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Family Friendly Attractions at Southern California Theme Parks

By Edited Sep 26, 2015 1 4

Recently Added Attractions at Disneyland

Universal Studios, Sea World, Six Flags, Legoland and More

Are you old enough to remember the "House of the Future" at Disneyland? What about the old "Submarine Ride?" These attractions, and many others, are long gone; but they have been replaced by new, more exciting rides that attract a new generation of visitors to the theme park. The Disney theme park area has actually grown dramatically over the past 60 years since it opened, and the improvements continue year after year. However, Disneyland is not the only local amusement park that has changed in the past few years. If it has been a while since you have visited our Southern California Theme Parks, there are plenty of reasons to come back. Here is a run-down of some recent additions.

Paris Disney


Make sure you get a park hopper ticket if Disneyland is in your plans, because visitors are going to want to spend time at both The Magic Kingdom and California Adventure. New in California Adventure is "Ariel's Undersea Adventure." This ride is based on "The Little Mermaid" movie that was released a few years ago. This six minute 3-D ride has an animatronic Ursula as well as scenes and music that were inspired by the movie. In The Magic Kingdom, you'll want to stop by "The Magic, the Memories, and You." This nightly presentation on the façade of "It's a Small World" displays a castle and a mosaic of photos projected onto the side of the ride. New pictures, photographed by Disney employees, are taken each day. You might even see your own picture in the show! While you are at Disneyland, you'll also want to see this year's Mickey Parade in the Magic Kingdom, and World of Color in California Adventure.

If you are bringing your family to Southern California, you may want to bring along a handy guide book ... either to all of the theme parks or to each one individually.  Here's a quick link to help you find them on Amazon:

Quick link to Amazon theme park guide books.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Many Southern California residents were distraught a few years ago when a large portion of the backlot at Universal Studios was destroyed in a fire. Among the attractions that were ruined was the King Kong exhibit. However, King Kong is back, in 3-D, and is better than ever. It has been added to the Studio Tour tram ride, where you will find yourself caught up in the middle of a raging battle between King Kong and a T-Rex. Afterwards, you will calmly drive through the rest of the backlot, including down Wisteria Lane and past the houses from the television show "Desperate Housewives." Here's a suggestion: The Studio Tour tram ride is the most popular attraction at Universal Studios. Make it the first thing you do when you arrive. Although the lines will be long, they get even worse later in the day.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain in Valencia, California is now 40 years old. To celebrate, they have added two more roller coasters, bringing their total to 18 roller coasters in the park! "Superman: Excape from Krypton" has cars that climb backwards to the 415 foot peak, and then plunges you downhill at 100 mph! The "Green Lantern" rollercoaster has cars that spin in circles on a zigzag track. (Hope you have a strong stomach for that one!) "Road Runner Express" is another new thrill ride at the park.


Located in Carlsbad, California, Legoland has realized that little kids love to get wet. As a result, they have opened "Splash Zoo," with lots of fun fountains where the little ones can play. The new Legoland water park has also opened up. While at Legoland, you'll also want to see the new "Sea Life Carlsbad Aquarium Octopus Garden." Another new feature is "Star Wars Miniland," where Master Lego Builders have recreated seven famous scenes from the Star Wars movies out of Legos. Unbelievable patience and creativity!

San Diego Zoo

Even the San Diego Zoo has gotten into the act by adding some new exhibits. Some of the most popular animals at this world famous zoo are the pandas. Now they have a new habitat that will enhance your experience as well as your understanding of what is being done to protect pandas in China's panda reserves. Other animals with a new habitat are the 17 Galapagos tortoises in the Discovery Outpost section of the zoo. Some of them are over 100 years old!

Quick link to Amazon theme park guide books.


A few years ago, a trainer at Sea World was killed while working with a Killer Whale. As a result, management of the company has completely revamped the show to make it just as spectacular for visitors as it was in the past, while keeping the trainers safe. The brand new Shamu show, called "One Ocean," is well worth the visit. Sea World has also added Turtle Reef, an area that features a ride that takes you past over 60 sea turtles in a 300,000 gallon aquarium. In addition, there are thousands of tropical fish. While enjoying this cool new experience, you will also learn about turtles' life cycles. Afterwards, head over to the new ride called, "Riptide Rescue," where you go on an imaginary turtle rescue.

Aquarium of the Pacific

While you are enjoying the Southern California animals and sea life, you may also want to spend a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. It's a wonderful way to stay cool on a hot day, and give your children the opportunity to see a wide variety of sea animals up close. Recently, the Aquarium has added an Ocean Science Center which explains how the ocean and the atmosphere work together to affect our daily lives. You can also take a Behind-the-Scenes Tour that enables guests to see some of the baby animals that have not been included in the other public animal exhibits. Both adults and children will love spending a few minutes at the Aquarium's touch pools, where you can feel live moon jellies as well as other friendly sea creatures.

There are always lots of new and exciting things to do in Southern California. In addition to the theme parks mentioned above, you may also be interested in learning about more activities by reading some of the articles listed below:

Top 10 Things To Do In Newport Beach California

Top 6 Things To Do Near Disneyland

Top 10 Things To Do In Laguna Beach

A Guide to Help You Get the Most from Your Disney Vacation

Things To Do At Disney California Adventure 2014: The Ultimate Unauthorized Adventure Guide (Things To Do In 2014 Book Series)
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Sep 26, 2015)
Many people are not as familiar with California Adventure as they are with the Magic Kingdom. This guide will help you enjoy your trip even more.


Jun 5, 2011 7:08am
I have never been to Disney world. Maybe I will go one of these days to enjoy all the attractions
Jun 5, 2011 6:08pm
I'd love to play at Legoland. Nice update!
Jun 7, 2011 10:27pm
I have been to all these themeparks. However, with the new additions there are plenty of reasons to go back and see them again!
Jun 9, 2011 1:40pm
Informative and fun article. I haven't been back to Sea World in years but your article makes me want to revisit!
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