Toddler Tuesday: Places to take your kids in Southern California

I was scrolling through my thousands of photos on my phone and found pictures of some places we have taken Z in the last year. He is getting to the age (2 1/2 yrs old) where he is starting to understand different things and able to connect what is real and not real. Overall he gets excited about going to different places, exploring and learning about the world around him.

Over the course of Z’s 2 1/2 years, that he has been alive, we have taken him to many places. Some have been flops, some have been wins. Every child is different in what they are interested in, so it is always a gamble when taking them to new places. The first few trips we made to the Zoo/Safari Park, Z didn’t quite understand the concept. It finally took the last trip to the San Diego Zoo for him to start understanding everything. I believe what clicked was when we went to go see the pandas and he had his own stuffed animal, panda, with him and looked at both of them and realized that they were the same type of animal. That moment made the whole trip worth it. {currently the stuffed panda has been in quarantine since it was dropped in poop and I am that lazy I haven’t cleaned it yet. At this point, our next trip to the Zoo we will just buy him a new one.}

Toddler Tuesday: Places to take your kids in southern california

The list I am going to provide is only places I have personally taken my son to. Each place will vary depending on the child’s age(s).

Toddler Tuesday: places to take your kids in southern california

 LA Arboretum (Arcadia, CA)

age: newborn and up (nice exercise for the parents no matter the age of the child)

cost: $9 (adult); $4 (kids age 5-12), FREE (kids under 5), 3rd Tuesday of each month admission is FREE.

Features:  “127 acres of plants, natural landscapes, wildlife and historic buildings. You will discover plants and trees from all over the world as you wander along paths and learn about California history on your journey through the garden.” LA Arboretum website

Our experience: This was the most recent place we took Z for the first time. He loved it! This place is the land of the peacocks! They were everywhere. Z saw quite a bit of wildlife: ducks, geese, turtles, peacocks, birds, and every other type of bug and insect.

Will we be returning? Yes, we will definitely be going back soon.


Toddler Tuesday: places to take your kids in southern california

 Amy’s Farm (Ontario, CA)

age: all ages (the older they are the more they will understand how a farm works)

cost: $8 (anyone over 2 yrs old), FREE (under 2 yrs old)

features: A real working farm that offers hands-on, guided tours for all ages. Bonus: they have a farm stand where you can purchase some of their produce.

our experience: Z loved seeing all the animals, his favorite were the sheep.

Will we be returning? Yes! Next time maybe on a cooler day 🙂


Toddler Tuesday: places to take your kids in southern california

 March Field Air Museum (Riverside, CA)

age: all ages (In a couple more years Z will enjoy learning the history of all the planes)

cost: $10 (12 yrs and older), $5 (5-11 yrs old), FREE (4 yrs and under)

features: the museum depicts the history of the base using photographs and aircrafts from the bases’ founding in 1918.

our experience: Z enjoyed it for about 20 minutes than he was ready to play in some dirt. He loved seeing all the planes close up.

Will we be returning? Yes. Z will appreciate it more as he gets older.

Toddler Tuesday: places to take your kids in southern california


Toddler Tuesday: places to take your kids in southern california

 San Diego Zoo/Safari Park (San Diego/Escondido, CA)

age: all ages

cost: {one-day pass} $46 (12 and older), $36 (3-11), FREE (under 3). Get the membership! It is good for both Zoo and Safari Park. If you go at least twice, it will pay for itself.

features: the difference between the two is the Safari Park focuses more on the African animals and their natural habitat.

our experience: Even before Z was born, I was a Zoo member. We took Z to his first trip to the Zoo when he was a year old and try to go to either the Zoo or Safari park at least 3-4 times a year.

Will we be returning? Of course! Planning a couple more trips in the next month or so.

Toddler Tuesday: places to take your kids in southern california

 Kidspace Children’s Museum (Pasadena, CA)

age: all ages (the kids that would get the most out of their experience would be kids 4 and older)

cost: $11 (adults and children), FREE (kids under 1 years old)

features: hands-on learning and interactive activities

our experience: We went on a week day where there were a lot of schools visiting the same day. It was too crowded for my taste. Z in my opinion was still too young to be able to do most of the activities they had for the kids. He loved the foam shapes!

Will we be returning? Probably not for a while. At least until Z is a little older.


There you have it! A few of the places that we have taken Z.

Have you been to any of the places I have mentioned?

Where is your favorite place to take your kids?

Don’t forget to check out the other two posts in my Toddler Tuesdays series!

How to start your toddler’s first garden)

Coffee + playdate {Bonus recipe: Paleo mini pumpkin pies}

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5 Responses to Toddler Tuesday: Places to take your kids in Southern California

  1. KFeranandez says:

    I have an almost 3yo and 1 yr old.
    We also love the sd zoo and safari park-the passes are an excellent deal and the renewals (at least around christmas) offer even more off. The splash zones at the safari park are fun when its hot or you are waiting for the cheetah run.
    we also like the discovery science center in santa ana. Got a pass last month during bubblefest when they offered a 2nd year for only $20 more ($120 for 2 years for the whole fam). Many of the activities are geared for older kids, but there is enough for him to spend a couple hours. A weebles exhibit is opening soon and thomas is scheduled for the fall. Normal price is 17 for adult. With a pass you can avoid the free days as get pretty crowded.

    • I forgot about the Thomas the train. Is it only in the Fall? I think that would be fun place to take my son. For the Discovery science center what do you think would be an appropriate age to take kids?

      • KFeranandez says:

        Well, I know thomas usually comes once a year to one or to places in socal. We planned on going to the inland empire rr museum for it last year but my son got sick. This year dsc (the cube) is bringing a thomas exhibit, but the actual steam train.
        I think 2-3 is a good age to start going. The cube has lots of activities for older kids, but worth it for younger ones to, especially if you get the pass, or go on their free days. Check their site for details, but once a month adults with a mastercard get in free.

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