Location: Downtown San Diego (Marina District)
Open Daily: 10AM – 4PM (Times May Vary by Occasion); Closed Wednesdays
Cost: $10 ($5 for Seniors 65+). Parking Costs Extra.
Features: This Leading-Edge, Interactive Children’s Museum Encourages Kids of All Ages to Think, Play, and Create.
San Diego Children’s Museum Highlights: Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, The New Children’s Museum helps them find and display their creativity. The Museum opened in a new state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly building in 2008. Built from the ground up exclusively for kids, the children’s activity centers are full of natural light and plenty of space to allow kids to think, play, and create in a comfortable environment.
What to Expect
- Consider setting aside at least three hours to enjoy the Museum. Many families spend the entire day.
- The Museum is split up into galleries and studios covering three floors. They include a room specifically for toddlers 2 years old and under and a room specifically for teenagers.
- Kids have the opportunity to paint, conduct a photo shoot, build tents, work with artists, act out a drama on stage, climb walls, and much more.
- If you don’t know where to start, ask for the color-coded cards at the Admissions Desk. Each card takes you on a tour of the Museum depending on your interests. For example, there is a card for those who don’t have all day to spend at the Museum, a card for those who like contemporary art, a card for those who think they are too old for a Kid’s Museum, a card for kids who can’t stop moving around, and several others.
- All Children 16 years old and under must be accompanied by an adult.
- You are allowed to get a re-entry stamp if you want to take a break during the day.
- No “wheelie” shoes are allowed to be worn in the Museum.
Children’s Museum Map – View a map of all three floors. Scroll over each gallery and studio to learn more about the activities available at The New Children’s Museum.
Think-Play-Create Blog – Get an inside look at activities in the children’s museum through videos and announcements of upcoming events shared on the Museum’s blog.
Birthday Parties – Make your child’s trip all the more memorable by celebrating their birthday at the Children’s Museum.
Gift Shop - The large gift shop is a great place to find one-of-a-kind educational toys and gizmos for kids.
Food – With the exception of a few treats, the Children Museum’s Cafe provides only organic food, including sandwiches and salads. You will also find Dick Walker’s Pancake House next door, which closes about 2:30PM.
Information on Visiting the Children’s Museum in San Diego
Admission Prices: (Check to Confirm Hours; Costs are Approximate.)
- Parking will range from $2 – $10 (See more parking information below.)
- Entrance Fee is $10; (Free for Kids under 1 Years Old.)
- $5 for Seniors 65 and over and Active Military with I.D.)
- Memberships provide a great deal for families who want to visit more than once a year.
- You can visit for Free on the 2nd Sunday of each month. Admission cost is covered by Target stores. (Check the Admission Prices link above to make sure the program is still scheduled for your planned visit. You will find it listed under the current hours for the Museum.)
Directions from Google Maps to 200 West Island Avenue in San Diego, CA 92101. (At the Corner of Island Avenue and Front Street.)
Parking – There is Metered Street Parking near the Museum that runs about $1.25 per hour with a limit of 2 – 3 hours. (If you are lucky, you will find a few free street parking spots in the area. Street parking is also free on Sundays.) The Children’s Museum also offers a Parking Garage in an adjacent building. Bring the validation card with you and pay a flat rate of $10 at the Children’s Museum admission desk. To reach the parking garage, make a right off of Front Street immediately after passing Richard Walker’s Pancake House and just before you reach Island Avenue.
Traffic – Getting in and out of downtown using highways I-5, SR-163, and SR-94 is relatively easy. (If you are heading south on I-5, it is very easy to get to the Children’s Museum since the Front Street exit will take you all the way to the Museum at the corner of Island Avenue.)
Downtown San Diego is not a major employment center and thus there is very little rush hour traffic. Watch for slower traffic on the I-5 where it does a tight S-curve through downtown San Diego near the SR-163 interchange. When heading southbound on SR-163, stay to the left side unless you want to get on the I-5. (You will encounter a slight delay getting on the I-5 from SR-163.) You will also encounter a slight delay on SR-163 going into downtown when there is an event at Petco Park. Even though traffic backs up a little on SR-163, it continues to move along. When leaving downtown, remember that:
- 1st Avenue will get you to the I-5 North,
- 11th Avenue will get you to SR-163 and the I-5 North,
- E & J Streets will get you to the I-5 South, and
- G Street will get you to SR-94.
The traffic lights on these streets are synchronized and will generally move you along without delay. (Learn how to get the latest highway traffic updates.)
Once you are downtown, you will find most of the streets are one-way, on an alternating basis. (You can see them if you zoom in on Google Maps.) Broadway and Market Streets are both two-way streets running east-west. You will find that at several intersections you are not allowed to make a left turn off of Broadway or Market. Thus, if you need to make a left turn, it is often better to use a one-way street rather than Broadway and Market Streets.
All of the streets downtown move along quite well. The only exceptions are 4th and 5th Avenues through the Gaslamp Quarter in the evenings and around Petco Park before and after events. One other exception is crossing train tracks that run along Harbor Drive in front of the Convention Center. You can cross over the train tracks at Market, Front, 1st, and 5th. Sometimes, freight trains block the latter few crossover streets. If you see them sitting still, it means they are checking their brakes, so it could take a while. Don’t wait. Move farther north towards Market Street to cross over the tracks.
Transit - Both the Blue and Orange Trolley Lines move through Downtown San Diego and get you within four blocks of most attractions. The Orange Line stops two blocks away from the Children’s Museum at the Convention Center Station. (See San Diego Transit Information for the downtown transit map and information for the online Transit Planner.) Walking around Downtown San Diego is easy since it is flat.