I Wish They All Could be California . . .
The Southern California community of San Diego is mostly known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, its world class zoo and the oceanic amusement park Sea World. But there is so much more to do in sunny San Diego. There are several interesting museums, charming parks, beautiful botanical gardens, historical missions, and more. A popular destination site is the Hotel del Coronado, a National Historic Landmark. It is at the top of many San Diego "things to see" lists. There is more than plenty to do and see in San Diego, so much, in fact, that you can spend an entire lifetime visiting all the sites over and over again and never get tired of them.
San Diego California: useums Parks and More
California Surf Museum: 312 Pier View Way Oceanside (760) 721-6876
This museum houses artifacts and memorabilia of surfing legends worldwide. The "Early California Surf Riders 1900 - 1940" exhibit honors Doc John Heath Ball and the first surf documentaries telling the stories of pioneer surfers through photographs. The museum is also privileged to house the surf board used by Bethany Hamilton when she was brutally bitten by a shark.
Maritime Museum: 1492 N. Harbor Drive, Embarcadero (619) 234-9153
San Diego's Maritime Museum houses the world's oldest active ship, the 1863 Star of India. In addition, see the 1898 steam ferryboat, Berkeley and the 1904 Scottish steam yacht, Medea. Another popular attraction is the HMS Surprise from the film, Master and Commander.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego: 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla (858) 454-3541 and 1100 & 1101 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego (858) 454-3541
The Museum has two locations, one is in the heart of downtown San Diego and the second is in the coastal community of La Jolla. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego enjoys a long established international reputation for its thought-provoking exhibitions and highly regarded permanent collection. It is the region’s foremost forum devoted to the exploration and presentation of the art of our time, presenting works across all media created since 1950.
Museum of Making Music: 5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad (760) 438-5996
This unusual museum houses a number of instruments, music, and stories of the hard work, challenge, inspiration and pioneering innovation in the world of music throughout the years. It tells the story of the profound relationship between the industry, popular music, and global culture.
Stephen Birch Aquarium Museum: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla (858) 534-3474
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this is the largest oceanographic museum in the country. Their mission is to provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps Institution of Oceanography research, and to promote ocean conservation. The aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fishes and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and beyond.
U.S.S. Midway Museum: 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego (619) 544-9600
Take a tour through this maritime museum located at the Navy Pier and stroll through a floating city at sea. Experience what life was like for the Midway sailors who served our country on one of America's longest-serving aircraft carriers. Spend an entire day visiting over 60 exhibits and see a collection of 25 restored aircrafts. Take a self-guided audio tour narrated by Midway sailors or, for the daring, climb aboard one of two flight simulators. The U.S.S. Midway Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). Last admission is at 4 p.m.
Balboa Park: 1549 EL Pardo, San Diego (619) 239 – 0512
Balboa Park has over 1000 lush acres of house gardens, 15 famous museums, galleries, theaters, a golf course and the world's largest zoo. The landmark California tower features a 100-bell carillon, which chimes the quarter hour and delivers a noon bell concert.
Belmont Park: 3146 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach (858) 488-1549
This beachfront landmark with the historic Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, Liberty Carousel, and a family play land, also offers Southern California's largest indoor swimming pool, arcades and more.
Queen Califias Magical Circle: Kit Carson Park, 3333 Bear Valley Pkwy. Escondido
Queen Califia's Magical Circle is virtually invisible from the street and park parking lot. You will find it by following the "Snakey Magical Garden Trail." As you get closer to the grounds you will notice the breathtaking sculptures that await you. When you enter the Magical Circle you will enjoy the maze like surroundings of this hidden treasure, nestled within the 12-acre natural habitat in the Iris Snakey Arboretum, located in Kit Carson Park.
Torrey Pines State Reserve: 12500 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla (858) 755-2063
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a coastal state park located in beautiful La Jolla. The beachfront property consists of 2,000 acres of land that has been preserved and remains as it was prior to the development of San Diego. Walk along miles of unspoiled beaches or trails and visit the lagoon that is vital to migrating seabirds or see the magnificent Torrey pine trees. Get more information at the visitor center or arrange a guided nature walk on the weekend or during the holidays.
Cabrillo National Monument: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, Point Loma (619) 557-5450
Cabrillo National Monument has an unparalleled view of the harbor, the coast and Mexico. Featuring a famous statue of Juan Cabrillo, discover of California in 1542, a historic restored lighthouse, and exhibits on the age of exploration and whale migration. You can also explore tide pools and the bayside trail with awesome views of San Diego.
Hotel del Coronado: 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado (619) 435-6611
The red turrets and Victorian style of the "Hotel Del" make it one of the most recognizable historic sites in California. The breathtakingly beautiful beachfront resort was built in 1888 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The hotel is not only famous for its beauty but for the famous guests who have stayed there, such as 15 former U.S. Presidents, Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth and many others. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author, L. Frank Baum, was a frequent guest and wrote many of his books there. Several movies have been filmed there including "Some Like It Hot," starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis.
Mission San Diego de Alcaliá: 10818 San Diego Mission Road, Mission Valley (619) 281-8449
Established by Father Junípero Serra in 1769, this is the first of 21 missions which stretch northward along the California coast. The mission was originally located on Presidio Hill and moved to its present site in 1774.
Mission San Luis Rey: 4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside (760) 757-3651
This is the largest of the missions in California and it is also a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1798 by Franciscan friars, the museum contains the largest collection of Spanish vestments in the United States.
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: 1875 El Prado, San Diego (619) 238-1233
Experience the world's largest motion pictures in the IMAX dome and feel the sensation of moving freely through space and time. The center also features science and astronomy programs, including ExploraZone, and interactive science gallery where visitors are encouraged to touch things.
San Diego Botanic Garden: 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas (760) 436-3036
Walk through four miles of beautifully maintained and colorful garden trails with awe-inspiring vistas and fascinating landscapes. The San Diego Botanic Garden houses one of the most diverse and important plant collections, including the nation's largest bamboo collection.
Find more places to visit in San Diego in the article; "Fun Things to Do in San Diego California."
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