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20+ Fun Things to Do in Poway with Kids (& Surrounding Areas)

20+ Fun Things to Do in Poway with Kids (& Surrounding Areas)

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Poway is known as the “City in the Country.” Located amongst the hills, the area is lush and diverse. Poway and its surrounding areas have many great indoor and outdoor resources for families and children of all ages.

Take an Epic Family Picture on Potato Chip Rock

Tourists and locals flock to the Mount Woodson trail just to take a picture on Potato Chip Rock. The thin rock seems to defy gravity, and even though it’s only about 20 feet above the ground, the right camera angle can make it seem like you’re death-defying. Besides the great pictures, the summit also offers great views. The main trail that leads to the summit begins at Lake Poway and is almost 7 miles long. There is an alternate route from the southeast that is only about half that long and has more shade. The trailhead is on CA-67 just south of the fire station. The climb is fairly steep with 1220 feet elevation gain and is on paved road. Take plenty of water, especially during the summer months. Leashed dogs welcome.

Little Artists

Any kid interested in art would benefit from attending the Little Artists program in Poway and Rancho Bernardo. At Little Artists, qualified art instructors teach basic techniques that can be built on. Children ages 4 and up progress at their own pace, working with one medium at a time. Kids begin by drawing and progress to watercolors, acrylics, and oils. Art not only fosters creativity, it develops problem solving, confidence and fine motor skills.

After School with Poway Trail Riding Company

The Poway Trail Riding Company believes that every horse experience should be memorable and enjoyable. The company offers much more than your typical trail rides, including a unique after school program for kids in Kindergarten-High School. The After School at the Ranch program provides a safe space where kids can participate in a variety of ranch and equestrian activities, as well as get help with their school work. Participants will learn safety, horsemanship and how to handle and care for horses both on the ground and in the saddle. Additionally, kids will also learn about ranch maintenance, gardening, cooking and enjoy games and trail rides. Transportation is available if your child is part of the Poway Unified School District or attends any of the Scripps Ranch Schools.

The Poway Trail Riding Company also offers Trail Rides, Camps, Hands-On Horse Experiences and Birthday Party Packages.

Musical Theater Camp with Poway OnStage

Every year Poway OnStage provides a special opportunity for children that are excited about theater. In March, Poway OnStage hosts the Missoula Children’s Theater. MCT holds open auditions for children ages 5-18. From the audition, 60 children are selected for an all-expenses-paid day camp at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. A part of the Arts in Education Initiative, this opportunity is invaluable for the North County Inland community.

Family Climbing Lesson at Vertical Hold

Tired of the playground? Climbing is a great indoor alternative for the whole family to enjoy an athletic and fun afternoon together! Vertical Hold Poway is a large climbing gym with bouldering sections, 45 top ropes, and an arch dedicated to lead climbing. Group lessons are $35/person an include a private 1-hour lesson, full gear, and a day pass. There are no age restrictions for climbing, but you must be 13 years old to belay. Vertical Hold is also available for birthday parties and scout groups.

Parent-Junior Golf League

North County San Diego has an abundance of Golf Courses. Beautiful weather makes it easy to enjoy playing golf year round. A great way to share that experience with your kids is the Parent-Junior golf League at the Oaks North Golf Course. For 10 weeks from August-October, teams play every Sunday at 2 pm to compete for various prizes. The league is a great way to spend the afternoon bonding over a shared love of golf.

Old Poway Park

Old Poway Park has the feel of a quaint little town that time forgot. Visitors are transported back to the early Twentieth Century when they wander the grounds. The park has its own 1907 Baldwin No. 3 Steam Locomotive that circles the grounds (currently under repair). There are also a Trolley and Cable Car that you can ride for a small fee. The park is home to the Heritage Museum and the Nelson House. The Heritage Museum has graphics and exhibits that trace major phases of Poway’s history. On Saturday mornings the park hosts a Farmer’s Market from 8am-1pm.

Kids Eat for Free at The Hamburger Factory

Located in Old Poway Park, The Hamburger Factory is a family restaurant with an Old West motif and friendly service. On Tuesday Nights, kids (10 years and younger) eat for free (with the purchase of an adult entree). If you’re in the area, Tuesdays might just be the day you need to take a break from cooking and enjoy a family night out!

Become a Junior Nature Ranger at Blue Sky Ecological Reserve

The Blue Sky Ecological Reserve is a 700-acre canyon filled with Oak trees and various wildlife. The reserve has many hiking trails that are open to the public during daylight hours. This February, Blue Sky Reserve will host a Junior Nature Ranger Day for kids 6-10 years old. Docents will lead children through activities which will allow them to experience and learn about nature while having fun outdoors. At the end of the day, the kids will receive a Junior Ranger Certificate. Space is Limited, call 858-668-4781 for more information.

