Nothing says family fun quite like California. The West Coast of the United States offers little ones a dizzying array of sights, sounds, smells and tastes, allowing the whole family to rest in peaceful exhaustion at the end of the day. Here are our top five family friendly activities in California.
San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf
Take a stroll along the boardwalk at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and soak in the carnival atmosphere. Browse the unique stores and be tempted by the array of good food, from sumptuous seafood to cute candy stores and soda shops. Head down to Pier 33 to watch the playful sea lions on the floating platoons. Kids will love hearing their resounding cries and watching their playful antics. You will also have picturesque views of Alcatraz Island. Enjoy live performances by local entertainers or jump on a ferry over to the charming seaside town, Sausalito.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Rides that scale from tame, kid-friendly romps to extreme thrillers? Tick. Once-in-a-lifetime animal encounters? Tick. Tempting American food staples? Tick. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has it all. Located between San Francisco and Sacramento, the park offers a family friendly adventure, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Take the little ones on a gentle undersea romp with Daffy Duck while the bigger kids loop the loop on the Boomerang Coast to Coaster. Swim with the dolphins or get up close and personal with friendly butterflies. And enjoy all the hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza you can eat – with healthier options available too.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The world class Monterey Bay Aquarium is situated just south of Santa Cruz. Driven by a mission to inspire conservation of the oceans, this not-for-profit attraction will inspire wonder and awe. Sea otters, penguins and octopuses are sure to delight young and old alike, but nothing beats Monterey’s array of jellyfish. They’ve got blubber jellies, elegant jellies, spotted and Mediterranean jellies, not to mention the crown jellies and curious comb jellies. You can spend hours wandering through the halls of the jelly exhibit. If the kids do get restless, take them to the Rocky Shore, where they can touch a variety of sea creatures to their hearts’ content.
San Diego Zoo And San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego has not one but two of the world’s most impressive zoological parks: San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. But you don’t have to choose one or the other – the zoo offers a two-visit pass that includes a day in each park. The San Diego Zoo covers 40 hectares, with exotic attractions such as the Amur leopard, naked mole-rat and giant panda. The Safari Park, on the other hand, has more of a sanctuary feel. Spread over 730 hectares, over half of the park is dedicated to protecting the habitat of native species. Here you can check out gorillas, elephants and cheetahs, and get up close to lions, with nothing more than a thick pane of glass separating you.
Of course, no family trip to California would be complete without the ultimate childhood dream destination: the original Disneyland in Anaheim. The Magic Kingdom is one of those places that everyone has to experience at least once. And, it can be just as exciting to enjoy it through the eyes of your children as it was when you first visited yourself. Ride the classic Mad Tea Party teacups, explore the Haunted Mansion, get the ‘It’s a Small World’ song stuck in your head and sail the seas with the Pirates of the Caribbean. Top off your day with the magical fireworks above Sleeping Beauty Castle.