• Fam Diego

45+ INSIDE Places for Kids to Play in San Diego


(last updated 8/6/18)

Sure we've got perfect weather year round to run and play outside...but sometimes we want a break from the summer heat or when it rains once or twice a year. Here are some of San Diego's finest INSIDE play areas for kids!

Below is the master list. And below that, you'll find ALL of the DETAILS! Like hours, cost, toddler times, parking, deals and food options nearby with links to everything!

Balboa Park INDOOR Museums

(FREE on Resident Tuesdays!)

-San Diego Natural History Museum

-Fleet Science Center

-Model Train Museum

-Museum of Man

-Air & Space Museum (pictured above)

-Automotive Museum

BOWLING - FREE during the summer

SUMMER $1 MOVIES

INDOOR PLAY AREAS

-Kid Ventures (Liberty Station, 4S Ranch, Eastlake)

-The Playground (Grossmont Mall)

-Urban Jungle (Santee)

-FUNBelievable (Lakeside)

-Play City (Chula Vista)

-Gymboree (Clairemont, Poway, Carlsbad)

-Kidsville (Carlsbad)

-Play Kingdom (Oceanside)

TRAMPOLINE PARKS

-Rockin' Jump (Mira Mesa)

-Pump It Up (Poway, Chula Vista)

-Get Air (Poway, East County tba, Vista, Temecula)

-Sky Zone (Chula Vista, San Marcos)

-House of Air (Carlsbad)

-Altitude Trampoline Park (Vista)

-Jump Around Now (Chula Vista)

CHILDREN'S MUSEUMS

-New Children's Museum (downtown)

-SD Children's Discovery Center (Escondido)

FREE

-Balboa Park Museums on FREE Resident Tuesdays

-Bowling Kids Bowl FREE in the Summer

-Storytimes

-Libraries

-$1 Movies - basically Free!

-Pet Stores

-IKEA

-Indoor malls (see below)

RESTAURANTS w/ INDOOR PLAY AREAS

-Waypoint Public Brewery (North Park)

-Mountain Mike's Pizza (Clairemont, La Mesa)

-Corvette Diner (Pt. Loma/Liberty Station)

-Dave & Buster's (Mission Valley)

-Punchbowl Social (downtown)

-Chuck E. Cheese

(Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, La Mesa, College, Sports Arena, National City)

-John's Incredible Pizza (National City, Riverside)

-IKEA (Mission Valley)

-Ice Rink at the UTC Mall (La Jolla/UTC, inside the food court)

-Landon's Gourmet Kitchen (San Marcos)

INDOOR MALLS

(yes there are some in San Diego & some with FUN play areas)

-Parkway Plaza (El Cajon)

-Westfield Bonita (National City)

-->kids play area has a cool aquarium inside it + mini train ride around the mall!

-Westfield North County (Escondido)

-Westfield Carlsbad

-Southcoast Plaza (Costa Mesa)

BALBOA PARK MUSEUMS

There are SO many museums at Balboa Park that my kids love. But beware on extra hot summer days or rainy days, everyone else thinks of going there too...especially on the FREE Resident Tuesdays. That's a double whammy! So we actually avoid Balboa Park on a hot or rainy Tuesday.

PARKING TIP: Get there by 9:30am to grab a parking spot. Check out the museum that you want to see and look at the map online to find the nearest parking lot. You don't want to be trekking across Balboa Park in the scorching heat with toddlers or in the rain because you parked at the opposite end. ;)

Here are our favorite INDOOR museums at Balboa Park:

-Natural History Museum:

Features: This museum was made for toddlers! It's amazing. They can touch and open everything without having to worry if it's ok. It is! Let them touch everything. This is one of our favorites!!

Food: There's an onsite cafe, The Flying Squirrel, inside the museum. There are tables & chairs inside as well. They have coffee and kid-friendly food.

Parking: Uncovered parking lot is right outside just to the East of the building, so it's a short run in the rain if you get there early. If not, there's more parking a little bit north next to the carousel and it's not too far of a walk either, but maybe bring an umbrella if it's pouring.

