Summer excitement continues to rise as San Diego attractions reopen for visitors. Enjoy summer fun at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Balboa Park’s gardens and museums. You can also visit popular aquariums and San Diego’s beautiful bays where rich Naval history and outdoor activities abound.
Here is a list of San Diego attractions ready to open to make your visit safe, healthy, memorable and fun.
San Diego Zoo & Safari Park
The world-famous San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park reopened on June 20. At the zoo, you can check out its newest Africa Rocks exhibit and Elephant Odyssey with African and Asian species. Urban Jungle features giraffes and rhinos, and the Outback habitat has the largest colony of koalas outside of Australia. At the Safari Park, wild animals roam free over vast expanses as they would in their native habitats of Africa and Asia. Some of the most mysterious animals from the Land Down Under reside at the Walkabout Australia exhibit, including kangaroos, kookaburras and cassowaries.
To ensure safe, healthy guest experiences, both parks will operate at less than 50% capacity, limiting some shows, dining, shopping and transportation offerings. Upon arrival, guests answer a few brief health screening questions before entering. All guests 2 years of age and older must wear protective masks. Extensive signage and team members are roaming through the grounds to remind guests about safe distancing practices. All tickets should be purchased beforehand, and guests cannot exit and re-enter the zoo or Safari Park on the same day.
Balboa Park is the cultural heart of San Diego and home to stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, 17 museums and much more. You can spend an entire day discovering the many wonders of the park and strolling the beautiful gardens. The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden displays more than 130 varieties of roses, full of fragrance, color and beauty. The Alcazar Garden recreates the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain.
The park’s museums range from aerospace and automotive to model railroads and natural history. Openings include the San Diego Air & Space Museum (June 12), San Diego Automotive Museum (June 19), Japanese Friendship Garden (June 22), Fleet Science Center and San Diego Natural History Museum (July 3) and Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center and San Diego Model Railroad Museum (July 4).
Safety measures include adjusting maximum occupancy rules to limit the number of guests. All guests 2 years of age and older must wear facial masks. Museums must provide disposable maps, pamphlets and guides and make them available digitally to be viewed on personal electronic devices. Group tours combining individuals from different households are temporarily discontinued. There are also be designated separate routes for entry and exit through exhibits, galleries and viewing areas.
Aquariums and Museums
Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla opens July 4 to the general public. This aquarium is more than a place to see beautiful fish and spectacular ocean views. It brings you into the exciting world of research and scientific discovery with more than 60 habitats, from local kelp forests to tropical coral reefs.
Some of Birch’s safety measures include limiting guest capacity and designating a unidirectional pathway throughout the aquarium to encourage social distancing. All guests 2 years of age and older must wear facial masks. Timed tickets and advanced reservations will be required for all guests, including members. Additional hand sanitizer stations will also be available throughout the aquarium.
SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort reopened June 20. Designed to educate children about life under the sea, the aquarium features fun marine exhibits and a 175,000-gallon aquarium displaying a replication of the Lost City of Atlantis. At the Kingdom of the Seahorse, guests learn how about these amazing mythical-like creatures. Jellyfish Discovery! features more than 100 jellyfish gracefully dancing around ceiling-high tube tanks with multi-colored spotlights creating a spectacular experience.
SEA LIFE Aquarium has introduced a wide range of health and safety measures. Reduced daily capacity allows for social distancing, and “Stand Clear” signage helps keep distance between groups. All guests must participate in a non-invasive temperature check for entry and wear facial masks. Hand sanitizers are available throughout the aquarium, and high-frequency touch points get extra cleaning attention throughout the day.
The popular USS Midway Museum on San Diego Bay reopens its gangplank on July 1. More than 200,000 servicemen served on the naval aircraft carrier during its 47-year history before being decommissioned in 1992. Experience the legacy of the USS Midway and view its extensive collection of naval aircraft with the ship’s audio tour. Midway volunteers, who served aboard the carrier, bring the flight deck to life recounting stories of life on the high seas.
To ensure guest safety, the Midway will focus the onboard experience to the flight and hangar decks. Touchless, non-evasive temperature checks will be conducted on guests and staff prior to entry. All guests and staff must wear face coverings while onboard. The Midway reminds guests to maintain physical distancing through ‘Check Your 6’ signage and floor markers, along with monitoring by museum staff. A unidirectional tour route guides guests across the hangar deck and flight deck.
San Diego Bay
San Diego Bay is one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbors. It bustles with activity throughout the year and serves as the homeport for Navy ships and sport-fishing vessels. One of the best ways to see San Diego is from the waters of the bay. Hornblower Cruises and Events, Flagship Cruises & Events and other tour companies offer relaxing sightseeing cruises along with seasonal whale watching excursions, dinner cruises and more. Passengers can enjoy unique views of active U.S. Navy ships, water wildlife, downtown’s dynamic skyline and the magnificent San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
Some health and safety procedures on tours include limiting the number of passengers to allow for maximum physical distancing. All crew members and guests 3 years of age and older must wear face coverings. All crew must complete daily pre-boarding health checks. Sanitizers are readily available and accessible in all public spaces, and high-contact areas (seats, tables, bars, etc.) have increased cleaning frequency.
A 4,600-acre aquatic playground, Mission Bay is another San Diego attraction reopening for visitors. Mission Bay features separate, designated areas for sailing, power boating, fishing, swimming and water skiing. Water enthusiasts can also enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing. Around the bay’s shorelines are 20 miles of paths for walkers, runners, bicyclists and in-line skaters.
Mission Bay provides lots of fun and healthy activities on land and water to enjoy San Diego’s great outdoors while social distancing.
Safe Traveler Pledge
As San Diego attractions reopen, the community encourages all visitors to take a pledge for safe, healthy travel while in the destination, from wearing a mask or cloth face covering in public to being patient with staff at area attractions, hotels and restaurants as they learn to adapt to new safety procedures. Read and download San Diego’s “Safe Traveler Pledge” prior to your visit.