Think you’ve seen and done it all in San Diego? Think again! We’ve rounded up kid-friendly activities near you that we’re certain are secret hidden gems in San Diego. From letting your kids catch air at a thrilling new bike park to feeding a seahorse or having breakfast with tigers, read on for where to turn up the volume on family fun with some little known activities your kids will love.

photo: Scott Wachter/San Diego Padres

Breastfeed & Watch the Ball Game at the Padres Nursing Lounge

Even babies can have fun doing something new in the city! Next time you take your bundle of joy out to the ball game to root for the Padres, be sure to stop in the cozy and quiet Nursing Lounge presented by Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns. All nursing mothers are welcome to enjoy the private, relaxing lounge, which is located on the Toyota Terrace Level in Suite 32 at Petco Park. 

Online: mlb.com

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photo: Beth Shea

Have Breakfast with Tigers at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Forget having frosted flakes with Tony the Tiger! Now you can have the first meal of the day with real tigers! Before the Safari Park opens, dig in to a bountiful buffet breakfast while watching the beautiful tigers, and see how the big cats start their day. A buffet featuring a traditional American hot breakfast awaits you in Tiger Trail’s Sambutan Longhouse, a comfortable and shaded venue with amazing views of the tiger enclosures. Enjoy exclusive viewing of Tiger Trail, a keeper talk and tiger enrichment. 

Click here for details on how to join this epic event.

Don't miss this special breakfast with kangaroos too! 

Take a Behind-the-Scenes Seahorse Tour at Birch Aquarium

Up the ante on a visit to Birch Aquarium by taking your kids ages 8 and older on the “Growing Up Seahorse” Behind-the-Scenes Tour. This guided tour immerses you in the world of Birch Aquarium’s animal care team. You'll walk through the seahorse exhibits to learn about the diversity and conservation status of these unique fish. Then you'll head behind the scenes to learn the details about how Birch Aquarium’s experts care for and breed seahorses. The tour culminates with a visit to see tiny baby seahorses in the breeding room and the opportunity to feed seahorses by hand. 

The Growing Up Seahorse tour runs daily at 10:30 a.m. and advanced registration is recommended. Tickets are $30/person for aquarium members, and $35/person plus general admission for non-members. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 858-534-3474, or in person at the aquarium’s Visitor Services Office. Please read the FAQ for age, mobility, and clothing requirements.

Online: aquarium.ucsd.edu

Have Freewheeling Fun at Sweetwater Bike Park

Behold the region’s first bike skills park for all levels of experience: Sweetwater Bike Park in Bonita! Freewheeling kids will revel in the freedom of riding their bikes in this adventurous setting which includes two flow trails, four jump lines ranging from beginner to expert and a kid’s pump track. Other onsite attractions include a skill zone, kid zone, perimeter trail and several shaded picnic areas––making the venue an ideal spot for meet-ups and special events. 

The free, publicly accessible, 4.2-acre bike skills park is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., unless otherwise posted.

Online: sdparks.org

Visit a Living History Farm Preserve

Visit the Stein Family Farm and go back in time to see what farm life was like in the early 1900s. This Living History Farm Preserve is located in the heart of National City and it's the last of its kind. Here you'll find a a barn that's over a century old, a Victorian farmhouse and adorable farm animals like pigs, sheep and emus.

Stein Family Farm is exclusively run by volunteers and they offer school groups and field trips during the week from 9 a.m.-noon for $5/student. Saturdays they are open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and they offer tours for donations. (All funds go back into keeping the farm buildings maintained and the farm animals (breeds from around the world) fed and cared for). Saturdays are also their Community Chore day where kids earning community service credits and adults wanting to give back to the community can come lend a hand doing farm chores.

Stein Family Farms also has two craft fair fundraisers annually. One during the summer and one in December.

Online: facebook.com/thesteinfamilyfarm

Take Sand Castle Building Lessons

Do you wanna build a sand castle? No doubt your beach-going kiddos would love to hone their sand shaping skills, and now you can take lessons together. San Diego Sand Castles will meet you at Del Mar beach with all of the tools and info you need to build an awesome castle. During the 2-3 hour lesson they'll teach you stacking using multiple forms and how to create towers, windows, doors, walls, stairs, arches, bridges, textures and more tricks to make your castle the coolest. There's no previous experience required.

Online: sandiegosand.com

––Beth Shea

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