Top 5 Tourist Atractions in San Diego
San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world with over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species. The sunny maritime climate of southern California is well suited to many animals and almost all of the major exhibits of the San Diego Zoo are in the open-air. The San Diego Zoo is also extremely active in conservation and preservation efforts and many species are bred in captivity for release into their native habitats where appropriate.
SeaWorld San Diego
With more than 130 million visitors since its opening in 1964, SeaWorld is the leading tourist attraction in San Diego and one of the most popular marine-life parks in the world. Through shows, displays and enclosures people can learn about the world’s oceans and the creatures that inhabit them such as dolphins, killer whales, walruses, penguins and Polar bears. Rides include a flume roller coaster, rafting through the Shipwreck Rapids and a simulated helicopter ride to experience the Wild Arctic. The main attraction however is the Shamu Show, which involves dancing fountains and talented performances by killer whales.
Travelers who want to put themselves in a relaxing mood may want to head to Coronado Island, where a laid-back small-town atmosphere prevails. The quaint island community is connected to San Diego by the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Whether strolling on the beach or riding a rental bike around the inland, visitors can partake of the charm of this community, home to the Coronado museum of History and Art, the shops and art galleries at Ferry Landing, and views of San Diego across the bay. A “must” stop is the Hotel del Coronado, which is said to be the inspiration for the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz.
USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway Museum, located on the Embarcadero’s Navy Pier, offers visitors a chance to explore, from stem to stern, one of the longest-serving aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy. Nearly a quarter-million sailors served on the Midway from 1945 to 1992, when it was retired. It has been a San Diego tourist attraction since 2004, receiving more than one million visitors annually, making it one of the world’s most visited ship museums. Guided tours take visitors to the ship’s sleeping and officer quarters, engine room and galley. There’s even a flight simulator for more adventuresome guests.
Balboa Park isn’t just another park. It has plenty of green space, flora and fauna, naturally, but it also contain 15 museums, a carousel, miniature railroad, the renowned San Diego Zoo and the historic Old Globe Theatre, among other attractions. The list of museums include a couple of art museums while others are devoted to natural history, air and space, science and the famous Museum of Man. Numerous gardens are devoted to native plants, roses, cactus, a veterans memorial and a children’s garden. The nation’s largest urban garden also includes restaurants, and biking and hiking trails.