-The Fleet Science Center:

Features: KidCity is an awesome playroom upstairs for kids 5 & under. The rest of the exhibits usually hold interest for my toddlers too. We also love the little playroom tucked behind the elevator and conveniently next to the lesser known bathrooms. That little playroom has some wood sticks and blocks for building and a cool gear chain reaction course that kids can "steer". Their IMAX shows are usually 25-40 minutes long and are just long enough for my kids to sit still through them. Currently we love their Myth Busters exhibits upstairs (extra fee) and the Taping Shape exhibit (included) is always their most requested stop.

Food: There is an onsite cafe, Craveology, that serves up some pretty good & kid-friendly foods, coffee too. The only seating is outside though, so find one in the shade or take your food to find lots of other shady spots nearby. Or if it's raining you may need to run over to the nearest covered hallway and grab a bench or sit on the ground to eat.

Parking: Uncovered parking is just south of the building. If you get there early you could snag an upper lot parking spot or else you can find some in the lower lots. Bring an umbrella if it's raining out.

-Model Train Museum:

Features: Mac's Kids Corner is now downstairs (it used to be upstairs). Once you enter the museum, turn right and it's down at the end of the hallway. It has a train table with lots of tracks, trains and books about trains! My kids can play here for a solid hour without even realizing I'm still there.

Food: There is a cafe nearby called Cafe in the Park and is one of our favorite places to eat at Balboa Park. It's in the same building so you don't have to go outside to get there. Just head outside the museum and it's at the top of the stairs. Or take the elevators up. The food is good and they have coffee, smoothies & kid-friendly options too. There are tables & chairs there too.

Parking: Uncovered parking lot. There's a small parking lot that's usually filled up, but it's the closest to the Train Museum. Go to the end of Space Theater Way to find it, and you walk up the back trail next to the Zoro Garden. It's usually filled up, so you'll have to park in one of the other lots off of Space Theater Way. You can still walk over there up through Zoro Garden if you like. Bring an umbrella if it's raining.

-The Museum of Man:

Features: Lots of different exhibits that are kid-friendly. There's an Egyptian play room upstairs that kids like.

Food: There's no cafe onsite here.

Parking: Uncovered parking. The closest parking spot is off of Balboa Drive or Sixth Ave. just west of Cabrillo bridge. Watch the parking signs to make sure you can park there at that time due to street sweeping or some don't allow parking before 10am, etc. It's a bit of a walk so bring the stroller and your umbrella.

-The Air & Space Museum (pictured above):

Features: There's a kids Action Aviation Hanger playroom for kids (I believe it's closed on the Free Tuesday), there's an interactive flight simulator and a 3D/4D Theater that plays short films continuously during the day. These films are about 10-20 minutes long and they usually have a really cool kids film. Most of the planes are roped off for "no touching", but some have stairs that you can walk up and see inside the cockpit. There is 1 helicopter that kids can climb inside and you can take a really cute picture of them "flying the helicopter".

Food: There is an onsite cafe, The Flight Path Grill (only open on weekends Sept-May), and it's outside. But get it to go and find the large covered rotunda in between the two Air & Space buildings. There's lots of seating and tables there so it's the perfect spot to eat.

Parking: Uncovered parking lot, but it's right in front of the building so it's a short walk if it's raining.

Tip: The Auto Museum is right next door and makes for a good visit if you check out both of these at the same time. We can usually see both of them in about 2 hours.

-The Automotive Museum:

Features: Most of the cars and motorcycles are roped off and they have strict "no touching" rule. Sometimes it's hard to keep my kids' hands to themselves unless they're contained in a baby carrier or a stroller (which they don't allow inside on a Free Resident Day). Since my kids love cars, we come here on occasion, but not often because it's not very "toddler friendly".

Food: There is no food onsite here.

Parking: Uncovered parking lot, but it's right in front of the building so it's a short walk if it's raining.

Tip: The Air & Space Museum is right next door and makes for a good visit if you check out both of these at the same time. We can usually see both of them in about 2 hours.

Outside of Balboa Park, here are our other favorite indoor places to let the kids run and play:

BOWLING

If you're going during the summer, sign them up for the Kids Bowl Free Program! This is a nationwide program across the USA and Canada. You’ll have to pay for shoe rentals and you may need to bring cash for this.

