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Field Trip Friday: San Diego Botanic Gardens

Field Trip Friday is where we’re sharing North County summer fun for the family. If you have a suggestion, please share in the comments!

san diego botanic garden main entrance

This Field Trip Friday, we’re talking about North County’s hidden gem, San Diego Botanic Gardens.

Located in Encinitas, San Diego Botanic Gardens has 27 themed gardens to meander through, two of which are children’s gardens. Both children’s gardens are full of hands-on activities to keep the kids busy on those long summer days.

Seeds of Wonder Garden

If you have toddlers and preschoolers, you’ll love this garden. A miniature train chugs through the garden while little ones do some digging and discovering. Children can dig their tiny hands into the sand pit to find small plastic dinosaurs. There are buckets of soapy water with lots of wands for bubble blowing.  They can also get their hands dirty with some gardening, transplanting small succulent seedlings from one container into plastic pots to take home, filling them up with soil and spraying their new plant with water.

The garden also hosts weekly events for toddlers:

  • Toddlers, Tales, and Tunes on Tuesday mornings at 10am (excluding the 1st Tue of the month)
  • Garden Arts & Crafts on Wednesdays at 10am
  • Trains, Paints and Plants on Thursdays at 10

This summer, Seeds of Wonder also be hosting a Fairy Festival and Insect Festival.

Hamilton Children’s Garden

Built for bigger school aged kids, this garden is filled with fun. The centerpiece of this garden is Toni’s Tree House, complete with rope bridges, tunnels, and a spiral staircase to exploring.

The Incredible Edibles teaches children about the plants and herbs they find on their dinner plates. The Pencil Arbor and Bonsai Sketching Area has sheets for kids to color and a trellis to hang their creations on. Garden Rhythms is an area where children can make music with instruments made from items found in nature, such as rocks, sticks, and water. The garden also has a labyrinth, a sundial, a huge tic-tac-toe board, and more. Kids can’t get bored here.
san diego botanic garden

Thursday Family Fun Night

Families are invited to pack up the kids and enjoy some outdoor fun at Thursday Family Fun Night from 4:30 pm – 8 pm, now through August 27. Each Thursday the Hamilton Children’s Garden comes alive with family-friendly entertainment designed to amuse both adults and children from 6 – 7 pm.

Snacks and Coffee

If you forget to pack snacks, or maybe stayed longer than you expected and start to get hungry, don’t worry. The Kona Koffee Hut sells coffee drinks, sodas and juices as well as your favorite kid snacks, string cheese, Goldfish crackers, and ice cream.


Hours & Parking

  • 9:00am – 5:00pm daily (Extended hours on Thursdays in Summer for Family Fun Night)
  • Parking is $2 (free for members)


  • Adults: $14
  • Seniors/Students/Active Military: $10
  • Children 3-12: $8
  • Children 2 and under: Free
  • Admission is always free for members and free to the public on the first Tuesday of every month.


Sugar Jones: Sugar Jones has been blogging about life since 2008. She has contributed to various local news stations for lifestyle segments, speaking about tech, social media, travel, food, and family.