8 Easy Outings to Take When The Grandparents Visit

Bonnie Taylor @famdiego

Treat the grandparents to fun, but easy, outings when they come to town for a visit. You want to explore and show off your favorite city without wearing anyone out. Here are some places that take into account some elderly needs like a slower pace, lots of benches to stop and relax, smooth pathways for walkers/wheelchairs and nearby parking access. Visit the aquarium, stroll through the gardens or hop on a trolley tour to see the sights. Read on for more places to go and why they’re our favorites for grandparent visits.

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Birch Aquarium

Bonnie Taylor @famdiego

Make memories with the grandparents by exploring sea creatures at the Birch Aquarium. This visit doesn’t require a lot of walking, but you’ll definitely see a lot here. Like the large kelp forest, sea horses, jelly fish and heading to the outside touch-pools is a must for the epic views of La Jolla Shores. Walk over to the outside patio where kids can have fun learning through hands-on water play. Plan extra time here for lunch at their outdoor Splash Café.

Plan Ahead: Birch Aquarium will have an exciting new addition coming Summer 2022! The world’s smallest penguins, Little Blue Penguins, will have their own exhibit for all to see.

Birch Aquarium
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla
Online: aquarium.ucsd.edu

Water Conservation Garden

Bonnie Taylor @famdiego

Take a leisurely stroll through these beautifully landscaped gardens while the kids run on ahead to play. There are several garden sections to explore with benches and winding flat paths to take your time and enjoy the beauty here. Kids will love the children’s garden, running through the trellises and pretend driving on the concrete cars. This is an easy place for everyone to love spending a few hours at and will all leave refreshed and relaxed.

Tip: Grab the scavenger hunt at the entrance and when you find them all, kids will love picking out their prize at the end.

Water Conservation Garden
12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. W., El Cajon
Online: thegarden.org

Old Town Trolley Tour

Old Town Trolley Tours

Hop aboard this fun trolley for a tour of all the San Diego sights and leave the driving to the tour guide! Board in Old Town and cruise along the waterfront, into Seaport Village for a quick 20 minute stop and then head up through Balboa Park and back to Old Town. The fun tour guides will give you some history, tell a few jokes and maybe even sing a few songs. Everyone will learn something new and have a fun time together.

Old Town Trolley Tour
4010 Twiggs St., Old Town
Online: https://www.trolleytours.com/san-diego

Balboa Park

Bonnie Taylor @famdiego

Voted the ‘Best California Attraction’, Balboa Park will be a total hit with the grandparents and the kids. Culture abounds at every turn of this gem which is teeming with 17 museums, gardens galore and the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ; which often has free concerts. Some kids’ favorite museums that have parking nearby are Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum and San Diego Automotive Museum. You’ll find plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, either from inside several museum cafes or from stand-alone restaurants like El Prado or Panama 66. Balboa Park makes for an easy way to spend the day in a relaxed setting that the whole family will enjoy.

Balboa Park
1549 El Prado, Balboa Park
Online: balboapark.org

Seaport Village

Bonnie Taylor @famdiego

Shop, eat and play at Seaport Village by the bay. This is always a fun stop that makes you feel like you’re on vacation for the day. The flat paved walkways will take you all around the shops, the cute little duck pond and bridge and out to the Bayfront walkway. Find a bench to sit and watch the gorgeous views of the Coronado Bridge, the San Diego Bay where you can watch the sailboats, speed boats and Navy ships coming and going. There’s so much to see and do here you can easily spend a few hours enjoying the day.

Must Do: Ride the historic carousel round and round (bring cash $4/person). And don’t forget to have your parking ticket validated with purchase for the discounted parking rate.

Seaport Village
849 W Harbor Dr., downtown
Online: https://seaportvillage.com/

Pelley’s Mini Golf

Joyce L. via Yelp

When in doubt, go miniature golfing! Everyone young and old will love trying to get a hole in one at Pelley’s Mini Golf in Del Mar. There are two ocean-themed courses to choose from with larger than life features at each hole. When your round is over, head to nearby Viewpoint Brewery Company for food + drinks with with views from their outdoor patio of the San Dieguito Lagoon. After lunch, take a stroll on one of the easy flat walking trails that leave directly from their outside patio along the lagoon.


Pelley’s Mini Golf

15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar


Online: delmargolfcenter.com


Viewpoint Brewing Company

2201 San Dieguito Dr., Del Mar


Online: viewpointbrewing.com

––Bonnie Taylor


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