A trip to Mission Bay is a pretty universal crowd-pleasing experience. With the smooth sandy beaches, calm waters and multiple playgrounds, it’s a pretty sweet outing. But did you know you can also check out some pretty awesome animal creatures hiding on the resorts? You and your little ones can get up close and personal with birds and a few seals. You’ve just taken the routine trip to the bay  — and your cool parent factor — up more than a few notches. Read on for the details on where to take your little animals to see the amazing creatures of Mission Bay!

gracie the sealPhoto Credit: Go Explore Nature

Gracie the Seal and her Sidekick Billy
There is something special about these two harbor seals that permanently reside at the Bahia Hotel. Not only are  they the best of friends, but they are both blind rescue seals. When they were found in completely separate incidents, they were injured and nursed back to health. When they were determined to be unfit to be released back into the wild, the Bahia Hotel stepped up and made a home for them at the resort, much to the delight of the seals and their guests. The best part is you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to visit Gracie and Billy. Take your little pups right to the hotel and go watch the seals play and sunbathe in their spacious living quarters. Your kiddos will not be the only ones enamored with the two of them, it’s nearly impossible to not fall in love a little with these two best buds.

Insider’s Tip: Try to plan your trip around their 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. feeding times.

Bahia Hotel
998 W Mission Bay Dr.
San Diego, Ca
858-488-0551
Online: bahiahotel.com

Catamaran birdPhoto Credit: The Catamaran via Yelp

Birds Galore at The Catamaran Resort
If you really want to impress your kids, head to the gorgeous Catamaran Resort located right on Mission Bay and spend some time with talking birds! The cockatoos, parrots and macaws that call the resort home put on quite the show and are very friendly. Your little birdies will get a kick out of interacting with them and will love the adorable mandarin ducks that live at the resort too. There are also two large koi ponds on site filled with the huge and colorful fish that will swim right up right up to your kiddos when they stand at the edge of the water. Feeling adventurous? There are tons of water-sport rentals to check out at the hotel. If your kids are old enough, grab a kayak or paddle boat and see some sea life in their natural habitat!

Insider’s Tip: Plan to get there between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the birds are on display.

Catamaran Resort
3999 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, Ca
858-488-1081
Online: cataramanresort.com

Paradise PointPhoto Credit: Phillip J. via Yelp

Paradise Point Resort
With a name like Paradise Point, it’s only natural to expect paradise. But did you know that besides being a beautiful hotel, this Mission Bay hotspot pretty much houses its own Eco-system? There are more than 44 acres of beaches, lagoons and gardens where you and your little explores can catch glimpses of turtles, stingrays, lizards, egrets, ducks and even leopard sharks! There is so much to see here that you may want to grab lunch at one of the kid friendly restaurants on site. Then you can head over to the coolest attraction there; the 70-foot observation tower. It was recently refurbished so you can safely check out one of the best panoramic views in San Diego.

Insider’s Tip: For a real treat, book a water taxi that will take you from the beach outside the Catamaran Hotel to the landing dock at Paradise Point Resort. It’s a great way to check out the Bay up close and personal.

1404 Vacation Rd.
San Diego, Ca
858-274-4630
Online: paradisepoint.com

Have you checked out the amazing creatures of Mission Bay? Did we miss one that should be included?

—Shannon Reed