Family friendly cities: Sun and sea in San Diego
Beaches, zoos, parks and festivals — San Diego is brimming with all of these classic summer activities and more. With a mild climate to boot, San Diego is the perfect destination for a family vacation.
“Life is a beach" is more than a T-shirt slogan in San Diego — it's a state of mind. Visitors can join locals to indulge in delights of the sand and sea at any of San Diego's dozens of beaches, or the dozens more in beach towns north of the city. San Diego's Mission Beach has the liveliest scene, mostly at Belmont Park, an old-fashioned amusement park with 12 classic rides, including the 1925 Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster. There's also an arcade, zip line and bustling boardwalk. Most of San Diego County's beaches are quieter, but still offer the elements that beach worshipers adore: castle-worthy sand, bodyboarding, surfing and beach volleyball.
San Diego Zoo is one of the best zoos in the world and ranks first on many lists. Whether it's the collection of 660 species (from pygmy hippos to giant pandas), the Skyfari Aerial Tram or the 4D theaters, this is a zoo for all ages. San Diego Zoo Safari Park — a lesser-known but much larger venue — is 35 miles away and has many of its 300 species roaming in herds throughout large enclosures. They can be viewed on foot or from a tram, zip line or tethered helium balloon. Both of the zoos are worth a half-day visit, but there's too much to see to do them both in the same day. Entertainment-focused SeaWorld San Diego and education-oriented Birch Aquarium are their world-class marine life counterparts.
San Diego Zoo is the main attraction in Balboa Park, but the park is also home to many of San Diego's family-friendly museums. America's largest model railroad museum features a 142-foot-long miniaturized railroad display; the San Diego Natural History Museum and Fleet Science Center are both geared toward kids drawn to hands-on science; and the San Diego Air & Space Museum boasts 67 aircraft, from a 1901 Wright Glider reproduction to the Apollo 9 Command Module. You can also find an antique children's mini-train, a 1910 carousel, five playgrounds and countless picnic spots in Balboa Park.
Fab family festivals
San Diego's two big family-friendly festivals this summer are both near the beach and both are free. The 39th Annual OB Street Fair at Ocean Beach (June 23) includes a Wonderland Fun Zone with rides for kids and music for all ages on five stages. The Sun & Sea Festival at Imperial Beach (July 15) offers a full schedule of Kids' Zone entertainment and activities, plus a pirate parade, kids' rides and separate sandcastle contests for kids (ages 5 to 12) and adults.
Legos are small plastic pieces that kids love to snap together, but there's nothing small about the LEGOLAND California theme park or its popularity, with attendance topping two million per year. Dozens of Lego-themed, kid-friendly rides and shows — many of them interactive — are the main attraction, but you can also add to the fun by upgrading your ticket to access the Lego-themed aquarium and water park next door where kids can assemble their own Lego rafts. Admission prices are steep, but Lego-loving kids of a certain age will want to stay all day, and the memories will be priceless.
If you go
United Airlines offers numerous daily flights to San Diego International Airport from many cities. MileagePlus Rewards can help cover your hotel room and rental car once you arrive. Go to united.com or use the United app to plan your San Diego family getaway.
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
We are going above and beyond to find creative ways to transport fresh food and produce, as well as basic essentials from the U.S. mainland to military and their families in Guam/Micronesia. On Saturday, March 28, we operated an exclusive cargo-only B777-300 charter to transport nearly 100,000 pounds of food essentials to Guam to support our troops.
In addition, we move mail year-round all over the world. In response to COVID-19, and in support of the military members and their families overseas, we implemented a charter network, transporting military mail to Frankfurt, which is then transported all over Europe and the Middle East. Since March 20, we have flown 30,000+ pounds of military mail every day between Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Frankfurt (FRA). On the return flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, we have carried an average of 35,000 pounds of mail to help families stay connected.
"Connecting products and mail to people around the world is the United Cargo mission," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "Keeping our military families connected with the goods they need, and keeping them connected with loved ones to feel a sense of home, is of critical importance. As a company that has long supported our military families and veterans, our teams are proud to mobilize to lend a hand."
On average, we ship more than 1 billion pounds of cargo every year on behalf of domestic and international customers. For more information, visit unitedcargo.com.
To our customers,
I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.
The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.
Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.
The role of connector is one we're privileged to play in the moments that matter most in your life – weddings and graduations, birthdays and business trips, events large and small – and it's that responsibility that motivates us most to get back to our regular service, as soon as possible.
That is why it is so important our government acted on a comprehensive relief act to ensure our airline – and our industry – are ready and able to serve you again when this crisis abates.
I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.
This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.
While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted. And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.
Right now, aircraft flying the United livery and insignia, flown by our aviation professionals, have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. We're also using several of our idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from U.S. locations as well as to key international business locations. At the same time, we are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.
While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.
Stay safe and be well,
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.