Toddler Time at Get Air Trampoline Park

Trampoline Parks have become a staple in kids entertainment. Get Air offers a wide variety of activities for older kids which include the Trampoline area, a Foam Pit, Ninja Course and Fidget Ladder. For families with younger kids Get Air offers a special Toddler Time. On Tuesdays and Thursday from 10 am to Noon, children under 46” can jump without having to look out for older kids. (Toddler time not available during blackout dates or holidays).

Go Fish at Lake Poway

One of the best lakes in North County, Lake Poway is the go-to place for many locals. Not only does the lake offer rentals and fishing, the park itself is green and shaded, with loads of trails, picnic areas, an archery range, and playgrounds.

Lake Poway has many fishing options including shoreline, dock or boat. The lake is stocked with Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, Sunfish, and Trout. The Concessions Stand also sells everything from bait to equipment. California State Licenses are not required to fish on the lake, however, you must purchase a permit. Fees are $3 Youth (8-15), $7 Adult, $3 Senior and $4 for Military (with ID). There are also options for 10-day permits.

New this year, the lake is offering free Trout Fishing Seminars. With dates in March and April, the seminar is geared towards all ages. Learn basic fishing techniques, the difference between baits, which equipment to use, and practice casting.

In February, Lake Poway hosts its 23rd Annual Youth Fishing Derby. The event starts on Friday, February 2nd, with a Pizza dinner at 5 pm, followed by a fishing seminar in which pros will demonstrate techniques on how to properly rig a line. Families can camp overnight for only $15 per car. On Saturday, the lake will be stocked with 1,500 pounds of rainbow trout and is only open to youth ages 15 years and younger from 6 am to 12 pm. Along with fishing, the event will include prizes, entertainment, games, bounce houses, and a Free BBQ lunch. Winner must be present to claim prizes at the 1 pm Award Ceremony.

The lake offers many boat rental options. Motorboats range from $15/hour-$30 for an all-day fishing rental. Rowboats for fishing are $12 per half day, and $20 per full day, if you’re not fishing, a rowboat is $13 per hour. The lake also has Pedal Boats available for $10/half hour, $15/hour.

Open 7 days a week the Entry Station charges a $10 parking fee for all non-Poway residents on weekends and holidays. Beer and wine permitted (no glass). Leashed dogs permitted (100 ft away from shoreline).

Learn to Skate at Poway Ice

Ice Skating is not only a great source of exercise, it’s entertaining and fun! If your kids don’t know how to skate yet, Poway Ice offers a 7 week Learn to Skate program for all ages and ability levels. During the program, kids will meet new friends while building ice-confidence and learning sportsmanship. Younger children (ages 3-6) can take the Snowplow Sam or Parent and Me class. Youth Classes (ages 7-15) include Basic Figure Skating, Hockey or Freestyle. If the whole family is learning to skate, Poway Ice also offers adult classes. Group classes include admission and skate rental on the day your class is scheduled, as well as an additional public skating pass per week. On the last day of class, you can even bring a friend!

Poway Ice also has a Youth Hockey League, is open for Public Skating and is available for birthday parties.

Cosmic Bowling at Poway Fun Bowl

Bowling is always a safe family bet. Poway Fun Bowl is family-owned and has 32 lanes, an arcade, pool tables, and a friendly staff. Older kids looking for something to do on the weekend should check out Cosmic Bowling at Poway Fun Bowl. On Friday and Saturday Nights at 9:30 pm Poway Fun Bowl turns the lights down and the music up. Neon lights make the alley glow and videos play on the TV screens. Cosmic Bowl is $19 per person and includes 3 hours of bowling and shoes. Poway Fun Bowl is also available for birthday parties.

Poway Skate Park

North County has lots of great Skate Parks, however since they are unsupervised, you never really know who or what your children will be exposed to. While the Poway Skate Park is also unsupervised, it happens to be located across from the Police Station. This detail leaves the park a bit more wholesome than others. Poway Skate Park has 12,000 feet of concrete that incorporates pool-style bowls and street elements. Helmets and pads are required at all times and adult supervision is mandatory for children 14 and younger. On Wednesday evenings, the City of Poway also offers skate lessons facilitated by SD Skate Life. Skaters as young as six can learn the fundamentals of riding, safety, and early trick development.

Poway Branch Library

The newly remodeled Poway Branch is open and airy with a friendly and welcoming staff. A neighborhood favorite, the Poway Branch contributes to the community by offering hundreds of free events and classes year round. Programs aimed at every age group make this library a great family resource.

The library’s Children’s Area is open, bright and offers many programs for kids of all ages. Younger children can enjoy several craft times and story times including Bilingual storytimes in Spanish and Chinese. Older kids can enjoy Art classes, a Sewing Club, Lego Challenges, Kid’s Movies and several Coding and Tech classes. Makey Makey uses everyday objects, such as fruit, and turns them into digital musical instruments. Snap Circuits teaches kids how to make a circuit. Kids can even learn coding and Javascript at Coding for Kids.

