If you’re a San Diego native, you may have explored many of the city’s more obvious attractions. Luckily, when you have some time to spare on the weekend and need an unexplored place to bring family, there are many attractions just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’ll be driving in from a nearby area or exploring from a neighborhood over, here are the most exciting day trips with kids near San Diego:

Uncovering San Diego’s Hidden Educational Gems

Is your child showing some interest in art? They might just love the Monart School of Art, where they will learn the fundamentals of drawing. In addition to studio classes, Monart also offers enrichment programs and camps. Check out some of the work that students here have created on their Instagram!

You can supplement your kids’ time doing creative work at Monart with a trip to the interactive and engaging New Children’s Museum. From art studios and interactive art installations to workshops and special events, there’s plenty for ways to nurture your child’s creative muscles here. In addition to becoming a volunteer, you can even sign up to become a member family and take advantage of exclusive benefits.

Kids who are more animal-inclined can take advantage of the city’s numerous zoos and aquariums, including the Sketch AquariumBirch Aquarium, Bates Nut Farm, City Farmers Nursery, San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. If you’re fortunate and plan well, you might be able to hit all of these spots in just one weekend, but don’t try to squeeze too much into one or two days. With hundreds of species, thousands of fishes, dozens of habitats, these iconic attractions deserve your full care and consideration. A weekend of animal-sightseeing can be perfectly rounded out with some nature viewing at Balboa Park’s various museums, gardens, trails, and performance arts venues.

And being host to a naval base and beautiful waves, you and your kids will be delighted to take advantage of maritime museums like the USS Midway Museum (check here for parking!), the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and the Fleet Science Center.

Joining In On the City’s Best Kid-Centric Activities

What if your kids have spent all their school year working hard and just need a weekend of two to relax and enjoy the most fun, kid-centric activities that San Diego has to offer? Look no further than these new few stops.

Start with some adventures on the water, so you’ll have plenty of time to dry off as the sun moves into the afternoon. Mission Bay’s 27 miles of shoreline leaves your family with a variety of activities, including Mission Bay Park, a one-of-a-kind, 4,600 acre aquatic playground with everything from boat docks and walking paths to basketball courts and picnic spots. You’ll also be able to accompany your kids on their first kayak ride with a rental from Mission Bay Aquatic Center, Just Kayak, Mission Bay Sportcenter, Action Sport Rentals, or Adventure Water Sports. Parking is also ample, so you won’t have to worry about spending time finding parking for the family car. Many of these locations also have stand up paddleboards and jet skis available as well.

Next, you should try some of the city’s best desserts like gelato and homemade cakes at iDessert or one of Old Town House of Jerky & Root Beer’s over 45 types of root beers before some high-energy activities. Options to tire your kids in the afternoon so they can turn in early include taking them to Lazerblast at Belmont Park, paintball at San Diego Paintball Park, or go-kart racing at K1 Speed. If your kids need a bit more unstructured fun, Urban Jungle Fun Park has climbing walls, slides, an obstacle course, and a parents lounge where you can relax. For the ultimate parent-child bonding experience, you can team up (or against) your kids and up to 36 other people in Ultrazone’s laser tag arena.

And to round out a weekend for the kids, you can catch a high-quality production by the oldest youth theatre program in the county, the San Diego Junior Theatre, or a puppet show in Balboa Park at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, or any one of the dozens of theatre productions coming to the San Diego area, including Elf The Musical Jr., Sleepy Hollow, Aladdin, and The Nutcracker.

Whether you’ll be in San Diego for a weekend of a lifetime, you’re bound to find an endless stream of fun indoor and outdoor activities to create fun memories with your children. Have you visited these with your kids? Which places did they love most? We’d love to hear your stories!!