photo: Rowland Scherman 

Teach your kids about Martin Luther King Jr. this three-day holiday weekend by experiencing the culture of San Diego. We’ve got the inside scoop on places to go, where to play and educational excursions to honor the great civil rights leader. Read on for 20 ways to get out and celebrate King’s life and legacy.

photo: Courtesy of Isaac Ford at Photo’s by Isaac

1. One of the biggest celebrations of its kind, catch the 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade as it marches down Harbor Dr. on Sun., Jan. 14th at 2 p.m. The parade promises dazzling floats, high school bands, exciting drill teams and more.

photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

2. Talk to the animals! Helen Woodward’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Critter Camp gives kids the chance to meet a variety of animals while learning why each critter deserves compassion. Through hands-on interactions, crafts and activities, your kiddo will discover how they can help to create a more humane world.

3. Celebrate San Diego’s rich cultural diversity at this fun Multicultural Festival at Rucco Park with music, dance, storytelling, kid’s activities and lots more.

4. Spend the day at Pretend City. Not only is this children’s museum open on this holiday, but the activities that day celebrate the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr.

barrio_logan_muralsphoto: Amanda Freerksen

5. Learn about world culture at Chicano Park in South Bay, the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, or the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido. Check out these awesome spots (and lots more) as you discover different cultures around San Diego.

6. Work on your family’s New Year’s Resolutions. Need ideas? Here are 6 resolutions for San Diego parents and dozens of ways to make these goals a reality.

7. Did you know San Diego is home to six amazing nature centers? Make it your goal to visit one every month and start the weekend using this guide to SoCal’s coolest places to explore nature.

8. Put on your cowboy boots and head to Ramona! This quiet, East County small town is the gateway to the inland mountains; its farms, parks, restaurants and other unique activities are all just part of its charm!

old-town-san-diegophoto: Leah Singer

9. Want to know what life was like in San Diego during the 1850s? Spend a day in Old Town, the birthplace of California, and see the historic sites, ride a stagecoach and eat some homemade tortillas.

10. Did you know some of the best spots are hidden? Take some time during the three-day weekend with your kids to travel off the beaten path and discover the only cave in La Jolla only reachable by land and a topiary garden in the middle of Mission Hills.

11. Got a Thomas the Train enthusiast in your home? Go for a ride on one of these ten places to ride a train in San Diego.

12. Whether you’re building a snowman, sledding down a snow hill, roasting marshmallows by the campfire, or taking a spin around the synthetic skate rink, there’s something for everyone at the Poway Community Park’s Winter Festival happening this weekend.

photo: Flower Child

13. Did you know Martin Luther King Jr. was a vegetarian? Have a meat-free meal in his honor at one of our favorite vegan or vegetarian restaurants around town.

14. Did you resolve to get outside and exercise as a family? Here are our favorite San Diego kid-friendly hikes filled with sights and sounds to keep things interesting and little ones moving.

15. Connect with nature and your inner Zen at a serene Yoga on the Marsh session while the kids are busy having educational animal encounters.

16. Take a trip to Elfin Forest to learn about the amazing insect kingdom from Bill the Bug Guy.

photo: Tian Reed Photography

17. Have you visited the Leo Carillo Ranch in Carlsbad yet? From prancing peacocks to authentic ranch and farming equipment, a trip to “Carlsbad’s Sleeping Beauty” is positively dreamy. Here’s your inside scoop on this hidden treasure.

18. Visit one of San Diego’s scenic miniature golf courses, complete with wacky windmills and crazy props. These favorite spots promise a “hole” lot of fun for the entire family.

19. Channel your inner Picasso or spend the day crafting at one of these favorite spots for arts and crafts. Whether your kiddo wants to paint, sculpt or bead, we’ve got you covered.

20. If you haven’t yet visited Pennypickle’s Workshop in Old Town Temecula yet, this may be your weekend to go. Kids can do experiments with water and gravity, scavenger hunts and a gigantic interactive display of 464 LED lights. Here’s your guide to fun for this quirky science museum.


How are you spending Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend? Share in the comments. 

— Leah R. Singer & Beth Shea