San Diego Botanic Garden is a flower-filled wonderland perfect for parents and kids. With special children’s gardens, a treehouse and a miniature railroad, this botanical garden is one of San Diego’s secret hangouts for kids. Throughout the year, children can take part in fantastic themed events like Ladybug Day, Fairy Festival and the popular Mother’s Day weekend Chocolate Festival.

Since we live so close, we visit on the first Tuesday of every month when admission is free. Whether you live here and want to experience this Encinitas sight, or are on vacation in San Diego looking for something to do with kids, check out the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly known as Quail Botanical Gardens).

Hamilton Children’s Garden

This awesome garden will entertain any age. Older kids will like to climb Toni’s Tree House and jump on the rope bridge. Toddlers can crawl through the tunnels at the base.

There is an outdoor musical garden and hearth where kids can cook with play food.

In the Edible Garden, kids can see firsthand where herbs and vegetables come from and smell yummy ingredients from the “Salsa Bowl.”

Seeds of Wonder Children’s Garden

Enter Seeds of Wonder, the original children’s garden, just off the parking lot. Animal topiaries and a potted-plant man greet you as your children run to explore the dinosaur digging ground and miniature train set.

Bring a change of clothes in case your child gets wet playing with boats in the mountain stream or splashing with the fake fish at the water wheel. Once you’ve pulled your little one away from the playhouse, sit down at the nearby tables for your picnic lunch.

If it’s nice weather, stop by Moonlight Beach and let your kids run off some steam in the beach-side playground.

To really make use of your time at the garden, check the San Diego Botanic Garden event calendar for special craft days and evening activities. General admission for adults is $12, children ages 3-12 are $6, and 2 and under are free. Parking is $2, but fee is waived for carpoolers with 4 people in the car.

230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024