Traversing San Diego’s storied past, from the land’s ancestral Kumeyaay Native American tribe to modern day, the San Diego History Center stuffs minds with knowledge and inspires appreciation for local lore. Admission grants access to more than 45 million paper artifacts and 2.5 million images found in the library, fine arts collections, exhibitions, and displays of historic fast-food receipts. With a family membership, a pair of historians and two guests gain full access to the renowned research library, as well as to the center itself and the Junípero Serra Museum in Presido Park. A complimentary subscription to the quarterly Journal of San Diego History keeps members abreast of pictorial essays, in-depth explorations of regional culture, and hilarious membership-ID-photo outtakes. Members-only invitations to exhibition previews and events fill calendars with endless social opportunities.
The San Diego Natural History Museum has transported visitors into the past for almost eight decades. The recently opened Ends Of The Earth exhibit lets museum-goers watch explorers conquer terrain in the multimedia theater, put on a penguin suit and slide like the birds themselves, or challenge a live polar bear to an ice-eating contest. Illuminate history through the Fossil Mysteries exhibit's life-size models of ancient animals, such as dinosaurs and mastodons, as well as a fossil aquarium featuring actual whale bones on display. Dads and future dads looking to enjoy 3-D movies without braving the multiplex's gangs of candy-craving teens can use the included tickets to catch The Ultimate Wave Tahiti, starring champion surfer Kelly Slater, or Turtle Reef 3D, from the award-winning producers behind museum mainstay Ocean Oasis.
The New Children's Museum is frequently featured in local publications, including the San Diego Downtown News. Although reviewers are mixed on the attractions, they praise the exhibitions. Yelpers give The New Children's Museum a three-star average.
Indulge Wine School's staff of educators, such as Kris in Jacksonville, a wine expert and blogger, expands wine knowledge with ease, having turned the revelry-steeped tassels of nearly 3,000 graduates. Classes of 12–20 take place in venues throughout the United States, as students swirl and sip their study materials and nibble complimentary appetizers. Every class ends with a Q&A session, during which potation professors shine a light on oenophilic mysteries including tannin content and regional differences. Afterward, students continue to ferment knowledge at home with a complimentary electronic copy of Indulge's book A Fun and Informative Introduction to the Wonderful World of Wine, a food-and-wine-pairing chart, and a top-10 list of wine-buying tips.
Turista Libre organizes adventuresome and exploratory day tours in Tijuana. It gathers guests into caravans for trips to local water parks or Xoloitzcuintles games, Tijuana's pro soccer team. Stops at lucha-libre matches (pro wrestling) and piñata factories are often part of the fun. All excursions provide the opportunity to sample the local cuisine and bar scene of Tijuana, the second-largest city on the West Coast after Los Angeles.
The Institute for Shipboard Education was born from an idea to create a floating campus that reflected the ideals of the United Nations and the realities of globalization. As Chinese shipping magnate C.Y. Tung put it, “Ships can transport more than cargo—they can carry ideas.” From humble beginnings, the program went on to attract world-famous guest speakers including Mikhail Gorbachev, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. Today, the cruising university onboard the MV Explorer offers two-week Enrichment Voyages for learners of all ages, with educational programming that digs deep into each port of call's culture and history. This 15-day cruise incorporates both lectures and hands-on exploration as it passes along Mexico’s Baja peninsula toward the Isthmus of Panama and Ecuador. At each port on the itinerary, available excursions range from dive trips to volunteer service projects, such as plastering houses or feeding kindergarteners (additional fees apply for shore trips). Or you can set off on your own, armed with knowledge acquired from the recommended reading list.Days 1–3: After cruising from Ensenada, Mexico, to the southern tip of the Baja peninsula, the ship anchors at Cabo San Lucas. El Arco, the city’s iconic seaside arch, forms a scenic backdrop for a day of kayaking and snorkeling.Day 6: Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala lies within easy range of Antigua, named an UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved baroque architecture. It's ringed by mountains playing a very slow-moving game of duck-duck-goose. Day 7: Nicaragua’s largest Pacific port, Corinto, borders León, an old-world town dotted with 17th-century Spanish colonial churches such as the Cathedral of the Assumption.Days 9–10: Balboa, Panama, stands at the entrance to the Panama Canal—still an engineering marvel. The nearby overflow reservoir, Gatún Lake, is home to crocodiles, iguanas, and sloths.Days 12–13: Dipping toward South America, the ship docks at Manta, Ecuador, a trade city dating to pre-Columbian times. Pounding waves on Playa Murciélago create attractive surfing conditions.Day 15: The journey concludes at Puntarenas, Costa Rica, leaving you free to explore inland rainforests or head home. During each day at sea, college professors and other experts lead a string of seminars. Subjects are as varied as marine ecology, cultural anthropology, and photojournalism, and they often relate to the next port of call. The ship retains vestiges of its former life as a commercial liner. There are barstools in the 9,000-volume library, for instance, testifying to the space's former role as the ship's tavern. Despite the emphasis on education, there’s still plenty of relaxation aboard. The Wellness Center spa offers massages, manicures, and other pampering services. Nightly live entertainment offerings include an all-male a cappella group, a magician, and staged readings of old Love Boat scripts. During the day, you can even skip class to lounge by the pool, located on deck 7.See the full trip overview for more information.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.