Traveling with kids doesn’t always have to mean getting on a plane and flying across the country, it can be as simple as discovering a new park, visiting a local museum or driving to the beach for the day. We tend to do a lot of traveling in and around Southern California on the weekends, we love exploring what’s in on our own backyard. If you are looking for something to do with the kids in Los Angeles, a day trip down to San Diego to watch the horse racing at the Del Mar Race Track can certainly be a full day adventure, especially if you take the train!
Two weekends ago we were invited down to the Del Mar Race Track and just to make it a bit more exciting for the kids, we decided to take the train. We drove down to Union Station, parked our car and boarded the Amtrak train to Del Mar. The total time from Union Station (LAX) to Solano Beach / Del Mar was about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
I have never taken the train down to San Diego but my husband has and said that it was such a nice, relaxing way to go. No traffic and he could get some work done. We had business class tickets, which on the way down didn’t really seem to matter much, but they came in handy on the way home – as the train was jam packed. Apparently on race days the train home to Los Angeles is always packed like this.
Family Travel Tip: If you buy business class tickets, make sure when you get on the train ask which car is business class. When we got on at union Station the train was practically empty. But, on the way home from Del Mar it was packed, standing room only in fact. Do not just board anywhere and scramble to find a seat, I ended up sitting on the steps with my son for the first 30 minutes because we were in the wrong car. (there were plenty of seats up in business class). So, it might be worth it to spring for business class for the journey home.
The train ride down to Del Mar makes about 6 stops along the way and one of them is the San Clemente Pier which is a gorgeous spot and the train literally rides right along the beach! Looking out the window, it looks like we’re practically on the sand! When getting off at the Solano Beach train station, there are double-decker buses to take you to the race track. It is a complimentary service, just hop on one of them and go! (This was another fun thing for the kids, riding on the top of the double decker bus.)
Family Travel Tip: Just like riding on an airplane – pack some games and activities for the kids. We brought along our favorite game Spot It and the kids played on their Kindle Fire. But, be sure to take the opportunity to walk around and explore all the cars, the kids loved walking on the train while it was moving.
Once we arrived at the Del Mar race track we picked up our tickets and headed in to start placing our bets! We rushed down to the track level so we coud see the first race, up close. We made our way to the inside of the track where it was set up for “family fun day” with a variety of concessions and jump houses for the kids. Then we went over and received a horse track Betting 101 lesson from the real experts.
America’s Best Racing is a multi-media new fan development and awareness-building platform, initiated by The Jockey Club, designed to increase the profile and visibility of America’s best Thoroughbred racing events, with a primary focus on the sport’s lifestyle and competition.
My husband was already pretty savvy on how horse betting goes, but I was not so savvy. I learned about a Trifecta, Exacta and a Superfecta. However, I just like to bet on the horses names that I like, so I let my husband do most the betting;) Which turned out better for us because we won in 3 of the races and walked away with $525 in our pockets!! Not a bad day at the races;)
Race Day Recap: Dullahan catches Game on Dude to win Pacific Classic at Del Mar
And what’s a day at the races without a churro.
It had been a very long time since the last time I was at a horse track, in fact I think I was pregnant with Hudson and McKenna was just a baby. It was fun to show them what a horse race was and get them excited for the which horses we had placed bets on. They were a little like me, they just liked the names of the horses more than anything.
Family Travel Tip: If you get there early you can bring chairs and blankets to sit down on the track level. I saw many families that looked like they made a day of it and settled into a nice cozy place to watch the races. For ticket sales, seating areas and admissions, read this very helpful, frequently asked questions.
The next races for the season start September 28th up near us at Santa Anita Park, we just might have to try our luck there!
Once again we had another great Fellman Family Fun Day!
Disclosure: I had a media pass to attend the races and was also given $500 of house money to bet with.
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