Hey, parents, I hate to be the one to break it to you.
Spring Break & Summer vacation plans: let’s discuss. Both will be here before you and I know it, and having kids laying around the house proclaiming, “I’m borrreeeddd” is never a good thing.
Just as obvious is the answer to Spring Break & summertime boredom: visit some California theme parks for thrills and spills in the California sun.
Do you need suggestions on where to take your kids? I’m here for you, man!
Here are 6 California theme parks you need to hit up.
6 Kid Approved California Theme Parks to Visit
Every year I ask my kids the same question: where should we go on vacation? And every year they give the same enthusiastic answer: CALIFORNIA!
I’ll admit that it doesn’t hurt that their cousins live there, and visiting these relatives is a big draw. Family first- family always!
But I know my kids, and I know what drives the excited response is the sheer volume of theme parks found in the state. Because they know their momma can’t pass up a chance to visit them!
California is chock full of theme parks & attractions perfect for children of all ages that you’ll want to check out.
The Disneyland Resort
Disneyland is our favorite theme park on the West coast. For now (see Universal Studios coming on strong!).
Disneyland runs deep in our family history; I’ve been visiting since I was 6-weeks-old. That pixie dust practically runs through my veins- it’s strong, y’all!
My children have been going for years, and they know the park as well as any cast member working the churro stands.
Why do we keep going back? It offers exceptional customer service and magical experiences for every age.
The trick to visiting here is keeping things affordable. Well, as affordable as one can in the land of the Mouse. Here are 20 free things you can find at Disneyland. (Yes, I’m serious!)
Universal Studios Hollywood
I wasn’t sure how well this one would go over with my mild-thrill seeking family, but it was a huge hit!
If your family has always seen themselves as Disney people, you may want to venture over to Hollywood and give Universal a try.
Why? I have two words for you: Harry Potter.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the best-themed land on the West coast. You do not want to miss your chance to play a game of Quidditch with Harry or to pick your wand out at Olivanders.
The Wizarding World is just a start. Here are five additional ways that Universal beats Disneyland for my family.
Sea World San Diego
If you are huge fans of the ocean and all that lives in it, do not miss a trip to San Diego Sea World.
What’s to love about Sea World? They cater to children of all ages with experiences that entertain and educate.
We especially like the opportunities for hands-on experiences with the sea life at Explorer’s Reef. With four different touch pools available, your kiddos have the chance to interact with various fish, including sharks and cleaner fish.
You can even Dine with Shamu from an organic and sustainable menu, and learn more about the majestic killer whales.
Just about every parent knows that LEGOS are king for kids between the ages of three and twelve. Imagine a whole theme park devoted to the same creativity and innovation you see in your child’s LEGO projects?
At LEGOLAND California, that’s just what you get.
Here you’ll find more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions geared toward the preteen crowd. There’s a waterpark, too!
Is this one already on your list? Then be sure to check out my friend Karen’s tips for LEGOLAND California.
California’s Great America Theme Park
Now, all the fun isn’t only in Southern California. Northern California has some options for you travelers as well!
Great America has been a Bay Area tradition for many families for over 40 years. This park was a staple during my high school summers, and judging by the crowds, it’s still quite popular with teens and tweens.
Thrill seekers: this is your park! But don’t worry, there are attractions for the younger children as well.
If you’re heading to Great America with your kids and want to know before you go, be sure to check out Leslie’s Complete Guide.
There’s another little theme park located in Northern California that you may have never heard of before.
But don’t let that stop you.
Gilroy Gardens, located in the garlic capital of the World (Gilroy, California), is open about half the year. It’s a charming little amusement park for the family traveler and shouldn’t be overlooked.
One gentle warning: many of the rides are made specifically for toddlers and preschoolers. Don’t forget to check those height requirements before your trip to ensure your kiddos aren’t too tall.
Trips with Tykes has a full list of suggestions for planning your trip. Check it out!
Alright, parents. There are six non-boring ways to spend your next vacation at California theme parks. And hey, no one said you had to pick just one!Which one are you going to visit first?
We’d love it if you joined the TravelingMom Twitter party on Monday, March 13 at 9 pm ET. Follow the hashtags #TMOM and #Kidifornia to be entered to win some awesome prizes.
- Hotel Abrego in Monterey one-night stay plus tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
- 2 Visit CA swag gifts
Head over to TravelingMom to RSVP or use the entry form below.
Thanks to Visit California for sponsoring this travel Kidifornia discussion.