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Beyond the Zoo Guide to Barrio Logan

A new Beyond the Zoo Guide has been released! We are excited to share with you the history, art, food, and pride in cultural heritage that make the Chicano neighborhood of Barrio Logan a destination worth exploring.

We’ve created a half-day Barrio Logan itinerary for your family. We won’t be surprised though if you come back for more! Download our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to Barrio Logan to plan your visit. 

As always, our Beyond the Zoo Guides aren’t just about where to go in San Diego. Each guide also includes activities and talking points to help you create meaningful family memories. 

Sign up for our newsletter to receive a free Beyond the Zoo Guide each month! You can also follow along at McLandia.com, InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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Ride the Historic Fair Park Carousel at Seaport Village

For just $3 you can ride a piece of American history at Seaport Village.

Whether you are young or young at heart, indulge your imagination on a carousel ride. We’ve included the Fair Park Carousel in our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay as a memorable family experience that won’t break the budget. Plus, it’s steeped in American history and craftsmanship.

The Fair Park Carousel was built in 1895 by Charles I.D. Looff, a Dutch-American master carver famous for his hand-carved carousels (including the first carousel at Coney Island). He is also known for building roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and the Santa Monica Pier. Throughout its lifetime the carousel has lived in Texas (debuting in 1904), California, Washington, Oregon, and Ohio. It has been entertaining riders at Seaport Village since 2004.

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San Diego’s Old Police Headquarters

Stay out of jail on vacation… Unless that jail is located in San Diego’s Old Police Headquarters in downtown San Diego. 

Explore the 8 cell jail block.
Peek inside a restored cell.

The San Diego Police Headquarters which is listed on The National Register of Historic Places was originally built in 1939. The complex is now an upscale retail center called The Headquarters at Seaport Village.

“The 104,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility brought all police operations together under one roof; administration, courts, jails, law library, crime lab, exercise areas, vehicle maintenance, and even a pistol range. In later years the headquarters even had a four-lane bowling alley, utilizing jail inmates as pinsetters.” (http://theheadquarters.com/history)

What you may not realize is that The Headquarters at Seaport Village houses a historic police exhibit that is free and open to the public. The Jail Cells & Police Exhibit is a brief but memorable stop as you near the end of your day adventuring along the Embarcadero. A highlight of the walk-through exhibit is a restored 8 cell jail block.  Photo Op: Take a family photo on the lineup wall!

There is another museum in San Diego dedicated to preserving the history of the San Diego Police Department. The San Diego Police Museum is located at 4710 College Ave in the College Area neighborhood of San Diego – not far from San Diego State University.

Looking for things to do in Downtown San Diego? Grab our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay.

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San Diego Fun Travel Fact – Bananas!

Did you know that over 180 MILLION bananas are imported into San Diego MONTHLY along with 3000 TONS of fresh pineapple from the Dole Fresh Fruit Company? You might say, that’s bananas!

According to Dole, “San Diego has been our port of entry for our US West Coast customers since 2002. This is our second largest port operation in North America.” 

Keep your eyes peeled for Dole cargo ships at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal as you explore San Diego’s Embarcadero. The best place to watch for a close-up view is from the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel. 

Looking to learn more about San Diego? Grab our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay.


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San Diego’s Embarcadero

embarcadero: a landing place especially on an inland waterway

The area along the east side of the San Diego harbor is known as the Embarcadero. Aside from gorgeous views, visiting the Embarcadero is a glimpse into San Diego’s past, present, and future. 

One could easily spend an entire day and night exploring the Embarcadero. Here are some things you can see and do while walking the two mile stretch from north to south. For a family-friendly adventure guide, check out our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay.

Directly across from Waterfront Park is the San Diego Maritime Museum. The museum features a collection of historic vessels – sailing ships, steam-powered boats and submarines. One of those ships, the Star of India, was launched five days before Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and holds the title of the world’s oldest active sailing ship! Built in 1863, the Star of India has sailed around the world 21 times.

Further along the Embarcadero are more modern vessels. San Diego’s two cruise ship terminals are located on B-Street Pier and Broadway Pier. If a harbor cruise is more your style, check out Flagship Cruises & Events or Hornblower Cruises & Events. Both offer a variety of services, including dining cruises, sightseeing cruises, and whale watching. The Flagship Ferry even offers ferry rides to and from Coronado if you fancy a detour.

The Embarcadero features many notable public art displays. Download the North Embarcadero Self-Guided Art Tour and the Greatest Generation Walking Art  Tour Guide from the Port of San Diego to learn about the artwork you’ll see as you walk.

