Watch immersive giant-screen films and amazing planetarium shows on San Diego's only IMAX Dome and experience seven galleries of fascinating and fun hands-on science exhibits for all ages. Located in San Diego's "must see" Balboa Park. Open 365 days of the year for travelers and locals to enjoy year round.
For 30 years, Zoomars' fuzzy and feathered fleet has tickled the fancy of more than 3 million tykes and critter enthusiasts with 16 varieties of animals on hand, ready for petting, riding, and cavorting. The USDA–approved, clean farm facility houses a host of friendly species suited to affectionate coddling, such as sheep, bunnies, and guinea pigs. Zoo staffers supervise kids as they climb into goat pens, or drop snacks into the mouths of zedonks, zebus, and staff members working through lunch.
Additionally, a child-size miniature train chugs a whistling ride around a circular track, and gentle ponies trot along on hand-led trail rides as parents canter along behind. At a re-created Gold Rush–era mine, staffers help small visitors to pan and sift for gemstones, arrowheads, dinosaur fossils, fool’s gold, and long-lost arcade tokens.
Park staff can also connect visitors to the earth and American history through camps led by the camp director, a member of California’s Acjachemen tribe who grew up on the grounds. Campers explore the grounds and Pioneer Town through crafts, free creative play, storytelling, and special activities ranging from Native American dances to soapstone carving to reading excerpts from Lewis and Clark’s middle-school diaries.
The Oceanside Museum of Art displays compelling works of art from local and regional artists as well as traveling national and international exhibitions. Current exhibits include Focus on Oceanside: Lee Peterson, a photographic collection by San Diego aperture enthusiast Lee Peterson. Peterson has courted and captured the spirit of Oceanside, from its ghosts-of-seagulls haunted harbor to the San Luis Mission Rey, in a stunning series of images employing both classically breathtaking and extraordinarily surreal perspectives. The gallery walls are also privileged to carry an impressive exhibition of contemporary Mexican-American art from Einar and Jamex de la Torre, as well as Raul Guerrero, along with myriad works by contemporary Native American artists in San Diego County. The museum's galleries are re-designed for each new exhibition to prevent acute cases of eyeball ennui.
Renovated in 2011, the Museum of Making Music showcases a permanent display of hundreds of unusual and vintage instruments charting the progression of song-crafting from 1900 to modern times. Five museum galleries present popular music, innovations in instruments and their manufacture, and marketing and distribution techniques in five eras throughout the 20th century. Racks of gleaming instruments line the cases, as well as more eclectic pieces such as double-neck guitars, the crossbreed GuitarViol, and an ancient, forgotten instrument whose name is always whispered: the "clarinet." The museum is dotted with interactive exhibits, giving visitors the chance to craft their own tunes on the exhibit's drum kits or keytar.
Nestled in the historic Rancho Santa Anita—a homestead originally inhabited by the Gabrieleno Tongva tribe—Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden houses wildlife and plants from all over the globe on 127 acres. Its creators opened the Arboretum in 1947 to promote environmental awareness in a sanctuary that reflects the distinct history, flora, and culture of southern California. The grounds reflect the founders' aim—hummingbirds flutter among the colorful blooms in the Grace Kallam Perennial Garden, and wildflowers, herbs, and veggies spring to life at the hands of community volunteers in the educational Garden for All Seasons. Tropical and temperate blossoms embellish the Meyberg waterfall's sun-drenched stone face and blue-gum trees stand guard in front of the Queen Anne cottage, one of several historic sites that was constructed in 1885 to encapsulate Victorian opulence. Peacocks and great egrets strut among living plant collections, which explode into flowery canopies whenever the right garden sprites are available to aid in pollination.
Members often gain exclusive access to the Arboretum's slate of events, which includes workshops, tours, and Yoga in the Garden. Summer camps reawaken brains that usually hibernate until September, and Bookworms Story Time captures attention year-round.
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