Your kids will howl at the moon over these fun-filled activities that take place after the sun goes down. We’ve got a thrilling bucket list for little ones 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!
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!
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
2920 Zoo Dr.
San Diego, CA
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.
838 Ocean Blvd.
Coronado, CA 92118
San Elijo State Beach
2050 S Coast Hwy 101
Cardiff, CA 92007
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!
10990 N. Woodside Ave.
Santee, CA 92071
South Bay Drive-In
2170 Coronado Ave.
San Diego, CA 92154
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
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
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.
3146 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
––Michelle Franklin & Beth Shea