For those humans who are lamentably landlocked, SEA LIFE Aquarium offers a hands-on, educational aquatic experience filled with up-close animal viewings, fishy feeding frenzies, interactive encounters, and more. Seafaring adventure awaits across the multi-faceted aquarium map, which is highlighted by the Lost City of Atlantis, where you can take a stroll through a 200,000-gallon mini-sea filled with sharks, stingrays, and other sea creatures. Around the bend, the Southern California Tide Pool hosts a meet ’n’ greet for starfish fanatics and human-hungry sea stars alike. Catch a variety of aquarium activities throughout the week, including shark, octopus, and seahorse feedings; puppet shows; and close encounters with nature's most misunderstood predatory polyp, the sea anemone.
In the middle of The Wave Waterpark, people lie upon colorful rafts that float gently down the lazy river. It’s a serene way to soak up some rays and keep cool. But in the center of the lazy river, separated by raised concrete and a foot bridge, an adventure awaits: the Flow Rider. This simulated surfable ocean wave dares visitors to try and hang ten without falling off their boards into the safe, if rollicking waters.
These two attractions represent the broad spectrum of activity at The Wave, a family-friendly destination equally suited to mild-mannered relaxation, adventurous fun, or something in between. Other rides include a tangle of waterslides, such as the Slam Dunk, an enclosed-tunnel body slide with plenty of twists, and Rippity’s Rainforest, a kid-friendly playground gushing with fountains and waterfalls.
From April to September, lifeguards teach swim lessons in the park’s competition pool for kids as young as 6 months, as well as adults. The Wave is also an ideal spot for birthday parties, with rental cabanas that can fit as many as 30 people or one enormous birthday clown, and a Surf Spot Grill that refuels revelers with burgers, burritos, and pizza.
Pump It Up's indoor inflatable arena bounces socked striplings high off the ground with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Trained, amiable staffers supervise fun-filled visits where parents can leap around with their kids through gargantuan, air-filled bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an air-filled obstacle course. Attendees can also focus their free play for special events, such as custom birthday parties and themed, private team parties. These themed soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. The giant arena is climate-controlled and maintained according to rigorous guidelines enforced by the well-trained staff and local police. Supplementing its thorough rule enforcement with expert installation and anchoring, Pump It Up holds itself to strict safety standards.
Commercial pilots certified by the Federal Aviation Administration welcome guests to tours of Southern California aboard hot air balloons. As guests enter into sheared baskets, the pilots offer them complimentary champagne and non-alcoholic beverages before taking off. Sightseeing trips include flights over Temecula Wine Country at sunrise as well as romantic rides along the Pacific coast at sunset.
At FunBelievable Play, British owners Lynne and Adriana introduce the San Diego area to “British-style” indoor play with playground equipment imported from the United Kingdom. Meeting all playground safety regulations, the 6,000-square-foot facility helps children use their imaginations while developing their physical and mental capabilities, and climbing structures and interactive games encourage social skills that come in handy when imaginary friends go off to college. A colorful three-level play structure hosts fun amenities such as tube slides, climbing walls, tiki-figure punching bags, and a ball shower, whereas the sports arena gives future athletes the chance to kick goals and shoot baskets. Wobbly walkers and toddlers enjoy more age-appropriate play in their own space, which scales down big-kid fun into an area littered with soft toys, a mini ball pit, and mini slides.
Parents can sip coffee in a lounge area and rest easy knowing their children are playing on equipment that's sanitized and inspected daily. The staffers are fully trained and have passed background checks, and many of them also are certified in first aid and CPR and boast an encyclopedic knowledge of cartoons.
Since 1925, shrieks of delight have sounded from the pinnacle of Belmont Park's Giant Dipper Roller Coaster as it inches toward its 73-foot drop. Closer to the ground, the Vertical Plunge drops riders three stories, the Tilt-A-Whirl spins at a furious clip, and the carousel makes its leisurely rounds. Like the waves breaking on the shores of Mission Beach—located just steps from the park—sheet waves generated by FlowRider and FlowBarrel technology carry boarders across a wave pool's padded surface.
No waves find their way into Belmont Park's indoor swimming pool, the Plunge, where an artificial grass deck surrounding the shallow end hosts a bounce house and Slip ‘N Slide. An adjacent arcade returns players to civilization with new and old classics such as Guitar Hero and skeeball. In between rides and games, guests take breaks to snack at Belmont Park's myriad boardwalk eateries or browse the goods of nearby shops.