Beyond the ball ramps & bumpers, do you know what size ball to use? Or which lane would be best for stroller access? Check out my 13 Tips for Bowling with Toddlers.

Here are the local bowling alleys:

Kearny Mesa Bowl

Aztec Lanes at SDSU

Mira Mesa Lanes

Fun Bowl, Poway

Parkway Bowl, El Cajon

Surf Bowl, Oceanside

Temecula Lanes

Bowlero (Chula Vista)

Blacklight Bowling, Arcades, food & drink delivered to your lanes. (Not part of the Kids Bowl Free Summer Program).

HOURS: Mon-Thur 12-11pm, Fri 12pm-1am, Sat 11am-1am, Sun 11am-11pm.

SUMMER $1 MOVIES

Go ahead and let the kids eat popcorn for breakfast while you relax and enjoy some AC for the morning! These are usually first thing in the morning either every weekday or select weekdays. Theaters often have a kids pack for a reduce price that include a drink, popcorn and a snack or candy. Get there early to get a good seat!

Here are the local Summer $1 movie theaters:

UltraStar Movies at Hazard Center (Mission Valley): schedule

Regal Entertainment: schedule

Reading Cinemas: schedule

INDOOR PLAY AREAS

These are set up just for little kids and vary in their offerings. Some have onsite cafes, jumpies, super slides, obstacle courses, climbing walls and more. Prices can be a little steep, so you'll want to make the most of it and spend as much time there as you can. You may want to see if they have a punch card or a limited membership, like a monthly pass or a 3 month pass, that you can use during the rainy months or hot summer time.

Some require a waiver so try to fill it out online before you go if possible, that way you're not trying to manage the kids while doing paperwork... Socks are usually required, so make sure you have them with you. I like to bring a 2nd pair of clean socks to put on afterward and throw all the dirty socks into a plastic bag for washing. ;)

Kid Ventures

LIBERTY STATION HOURS:

Mon 9:30a-4p, Tues-Fri 9:30a-5:30p, Sat 9a-Noon

*Add’l weekend hours available based on party schedule.

4S RANCH HOURS:

Mon-Fri 9:30a-5:30p, Sat 9a-Noon

*Saturday afternoons and Sundays are reserved for private parties.

EASTLAKE HOURS:

Mon-Fri 10a-6p, Sat 9a-Noon

COST: $18/kid, $9/sibling, $5/under 1 or Free w/ paid sibling, Parents are Free. SAME Day RE-Entry.

DEALS:

-Punchcard 8 for $95 (1 per visit), for that location only where you bought it.

-Military/1st Responders Heros (military, police, fire fighters, ambulance, border patrol) $14/kid, &7/sibling.

-Happy Hour: 50% off during the last hour and members can bring a friend for FREE.

MEMBERSHIPS: $50/mo, $80/mo, add sibling for $20/mo. 10% military discount.

GOOD TO KNOW:

*Socks are required for kids & adults

-Kids drop off available for Parents’ Night Out!

-Onsite cafe serves healthy snacks & sandwiches w/ hot & cold drinks incl. lattes & smoothies.

-No Outside Food is allowed to help maintain Cleanliness and Safety so they “can minimize risks to those families that have severe food allergies. While we do carry some nut-based products, we do not sell peanut-based items and constantly evaluate our product offerings to accommodate families with food allergies.”

The Playground (La Mesa, Grossmont Center Mall) HOURS: Mon-Thur 10a-6pm, Fri & Sat 10a-8p, Sun 11a-6p

COST: $15/child, $12/sibling. SAME Day Re-Entry. 2 adults per child are free, $5 for 3+ adults per child. Infants 0-6 months are free w/ paid admission; Non-walking babies 6+ months are $11.

DEALS:

-Mon & Wed $11/child

-10 visits for $100, never expires

MEMBERSHIPS: $56/mo 1 child, $50/mo sibling

GOOD TO KNOW:

*Socks are required for kids & adults

-Onsite snack bar

-Outside Food is allowed

Uurban Jungle Fun Park (Santee)

HOURS: Sun-Thur 10a-8p, Fri/Sat 10a-9p

COST:

1 hour: Mon-Fri $10, Sun/Holidays $12

90 min: Mon-Fri $12, Sun/Holidays $16

2hrs: Mon-Fri $14, Sun/Holidays $18

Parents play for 1/2 the price, if you don’t play then you don’t have to pay.

