family zone

FUN FOR EVERYONE!

The 2023 Big West Zone Institute is the perfect place to bring your family, with plenty of fun for kids and grandkids at the Town Country Resort.

AT THE RESORT

The sprawling pool complex is the centerpiece of Town and Country Resort. Kids can splash in the zero entry main pool while parents kick back in comfortable lounge chairs.

Adjacent to the main pool, the gradual entrance kid’s pool is the perfect splash pad for little ones age 0-3, while a third, quieter pool with a proper deep end is located outside the Regency Tower. The highlight of the main pool complex is the Twister, a 4-story, 150 foot long looping waterslide.

Tweens and teens can tap into their competitive side with a friendly round of corn hole, ping pong, or sand volleyball at the designated areas around the resort grounds. T&C Park, a three-acre green space nestled on the shores of the San Diego River, is the perfect place to run, picnic, and play frisbee. Check the activities schedule for current happenings, including dive in movies at the main pool, live music, and Friday night s’mores.

LOCAL AREA

Steps from the resort, Fashion Valley Mall boasts more than 200 stores spanning luxury designer brands to accessible on-trend fashions for teens. Kids flock to Gepetto’s toy shop, the Build-A-Bear Workshop, and the LEGO store, with interactive demo stations and imaginative builds on display, plus all of the latest and greatest LEGO sets.

Encompassing a whopping 7,220 acres of natural and developed recreational areas, Mission Trails Regional Park is one of the nation’s largest urban parks, located just 20 minutes from Town and Country Resort by car. The 1.5 mile Visitors Center Loop Trail is a popular pick for families, while the various paths that meander up Cowles Mountain offer more of a challenge for teens (and pay off with amazing views). When it’s too hot to hike outside, try scaling the walls at the Mesa Rim climbing center. The modern facility has bouldering routes for everyone from absolute beginners to expert climbers. Discounted day passes are available for youth (age 4-17).

Closer to the hotel, soak up some history at Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, the first of the great California missions, founded in 1769. The tranquil compound is home to a church, chapel, meditation gardens, and a museum housing historical artifacts and photos of Kumeyaay elders. Tours are offered Monday through Friday and mass is held daily.

NEARBY

San Diego’s top attractions are a snap to get to from Town and Country Resort, including Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo (just 10 minutes away by car). The zoo’s newest attraction is the Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, an interactive play area where kids can explore four unique habitats and learn about conservation. In Balboa Park, the new Comic-Con Museum is a pop-culture paradise showcasing movie props, costumes, photo ops and more. Current exhibits include an immersive tribute to Spider-Man and a PAC-MAN Arcade.

Teens and kids of all ages will have a blast at Belmont Park, just 15 minutes from Town and Country Resort by car. The beachfront amusement park in Mission Beach is a beacon for fun, with challenging midway games, laser tag, mini golf, and classic retro rides, including the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster. The Plunge, a luxury indoor swimming pool, is also located onsite.

Mission Bay Park is San Diego’s water wonderland, with a sprawling water sports zone for jet skiing and kayaking, plus calmer coves that can be explored on a pedal boat or stand up paddleboard. Visit Mission Bay Sportcenter or Mission Bay Aquatic Center for boat and equipment rentals.

Mission Bay is also home to SeaWorld San Diego, the acclaimed theme park and aquarium that offers up-close encounters with sloths, dolphins, and other aquatic animals. Younger kids can dance and pose for pictures with their favorite muppets at the Sesame Street Bay of Play, which has family-friendly rides and play areas, including a splash pad and giant bouncy house. Teens and older kids can test their courage on exciting thrill rides including Emperor, the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in California.

A quick drive north in Linda Vista, Skateworld San Diego, San Diego’s only indoor roller skating rink, is a local gem that offers all-ages skating six days a week with a complimentary side of nostalgia for parents.

TAKE THE TROLLEY

No car? No problem! Town and Country Resort is steps from the Fashion Valley trolley station, making it easy to ride to San Diego’s top destinations. Here are three spots to hop on (and off) for a full day of family fun.

 

OLD TOWN

With historical buildings dating back to the 1800s, Old Town San Diego State Park is the perfect place to spark imagination and travel back in time. Explore the buildings set around the Historic Plaza to experience yesteryear in San Diego. Then, make your way to Fiesta de Reyes, a gated enclave with 19 specialty shops bursting with Mexican folk art and one-of-a-kind treasures. On weekends, a mariachi band and colorful folklorico dancers perform on the courtyard stage.

Top stops for kids and teens include the Sheriff’s Museum, Old Town Model Railroad Depot, Mason Street Schoolhouse, GUNNZO Japanese Toys and Gifts, and Cousin’s Candy Shop (for saltwater taffy, fudge, and a rainbow of jelly beans). If your teen loves a good ghost story, take an evening tour of the Whaley House Museum, known as the number one most haunted house in the United States. Nearby, Heritage Park showcases six restored Victorian homes and San Diego’s first synagogue. The Coral Tree Tea House offers a “Princess and Prince Tea” for kids 5-8 (reservations required).

 

SEAPORT VILLAGE

Boutique shops, an elaborate carousel, and cobblestone courtyards with fountains and duck ponds delight the younger set at Seaport Village. The popular waterfront locale recently got spruced up with colorful murals and an infusion of new retailers offering enticing souvenirs, including seashells, kites, plush toys, and silly socks. Time your visit for a weekend afternoon and enjoy live music from 1-4PM.

 

CONVENTION CENTER STATION

Steps from the Convention Center trolley station, The New Children’s Museum is an arts-based museum that encourages kids to think, play, and create. Current exhibits include Whammock!, a giant, three-dimensional, climbable sculpture made from braided nylon rope, and Wobbleland, an exclusive play space where infants and toddlers can interact with giant food sculptures, including an avocado teeter-totter and cheese tunnel.

Across Harbor Drive, behind the San Diego Convention Center, Wheel Fun Rentals offers beach cruisers, kids bikes, and four-wheel surrey bikes perfect for cruising around the Embarcadero with the fam. Ride around The Rady Shell at Jacob’s Park and check out the “Coming Together” sculpture by San Diego artist Niki de Saint Phalle at the east end of the convention center.

Convention Center Station is also a short walk from the Gaslamp District. Follow the Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade to the foot of 5th Avenue, where you’ll see the famous Gaslamp Quarter sign.

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