Grandparents Day Activities in San Diego

National Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 10th; a day to recognize and value the ways that our grandparents enrich our lives. The special grandparent-grandchild bond not only brings love and delicious treats, but also instills respect, family heritage, and traditions. This day is a reminder to show all grandparents appreciation and love 365 days a year!

In the early 1970s, Marian McQuade, a strong advocate of care for the elderly, began her campaign for a day to honor grandparents. After years of campaigning, Congress passed the legislation. On September 9, 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared the first Sunday of September following Labor Day to be National Grandparents Day. He urged all Americans to take this day to honor their grandparents, since they provide families a link to their national heritage and traditions.

Celebrate Grandparents the San Diego Way!

  • Balboa Park

Spend quality time together while enjoying gardens, museums, and art! There are also attractions that are great for little ones and grandparents such as the Balboa Park Miniature Train and Carousel. We recommend purchasing an Explorer Pass which will give you access to museums for a flat fee. A few of the popular museums at Balboa Park include:

  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • Veterans Museum at Balboa Park
  • San Diego Natural History Museum

For a complete list of museums, check out Balboa Park’s museums page.

  • Fishing

San Diego is home to over 20 fishable lakes! This is the perfect opportunity for little ones to experience nature with their grandparents. Grab your fishing necessities and a picnic for a peaceful day along one of San Diego’s lakes. Before heading out, read California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fishing licenses and permits information

  • Seaport Village

Waterfront shopping, dining and walking makes Seaport Village a popular spot to soak in San Diego’s beauty! With over 50 shops, 17 eateries, and great outdoor music and shows, there is entertainment for every age. For a complete list of upcoming events, check out Seaport Village’s events calendar.

  • San Diego Botanic Gardens

Explore an endless display of gardens from around the world! The San Diego Botanic Garden offers a unique opportunity for little ones to learn and appreciate nature along with their elders. If you are interested in a self-guided tour, they recommend the Bamboo Garden, Native Plant and Native People, Hamilton Children’s Garden, Mexican Garden and Overlook Natural Area. If you prefer guided tours, check out the San Diego Botanical Garden tours page.

  • San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

Not only is this is a fun family activity for little ones and grandparents, but there are also great health benefits that come from visiting the zoo. You’ll be exposed to fresh air, sunlight, over 70,000 plants, and a lot of great information about animals! A long day of walking in the heat can be grueling which is why the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park offers guided tours on wheels. These guided tours offer fun facts and great views of animals:

Stay-at-Home Activities

  • Family Reunion

Celebrate the amazing ways grandparents enrich our lives by inviting family over and cooking their favorite meal! There’s no better way to show our appreciation than by hosting a celebration and cooking a homemade meal.

  • Game Night

Break out the board games, cards, and delicious treats and host a game night! Incorporate board games from both generations to keep it interesting and fun. Kids will be able to see what type of games their grandparents played when they were younger.

  • Sleepovers

Encourage a sleepover with just grandparents and grandkids. This is a great opportunity for them to build their relationship without parents around! They can plan their own activities, whether it be baking or building a fort; special memories will definitely be made.

  • Arts and Crafts

Pull out your scraps of fabric, cardboard, shoeboxes, and construction paper! Let everyone’s imagination run wild and create arts out of recyclable items or anything you have lying around the house. Some of our favorite arts and crafts include:

For more fun crafts for grandparents and grandkids, check out’s list of arts and craft ideas!

This Sunday, celebrate the important role grandparents play in kids’ lives. Whether you send a card, call them, throw a celebration or go on an adventure together, it’s important that we take the time to show grandparents our appreciation not just today but every day.

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