While I love going to the beach and the pool in the summer, sometimes I just want to stay clean and cool and embark on an indoor museum adventure. There are some exciting exhibitions currently on view, or that will be opening soon, at a variety of San Diego Museum Council member museums that I highly recommend visiting with your family this summer. Make a bucket list and try to visit at least half of these memorable and educational exhibitions, your kids will love you for it.

The list below is organized according to geographical region and closing date. If you are looking for a whole-day experience, then scroll to the end of the blog where you will find a list of curated day-trips that include a museum, restaurant for lunch, and a play destination. Have fun exploring museums this summer!
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While a typical date might include dinner and drinks, why not opt for a more creative and playful day at one of the engaging museums San Diego has to offer? February is the perfect month to explore museums since it is Museum Month. All month long, over 40 museums offer half-off admission with a Macy’s Museum Month pass. Pick up your Museum Month pass at any San Diego county Macy’s store and let your adventure begin! Enjoy this list I compiled featuring 10 museums that have a romantic edge, location or host a Valentine’s Day event.
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You don’t have to be in Balboa Park to feel the buzz of the Balboa Park Centennial celebration. 2015 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-1916, an international fair presented in one of the nation’s largest urban parks, San Diego’s Balboa Park. Museums and cultural centers all around San Diego are presenting exhibitions throughout the year honoring not only Balboa Park but also, the people that helped develop the city, and the artifacts that provide tangible evidence to our collective history. Enjoy learning about the cultural and artistic heritage of San Diego through these exhibitions. For additional information on Centennial celebration happenings and more details on the following listings visit http://celebratebalboapark.org/.
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Blockbuster exhibitions recently opened at The San Diego Museum of Art and San Diego History Center (SDHC) in Balboa Park that provides the perfect balance of engaging art and interactive experiences perfect for the whole family. You are not going to want to miss Gauguin to Warhol: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery at The San Diego Museum of Art, an exhibition that tells the story of Modern art through a survey of important works, and Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss at SDHC, an exhibit that features original works by San Diego native Dr. Seuss in a whimsical installation that kids will love. Gauguin to Warhol will be on view through January 27, 2015 and Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss will be on view through December 31, 2015.

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San Diego is rich in arts and culture. I was lucky to grow up in America's Finest City, and experience many museums across the County. Once I started a family of my own I knew I wanted to instill the same love of museums with my kids, and began visiting many with them. I wasn't the least surprised to find they love them as much as I do!

There are SO many family-friendly museums and cultural establishments in town. From the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, to San Diego Botanic Garden, there's sure to be a destination that fits your family's interests. Kids FREE in October is a great time to gather the family, and visit some of the almost 40 establishments taking part in the promotion.

Here are a few of my top picks for families by category. I've included the general location to help if you'd like to combine outings for the day. Some places are listed in multiple categories.

For Families That Love Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

  • San Diego Air & Space Museum (Balboa Park)
  • USS Midway Museum (Downtown San Diego, near the Convention Center)
  • Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum (Miramar)
  • San Diego Automotive Museum (Balboa Park)
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum (Balboa Park)
  • For Those That Love Nature
  • Living Coast Discovery Center (Chula Vista)
  • San Diego Botanic Garden (Encinitas)
  • Japanese Friendship Garden (Balboa Park)
  • Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center (Imperial Beach)
  • Cabrillo National Monument (Pt. Loma)
  • The Water Conservation Garden (Rancho San Diego)
  • The NAT (San Diego Natural History Museum ~ Balboa Park)

For Those That Love Science and Conservation

  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (Balboa Park)
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps (La Jolla)

For Kids That Rock

  • Museum of Making Music (Carlsbad)

For The Creative Minds (Each are recommended for more mature children)

  • San Diego Museum of Art (Balboa Park)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (Balboa Park)
  • Museum of Photographic Arts (Balboa Park)
  • Oceanside Museum of Art (Oceanside)
  • Mingei International Museum (Balboa Park)

For Preschool Age Kids

  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum (Balboa Park)
  • San Diego Children's Discovery Museum (Escondido)
  • San Diego Botanic Garden ~ Visit the Seeds of Wonder Children's Garden! (Encinitas)
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center ~ Check out Kid City! (Balboa Park)

For Families That Love Local History (More Mature Kids Recommended

  • Marston House Museum and Gardens ~ The Garden Tour is great for kids. (Balboa Park)
  • San Diego History Center (Balboa Park)

We've already downloaded our Kids FREE in October Coupon, and have a list of places we want to visit. You can download yours HERE. Perhaps we'll see you at one of the 38 participants!

Contributed by Lori Gannod
SoCal with Kids

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