Imagine a place where kids can get messy with mud, grow plants, construct a boat, bask in a sea of bubble balls, and dress up as princesses and pirates. This may seem like something out of a dream. But it’s very much real, and all part of KidsFest 2014 where kiddos can create and make to their heart’s content.

kidsfest ribbons

The Scoop
KidFest San Diego is a celebration of imagination for families, and takes place May 17 – 18, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the NTC Ingram Plaza at Liberty Station. This festival was dreamed up by a local mom as a way to allow kids to use imagination and creativity. KidsFest partnered with the Chloe Nichols Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to giving back to other non-profits in the San Diego area with programs focused on our community’s youth.

The fun-filled days are designed exclusively for little ones with a host of different activities. Every attendee receives a free canvas tote bag (that they can decorate on the spot) filled with swag. There’s even complimentary stroller valet for mom.

kidsfest tumble gym

What to Do
From building to planting, KidsFest has activities designed for every kiddo’s imagination. Here’s where we recommend spending some time during the day-long festival.

  • Messy Zone – Play in muck and mud with some messy fun
  • Creation Station – Let imagination go wild with a variety of different make-and-take crafts and projects
  • Green Thumb Market – Plant a seed, observe insects and see the wonder of growing
  • Build It Construction Square – Construct a boat, earn a medal, or build a cardboard house
  • Dress Up Alley – The perfect spot for little princes and princesses who want to get red carpet ready
  • Bubble Zone – Jumbo “gumballs” fill the field where kids can throw, kick and go wild
  • Shake, Rattle and Roll – Aspiring musicians can get funky with take-home instruments and a dance party

kidsfest balls

What to Eat
There’s no shortage of food at this event. Ruggrats can recharge at the Snack Shack with samples of healthy snacks from Clif Bar, Pretzel Crisps and Trader Joe’s. And all the snacks are included in the cost of admission.

There are also lots of lunch options available for purchase at the Food Truck Lunch Room. If you prefer to save some cash, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy eating at one of the tables or grassy spots available.

kidsfest chalk art

Tips for Planning Your Day
Parking – There are plenty of parking spaces in Liberty Station; and best of all, parking is free. Ample parking lots and street spaces are available on the adjacent streets, as well as a parking lot within the park itself.

Bathrooms – There are several clean and kid-friendly bathrooms available right at the park site. There will also be portable potty stations at KidsFest.

Weather – Liberty Station isn’t far from the ocean. Even when the rest of San Diego is sunny, days have a tendency to be a bit cold at KidsFest if the clouds don’t burn off. Be sure to bring a sweater, even if you plan to leave it in the car. And of course, don’t forget sunscreen and a hat – even overcast days can cause yucky sunburns.

kidsfest insects

KidsFest San Diego
May 17 – 18, 2014
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
NTC Ingram Plaza, Liberty Station
Recommended ages: 0 – 12

Price: $17/single ticket; $50/family 4-pack; free/kids 2 and under
Online: kidsfestsandiego.com

kidsfest sign

Will you be attending KidsFest this year? Tell us what your kiddos are excited to do in the comments!

Written and photographed by Leah R. Singer