The American Association of Orthodontists 2017 Annual Session is a little more than a week away. If you haven’t figured out what you’ll be doing in your down time while in San Diego, here are a few ideas. Beaches, boardwalk, baseball and Balboa Park, with its many museums, are just some of San Diego’s draws. SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and not too far away Disneyland add to the regions allure.
1. Go to the beach: Join locals by bicycling, inline skating, jogging and people-watching along the three- mile boardwalk that connects Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. For some of the region’s widest sands, head to Coronado across the bay. A bike path hugs the scenic shoreline, winding through Silver Strand State Park. In La Jolla, a posh suburb some 12 miles north of San Diego, families, kayakers and surfers like La Jolla Shores. At the Children’s Pool, a cove protected by a breakwater, watch sea lions frolic.
2. Explore Balboa Park: Along with green lawns and fountains, Balboa Park’s more than 1,000-acres houses 17 museums and cultural institutions. At the Timken Museum of Art, find canvases by Rembrandt, Reubens, and other masters. Along with a special exhibit on the landscape of the American Southwest, the San Diego Museum of Art’s varied collection includes 16th century pieces from Iran as well as 20th century American and European works. Discover cutting-edge photography at the Museum of Photographic Arts, planes at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and dinosaurs at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
3. Encounter Wildlife: Discover the Pacific Ocean’s critters at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, La Jolla. Observe sea turtles, colorful fish, sharks in the facility’s tanks and look for hermit crabs, lobsters and sea stars in the facility’s tide pools. Stand in the Infinity Cube installation, opened April 7, and be surrounded by images of bioluminescence. On a whale-watching cruise, you might catch sight of sea lions, dolphins, minke and finback whales, and through April, the gray whales that migrate off San Diego’s coast. Orcas, dolphins, penguins, sharks, and polar bears are some of SeaWorld San Diego’s critters. Although the city’s zoo is well-known, if you have time for one land animal encounter, visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, an 1,800-acre facility where more than 3,000 animals – giraffes, cheetahs, lions – and other African and Asian animals roam.
4. Watch baseball: Take in a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park, a stadium known for its scenic views of the city’s skyline and coast. You can go behind-the-scenes on game day with an Early Bird tour that may include seeing a luxury suite, sitting in the dugout, and browsing the Padres Hall of Fame. Tours cost extra and Early Bird tours require a game ticket. The Padres play at home April 18 through 23.
5. Hit the theme parks: Along with SeaWorld, San Diego features LEGOLAND California Resort, the place to see what you can really do with those little blocks. Experts built a model of the Star Wars Finalizer, new to the park, out of 350,000 LEGO bricks. Kids also love the ninja training camp with its mini-rock climbing wall as well as the LEGOLAND Water Park. For rides, visit Disneyland, Anaheim, a 90-minute drive away.
Follow Candyce H. Stapen on Twitter: @FamilyiTrips