It’s never too early to get the kiddos thinking about college! And what better way than having a little fun at a local campus. Whether your pint-sized college co-ed is interested in science, books, sports, or art, pique your kiddo’s curiosity by making a college visit exciting! The University of California, San Diego has a little something for every type of kid: the active, the curious, and the creative. Dig out your old college sweatshirt and show your student how it’s done.

Triton Kids Fun RunPhoto credit: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego

Triton Kids Fun Run
Get ready! Get set! Go! Fasten your kiddo’s light-up sneakers and head over to the Triton Kids Fun Run. On June 6, miniature runners can dash around a short course with King Triton himself (UC San Diego’s school mascot). As the name suggests, it’s all about fun, not speed, so encourage the tiniest runners to complete the 25-meter course while bigger kids can attempt the three-quarters lap. Parents wanting a bigger challenge can register for the Triton 5K race. Every Triton-in-Training is a winner and will receive a t-shirt and goodie bag. All proceeds from the 2015 Triton 5K support student scholarships. Register soon to get early bird pricing!

Insider’s Tip: Arrive early on race day to enjoy a festival featuring live entertainment, local food and beverages, and interactive fun for kids of all ages.

Online: 5k.ucsd.edu

Birch Aquarium UCSDPhoto credit: Birch Aquarium Facebook page

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Your budding oceanographer will enjoy the world of sharks, rays, fish, seahorses, jellyfish, living coral reefs and more when you visit the world-renowned Birch Aquarium. With more than 60 interactive elements, your little Jacques Cousteau or Sylvia Earle will be inspired as they discover the wonders of the ocean. Watch as aquarists feed sea life in the live animal displays. When it’s feeding time, kiddos will love watching creatures come to life in their habitats. For outdoor adventurists, Birch Aquarium offers guided tours in kayaking, tidepooling, snorkeling, whale watching, grunion runs, and pier walks.

Insider’s Tip: Parking is free for the first three hours. Get there before 12 noon on weekdays to beat the crowds!

Online: aquarium.ucsd.edu

Dr. Seuss CollectionPhoto credit: J. LaHaye

Dr. Seuss Collection
We all know that kids — big and small — have long been entertained and fascinated by Dr. Seuss’ characters and stories. Because of their colorful illustrations, fantastical creatures, and clever rhymes, books like Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks, and Hop on Pop have a permanent place in the hearts of parents and young readers alike. But did you know UC San Diego’s Geisel Library is home to about 8,500 Dr. Seuss original works? Don’t worry, if you missed Dr. Seuss’ annual birthday bash on campus in March, items from the collection are usually on exhibit during summer session and open to the public. Grab your mini Lorax and head to campus this summer.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t forget to take a photo of your kids next to the Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture, located just outside the library.

Online: libraries.ucsd.edu

sungodPhoto credit: J. LaHaye

See the Sun God and Other Works of Art
Got a blooming artist in tow? Go on a self-guided walking tour of the Stuart Collection, a display of 18 contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the UC San Diego campus. You won’t want to miss these fan favorites: Sun God, a brightly colored bird that sits 29-feet in the air; Bear, a 23-foot teddy bear structure assembled with eight natural granite boulders; Fallen Star, a small house that seems to have mysteriously crashed and landed onto the 7th floor of the Jacobs School of Engineering building; Snake Path, a 560-foot-long serpent; and La Jolla Project, the campus’ very own “Stonehenge,” where college kids can be seen studying and kicking back.

Insider’s Tip: Parking is free on weekends. With the exception of Fallen Star, these sculptures can be viewed without an appointment. So go on a weekend to beat the crowds.

Online: stuartcollection.ucsd.edu

Pier at UCSDPhoto credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography Facebook page

Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier
One of the great advantages of UC San Diego is its campus extends all the way to the beach. Enjoy a sunny La Jolla day with your starfish-in-training by digging your toes into the sand under the pier! Guided pier walks are available through Birch Aquarium. But if you’re looking for a free way to spend the afternoon, try this instead! The pier is 1,090-feet long and can be seen from shore. It is used by scientists and students for a variety of ocean research projects. They also use it as a platform to collect local marine specimens and send out small boats. Scripps Institution of Oceanography offers a free Pier Cam if you want to check out the crowds before heading down.

Insider’s Tip: Plan to end your day right around sunset. Snap a few pictures of your kiddos with the pier and sunset as your backdrop. You won’t be disappointed!

Online: scripps.ucsd.edu

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UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92093
Online: ucsd.edu

Do you like to visit college campuses with your kiddos? What are some other cool local colleges we should check out?

— Elizabeth Silva