Happy Isles Sandbox at Sea World
619-226-3901

Sea World's Happy Isles, a.k.a. "the kiddie section," has the dream sandbox. It's huge -- about 50 by 25 yards. And it's canopy-sheltered from the sun, rain, and birds. Best of all, the toys in the box aren't your basic Tonka trucks; they're kid-size "manipulatives," with workable cranes, diggers, and chain pulleys. And there are giant lock-block walls, tube tunnels, and lots of sand. Real sand. Gritty sand, like they used to make, not the new soft stuff. The catch is you have to get into Sea World if you (and your kids) want to play there. So splurge on the year-round "passports." Children can have unlimited access for $60 a year; adults pay $75, which includes free parking.

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