Being a new parent is incredibly rewarding, but sometimes the same routine day in and day out can be boring for both you and your little bundle. Ready to venture beyond the beaten path with baby on board? We’ve rounded up a whole new world of baby-friendly activities in San Diego. The good news is, these outings are just as much fun for you as they are for your little sidekick––and you may even make a new friend or two along the way. Read on to see where to start making memories with your babe today!
photo: Little Blue Bow Photography
1. Photograph your newborn.
Before you know it, your baby will be a toddler. Don’t let this precious first year pass you by! Preserve those memories with a photo session. Many local photographers give you the option to have the session done at your home, their studio, or at various places around town. Some faves include K. Loreth Photography, Little Blue Bow Photography, Lisa England Photography, Christy Wallis Baby Photography and Keane Studios.
2. Stroll through museums.
There’s no shortage of museums in San Diego! Head to Balboa Park on a Tuesday and take advantage of the free resident admission to select museums. The Model Railroad Museum has model trains that are sure to delight your baby. Afterwards you can even take him or her on the miniature train ride located right outside the zoo entrance. The New Children’s Museum downtown has lots of engaging sights and sounds and best of all, it’s free for babies under 12 months! If your little one prefers to see Nemo and Dory, the Birch Aquarium is a great choice for up close observation of all kinds of fascinating fish.
photo: Barefoot Blonde
3. Hit the beach.
It’s a no-brainer that a San Diego baby needs a trip to the beach. Too many people? Try Kellogg Beach, at the end of Point Loma, for a calmer, less crowded experience. Glorietta Bay Beach in Coronado is also a good choice, with calm waves, facilities and open grass areas. Here are 7 of our favorite family beaches in San Diego.
4. Plunge into the pool.
Getting baby used to the water early is one of the best things you can do. You can sign up for either inexpensive group classes or private lessons. Noonan Family Swim School starts them as early as 3 months-old with their Splash Babies program. If you prefer to be in the water with your baby, check out Aqua Pros and spend some fun, quality time while building critical water safety skills. Check out our list of favorite swimming lessons where you can make a big splash.
5. Learn new lullabies.
Babies love music and being sung to, so why not start their music education early? Songbirds Music is a mobile music class that nurtures your baby’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement. Recreational Music Center uses a curriculum designed to meet motor skills based on your baby’s development. You can also pay by class, which is perfect if you don’t want to commit to a weekly class.
6. Work out!
Once you feel like exercising again, there are many baby-friendly classes to choose from. GroovaRoo Dance lets you wear baby in a soft carrier while you move to popular music. It’s a low-impact aerobic workout, perfect for emphasizing safety and comfort for baby. It’s also a great way to meet friends! Fit4Mom classes, such as the popular Stroller Strides, are offered all over the city and throughout the county.
7. Take me out to the ball game.
It’s never too early to start training your newborn into a Padres fan! It might seem crazy to bring a baby to a baseball game, but PETCO Park caters to even the tiniest visitors. They may not be able to stay for the entire game, but they’ll get free admission and they can see the sights in between naps. Every single restroom has baby changing stations, so even dads can help out with diaper duty. And if you bring a stroller, you can check it at any Guest Services Center located on every level of the stadium.
8. Attend a breastfeeding clinic.
For new moms struggling to breastfeed, La Leche League is a great place to turn. Moms can ask questions via forums on its website and get information and resources in a pinch. It also helps connect moms to groups in their area and lactation consultants. Groups meet monthly and parents are always welcome to call when they need breastfeeding help between meetings.
9. Try Mommy and Me yoga.
Hapa Yoga offers Mommy and Me sessions at a clean facility with friendly staff, hourly childcare, quality equipment. What more could you want? There is a wide variety of classes to take in addition to the Mommy and Me fitness classes, including pre-natal yoga and even a Tots yoga class, for when your baby gets a little older.
10. Stop and smell the flowers.
Flock to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, smell the thousands of colorful ranunculus blooms and pose for amazing photo opportunities. The Carlsbad Flower Fields are huge, so be sure to bring a sturdy stroller or baby carrier of some sort. You can also climb aboard a tractor-pulled wagon (for an additional fee) to ride through the fields. Here are 5 stunning places to see spring blooms too.
11. Visit a Farmers Market.
Get baby used to a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables by visiting a local farmers market. They’re colorful, smell delicious and many vendors offer samples, making this a great way to get baby to try something new. Check out our list of family friendly farmers markets here.
12. Nurture a love of reading.
No matter what neighborhood you live in, chances are there is a library nearby. Visit the library of your choice and check out the baby story time classes. Throw down a blanket, grab a pile of books and join in the singing, reading aloud and playing with your baby.
13. Learn sign language together.
Ever wonder what your baby is thinking? Sign 4 Baby offers American Sign Language instructions to parents in order to help them communicate better with their babies. Sign 4 Baby specializes in workshops, sign, play and learn classes, private lessons, playgroups, events hosting and wellness packages for parents and their kids.
14. Baby’s first haircut.
The time will eventually come for baby to get his or her first haircut. To make it a memorable experience, purchase a Baby’s First Haircut package. Pigtails and Crewcuts offers one that includes a keepsake card, photo and lock of hair. Kids Hair Salon and Little Locks offer similar packages. Here are 6 salons where you can take your baby to get a new ‘do.
15. Take a hike.
With San Diego’s practically perfect weather, you can pretty much hike all year round. Torrey Pines Natural Reserve has many beautiful, short hikes your family can enjoy. Just be sure to put baby in a carrier. If you prefer stroller friendly walks, head for Mission Beach boardwalk, where you can people watch for 3.5 miles along the sandy shores of Mission Beach. For more ideas on where to hit the trail with your little one, here are 11 great hiking trails for kids and families.
16. Meet new parents online.
If you can’t get out because of the weather or are still recovering from childbirth, connect on Facebook! Groups like San Diego Moms and San Diego New Moms Network have large followings where local parents connect and help one another out.
17. Have a smashing first birthday.
photo: Move Play Grow via Yelp
18. Get a baby coach.
Parenting a newborn can be scary. At Move Play Grow, you can hire a baby coach, who’ll address your questions and concerns and teach valuable skills when it comes to handling, playing and connecting with your baby. Or if your prefer, you can take one of their classes such as the popular Happy Tummy Timers and join in on their playdates.
19. Catch a flick.
Baby- friendly movie theaters? Yes, please. Enjoy these special screenings of grown-up movies for parents with babies and tots while you still can. Bring your baby to the movies at UltraStar Cinemas for Parent Movie Morning or Baby’s Night Out. Angelika Film Center and Reading Cinemas have Crybaby Matinee screenings. Crying, feeding and diaper changing are expected!
20. Take a deep breath. Smile and enjoy the moment. You’ve got this!
Anywhere your adventures take you, even if it’s just to the grocery store, there’s always time to connect with your baby and enjoy the moment. Remember the saying, “the days are long, but the years are short!” It really is true.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image: Rebecca Anne via Flickr