Want to introduce your little ones to different cultures? Dive into one of the many diverse opportunities to explore culture and benefit from other’s experiences. Good news: you don’t have to travel far. From museums to performances to hands on activities and hikes, we’ve scouted five terrific places throughout the county that help weave diversity into your kids everyday lives. Read on for the scoop!
Children’s Discovery Museum
Preschoolers love to explore world cultures at the Kids Global Village at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido. The rich experience here is always changing with rotating cultural exhibits that highlight different people and places. Kids can explore a pretend home and marketplace with international money, cultural foods, and try on colorful native clothing for role-play and dress up. Every other month the exhibit is redesigned to reflect the culture that the Escondido Roots Series is celebrating. The Museum’s fantastic Roots Series features cultural performances with festive music and dance, hands-on crafts and cultural demonstrations. In February, look for a celebration of Korea with drumming, children performers and thrilling hands-on martial arts. In April, celebrate Mexico, and in June, Israel.
Admission: $8 per person; kids under 2 free
320 North Broadway
Escondido, Ca 92025
Photo: Cherie Gough
Museum of Man
The Museum of Man is a treasure trove filled with family-friendly cultural adventures. Adventure to ancient Egypt, explore Mayan Civilizations, learn about monsters from around the world, and admire towering graffiti art created by an award winning artist and local youth. The Museum’s “Monsters!” exhibit calls out to kids with its colorful entrance. Once inside, explore people’s fascination with monsters in cultures throughout the world. The exhibit provides a great opportunity to discuss how people worldwide love to tell share stories about monsters to allay their fears. Look for unicorns and werewolves, voyage to meet creatures of the deep seas, and view beautiful artifacts displaying monsters from far away lands.
While at the museum, adventure to ancient Egypt where big kids can pretend to be archeologists and little kids can dress up, put together a puzzle of a life sized sarcophagus, unearth glittering treasures in a dig box, and pretend to run an ancient market. You can’t miss a visit to the towering Mayan sculptures to understand how history shapes culture and view the new,vibrant graffiti art murals that burst out to greet visitors. Where there were once white walls, you’ll be surprised by larger-than-life brightly colored figures painted by young San Diegans in conjunction with a nationally recognized urban art program, and a well-known spray paint artist.
Admission: $13/adults; $6/kids (3-12 years); Residents admitted free the third Tuesday of each month.
1350 El Prado
San Diego Ca 92101
Photo: Chris C. via Yelp
House of Pacific Relations
The House of Pacific Relations located in San Diego ’s Balboa Park represent 34 countries. Each country’s cottage offers visitors a window to their culture, history and traditions. The houses are open every Sunday afternoon from noon-4 p.m. Families can also enjoy a lawn program hosted by a different nation each week with music, dance, costumes, arts, crafts, and ethnic foods every Sunday from 2-3 p.m.
Cost: Free. Bring pocket money to buy a delicious bite from one of the houses serving cultural foods.
2160 Pan American Rd. W.
San Diego Ca
Photo: Amanda Freerksen
The fantastic murals in Chicano Park will mesmerize your family’s eyes with their bright, vibrant colors that depict themes of immigration, Mexican history, Latin American heroes, and mythology. Since 1970, Mexican-American street artists have used the columns of the Coronado Bay Bridge as their canvas. Download a map of the murals here to learn more and discuss their significance with your kiddos.
Logan Ave & Cesar E Chavez Pkwy
San Diego, Ca
Las Cuatro Milpas
While you’re in the neighborhood, seek out some of the best Mexican food in town. Try the carnitas. There is always a line out the door every day for a reason!
1875 Logan Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92113
Mission Trails Regional Park
Native American history and culture come alive at the Mission Trails Visitor Center. As you enter the spacious, beautiful building, the views of the valley are stunning. Kids will love being greeted by larger-than-life stone statues of Kumeyaay tribe members. Push the buttons and the sculptures tell their stories. Explore the fun, interactive exhibits in the visitor center: touch artifacts such as children’s games, dolls , and tools to learn about native people’s daily lives in the county. Insider’s Tip: Ask the front desk for a scavenger hunt to get kiddos to look more carefully for details. Outside, explore grinding stones and a replica home of the natives.
To learn even more, take one of the many guided walks where you’ll learn about the Kumeyaay’s connection with nature and rich history. Guided Nature Walks offered to the general public each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. A Family Discovery Walk takes place the fourth Sunday of each month. Led by trained volunteers, this walk is less than one mile and last about 90 minutes. You’ll start at the beautiful Visitor’s Center and begin a loop trail that will take you along the San Diego River to a historic grinding rock site used by Kumeyaay Indian tribe. The trail is mostly flat, but does include some stairs.
One Father Junipero Serra Trail
San Diego, Ca 92119
What other destinations should we add to our list? Where do you bring your kids to give them a taste of different peoples and cultures?
— Cherie Gough