Five ‘Must See’ New Attractions for Family Fun

This artist’s rendering of the Presidio Tunnel Tops gives guests an idea of what they will find at this newest national park land opening in May. Photo

By Michele E. Buttelman

Signal Staff Writer

If it’s been a while since your family has taken a trip to see something unexpected, now is the time to plan a weekend getaway. From the bottom of the ocean to the wilds of Australia, it’s all available to find on fun family weekend road trips.

Into the Deep Monterey Bay Aquarium 886 Cannery Row, Monterey 93940

Info Tickets must be purchased in advance. For tickets and information, visit

Beginning April 9, the Monterey Bay Aquarium will unveil its newest special exhibition, “Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean.”

The exhibit will take visitors on a journey from the surface of the ocean to the sea floor, presenting rarely seen animals living within this dark abyss.

Children and guests of all ages will be able to get up close with creatures from the deep you may never have known existed.

Discover the who, what, why and how of deepsea bioluminescence and see sea spiders, hag fish, sea angels and more.

Guests to this unique exhibit will have the opportunity to touch giant isopods, which are akin to backyard roly-polys, but many times more massive.

Significant technological breakthroughs by the aquarium’s animal care team made this exhibit possible. They had to figure out how to replicate the deep sea’s extreme conditions and the best care practices for these unusual species, including some that have never before been on public display.

AutoCamp Joshua Tree 62209 Verbena Road, Joshua Tree 92252

Info For information and reservations, visit

AutoCamp has opened its Joshua Tree location, offering the unique outdoor hospitality experience among the famed Joshua trees and subtle rock formations.

The 25-acre property located adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park will offer 47 custom-built Airstreams, four accessible suites and four “X Suites,” all equipped with updated HVAC systems for all-season weather, as well as unique outdoor showers available in some premium units.

There’s an outdoor bar with a full beverage program, as well as a hybrid hot tub and plunge pool. A focal point for all AutoCamp destinations, the Clubhouse at Joshua Tree is a modern take on traditional Quonset Huts with clean mid-century modern details.

As camping finds new fans because of the pandemic, now is the time to experience an outdoor adventure with all the comforts of home.

Available during your stay: Locally crafted allday dining including barbecue kits, general store with provisions, beer and wine, seasonal swimming pool, spa-inspired bathrooms with amenities by Ursa Major and complimentary WiFi, coffee and tea.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Into the Deep” exhibit will take visitors on a journey from the surface of the ocean to the sea floor. PHOTOS COURTESY MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM

San Diego Zoo Opens New Exhibits San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive San Diego 92101

Info For information and tickets, visit zoo.

The San Diego Zoo recently unveiled two new opportunities for guests to experience the wonders of wildlife.

The Kenneth C. Griffin Komodo Kingdom and the William E. Cole Family Hummingbird Habitat replaced previous habitats with new exhibits where guests can interact with some of the most powerful and delicate species on Earth.

Komodo Kingdom offers visitors the chance to see giant lizards up close and learn more about the species and the challenges they face.

The immersive, infinity-loop-shaped Hummingbird Habitat will offer endless flight opportunities to several species of hummingbirds, as well as other rare birds from their native regions in North and South America, featuring streams, cascading water, orchids and other plants reflecting the diversity and beauty of the birds’ native regions.

Presidio Tunnel Tops 103 Montgomery St., San Francisco 94129

Info For more information visit www.

Now in “soft opening” mode, the grand opening of the Presidio Tunnel Tops is scheduled for May 2022.

The Presidio Tunnel Tops park is built over the tops of the Presidio Parkway highway tunnels.

The Presidio Tunnel Tops site comprises 14 acres of new national park land and will feature scenic overlooks with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, paths and gardens, a welcome plaza with food and visitor services, a campfire circle, picnic grounds and more.

Guests can learn about nature, explore and have fun at the expanded Crissy Field Center, the “Outpost” natural playground and new drop-in Field Station.

Santa Barbara Zoo Debuts Australian Walkabout Santa Barbara Zoo 500 Niños Drive, Santa Barbara 93103

Info For information, reservations and tickets, visit

The Santa Barbara Zoo Australian Walkabout is a habitat designed to transport guests Down Under, where they can walk among the wallabies, kangaroos, emus and native birds.

Reservations aren’t necessary to go through the Walkabout, but you’ll still need a reservation to visit the zoo. Walkabout capacity is limited, so expect to wait in line as small groups will be admitted

on a first-come, first-served basis. The kangaroos, wallabies and emus are visible from outside the Walkabout as well, with the best viewing up on the Verandah deck. Walkabout hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. If you visit the zoo on Feb. 27 you can enjoy the Snow Leopard Festival with 80 tons of snow for sledding and snow play for this frosty fun family festival.

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