Amusement Parks In San Diego: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

10/20/2011 06:33 pm ET | Updated Dec 06, 2011

Amusement parks in San Diego are a great way to enhance your trip to this sunny city, especially if you like the water. With beachside rides and marine life shows, parks in San Diego offer more than the average thrills and fun. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about San Diego amusement parks.

Belmont Park

Belmont Park has plenty for everyone and is located right on the beach. With free admission and parking, the family can enjoy rides, games, miniature golf, shopping and great beachfront dining.

Signature Ride

Built in 1925, the Giant Dipper roller coaster is one of two original oceanfront coasters operating on the West Coast. This classic coaster has all the right moves, including drops, hills and curves.

Other Attractions

Belmont Park has classic park thrills like roller coasters and plunge rides, but it also has the Wave House for surfing and a regular pool for swimming. If you get tired of traditional rides, there's a Magical Mystery Mirror Maze for dizzying fun, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf and a rock wall for climbing. The park also has plenty of carnival and arcade games. There is even a Skyropes Adventure for climbers of all ages.

Food Options

Belmont Park has restaurants and stands serving cuisine for every taste. Choose from beachside cafes and tiki bars to hot dogs and sweets.

Safety Record

While there are no official reports of accidents or incidents involving visitors to Belmont Park, in 2007 an employee fell from a roller coaster while working. However, he incurred no major injuries.

Address: 3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: 858-488-1549
Hours: The park opens daily in the summer at 11 a.m. from mid-June through Labor Day. The park closes at 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on the weekends June through August. The park closes during the week at 10 p.m. and weekends at 11 p.m. from the end of August through Labor Day. Check the website for details.
Price: Belmont Park is a pay-per-attraction park. Rides range from $2 to $6. Other attractions range from $7 to $14. The wave pool is $20 per hour, and the swimming pool is $6 for kids and $7 for adults for the day. Unlimited attraction passes are available. Check the website for details and promotions.


SeaWorld is a known family favorite that has something for everyone and is a great addition to a day in San Diego. Whether your crew is seeking thrills, activities to keep the kids entertained or a Shamu sighting, SeaWorld has rides, activities and shows to satisfy all.

Signature Ride

Journey to Atlantis is both a roller coaster and a water ride. With fabulous special effects, you'll travel to the ancient lost civilization, but not before dropping 60 feet into a watery world.

Other Attractions

In addition to thrill rides, SeaWorld has Sesame Street Bay of Play, with kiddie rides and Sesame Street characters as well as the 4-D show Lights, Camera, Imagination. There are also plenty of marine life exhibits and shows to explore and enjoy. The park also has a number of shops so visitors can pick up treasures to remember the day.

Food Options

SeaWorld offers the unique experience of dining with Shamu on his private poolside patio. The park is home to a number of restaurants and food outlets serving favorites such as pizza, burgers and smoothies, as well as an assortment of seafood. There's also the Seaport Market to pick up quick sandwiches and snacks.

Safety Record

Reported accidents at SeaWorld San Diego have been limited to injuries sustained by performers and trainers employed by the park.

Address 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: 800-257-4268
Hours: Park hours are generally 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. However, the schedule is subject to change, so check the calendar on the website for specific details by day.
Price: Single-day admission is $69.99 for guests ages 10 and older, $61.99 for guests ages 3 through 9, and free for guests 2 and younger. If you buy online, all tickets are $61.99. Parking is $14 for cars. SeaWorld also offers multipark tickets. See the website for details.

Other Noteworthy Parks Near San Diego:

Nickel City
Balboa Park
Knotts Berry Farm
Boomers Park
Ultra Zone

Photo: Mike Cohn; Flickr

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