By MacKenzie Miller
There is nothing like watching a child explore the natural world around them. Being able to teach a child about nature and bond with them while exercising their senses is one of the more amazing things to witness. Not to mention, getting out and moving with the little ones allows us to soak up the sun, get the blood flowing, and rejuvenate our muscles and minds. Luckily for us in Southern California, the California climate has provided us with ample places to do just that. Here are some favorite places to take the kiddos on a stroll and celebrate the moments we have with our toddlers before they grown up too fast.
Shoreline Park, Santa Barbara
Shoreline Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Sweeping views of the Santa Barbara coastline, the city, and the Santa Ynez Mountains on 14.6 acres of green grass to play on is what entices families to visit Shoreline Park. It appeals to all ages and is very stroller friendly. There are individual picnic areas with BBQ’s, group picnic areas, sidewalks, parks and benches, beach access, and playgrounds. During whale watching season, you can typically see the grey whale yearly migration easily from anywhere in the park.
Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens
1500 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101
These gardens are home to 75 unique tree and plant species and feature a koi pond, sensory garden, and butterfly gardens. It’s a peaceful atmosphere surrounded by lush beauty and warm sunshine, where visitors can explore the duck and turtle pond, relax on the grass with a blanket and a picnic, or walk among the beautiful plants on the dirt paths with your stroller or older kids.
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
Home to more the 11,000 ocean animals and more than 500 different species, this aquarium is not one to be missed. It’s a fan favorite amongst kids of all ages.
Ernest E. Debs Regional Park – Audubon Center
4235 Monterey Road
Los Angeles, CA 90032
With more that 140 species of birds on over 200 acres, the birdsong that fills the air here is reason enough to visit. There are areas for picnics and fishing, and The Audubon Center is a place of extensive play and exploration for the kids.
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is filled with interactive, kid-friendly science exhibits. Children 5 and under should set aside a good amount of time for the Center’s Kid City where toddlers can enjoy playing on fire trucks, shopping at a mini-grocery store, playing music and more.
SEA LIFE Aquarium
1 Legoland Dr., Carlsbad, CA 92008
This aquarium is perfect for babies and toddlers because it’s stroller friendly and the aquarium windows are at a kid-friendly level so they can walk or crawl right up to the glass and come face-to-face with sharks, octopus, jellyfish and sting rays, just to name a few. Toddlers will also enjoy the tide pools where they can touch marine life like starfish.
1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park. Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo, the Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes—all in the beautiful and timeless setting of this must-see San Diego attraction.