DEALS: Follow their socials to find discounts on Facebook, Instagram or sign up for their email list.

GOOD TO KNOW:

-Grip socks required, they sell them for $2.50.

-Only kids over 45lbs can use the rock wall.

-Parent lounge w/ Free Wi-Fi.

-There’s a snack shop for food & drinks.

-Bathrooms are onsite.

-Overflow parking is at Sonrise Church.

FUNbelievable (Lakeside)

HOURS: Mon-Thur 9a-6p, Fri 9a-8p, Sat/Sun 10a-6p (weekend hours may vary)

COST: $12/kid, $10/sibling. NO Same Day Re-Entry. $6/non-walking babies or FREE w/ paid sibling. Adults are always FREE w/ paid child's admission.

DEALS:

-Punchcard 5 for $45 or 10 for $85 (never expire)

-$1 off Military everyday

-Hero Mondays are $6 for children of active duty police, firefighters & military (not valid during school breaks or holidays).

MEMBERSHIPS:

$90/3 months 1 kid, $50/3 months sibling. $140/6 months 1 kid, $80/6 months sibling. $225/12 months 1 kid, $125/12 months sibling

Play City (Chula Vista)

HOURS: Sun-Thur 10a-8pm, Fri & Sat 10a-9pm.

COST: $5 for 0-11 months, $12 for 1 yo, $16 for 2-6 yo, $17 for 7-12 yo. Parents are free. SAME Day Re-Entry Mon-Thur only.

DEALS: Punchcard 5 for $60 or 10 for $90 (never expires). 10% off for military, law enforcement, DOD, fire fighters.

MEMBERSHIP:

Monthly: $30 for 1 month Mon-Thur only. $55 for 2 kids, $75 for 3 kids, $95 for 4 kids.

Monthly VIP: $50 for 1 month Mon-Thur only. $50 off birthday package.

Yearly: $500 for 1 year Mon-Sat.

AGES: 1-12yrs

WHAT: Bouncies and indoor play area. Toddler Zone for kids 0-3yrs. OK to BYO food & drinks. Socks are required.

Gymboree (Clairemont, Poway, Carlsbad)

Hours & Cost vary

Kidsville (Carlsbad)

HOURS: Open Play hours vary so check calendar online first. They are usually: Mon-Fri 9:30a-6p, Sat 11a-6p, Sun 11:30a-6p

COST:

-Peak Hours from Open-2:30pm $13/day 1 kid, $9/day sibling, $5/adult, $5/non-walking babies or FREE w/ paid sibling

-Non-Peak Hours from 2:30pm-Close: $8/child

DEALS: $8/child for 8+ kids (not avail. weekends)

MEMBERSHIP: $39/mo 1 kid, $68/mo 2 kids, $78/mo 3 kids, OR $360/yr 1 kid (for 3 kids+ add $10/kid)

Play Kingdom (Oceanside)

HOURS: Mon-Wed CLOSED. Thur-Sat from 9a-6p, Sun 11a-6p

COST: $9/child, $7/sibling, $5/infants 1 and under or FREE w/ paid sibling

DEALS: Punchcards 5 for $36 or 10 for $63. Military Mondays are $6.50/child

Play Town (El Cajon) —>now closed, as of Feb 2018

TRAMPOLINE CENTERS

Most of these trampoline centers have either Toddler Jump times or a Toddler Zone so they're not jumping with the big kids. Waivers are usually required, so try to fill it out online before you go if possible, that way you're not trying to manage the kids while doing paperwork... They all require Grippy Socks and they all sell them for $2-3/pair if you don't have them. (Mamas...a word to the wise...sports bras & pads...that's all I'll say. ;)

Rockin' Jump (Mira Mesa)

We love this place!

TODDLER JUMP TIMES: Tues & Wed from 9-11am and Sat from 8-10am.

COST: $7 for and 1 adult & 1 child and add $3 per sibling if you have any other kids.

