My friend Erin joined me on a trip to the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas this week. I had heard great things about their children’s area, and the photos looked beautiful, so we made the drive and met Erin and her kids there Thursday morning.
When you pull into the parking lot, be ready to pay, as you pay for entry and parking before pulling into the lot. Adults are $14, ($10 with a military discount), and kids over 3 are $8. Kids under 3 are free. Parking is $2. Since we are military, the cashier let me know that for this year, a donor has offered to cover a large portion of the cost of yearly memberships to military families.
Instead of $83, military families can get a year-long membership (to include parking) for only $28. If you choose to get a single adult pass (which I will do since Estelle is only one), the cost is only $18 for the year. Pretty great deal, as we will definitely be back.
We spent most of our time in The Seeds of Wonder Garden. This is a separate part of the garden (located on the opposite end of the parking lot) that has activities geared towards kids. The main garden also has a Children’s area (The Hamilton Children’s Garden), but we got a little confused and didn’t quite make it there! Next time.
The Seeds of Wonder Garden is a toddler haven: a dinosaur sandbox with bones
to dig up, sculptures to climb on, a bubble station, rocks to climb, a water table, a little library, a craft station, fake tattoos, a chicken coop, a model train, a plant-your-own-succulent station, and so much more, all free of charge. The kids loved it, and Erin and I enjoyed watching them and chatting with each other.
We packed lunches, so we ended up picnicking on tables near the chicken coop. We perused the main garden as well, stopping to enjoy the beautiful plants and water features. There is so much more to explore here – I’m afraid to say we hardly scratched the surface. We will definitely be back to enjoy the other Children’s garden, and maybe to check out the upcoming Chocolate Festival (May 7), or the Fairy Festival (June 18). Check out their website here for more information.