to the San Diego Bay. I like to think that this little guy was just flying by and stopped in for a snack!
This photo was taken at the Pacific Point exhibit at Sea World. Our friends had fun feeding the Sea Lions and California Harbor Seals. Pacific Point is one of three animal feeding opportunities at Sea World. You can also feed dolphins and manta rays depending on the day. (My kids had a change to feed the rays, but didn’t enjoy the slimy feeling of the squid!)
Make sure you bring cash. I found out the hard way that the feeding booths do not take credit cards. This is one of the few actitivities that is worth spending extra money at a theme park. Make sure you check the schedule for feeding times!
This was my second adventure, solo with preschoolers to Sea World, San Diego. Our preschool makes this fun attraction a yearly educational fieldtrip. I needed to be at the gate by 9:30 in order to take advantage of the school rate tickets we had purchased. For those of you who know San Diego traffic, you realize we left EARLY! Never know what’s gonna happen on that freeway. I hit the exit to Sea World at around 8:45 and had a moment of inspiration. Why not check out one of those cool Mission Bay Parks that you pass by on the freeway?
Destiny, Jared and I stretched our legs at the park nearest to the Sea World turn off. I have heard there are others still to explore. Love this park!!! Very old school park with play structures, clearly from many different decades, but everything was so creative and fun! There were animals to ride and trucks to drive. Five year old Destiny loved climbing the spiderweb. Four year old Jared was challenged by the climbing structure as you can see above. I loved the gorgeous scenic location right on Mission Bay! I can hardly wait to bring my nine year old and watch him explore.
Spider Girl Destiny Climbs Her Web at Mission Bay Park, San Diego
Honestly this adventure was almost as fun as the trip to Sea World and much much cheaper! I plan to return with all the kids and a picnic or maybe make it a stop after taking Daddy to the airport. A San Diego jewel close to Sea World. Who could ask for more?
P.S. This park stop was much more fun than waiting for the gate to the parking area to open at Sea World . Sorry I didn’t think of it last year Inga.
If you are planning to visit the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California, this book contains all the information you need to make the most of your family adventure. The book also includes information about other area attractions, local restaurants and hotels.
Bridget Smith, mom of three, loves to blog about everyday adventures. Her mission is to change the world; one kid, one destination, one effortless trip, one overworked mom, one frazzled dad... one day at a time! Come and join her.