San Diego weekend getaway

We love weekend getaways, especially those that only require a short drive. So this past weekend we decided to pack our bags, get in the car and drive South with the 8-year-old and the 3-year-old for a San Diego weekend getaway. There’s only so much they can handle, and the hour and a half drive down to San Diego was perfect. We didn’t have much planned other than a visit to the San Diego Zoo and LEGOLAND California, leaving us flexibility to fill in the gaps with other fun adventures.

San Diego weekend getaway -

El Americano The Movie

We kicked off the start of our San Diego weekend getaway at the San Diego Zoo to celebrate the release of El Americano the movie.  A super colorful and cute Mexican inspired film. It features some of our favorite actors, including Edward James Olmos, Rico Rodriguez, Kate del Castillo, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez and Lisa Kudrow. The cast is amazing!

San Diego Zoo-

We had the honor to meet Ricardo Arnaiz, the director of the motion picture El Americano the movie, along with the rest of the creative minds behind it. It was inspiring to hear their journey in creating this movie and it was evident that they poured their love into it. With over five years in the making, Ricardo’s dream to combine Mexican and American culture in film has come true. ¡Si se puede! 

San Diego Zoo- El Americano-

El Americano was originally released in Mexico in 2016 and it’s now available on DVD and Digital HD here in the United States! The film is family-friendly and full of life and color, making it a must-have at home.

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo was voted number one in the world for 2015 Travelers’ Choice because it offers an array of animals and zoo gardens. There are so many different kinds of animals at this zoo, including amphibians, arthropods, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. Then, of course, there are frogs, dung beetles, flamingos, leopard sharks, elephants, and snakes… basically all of my kids’ favorite animals. You can find a full list of their animals here.

Your one-day San Diego Zoo pass includes the Skyfari Aerial Tram, a Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Express Bus and all scheduled shows for that day. You can upgrade to the PLUS and get a 4-D theater experience of your choice.

San Diego Zoo-

We arrived early Saturday morning, just before the park opened at 9:00 AM. Once the gates opened the first place we went to was the kids’ playground. After spending a couple hours in the car we wanted to make sure the kids let loose a bit before walking around the zoo.

San Diego Zoo -

Straight from the playground we made sure to ride the Skyfari Aerial Tram, included in your day ticket. A super fun way to get across the other end of the zoo while enjoying memorable views of the zoo from above. Note that jogging, oversized and double strollers cannot be accommodated; children younger than 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

The Skyfari dropped us off at the Northern Frontier so we started our Zoo adventure there and worked our way towards the front of the park. We waited to see if the polar bears would make an appearance, but we weren’t so lucky, so we decided to move on.

We spent most of our time in the Lost Forest, not only because it covers a large area of the zoo, but because we actually got lost. Haha!, the irony! We went around in circles until we finally decided to look at the map to guide us to the Hippo Trail. This is where we were able to enjoy animals like the tigers, monkeys, and the many aviaries the zoo has to offer.

San Diego Zoo-

San Diego

San Diego

We stopped at Urban Jungle, and while at the cheetah containment we got to learn about the “Buddy System.” San Diego Zoo pairs their cheetahs with adorable dog pals with whom they are raised. My family thought this was so neat, they really enjoyed watching the dog and cheetah interact. It was so sweet to watch. Unfortunately, I was not able to snap a photo of them playing.  So, make sure to stop by and watch them play. It is sure to make you smile!

San Diego Zoo-

I would suggest that you grab a map at the entrance, this will help guide you throughout your day and show you the different Kangaroo Bus stops available near you, and much more. The best part is that they are recyclable, so don’t forget to recycle them after use! If you’d rather go completely green, the San Diego Zoo map is available for download as well.

San Diego Zoo- LatinaMoms.OC

What to pack

  • Camera – You’re going to want to snap away during your visit. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the zoo.
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Hat and/or sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes – You will be doing a lot of walking so it is important to do it comfortably.
  • Binoculars, for the kiddos- If you don’t own a pair, the zoo shops have them for sale, for only $7.95!

For more information on San Diego Zoo hours of operations, tickets, tours and more, click here.



Richard Walkers’ Pancake House

Richard Walker’s Pancake House is our absolute favorite breakfast spot and it is always a stop we make when we are in San Diego. This hidden gem is located in the heart of downtown San Diego and has the most delicious baked pancakes. The lines are always out the door, but don’t worry, they offer phenomenal service you don’t even notice the wait. The wait time is usually no more than 20-30 minutes. The restaurant is small, but can comfortably accommodate their guests.

San Diego Food-

This time around, we ordered the Cinnamon Baked Pancake and it was melt-in-your-mouth good! We shared the pancake and the Ham and Swiss Omelette, to give our breakfast a good balance. And of course it tasted even better paired with our cafecito. 

San Diego

Adress: 520 Front St, San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: (619) 231-7777

View their full menu here.

*Monday through Saturday there are parking fees, street parking is free on Sundays! 

LEGOLAND California

We decided to end our getaway with a visit to LEGOLAND California. This worked out perfectly because it is located in Carlsbad, which is closer to home. It’s about an hour drive to Orange County so it made our drive home shorter and more enjoyable.


We visited during Star Wars LEGO days and had a fantastic time. We were greeted by Star Wars characters as we walked in and had the opportunity to snap photos with them. There were plenty of characters to chose from and we enjoyed not having to wait in long lines to get a photo, allowing us more time to enjoy the park.

We also checked out Miniland to check out their Star Wars displays, which of course were done with so much detail. After all, this is what makes LEGOLAND so amazing!

Just check out this awesome 500,000 LEGO Death Star weighing in a little under 2,000 pounds, measuring 8ft wide and 13ft high. Woah! You heard that right! The Death Star model shows Luke Skywalker’s X-wing fighter with Darth Vader in pursuit.

The best part of our LEGOLAND California Star Wars experience was being able to enjoy it with one of the other Latina Moms OC families. We had the best time building memories one block at a time!

Discounted LEGOLAND California tickets

Get discounted LEGOLAND California tickets via Groupon ($118 for two LEGOLAND California/ Water Park Hopper tickets tickets, or $236 for four LEGOLAND California/ Water Park Hopper tickets).

Get discounted LEGOLAND California tickets via Goldstar ($84.50 for adult one-day admission tickets, or $79 for child one-day admission tickets)

For more information on LEGOLAND California hours of operations, tickets and tours, click here.

What to pack for this San Diego getaway

  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Hat and/or sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes – You will be doing a lot of walking so it is important to do it comfortably.

Where to stay near San Diego Zoo

  • Catamaran Resort and Spa – our first choice because it’s where we stay when we visit SeaWorld. This 4-star resort is also within close proximity of Mission Beach and Mission Bay Park.
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego – their air-conditioned rooms feature kitchenettes with full-sized refrigerators/freezers and stovetops.
  • Days Inn San Diego – six miles away from SeaWorld San Diego. Hotel stay includes free WiFi.

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