From LEGOLAND to SeaWorld and beyond, San Diego is reopening its attractions.
As vaccines roll out, the southern California city is preparing to welcome travelers with open arms. As you plan your future student travel, consider these iconic, educational and fun attractions, perfect for student groups.
Zoos are always great for students, but San Diego’s is especially impressive. More than 3,500 animals of more than 650 rare and exotic species find home in this 100-acre tropical garden near downtown. From the Gorilla Tropics to the Tiger River, you’ll see and learn about animals from all over the world with a guided bus tour, sky tram and children’s petting zoo.
This park north of downtown is an entirely different experience, sprawling across 1,800 acre preserves with animals from Africa and Asia roaming freely. They suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes and planning a full day of exploration, “so you can watch a cheetah run at full speed, come face to face with an African lion or gaze up at majestic eagles, noble owls and rare Andean condors.” Not to mention rhinos, giraffes, gazelles and more!
For the aquatic animals, head to SeaWorld and see whales, sea turtles, dolphins and more. This expansive park features all kinds of penguins, walruses, and a 280,000-gallon aquarium for threatened sea turtles. The park has interactive games to teach kids about the threats these species face in the real world. Also run by SeaWorld is Aquatica, a high-thrill waterpark with tons of rides and slides.
This is the longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th Century, featuring a four-acre flight deck of more than 20 aircraft. Climb into cockpits, play in flight simulators, explore the historic engine room and sleep quarters and more. This is a museum perfect for students excited by history, the sea and big machinery.
You know how quite a few science museums have a huge, domed IMAX theater now? The Fleet Science Center in San Diego started that, and they continue to recreate that magic in everything they do. The Fleet’s goal is to bring wonder and curiosity to all, with special programs just for students, from workshops to science stations and other hands-on exhibitions. Science is fun!
This park is great for people of all ages, with more than 60 interactive attractions, shows and rides. This goes far beyond building LEGO sets — rollercoasters, water slides and an aquarium all collide in a LEGO-themed wonderland, especially geared toward kids 12 or younger. And of course, they’ll see the incredible feats of engineering that can be done with a lot of creativity and a bit of work.
Photo courtesy of Tammy Spratt.