If your little night owls are ready to hoot long after sundown, we’ve got a thrilling bucket list for kids up past their bedtime––from Kids’ Wild Night Out at the San Diego Zoo to stargazing, drive-in movies and Safari Park sleepovers, read on for the scoop!

photo: Beth Shea

Kids' Wild Night Out at The San Diego Zoo

Maybe no more monkeys are jumping on the bed... but the wild fun continues after dark at the San Diego Zoo's Kids' Wild Night Out. One to two Saturdays each month, kids age kindergarten-5th grade can join Dr. Zoolittle and animal friends to meet animals, create Zoo-inspired crafts, play games, enjoy a snack and more. Little revelers will get a souvenir gift to remember the evening!

The next Kids' Wild Night Out is May 4, 2019.

Note: Kids should eat dinner before this event, wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a jacket in case it's cold during outdoor activities.

For reservations, call 619-718-3000, or book online.  Drop off and pick up at the Dickinson Family Center for Lifelong Learning (formerly the Otto Center).

The San Diego Zoo
Balboa Park
2920 Zoo Dr.
San Diego, CA
Online: zoo.sandiegozoo.org/kids-programs/kids-wild-night-out


S’mores on the Beach

No need to pack up the towels and sand toys just because the sun is setting. Instead, break out the marshmallows and skewers for s’mores beachside! Many beaches have fire pits available on a first come, first serve basis, including Coronado Beach and San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff. Fires have to be out by midnight, but the little ones will be fast asleep by then.

Coronado Beach
838 Ocean Blvd.
Coronado, CA 92118
Online: sandiego.org

San Elijo State Beach
2050 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA 92007
Online: parks.ca.gov

Drive-in Movies

Drive-in movies aren’t just a thing of the past! Places like the Santee Drive-In and South Bay Drive-In offer current releases—several are family-friendly—from the comfort of your own car. Bring food with you or buy snacks from the concession stand. Make sure everyone takes a nap because they often show double features!

Read more about our favorite family-friendly movie theaters here.

Santee Drive-In
10990 N. Woodside Ave.
Santee, CA 92071
Online: santeedriveintheatre.com

South Bay Drive-In
2170 Coronado Ave.
San Diego, CA 92154
Online: southbaydrivein.com


What could be more magical than spending the evening gazing at stars with your little astronomers? There are plenty of opportunities for “star parties” with the San Diego Astronomy Association, which has an observation site in East County — although you’ll need your own equipment. And check out these top sites around the county, ideal for stargazing.

Click here for a list of all of our favorite spots to stargaze in San Diego.

San Diego Astronomy Association
Online: sdaa.org

photo: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Roar & Snore

Camping next to a rhinoceros? Brushing your teeth with a giraffe? Well, not quite, but the Safari Park does offer overnight excursions appropriate for all ages. Sleep in one of the park’s tents and enjoy after-hours tours of wildlife, camp activities, guided walks, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. Who knows, you may even get to hear a lion roar, as the event title suggests!

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd.
Escondido, CA 92027
Online: sdzsafaripark.org

Giant Dipper Roller Coaster

Built in 1925, the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster is a National Historic Landmark! So throw in a little history lesson for your tiny thrill-seekers while whizzing down hills and around corners. The coaster is open until 10 p.m. and covered in lights once the sun goes down. Don’t forget to check out the rest of Belmont Park for more rides and carnival treats. Note: The height requirement to ride the Giant Dipper is 50-inches tall.

Belmont Park
3146 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
Online: belmontpark.com

––Michelle Franklin & Beth Shea

featured photo: Fleet Science Center


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