13 Places you can explore with your baby in San Diego
Its been a year of adventuring. If you follow me on instagram you know that I am forever out and about with my baby. Its been so much fun, I feel like I actually get to relive some of the best moments in my childhood. There is something so special just seeing his eyes light up with new places.
I think we started venturing out into the world on our own around 6 weeks. My husband had gone back to work and the thought of being home inside all day just drove me insane. I needed some fresh air and some sunshine. I was fortunate enough to have close friends who also had babies the same time I did, so we had a lot of baby dates.
I am going to share with you a list of places we explored during the first year. I live in north county San Diego, so most places are around that area.
Library story time- All around San Diego county has baby time story time. This was our go to place in his early months. It was fun for me to just get out of the house and start exploring motherhood activities with my baby. We started attending story time around 6 weeks, my child couldn’t even hold his head up but I wore him in my ring sling. I would go with a friend of mine who’s baby was 5 months older. For me, it was more about me getting out of the house.
Out of all the libraries we attended in north county, we really enjoyed fallbrook library. It was a more intimate setting. Each mama, or caregiver and baby got a set of their own 3 books, a shaker toy, and a finger puppet. We would alternate reading a book with a song. It was great! My son loved the singing and looking at books. After story time it was open play time where the librarian would bring out toys for all the kids to play with.
2. The Zoo or Safari Park- These were my favorite places to go when I was a child. Before my baby was born my husband and I got yearly memberships. Out of all the amusement parks in San Diego, I feel this is the most cost friendly. My husband and I were both excited to relive our childhood memories and show our son the place that brought us joy!
The best part about having a membership is that you can go anytime you want, walk around to get some exercise in, and leave after 2 hours and not feel bad about it. I came here when Maverick was young as well. He would sleep in his stroller and I would get my workout in and walk the park and explore with friends.
Now when we go he loves it, he is able to actually see the animals and somewhat understand what’s going on. There are a lots of play areas throughout the parks as well so it is perfect to get those wiggles out. We always pack snacks and bring them in. They allow you to bring in food and drinks, so if you have a membership it is totally worth it. Each trip you take there you really don’t need to spend any extra money. You can visit an unlimited amount of times, and they also serve beer so mom and dad can have a little fun as well.
3. Flower fields- Carlsbad, CA. During springtime you will see a beautiful sea of flowers. I’ve lived in San Diego my entire life, and my first time seeing the flowers was with my new baby. I put him in my baby carrier and went exploring. It is a total instagram worthy location.
Here you can hop on a tractor and explore the flowers that way, they have different gardens, a playground, a maze, and so much more. The fields are only open during a short period of time in spring starting in March. Check their calendar of events page to see other happenings going on during that time!
4. San Diego Botanical Garden- Every 1st Tuesday of the month admission is free! all you have to pay is $2 parking. The garden is 37 acres, so there is so much to explore, and a lots of walking aka mama gets a workout. They have 29 different staged areas with plants from different parts of the world. How they keep them all alive!? I have no idea I can barely keep a succulent alive.
At the bottom of the garden they have a large children’s play area. They have a large tree house to explore, A sand box, wooden blocks, foam blocks, an art garden, music station with instruments made from all natural materials, a water stream where you can race toy boats, and so much more!
Even if your child isn’t walking, its fun to go, they can sit in the sand and explore and watch other kids play.
5. Birch aquarium- The aquarium is a great place to take your baby because there is so much to see! I took Mav here for the first time where he was a couple months old. Not sure if he was seeing colors at the time, but hey I enjoyed myself! They have one big loop of exhibits with plenty of fish to see. Our favorite part is the large tank,its a great picture spot. They have a small stadium seating area here, so if you need to stop and nurse the baby its a great spot! Various times throughout the day the have a diving show where you can watch them feed the fish in the tank.
If you step outside they have tide pools where you can get your hands on some creatures if you decide! The aquarium is on a cliff so you have an amazing view of the ocean, you may even be able to see a whale out at sea!
After your visit they have a cute gift shop out front where you can buy your baby a souvenir. They also have the splash cafe where you can grab lunch. I’ve eaten there a couple times, the food is great, and prices are pretty reasonable!
6. Belmont park- Located in Mission Beach, a beautiful beach front boardwalk with rides & attractions. They have fun rides that are appropriate for little ones, lots of shops, and fun places to grab food.
I took my son here at 11 months. He was able to go on about 4 different rides, although he was not really a fan. We went with other babies the same age as him and they had the time of their lives, Maverick I think may be afraid of heights and rides. Its ok though, we cheered our friends on! Although we didn’t spend the day going on rides we still enjoyed ourselves exploring the boardwalk and enjoying a beach front lunch!
7. Trampoline park - trampoline parks are popping up all over San Diego, they are pretty popular. They are the perfect rainy day activity! Most places have a “toddler time” a couple hours designated to only toddlers. It is perfect because you can let your child roam around freely and not have to worry about them being knocked down by a big kid.
8. YMCA swimming pool- at 6 months we put the little man in swim lessons, so we would hang out at the pool a couple times a week. We loved swim lessons here because the location was convenient and the prices were great. We knew in the early months it was mostly water acclimation so we didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg. They do have open swim time free if your a member, and if not they do day passes here for only $20. Besides the large swimming pool they also have a splash pad here as well.
9. Splash pad- splash pad is great for summer and they have multiple around SD county. The ones we visited were Alga Norte in Carlsbad and Sunset park in San Marcos. Sunset park is free and alga Norte cost $3 for kids and $5 for adults. At alga Norte they have a big pool, a splash pad, a grill, and of course the playground near by. Sunset park is essentially just an outdoor park and a splash pad. it is a really nice park tucked away in a neighborhood. I recommend this place if you are trying to go the free route!
10. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum- This place is a lot of fun for the little ones and there is so much for them to explore here. We started coming here around 10 months. I did a full review of this place you can check it out here. It is basically a play place where kids can run wild and use their imagination and just play! They have a large indoor and outdoor area with plenty to see and do.
11. Park- of course parks are a no brainer! We have visited plenty of parks our first year. We are fortunate enough to have a park here in our cup-de-sac. Other than that we love the park beach, the park at discovery lake, Shadowridge Park, there are plenty of park to explore in any neighborhood in San Diego.
The park at discovery lake is nice because they have a large waking/running path that loops around the lake. If you go here you can get a quick run in and let the baby get the wiggles out after at the park. My favorite park is probably any park on the beach, not only is the beach relaxing but I don’t have to worry about my child eating the bark that covers most other play grounds….just sand!
12. Gymnastics- Gymnastics is great for when the babies start crawling. We go to Oceanside gymnastics. Every Thursday from 10-11 they have a class for babies under 5 years old. Its about 40 min of open play and 15 min of structured play. Its a great place to socialize your baby and a great place for them to get the wiggles out before nap time! Your first class is free, then it’s a $5 drop in fee.
13. Choice Juicery- Choice Juicery is a cute little smoothie place on the corner of Carlsbad village & state street. It’s a gated turf area with little picnic tables. It’s a perfect spot to have a little play date with other moms, and not to mention their smoothies are amazing! They have bathrooms that are well maintained, they have a huge chalk board wall, and plenty of space to run around.