*You do have to wear their neon green grippy socks so you don't slip on the trampoline. They're $3 (I think), but you get to keep them and bring them back to use again.

Pump It Up (Poway, Chula Vista)

HOURS: Open daily, but check their calendar online for Open Jump times as they may vary.

COST: $12/child. Parents can jump for FREE if under 150lb weight limit.

*Socks are required.

Get Air (Poway, East County tba, Vista, Temecula)

TODDLER JUMP TIMES (under 46" only): Tues & Thur from 8-10am

COST for Toddlers: $10/1 hour, $16/2 hours

*Grippy socks are required and they sell them for $3 if you don't have them already.

WHAT: Little Air jumpers are allowed in Little Air, foam pits, basketball, slacklines, fidget ladders and other one-at-a-time obstacles.

Sky Zone (Chula Vista, San Marcos)

TODDLER JUMP TIMES: Tue 10am-12pm, Sun 9-11am

COST: $10/toddlers, $5/adult during toddler time

House of Air (Carlsbad)

HOURS: 10am-6pm daily

COST: $10/1 hr

*Grippy socks are required and they sell them for $2 if you don't have them already.

WHAT: While they don't have a specific Toddler Time, their Air Jr Access includes: The Arena Trampoline Court (for 3-6 years), basketball dunk area, trampolines to airbag zone, joust, climbing wall and bounce house. Minimum weight for climbing wall access is 40 lbs & harness must fit.

Altitude Trampoline Park (Vista)

TODDLER JUMP TIMES (ages 5 & under): <returns Monday August 13th, 2018>. Each weekday from 10:00am – 1:00pm

COST: Toddler Jump Times have a discounted rate of $8.95/hr. Parents can jump for an additional $2.95!

*Grippy socks required, they sell them for $2.

Jump Around Now (Chula Vista)

HOURS: Call for hours

COST: Mon-Fri General access is $12/hr, all access is $18/hr. Sat/Sun All Access is $18/hr

WHAT: There is no specific Toddler Time, but they do have a separate area for kids 5 and under.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUMS

-The New Children's Museum (downtown, closed on Tuesdays after Labor Day)

COST: $14 for adults & kids ages 1+, $10/military every day, Free for babies under 1

HOURS: Mon-Sat 9:30a-4p; Sun 11:30a-4p (hours may vary, check online first or call)

*They are OPEN on Tuesdays in the summer! After Labor Day, they will be closed on Tuesdays.

DEALS:

Participates in Museums for All using your EBT for $1 admission up to 4 people.

Participates in Blue Star Museums offering FREE admission for military from Memorial Day-Labor Day!

Get the FREE library pass and it's valid for 2 weeks

MEMBERSHIPS: $85/year for 2 people, $125/year for 4 people, $165/year for 6 people. $10 off military.

Features: 3-4 floors of F-U-N! Some installations are permanent, but most change every few months so there's always something new to discover. There's also a nursing station next to the cafe if you want to sit down and feed your babes.

Food: There is an onsite cafe, Bean Sprouts Cafe, that serves up healthy and good kid-friendly foods, coffee drinks too. The kid's food is usually shaped into a butterfly or flower or fish of some sort.

Parking: There is limited underground PAID parking if you get there early. You will still have to walk outside down the street and around the corner to the entrance, so you may need to bring an umbrella or walk fast if it's raining.

Underground parking $10/car weekdays, $15/car weekends, 50% off for members. Garage opens at 9:30am and closes at 4:30pm, Sundays it opens at 10:30am.

Otherwise, we'll park in the pay lot at 1st Ave. & Island Ave. and walk 2 blocks.

ABM Parking on 450 2nd Ave. gives a 2 hours parking discount when attending the children's museum; (use parking discount code: 8792).

Tip: Word to the Wise...This is a very large museum so if you have multiple kids that are all walking it can be tricky if they want to go in all different directions. When my 2nd started walking, I only went here if I had another adult with me just to keep up with the kids. One almost went inside the elevator by himself and I jumped inside just before the doors closed. And there's a large open concrete stairway to make sure kids don't fall down it.