There are also many teen programs at the Poway Branch. Groups can play Dungeons and Dragons or have Pokemon Card battles. There is a Teen Author Panel, Pizza and Movie Nights, Open Mic Nights and Karaoke. Poway also hosts an after-hours Cosplay party.

The Poway Branch is also a great resource for adults. For the body, there are Tai Chi, Yoga, Trataka, Zumba and Hoop Fitness classes. There are book clubs, Author visits, and classes on Citizenship and Financial Planning. Adults can also enjoy a Coloring Club, or learn all about 3D printing.

The Friends of the Poway Library Bookstore has great deals on gently used books and DVDs. Proceeds fund the purchase of new library materials and support library programs. The Friends of the Poway Library also host Acoustic Musicians every second Saturday of the month.

Color Me Mine (Rancho Bernardo)

Color Me Mine offers a fun family activity that can include kids of multiple ages. The process is simple: pick a piece of ceramic and paint it, Color Me Mine will fire it and then you get to take it home. Help your children make keepsakes or gifts for grandparents. Color Me Mine is a fun way to express creativity and spend some quality time together. Color Me Mine is also available for birthday parties.

Enjoy a Mani-Pedi at Escape Nails & Bar (Rancho Penasquitos)

Pamper yourself and your mini-me at Escape Nails and Bar in Rancho Penasquitos. Kids will love the colorful chairs sized just for them! The Kids Fun Mini Mani & Pedi service (for kids 10 and under), includes light exfoliation, an essential oil hand and foot massage and polish with nail art. Your child will feel like royalty after such luxurious treatment!

Rancho Penasquitos Skate Park

Renovated in 2014 the Rancho Penasquitos Skate Park is a 22,000 square foot concrete skating plaza. Mostly a street oriented park, Rancho Penasquitos has tons of space and a great flow since everything is connected. Helmets and protective pads must be worn. Parents must be present with children 12 and younger.

Kids Night Out at Kid Ventures (4S Ranch)

Kid Ventures is a colorful playscape that lets your child’s imagination come to life. The interior features several areas including a Fire Station, Theater, School House, Castle, Rock Wall and Pirate Ship. While children play, parents can relax and enjoy a coffee or snack in the Parent Lounge.

Kid Ventures also offers a Kids Night Out. From 5pm-9pm kids will enjoy themed fun with crafts, activities, and dinner! Parents can enjoy a quiet evening to themselves while knowing their children are having fun in a safe environment. Kid Ventures is also available for birthday parties.

Movie Nights at Waypoint Public (4S Ranch)

Waypoint Public is not only family-friendly but provides indoor and outdoor kid areas, so that dining is fun for all. The indoor kids’ space is made up of hexagons, not unlike a beehive. The top three house TVs and the bottom three are little nooks that the kids can cozy into. On Tuesdays, Waypoint Public has been hosting Family Movie nights. The movies start at 5:30 pm and a portion of the evening’s proceeds go to Jefferson Elementary School. An added bonus for parents: Happy Hour is until 6 pm!

DeLeon Dynamics (Carmel Mountain Ranch)

DeLeon Dynamics is a specialized gym that focuses on Aerial, Parkour, Cirque, and Movement. For Aerial training (7 years and older) the gym is set up for all types of aerial equipment, including Silks, Lyra, hammocks, Static Trapeze, Aerial Cube and more! DeLeon’s Parkour and Urban Ninja Program (6 years and older) includes skills you’d need to be an American Ninja Warrior. The area includes a bars course, finger holds, a traveling wall, incline walls, Chinese poles, vault boxes and more. Younger children can enjoy Pre-K Parkour & Cirque or Flying & Floor FUNdamentals. DeLeon also has open gym, camps, Parents Night Out and is available for birthday parties.

Helen Woodward Animal Center (Rancho Santa Fe)

For over 40 years Helen Woodward Animal Center has been committed to the philosophy that people help animals, and animals help people. The no-kill facility provides a variety of services to the community which includes many programs geared towards children. The center offers many kids camps throughout the year. In the You Can Be A Veterinarian Camp, kids have the rare opportunity to practice veterinary skills, interact with animals, and gain experience with equipment. Vet Camps are offered as a Surgical Camp or Internal Medicine Camp.

Children ages 2-4 can participate in the Mommy and Me class – First Furiends. Children will learn about animal communication, safety around animals, therapy animals and more through songs, play and animal interaction.

Helen Woodward also has a DogSmart program which teaches people of all ages how to safely interact with dogs in a variety of settings. Not only will children learn the proper and safe way to meet a new dog, they will learn the basics of dog behavior and how to handle encounters with stray or aggressive dogs.

Helen Woodward is also available for birthday parties and scout groups.

Drea Colores: Drea Colores grew up in Tucson, AZ and now lives in Carlsbad. Writer + Maker + Photographer. IG: dreacolores