The next stop is the USS Midway Museum. The USS Midway was commissioned in September 10, 1945 and decommissioned on April 11, 1992. It was the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century. Kids who visit can participate in the museum’s Junior Pilot Program to earn their own wings!

Continue past Tuna Harbor to the south end of the Embarcadero to arrive at Seaport Village for waterfront shopping and dining. Stroll, grab a bite to eat or an ice cream treat, and take a ride on a historic carousel built in 1895. 

The Headquarters at Seaport Village, now an upscale retail center next to Seaport Village, was once the San Diego Police Headquarters. Visitors can walk through a free police department exhibit and tour an eight cell, two level jail block. Don’t leave without taking a mugshot or jail photo!

The Embarcadero continues beyond Seaport Village along the backside of the San Diego Convention Center. It ends at the San Diego Hilton. The entire stretch of the Embarcadero is popular for running, biking, and scootering. Portside Pier, currently under construction, is a new dinning pier expected to open in late 2019. It will be located between the Star of India and B-Street Pier.

Our Beyond the Zoo Guides aren’t just about where to go in San Diego. Each guide also includes activities and talking points to help you create meaningful family memories. Sign up to receive a new guide each month!

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Play Activity: Letters & Shapes

Look for shapes and alphabet letters as you explore San Diego. This fun memory-making activity can be done anywhere and is easily adaptable for different age groups.  

What letters and shapes do you see at the San Diego Maritime Museum?

Younger players will enjoy looking for simple shapes. Older players will be challenged to find objects that form the same shapes as alphabet letters. Try to find all the letters from A-Z. Take pictures to spell out family names or words as customized souvenirs to print out and display at home.

This activity can be done anywhere. We’re partial to downtown San Diego for inspiration. Balboa Park, with it’s architectural features, is also an excellent location. Warning: Once you begin looking, it may be hard to stop seeing letters and shapes everywhere!

For more inspiration, check out the Caldecott Honor picture book Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson.

Our Beyond the Zoo Guides aren’t just about where to go in San Diego. Each guide also includes activities and talking points to help you create meaningful family memories. Sign up to receive a new guide each month!

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Need hotel or in-home childcare? Sitterwise to the rescue!

There are times during travel, just as in daily life, that we find ourselves in need of childcare. The difficulty is knowing whom to trust.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Amy Gray, whose company Sitterwise has been providing caregiver referral services in San Diego for over 35 years.

Sitterwise caregivers are highly-trained, fully-vetted, and CPR certified. Consistent five-star Yelp reviews and hotel recommendations from San Diego area hotels reaffirm the confidence I felt after meeting with Amy. It’s evident that Sitterwise delivers top quality professional care. Their childcare services including in-home care, hotel-care, long-term nanny placement, and event care.

You can follow Sitterwise on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. I also recommend visiting their blog for insights on San Diego hotels, local attractions, kid-friendly activities, and other family friendly travel tips. Caregivers may be booked directly through their website at www.sitterwise.com.

I, for one, can easily think of a handful of family travel situations in which a Sitterwise caregiver would have been welcome – if for no other reason than having a grown-ups only date night with my husband. I’m excited to have been introduced to Sitterwise and I hope you are too!

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Play Activity: Ultimate Playground Warrior

Do your children like obstacle courses? Are they obsessed with popular competition shows like Ultimate Beastmaster and American Ninja Warrior

Did you dare not miss an episode of Double Dare or have a favorite American Gladiators character while growing up?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you will love Waterfront Park. The unique play structures here are ideal for creating kid-friendly obstacle course style challenges. With just a little imagination your kids will be on their way to being the Ultimate Playground Warrior.

Our Beyond the Zoo Guides aren’t just about where to go in San Diego. Each guide also includes activities and talking points to help you create meaningful family memories. Sign up to receive a new guide each month!

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Waterfront Park along the Embarcadero

Located along the Embarcadero, Waterfront Park is McLandia kid-tested and approved. It’s a recommended stop in our family-friendly Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay. The main attraction at Waterfront Park is a 830 foot-long fountain designed for kids to splash around. Truth be told, we rarely make it into the fountains because the playground itself is so much fun. 

The park has a cool play area with unique climbing structures, a hill that kids can climb and slide down, and a grassy field overlooking the bay. Park amenities include picnic tables, benches, restrooms, drinking fountains, and a snack shop.

Waterfront Park is a community gathering spot that plays host to concerts, Summer Movies in the Park, fitness events, festivals, seasonal activities and other things. A schedule of events is available on the Waterfront Park Facebook page so that you can plan your visit to take place during or around the crowds. 

Last but not least of our favorite things about Waterfront Park is the location. The bay, the tall ships, the city backdrop, quirky artwork…it’s pure San Diego.

Looking for things to do in Downtown San Diego? Grab our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay.