Why buy a Go San Diego card over a San Diego 3 for 1 Pass?

The Go San Diego Card and the San Diego 3-for-1 Pass are two popular attraction passes with San Diego travelers. They both offer admission to three of the most popular San Diego attractions in the area for a discounted price, but they also have significant differences. When you take into consideration product attributes like flexibility, attraction choice, and maximum savings, the Go San Diego Card seems like a better value.

Let’s start with a comparison of what each product offers, then get into details about savings.

Included San Diego Attractions

Go San Diego Card

There are simply too many attractions available through the Go San Diego Card to list them here, but this is a selection of the most popular.

San Diego 3-for-1 Pass

  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • SeaWorld San Diego

There’s clearly a big difference between these two products. You get admission to over 40 area attractions – including the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld – with the Go San Diego Card, with the option for multiple visits on separate card days. The San Diego 3-for-1 Pass only includes those attractions, but offers the same option for multiple visits on separate days..

How You Save

The Go San Diego Card advertises that it can save you up to 55% on combined admission prices, and some of their real customer savings even exceeded that number! Customers literally saved hundreds on admission with this product.

The real value of this product is the freedom of attraction choice. You can see the same big three attractions as the San Diego 3-for-1 Pass, plus tons of other attractions, tours, museums, and more.

Another important aspect is the flexibility in how you save. You can visit a wide variety of attraction combinations and still maximize the value you get out of the product – no need to visit only the most expensive attractions.

The San Diego 3-for-1 Pass saves you between 10-18% on combined admission. That’s a significant difference in your savings percentage! Unless you visit all three attractions multiple times, your savings are minimal.

You also have to visit all three attractions in order to actually get your money’s worth, leaving you no flexibility to change your mind if the kids have had their fill of animals at one of the attractions.

How Do I Use Them?

These products actually function in similar ways, with a few exceptions.

The San Diego 3-for-1 Pass is available for purchase online from a number of different travel product sites, but they don’t have their own website. You can have the pass shipped to you or print it out at home.

The Go San Diego Card is available through multiple options. Purchase the card online or over the phone and have it shipped to you, or purchase it in market. You can also opt for instant delivery, and receive a digital pass directly to your e-mail. You can then display the pass on your smartphone for admission – ecofriendly and convenient! – or print it out.

What’s the Real Difference?

The Go San Diego Card is ideal for those of you who want a little bit more freedom in your attraction visits. You can still see the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld, but you also have the option to see other top attractions like LEGOLAND®, the USS Midway, the many museums of Balboa Park, and much more. You still have the option for repeat visits to those three attractions on the number of card days you purchased.

If all you want to see is these big three attractions, then the San Diego 3-for-1 Pass might be a good idea for you. That said, you have no flexibility to shift gears if the kids get bored or tired of animals, and no option for indoor attractions if the weather’s bad. So if you’re unlucky enough to hit a week of bad weather in San Diego, you’ve got no option but to trudge through the rain or skip the attraction visits altogether.

Extra Details

The Go San Diego Card also features several other major theme parks that the kids will love, including LEGOLAND®, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Belmont Park.

Both products offer admission to SeaWorld, Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo.

The Go San Diego Card also includes a free, full-color guidebook with maps, directions, important contact information, info about transit options, and much more.

The Go San Diego Card also offers extra benefits like skip-the-line options at several top attractions.

The Go San Diego Card even includes attractions in La Jolla, Coronado, Mission Beach, Chula Vista, and beyond, giving you the flexibility explore the greater San Diego metropolitan area, the beaches, and even Los Angeles area attractions.

Last Thoughts

Trying to decide between a Go San Diego Card and a San Diego 3-for-1 Pass? Assuming you definitely want to see those big three attractions, you need to then expand your consideration to the way the passes work. If you want to see more than just those attractions, if you want to save more on admission, and if you want the flexibility to change your mind, then the Go San Diego Card is best for you.


Why 2016 is the year you should get to the San Diego Zoo

Some sharks can live to be 400 years old. The world’s oldest tortoise got to see its 250th birthday. Many African elephants achieve a ripe old age of 70. This year, a different member of the animal kingdom is celebrating a major milestone: the San Diego Zoo is turning 100.

In 1916, San Diego physician Dr. Harry Wegeforth gathered a couple colleagues together to care for a handful of animals that had been left behind from a temporary animal exhibit. Many people in the city thought he had gone crazy, but he had a vision. Pretty soon, the San Diego Zoo was born.

In the 100 years that have followed, the zoo has seen significant transformation. Today, 3,700 “rare and endangered animals” call the 100-acre park home, while more than 3,000 animals roam the Safari Park that opened as an extension to the zoo in 1972. The park touts a long legacy of preserving and protecting animal and plant species from all over the world. Now, it’s teaching a generation of young people to care about wildlife and inspiring them to devout their lives and careers to continuing the Zoo’s mission.

Despite its worldwide fame as a champion for wildlife and highly sought after tourist destination, there are still a lot of things about the San Diego Zoo that many people never realize. Here are a few zoo-facts about this southern California staple that just may sway you to plan your next vacation to sunny San Diego.

San Diego Zoo Panda

  • Big game animals roam freely in the Safari Park
    About 30 miles away from the original San Diego Zoo lies a wide open safari park where big game animals from Africa and Asia roam in a much more expansive environment. Visitors can choose their own safari adventure from a list of one-of-a-kind animal experiences. Take a caravan ride to see where giraffes, rhinoceroses and a variety of African antelope co-exist together. Witness a cheetah run 70 miles per hour. Or get a behind the scenes tour of where the tigers live. You can even go on safari in a hot air balloon, or from high above the grounds through a ropes course challenge!
  • You can get up close and personal with furry friends
    In addition to close-up encounters at the Safari Park, the zoo makes it very easy for visitors to get up close and personal with all kinds of animals. You can help a zoo keeper wake the pandas up in the morning, watch an elephant paint a picture, or see how koalas are cared for behind the scenes. Check out the “Special Experiences” and “Activities” sections on the zoo’s website to see which bonus adventures cost extra and how you can book tickets ahead of time.
  • There’s a new baby rhinoceros to ogle at
    In another step toward preserving an endangered species, one of the Zoo’s White Rhinos gave birth at the beginning of April. Rhino mom Holly is doing a great job caring for her calf, according to zoo staff. Also fairly new to the park are six cheetah cubs born in November last year, a baby pygmy hippo, and another rhino calf just a few months old. Not to mention the brand new adult African penguins that now call the zoo their home!
  • Entire species have been saved because of the zoo
    Conservation teams at the San Diego Zoo have aided in bringing back some of the planet’s most endangered species. California condors were down to 22 birds left. Now 200 fly in the wild and another 200 are thriving in breeding facilities thanks to the zoo’s efforts. The zoo has had similar successes with lemurs from Madagascar, douc langers from Vietnam and cheetahs from sub-Saharan Africa. One of the zoo’s top conservation projects right now is the Rhino Rescue. Without the San Diego Zoo and its partners, these animals might soon be extinct. But the zoo’s efforts don’t stop there. Its mission is to end extinction entirely!
  • Online sneak peeks reveal what you’re missing
    If you’re still not convinced that the Zoo is worth the trip to San Diego, get a sneak peek of what you’re missing on its immersive website. Informative videos show off the inner workings of the zoo and the daily lives of its most interesting animals. Live feeds let visitors see what’s happening any time of day with the polar bears, elephants, tigers, pandas and more!
  • 2016 is full of celebration surprises
    This is a big year for the zoo. As it celebrates its centennial, the zoo is inviting all of San Diego and every animal lover in the world to join along in the party. Throughout the year, new exhibits, special events and limited time programs will launch to mark this special occasion. The main event will take place on May 14 at 6 p.m. For a complete list of this year’s special events, visit the zoo’s calendar here.
  • Save money on admission to the Zoo and Safari Park. Try a San Diego Tourist Pass to get discounted. They are great if you are visiting more than one tourist attraction. The most popular at the three for one pass and the Go San Diego Card.

San Diego Zoo Birds

Experience the Beautiful Colors of Southern California in Spring

For many of us just emerging from the dredges of winter and its cold, colorless weather, spring, and that promise of color and excitement that it brings, is still a few weeks away. However, in the mild climate of Southern California, spring’s blossoms show up earlier than in the north, allowing for a spectacular show of colors, scents and beautiful weather for visitors to Los Angeles, San Diego and surrounding areas.

Flower Fields at Carlsbad

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

If you enjoy spring, flowers and beautiful views, taking a trip to the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, just north of San Diego, is a must-do for your spring trip. Open from March 1-May 13 this year, the ranch offers 50 acres of flowers ranging in color from deep yellow to delicate pinks and bold reds and purples. The ranch is located on a hillside overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean, allowing for a one-of-a-kind view to patrons looking to experience both the marvels of spring and the beauty of this particular coast.

The fields at Carlsbad Ranch are actually designed to enhance their beauty by a professional colorist. Once at the Ranch, visitors can enjoy a walk through the flowers, stop by at the greenhouse or get lost in the Sweet Pea maze. There is also a special artists’ garden which displays flowers-as-art pieces, as well as Santa’s Playground for the kids.

Open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch also offer guests a number of packages including a single-day pass ($11 adults, $6 for children 3-10, and $10 for seniors 60+) a season pass ($22, $12, and $20 respectively) as well as wagon rides through their beautiful fields ($5 adults, $3 for children).

Events and Special Occasions in the Spring

Though the view at Carlsbad Ranch is enough on its own, throughout the spring months, the Ranch sponsors a number of events that range from Kid’s Day (April 1st) to a photography workshop (April 15th) and a Blue’s Festival (April 21st). Events are held each weekend, but will vary depending on the time that you are in the San Diego area.

In addition, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch also sponsor group tours and educational programs. The Ranch is located at 5704 Paseo Del Norte in Carlsbad, CA, off of the Palomar Airport Road exit off Interstate 5.

February Is “Museum Month” in San Diego

The dreary winter days of February can seem all the more depressing in Leap Year. Now, there’s one more day before spring and one more day to wish you were warmer. However, those living and travelling to San Diego, CA this February will be treated to more than fair skies and an average temperature in the high 60’s. February in San Diego has been declared “Museum Month” by the San Diego Museum Council and Macy’s department stores, allowing residents and travelers alike access to some of the city’s greatest treasures, its museums, for half the price.

29 Days, 40 Museums, 50% Off

The rally call for Macy’s 2012 Museum Month in the city of San Diego is “29 Days, 40 Museums, 50% Off.” The department store has been sponsoring this event for the past several years in an effort to allow those in and around the San Diego area to take advantage of the traditional “down time” of the tourist season and experience the art and culture that is offered at the city’s 40 Museum Council Members.

The Museum Month project was established by the Council in 1989 and has ushered in tens of thousands of people to the San Diego area each February as a result. The sponsorship by Macy’s department stores over the past few years has only made the program more accessible and better attended, which has been a winning combination for the city, the museums and Macy’s, which has long supported the arts and history.

Balboa park Botanical building and pond San Diego, California

Getting a Pass and Getting Ready to Learn

Starting on February 1, 2012, interested parties can receive a Museum Month pass from any of the 8 participating Macy’s department stores in the greater San Diego area. The pass is good for the entire month and will allow a 50% discounted entry for up to four people per pass at any of the 40 participating museums. The pass is valid all month and can be used at multiple locations. The museums participating in this month’s festivities include:

Combining the Fun on Your San Diego Trip

For many people visiting San Diego this February, combining packages such as those offered by Museum Month with the additional savings available in tourist passes such as the Go San Diego Card can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings. Clearly, taking the time to research which museums you want to visit in addition to the many other great sites in San Diego and surrounding Orange County can really pay off with the Museum Month savings at Macy’s.

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner: A Unique Way to See Southern California

When most people first travel to the Golden Coast, the sheer volume of sights, tours, and famous people can overwhelm them. California, and specifically Southern California, offers tourists a rich array of opportunity beyond most other vacation destinations. With amazing weather year-round, a rich blend of historical charm and modern, Hollywood inspired indulgence, both San Diego and Los Angeles are prime vacation destinations. However, one mistake that too many tourists make when travelling to So-Cal, is to neglect the unique beauty that first brought settlers here both from Mexico and the original colonies of the United States – amazing beaches and fantastic scenery.

The railway along the coast of California

The Pacific Coast

East coasters especially fail to grasp the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Though more than a little colder temperature-wise, the crystal blue waters of the Pacific combined with its amazing, surf-worthy waves make it magical even to look over. Many, more local tourists take advantage of this beauty through a day drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. However, if you are from far away, on a budget or simply not brave enough to chance the worst commuter traffic in America, there is still an option for you to see the Pacific Coast in an entirely different light.

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner

The 350 miles of rail track between San Diego and San Luis Obispo, CA represent Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner Route. The double-decker trains run 12 daily round trip routes throughout the day and evening hours. They stop at several notable locations in between these destinations, with major stops in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The Pacific Surfliner can be an amazing alternative to the 405 freeway and provides travellers with a unique California experience that highlights all the diversity that the land has to offer.

Notable Stops and Scenery

The Pacific Surfliner provides tourists the opportunity to see the California coast in unique and exciting ways. Passengers can board directly from a beach-side station in San Clemente, north of San Diego, or opt for a more urban option at Los Angeles’ Union Station.

Perhaps the most memorable stretch of the Surfliner route is between north Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. Through here, the train hugs to coast line from the city of Oxnard until it hits Vandenberg Air Force Base. It passes by famous sights such as Pismo Beach, Gaviota State Beach, and Santa Maria, weaving through the valleys of this amazing state, rich with grape vines and farmlands that provide fresh food and wine all over the United States and the world.

Mass Transit Done Right

For those interested in tourist passes for either San Diego or Los Angeles, the option of riding the Surfliner allows easy, stress-free mobility between these two major cities and the ability to capitalize on the cross-city offering on both the Go Los Angeles and San Diego Go Card. Without having to lay out money for a rental car, you can easily travel between places and stay as long as you like.

However, one of the most amazing aspects of the Pacific Surfliner route comes just from the experience of riding it. At $58, the coach class round-trip from San Diego to San Luis Obispo is the most expensive fare you will find, which only enhances the ephemeral experience of modern rail travel. The Pacific Surfliner offers beautiful interiors, comfortable seating, and a hearty and delicious dining car reminiscent of another time. Parents and children, couples and friends can benefit from the freedom that rail travel offers. Instead of navigating traffic, you are free to talk, play cards, and enjoy the beauty of the California coast together.

Enjoy the Elegance and History of the Hotel del Coronado this December

If you are planning on vacationing in the San Diego area this winter, more options for beauty and adventure exist than you can possibly achieve in such a short time. However, from December 6-31 one very special opportunity exists that will take you back in time and into the lap of luxury. This December, docents from the San Diego Museum of History and Art (Coronado) will be leading special walking tours through the historic Hotel del Coronado located on an island just off the coast of this amazing city.

Hotel del Coronado

Coronado’s History

Named a national historic landmark in 1977, the Hotel del Coronado sits across San Diego Bay on Coronado Island, a 32.7 square mile peninsula that is connected to the mainland of California by a 10-mile long isthmus called Silver Strand. In Spanish, Coronado translates as “the crowned one” and currently the island embodies the spirit of that name in its luxury and standard of living. It is one of the most expensive places to reside in the U.S. and boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The Hotel del Coronado was built in 1888 in the midst of the San Diego land boom and at the time held the title as the largest resort hotel in the world. Currently, it stands as an historic landmark of its period and an excellent example of Victorian all-wooden buildings.

Since that time, Hotel del Coronado has been given the prestigious 4-diamond rating from AAA and continues to rank among California’s most beautiful and luxurious resorts.

The People of Coronado

In addition to its awesome architecture, Hotel del Coronado (nicknames the Del) has played host to some of the most famous people in history including Prince Edward of Wales, Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplain and Babe Ruth. Many former U.S. Presidents have also stayed at the resort, which includes every president since Franklyn Roosevelt as well as quite a few beforehand.

The Beauty of Coronado Island

San Diego Downtown from Coronado Island

While staying in the San Diego area, a visit to Coronado Island is a must. The Go San Diego Card includes ferry fare which will transport you to this exclusive resort village hassle-free and also get you into the San Diego Museum of History and Art located on the island.

Once there, the sights and sounds of the Pacific greet you from all ends, and you will find Coronado Island is a mecca for luxury shopping as well as beach living and recreation. Through the experience of this magical island, ordinary people can glimpse both history and unprecedented beauty.

This December’s offer to take a behind the scenes tour of the Del simply accent what is a wonderful tourist destination year-round. If you are interested in this historic walking tour, reservations are required, call 619.437.8788, the cost is $15 per person.

10 Cities to Consider for Your Next Vacation

When it comes to choosing a destination for your next vacation, many different factors come into play.  Climate, activities and cost are all aspects to consider when deciding where to travel to next, and with choices ranging from Oahu to Chicago to London, there are many cities worthy of a trip!  We’ve compiled this list of 10 places to consider visiting on your next trip to make your decision making process a little easier.

1. New York, New York. NYC is a city full of good food and fun, with more activities to do than you can imagine.  There are plenty of sights to see no matter what age you are!  From amazing zoos (Bronx, Queens and Central Park) to a tour of the Empire State Building to visiting the NBC Studio, there is truly something for everyone.  If music is your passion, there is much history to be enjoyed in New York City, so considering checking out Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. And of course, don’t miss all the amazing museums New York has to offer, including the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The weather can vary – in the summer, temperatures and humidity levels are high, while the winter months will offer blustery days.  Fall days will provide a crisp feeling in the air, and picturesque streets with multicolored leaves covering the city.  Spring showers may bring flowers, but the fickle weather in spring has proven to be unpredictable. And though the city is beautiful in every season – you will want to visit when you are most comfortable walking city streets to see the sights.  Overall, NYC has amazing activities that are fun for the whole family – no matter when you decide to visit!

beach party Luau on Big Island Hawaii after sunset

2. Oahu, Hawaii. Hawaii is a beautiful state, and the island of Oahu has a lot to offer a tourist.  Since there is so much to do, it is recommended to invest in a Go Oahu card to enjoy activities and attractions at a discounted rate.  You can easily see all the sights of the island by taking a tour, including the Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour or the full-day Grand Circle Island Tour.  And while in Oahu, you won’t want to miss the sea life native to the area, so be sure to check out Sea Life Park.  To see the sea life up close, consider kayaking, surfing or snorkeling!

Weather on Oahu is very stable – with most months averaging temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees, though the rainiest season is winter.  Even if it rains on your Hawaii parade – you will surely enjoy your trip full of gorgeous scenery, fascinating plant and animal life.

3. Los Angeles. Los Angeles, LA, The City of Angeles, LALA Land… whatever you call it, the city is a great place for a vacation trip!  If roller coasters, funnel cake and people watching are among your favorite pastimes – Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm are all within a reasonable distance from the city.  If movies are of interest to you, LA is the perfect place for you!  Don’t miss Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Sony Pictures Studio Tour for a behind the scenes look.