-San Diego Children's Discovery Museum (Escondido)

I hear this is a really GREAT museum!! We have yet to come here and check it out, but it's on our list and when we get there I'll update this part. :D

COST: $8/pp for ages 1+, Free for babies under 1. $5/military.

HOURS: 9:30am-4:30pm daily Mon-Sun

DEALS:

Participates in Museums for All using your EBT for $1 admission up to 4 people.

FREE admission for military families from Memorial Day-Labor Day!

MEMBERSHIPS: $95/family (2 adults and all kids in household), $75/discounted (for military, grandparents, special needs, adult students), $35/access for those who qualify

FREE PLACES

STORY TIMES

Check your local library - click for schedules

Barnes & Noble, various locations

every Saturday at 11am most locations have a special story time and you'll get a coupon for a grilled cheese sandwich with milk or juice for $4!...summer only??

Mission Valley: Wednesdays at 10:30am

Grossmont Mall: Mondays at 10:30am

Mira Mesa: Fridays at 10:30am

Santee: Fridays at 7:30pm (wear your pj's)

Oceanside: Wednesdays at 10:30am

Pottery Barn Kids Storytime (UTC Mall), Tuesdays at 11am

Libraries

Check the online Events Calendar (click the link above) to find your local library and what they have going on for kiddos. There's usually a story time for babies & toddlers, as well as arts & crafts, songs, some have toddler yoga or even PAWS for Reading where kids can read books to therapy dogs. We love their Summer Reading Program Events - magic shows, concerts, juggling, ice cream parties and more!

Bowling - see above. It's free during the summertime if you sign your kids up for the Kids Bowl Free Program.

Balboa Park Museums - see above. They're free if you're a San Diego County resident or active military and you go on a FREE Resident Tuesday. Beware that it's usually pretty crowded, especially on rainy days, and parking fills up fast.

Pet Stores are fun for kids to wander around and see the animals.

IKEA - see above. It's free unless you buy a couch or eat in the cafeteria, but honestly even the cafeteria, which serves up some pretty good food, is basically free because it's so cheap.

RESTAURANTS with INDOOR PLAY AREAS

There are lots of kid-friendly dining in San Diego, but a lot of them have outside play areas. If you want to avoid the heat or rain, grab a bite at one of these kid's favorite restaurants with indoor play areas.

Waypoint Public Brewery (North Park)

Separate kid's play area with books, games & movies.

Mountain Mike's Pizza (Clairemont, La Mesa)

Good pizza & salad bar w/ a separate kid's play area.

Corvette Diner (Pt. Loma/Liberty Station)

Really fun and loud atmosphere so it's okay for your kids to be loud too! There's a live DJ that takes song requests, waiters sing, dance and make messes on your table, arcade room in the back.

Dave & Buster's (Mission Valley)

Punchbowl Social (downtown + 13 other cities)

Games, karaoke, food, drinks and other events! Mostly geared toward adults as an updated and fun place for craft drinks and scratch kitchen food for sharing. Check out their great selection on non-alcoholic craft drinks, gluten-free menu and kid's menu. They've got old school games like shuffle board, bowling, skee ball, foosball, pinball & arcade. Might be better for kids earlier in the day to avoid the after work happy hour crowd. ;) Hrs: Mon-Fri 11am-2am, Sat 9am-2am, Sun 9am-12am.

Chuck E. Cheese

(Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, La Mesa, College, Sports Arena, National City)

John's Incredible Pizza (National City, Riverside)

Arcade games, rides, bumper cars, kiddie land (for toddlers) and prizes. Also pizza, pasta, soup, salad, etc.

IKEA (Mission Valley)

Upstairs is the kid's section with a fun "play" area, you konw, to test out what you might buy. Plus the cafeteria has really yummy (and super cheap!) food. Check your kids into the kids only play area, certain age restrictions apply.

Ice Rink at the UCT Mall (La Jolla/UTC, inside the food court)

There's no play area inside this food court, but you can watch the ice skaters on the ice rink down below. My kids especially love watching the Zamboni.

Landon's Gourmet Kitchen (San Marcos)

Farm to table restaurant with casual dining and ONSITE CHILDCARE in a separate kid's SUPERVISED PLAYROOM!

