With near constant 70-degree weather, visiting San Diego any time of year is the right time, but there’s something magical about San Diego summers. This vibrant city is bursting with attractions both big and small, and you’ll want to visit as many of them as you can during your stay. The best approach is to purchase a Go San Diego Card well before your visit.
You’ll get a guidebook describing every attraction, and be able to build the vacation of your dreams before you ever leave home. It doesn’t get any easier. Customize your itinerary to suit your desires. Once you’re here in sunny San Diego, simply present your passes via your smartphone at each attraction.
What is a Go San Diego Card and What Does it Really Save You?
Go San Diego Cards offer discounted tickets to over 45 of San Diego’s top attractions and tours. This includes everything from LEGOLAND and the San Diego Zoo to bicycling and kayaking tours. These cards can save you up to 55% on regular admission prices. You’ll commonly find a total savings across attractions of roughly 25%, which is still pretty great.
You can choose from one, two, three, five, or seven day passes. Which pass is best for you is determined by how long you’ll be visiting San Diego, coupled with the number of attractions you want to visit. If you know you can hit everything you want to see in two days, go for it. If you’re someone who needs more time, then the five and seven day passes are best.
To get a more in-depth look at what the card entails and to see a complete list of the attractions that are included, read our previous post about the value of a Go San Diego Card. It includes pricing and ideas for pairing attractions in ways you may not have thought about.
Bottom Line: The admission prices to top attractions are less expensive when purchasing them with a Go San Diego Card. You can customize your passes based on your interests, instead of a one-size-fits-all. And you get a few special perks along the way.
That’s what you call a win, win, win.
The Go San Diego Card Saves You Time
Time. It’s valuable. And similar to money, people love saving it. So it’s a good thing Go San Diego cards do just that. One way is by providing you with a free guidebook at the time of your purchase. This gives you step-by-step information about how to use your card, and priceless insights into each of the attractions and tours offered. Planners, rejoice. You’ll know where to go, what to bring, and what to do before you even get there.
The ultimate time-saver is the skip the line perk that many of the attractions offer Go San Diego card holders. Although it doesn’t apply to every attraction or tour, several of the most popular do include this perk, like San Diego Safari Park, San Diego Zoo, and Seaworld. San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Auto Museum, and Hollywood Behind the Scenes Tour also offer the skip the line perk. Simply bypass the ticketing booths, and instead head to the staff-manned turnstiles where they’ll scan your passes for admission.
GSD Notice: This only applies to those of you who have three-day, five-day, or seven-day passes, and they must be equipped with a QR code.
Pro Tip: Although it’s not advertised, unofficially you can save time by heading to the group sales booth at LEGOLAND to receive your GSD passes for admission. It’s considerably shorter than regular ticketing lines. Similarly, at the USS Midway Museum, you can also save time by avoiding the long ticket line and instead heading to the admission/bag check line upon arrival.
The Go San Diego Card Shares Secrets
When you’ve been to these attractions as many times as we have, you tend to pick up some insider tips along the way. We sure did, and we love to share our secrets with fellow Go San Diego Card holders. Keep reading for the inside scoop for LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Head to MiniLand, here you’ll find an array of funny gags like the gentleman sitting on the toilet at Grand Central Station. You’ll get big laughs from the little’s. In addition, Miniland has several through-the-looking-glass style windows where you’ll be able to catch people working on or repairing various exhibits. An exciting sight for kids whose dream job is playing with LEGO’s.
Even more exciting, if you bring your old, but complete mini figures, you can trade them with any employee in the park. All you have to do is look at their nametags, if they are sporting a picture of the figurine you want on it, you can stop them and ask them for a trade. (Psst…they have to trade with you!)
Lastly, and quite possibly, most deliciously, don’t miss out on a plate of apple fries topped with whipped cream. One word. Yum.
SeaWorld San Diego
Get to the park early (10:30 a.m.) and be amazed by the Flamingo Parade. Yup, that’s right. Every day Seaworld hosts a flamingo parade where roughly 20 Caribbean flamingos join their trainers on a casual stroll through the park. This parade departs at the park’s Avian Center and ends in front of Animal Connections by Seaport Marketplace where their exhibit is located.
You can also use this time to ask the trainers any questions you want about these vibrant birds. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the early parade, it also takes place at noon and again at 4 p.m. when they return to their home at the Avian Center.
Enjoy a fun, family coaster, and throw in a hands-on animal experience and you’ve officially discovered the newest attraction at the park – Manta. An exhilarating ride on a giant manta ray shaped coaster full of twists and turns sweeps over the 100,000 gallon aquarium. After the ride you can touch and feed the Bat Rays at the Manta pool.
San Diego Zoo
Ever heard of a Bog Garden? If you’re like most people, probably not. The Bog Garden, which you’ll in the Lost Forest, is home to carnivorous plants. That’s right plant-life is a dog-eat-dog world too. These meat-eating plants stick to insects, so have no fear checking them out. These exotic plants – Venus fly traps, sun dews, bladder worts, and pitcher plants – are truly beautiful, which is part of their allure to insects and quite impressive to learn about. Be sure not to overlook this section of the zoo.
When was the last time you were in a treehouse? You can enjoy a delectable meal at Albert’s Restaurant, a tree house eatery at the zoo. Named after one of the zoo’s legendary gorillas, Albert’s offers you the chance to take a break from exploring and refuel with American-style cuisine in a unique setting.
Panda Express: Visiting the Panda exhibit at the San Diego Zoo is always a difficult or time-consuming experience. Everyone wants to visit these cuties, so the line is typically really long – like hours long. To avoid this, get to the park right at opening and head straight to the Panda exhibit. You may still have to wait about twenty minutes, because other savvy visitors will have figured this out too. But twenty minutes is better than hours of waiting.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The Hidden Jungle at Zoo Safari Park is a climate-controlled, tropical rain forest teeming with tropical birds and plants as well as an abundance of wildlife. Already beautiful sanctuary, it becomes even lovelier during spring when a cacophony of color comes fluttering in. That’s right, thousands of vibrant and colorful butterflies hatch during this rainy season, resting atop lantanas, orchids, bromeliads, and even you.
Get up-close-and-personal with Rainbow Lorikeet’s at Lorikeet’s Landing. Unlike other parrots, they do not eat nuts and seeds, instead preferring pollen, flowers, and nectar. You can watch their beaks in action by purchasing a small cup of their special nectar and feeding them.
Tip: Ask staff if any new babies have arrived; you may be able to meet them!
Well, there you have it. The Go San Diego Card helps you see all of San Diego’s top attractions for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you’ll save time, and get the most out of each attraction with insider information.