The weather in Los Angeles varies a bit – with the best months to visit reported as April through June and September through October. In the summer you can expect sunshine and high temps, while the fall is cool, winter chilly and spring full of showers.

4. London. If your budget allows for a trip overseas, consider visiting the city of London.  There is so much to see, including the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Thames River cruise and much more. The London Zoo and the London Aquarium are great activity options for children and adults alike.

With rainfall being common – the highest temperatures are naturally in the summer, but winter temps rarely plunge below freezing.  London is a city with much to offer from beautifully designed buildings to precious views – it is worth the trek!

Tower Bridge - London

5. Boston. Though the weather can be fickle in New England, Boston is an amazing city to visit any time of year. With winter bringing snow, sleet, and all kinds of precipitation – you must be prepared to visit in wintertime – though the snow on the trees and buildings is very picturesque.  Spring showers are frequent, summer months are full of sunshine and warm weather, with autumn breezes blowing colorful leaves around your feet.

With some much history surrounding it, the city of Boston offers a great deal of activities.  Between the Freedom Trail, the Trinity Church, museums, memorials, breweries and of course, Fenway Park, you will be busy every day of your trip!

6. Chicago. Known as the “Windy City,” be prepared for the weather in Chicago!  While winters are cold, summers can be humid.  Spring and fall can also be chilly but offers great scenery for sightseeing!

With the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and architectural tours at your disposal, you definitely won’t be bored during your stay.  And if you are, be sure you add SkyDeck Chicago, Hancock Observatory and the Navy Pier to your list of must-sees!

7. San Francisco. If you love beautiful sights, amazing seafood and unique culture, then the city of San Francisco is for you!  You’ll enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks and the entire city – especially if you ride the cable cars.  If you’re a foodie – you’ll be in heaven, as the San Fran streets are full of restaurants and cafes.

San Francisco temperatures are on the cool side all year round, with summer temps averaging between 60 and 70 degrees – though winter weather does not bring temps much lower than 45 degrees.

8. Las Vegas. If you and your travel buddies are over 21, Las Vegas is a city you have to visit at least once!  Vegas is full of bars and clubs – if that is your kind of vacation, but there are also a great deal of entertainment options.  With shows ranging from The Lion King to Cirque du Soleil to David Copperfield, there is surely an event that will suit your interests.  And don’t miss the roller coasters on the strip – including theStratosphere Tower and The Roller Coaster at New York-New York!

With more than 300 days of sun a year, chances are you will be able to enjoy at least one sunny day on your trip! And since the weather is usually warmer and drier than other parts of the country, don’t forget your sun screen!

9. San Diego. Beaches, museums, parks, and more – San Diego has it all!  With so much to do, San Diego is a great city to visit with family and/or friends!  The beautiful weather – withtemperatures barely reaching below 50 degrees – allows for outdoor activities all year round.

When making your San Diego itinerary, don’t forget to plan for the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum, Torrey Pines State Reserve and SeaWorld San Diego!  With so much to do, your San Diego trip will be full, but if you have time, try to plan for the amazing beaches in San Diego as well!

10. Seattle. Though Seattle is known for its sometimes dismal weather, contrary to popular belief – it does not rain all the time!  While it does rain often, summertime (specifically the last half of July and the first half of August) is the driest time of the year in Seattle and winter is the wettest season.

And if it is raining – have no fear. There are plenty of indoor activities in Seattle that will make your vacation worthwhile, like the Museum of Flight, the Seattle Aquarium and the Original Starbucks – a must visit for coffee lovers!  If you are visiting and the skies are clear, don’t miss Seattle Center, Woodland Park Zoo and the Space Needle!

With 10 great recommendations of cities to consider for your next vacation – start planning today!  Whether you decide to visit Boston, explore Hawaii with the Go Oahu card or drink coffee in Seattle, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.