Summer Playroom Hours: Wed-Thur 5-9pm (open for lunch 11am-2pm but no playroom hours during this time), Sat/Sun 10am-3pm, 5-9pm, Mon/Tue Closed.

Playroom ages: 12months-6yrs, older siblings may be permitted. Parent's must remain on premises for dining while children are in the playroom.

Playroom Cost: $8/hr 1 child, $12/hr 2 kids, $16/hr 3 kids, $20/hr 4+ kids. (Cost is pro-rated in 15 minutes).

Bathroom policy: They will come and get parents to take their kids to the restaurant bathroom.

INDOOR MALLS

(some with PLAY AREAS!)

Some malls have covered parking if you know where those are and it seems like most malls have valet parking nowadays; which might come in handy if it's pouring outside and there's no covered parking available.

Kids will love riding in the Smarte Cartes with tablets built into them or that look like race cars or fire trucks, so bring a few bucks to rent these if you don't bring your stroller.

Other malls might have a little kids play area in the middle of the mall, and you also might find a family lounge area with private nursing rooms, miniature trains, carousels, movie theaters, grocery shopping (Wal-Mart or Target) and one even has a little aquarium inside!

If you find a Disney Store, they usually have a kids play area with coloring sheets and Disney cartoons on repeat on a large screen TV.

Tip: Check the mall's website before you go for any deals or coupons, like for a Free pretzel, a BOGO item or 25% off your purchase!

Parkway Plaza (El Cajon)

Features: Le Funland indoor soft play area (kids must be 50" or less). Wal-Mart with a grocery store. MallStars Kids Club is the last Tuesday of each month and is a FREE event held at the JCPenney Portrait Studio. Teachers from Children's Choice spend an hour packed with activities just for the kids!

Kid Stores: Disney Store, The Children's Place, Claire's, Cotton On, Motherhood Maternity

Parking: covered parking structure on the south side

Westfield Bonita (National City)

Features: Aquarium! inside the ocean-themed play space; Smarte Carte Stroller rental ($8/single, $10/double all day); Family Lounges with toys, kids TV, private nursing areas; AMC Movies

Kid Stores: Target, Disney Store, The Children's Place, Baskin Robbins, Frozen Yogurt, Claire's, Cotton On, shoe stores (Crocs, Kids Journeys, Kids Foot Locker) Gymboree, John's Incredible Pizza (see above!), Red Robbin Restaurant,

Parking:

Family Parking upfront is on the 2nd level of the garage, leading to the Cafe Terrace entrance.

There's an onsite car wash for $20 and you'll come back to a clean car! Although I'm not sure if you'd want to do this on a rainy day.

Westfield North County (Escondido)

Features: inside playground, miniature train rides, 2 family lounges includes toys, kid's TV shows and a private nursing area

Kid Stores: Target, Old Navy, Thomas Toy Store

Food: 3rd floor has kid-friendly tables & chairs

Parking: mostly uncovered

Westfield Carlsbad

Features: inside playground, family lounge, Smart Carts

Kid Stores:

Food: Ruby's Diner, Rainforest Cafe,

Parking: up front family parking

Southcoast Plaza (Costa Mesa)

Features: carousel, train ride, cool fountains to toss pennies into, family bathrooms with nursing room, stroller rental

Kid Stores: Land of Nod, Cos, Uniqlo

Parking: underground

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About Us

I'm a SAHM of 2 boys, but we rarely "stay at home". They have sooo much energy that we HAVE to get outside to burn it off. Everyday is an adventure; whether we find new places, go back to our favorites or even just a trip to Costco!  

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[Disclaimers:

I make a good faith effort to ensure information is accurate, but I encourage you to confirm the details before you act on it. FamDiego is not responsible for any problems that may result directly or indirectly from your or your families' participation in these activities from using this information or while you're at the venues. If your venue is featured here and you would like for me to change anything or to be removed, please contact me right away.

 

*Affiliate Links: I earn a small commission if you link to and purchase a product. It's not much really. Basically it keeps the site going and there may be enough leftover for a short latte once in a while. Affiliate links work by clicking a link and making a purchase within 24 hours. Thanks for keeping the lights on. :) ]