San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum (SDCDM) is on a mission to inspire young minds to learn about the world. Instead of hearing, “hands off,” kiddos are encouraged to touch pretty much everything at this awesome space in Escondido. Science, art, and global cultures combine to create a hands-on experience that is sure to fascinate your most curious explorers. Through exploration, imagination and experimentation, learning has never been more fun. We’ve got the inside scoop on how to make the most of your visit.
All aboard Discovery Sailboat! Your little captains can strap on a life jacket and take the steering wheel to navigate the high seas, or hang out with the crew below deck. Next, the kiddos can trade in their captain costumes for a princess dress or maybe a dinosaur, and role-play on Imagination Stage. Complete the production with musical instruments, puppets, and other props for a show-stopping performance.
Your savvy shoppers can explore the marketplace and learn about the home life of cultures from around the world in the Kids Global Village. They’ll love pushing around the mini shopping carts as they browse the plentiful selection of play food. They can even weigh it on the scale and “buy” it using pretend money at the cash registers. Every other month, the Global Village is redesigned to reflect a particular culture that is being celebrated (think Brazil, Russia, India, etc.).
Be sure to check out the hands-on science exhibits like the Magnetic Ball Wall, Magnification Station, and Building Stations. These activities are sure to mystify young minds as they use their technology and engineering skills to make them work. And who knew that watching scarves get sucked up the “magic” Wind Tunnel could be so entertaining?
Even the youngest explorers will have plenty to do in the Toddler Tide Pool, a separate area with tactile and sensory games and activities just for them. With things to climb and blocks to stack, along with a cozy Reading Book Nook, little ones will feel right at home.
For a breath of fresh air, head on outside to the Children’s Discovery Garden, which features a variety of nature-based science activities and offers never-ending fun for explorers of all ages. There’s everything from a plant nursery to an earthworm farm to a chicken coop, all aimed to help children learn about things like nutrition, ecosystems and sustainability.
Little ones will love making a splash in the Water Wise interactive and living water table, promoting water conservation and pollution prevention. Of course “everything is awesome” when there’s lots of LEGO involved! Next, kids will feel like a real archaeologist while they dig around for fossils and search for artifacts in Base Camp, aka a giant sandbox.
Little gardeners will love the Edible Gardens where they can touch, smell, and taste fresh plants and herbs. Yummy! Giant foam blocks, bubbles, and hula hoops of all sizes are also outside so there’s plenty to do for the younger adventurers.
While you’re outside, make sure to check out the newly opened Outdoor Art Studio. This is an amazing space for kids to be creative and explore with a variety of art mediums including painting, sculpting, watercolors and more! It’s okay to get messy; there’s a convenient hand washing station to clean up after your masterpiece is created. Check the online calendar for a current listing of all Outdoor Art Studio Workshops.
Programs and Special Events
SDCDM offers plenty of fun and educational programs throughout the year like daily story time, themed Thursday afternoon workshops, discovery camps, and afternoon artists. Escondido Roots Series is a special event held on the third Saturday of alternating months from 2 – 4 p.m. During this free program, kiddos and their families will learn about world cultures while enjoying live performances, crafts, costumes, and more.
Join Curious George, Wild Kratts, Dinosaur Train, and all your favorite PBS Kids characters for a special monthly event called KPBS Kids Workshop. Each workshop includes hands-on activities, interactive presentations, and often a special visit from the characters themselves! The price of KPBS Kids Workshop is included with your Museum admission. Exact dates and times vary, but generally workshops are help on the second Saturday of the month. Check online for the schedule and arrive early as spots fill up fast!
Parking is free in the museum parking lot located in front and on the side of the building. Overflow parking is available on the street.
Beat the heat! On a hot day, you’ll love the fact that there is air conditioning inside the museum to keep everyone cool.
The museum offers a variety of healthy snacks and drinks for purchase, but you’re also welcome to bring your own food and drink, as long as everything is peanut free. So pack up a picnic and enjoy your food in the indoor community café or outside at the picnic tables.
Free Wi-Fi is available to guests. Just ask for the password at the front desk.
While you’re in the area, Grape Day Park is located across the street, just look for the giant grapes! Also, local shops and restaurants are just two blocks away on Escondido’s historic Grand Avenue.
Open Daily: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Free/ Members* (and children under the age of 1)
$6.00/ Kids and adults
Military Family Discount: $3.00 per person
Group Rate (10 or more people): $5.00 per person
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
320 N. Broadway
Escondido, Ca 92025
Have you been to San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum yet? What did your kids love the most?
— Kelly Powell (photos too, unless otherwise noted)