One of our favorite places to visit in San Diego is the Mormon Battalion Historic Site. It’s completely free and open every day, 9-9.
It’s located in Old Town (on the corner of Juan and Harney and there’s free parking in the back) has recently been renovated. I had never gone before the renovation, but let me tell you that now it is really, really cool. The tour takes about 45 minutes or so and is totally worth the time. Members of the Mormon Battalion tell (virtually) their story. The basic history of this group of people is that they joined the army to fight in the war with Mexico and in the process, walked over 2000 miles and built a trail all the way to San Diego where they helped the people here build the town. It’s quite the story and to get the full effect, you’ll have to visit the museum yourself. My kids absolutely love it so we had to take The Cousin when she was here visiting. We went on a Friday morning and got the royal treatment.
There was only one other couple on the tour with me and my three kids so we got special attention. At the end of the tour, there are other fun things to do. You can play games. You can check the roster from the battalion and see if you have any ancestors who were part of the group (I do!). You can take a photo of your group with an old backdrop and email it to yourself or take the print home. Then, outside there are a number of exciting things for the kids to do. There is panning for gold,
a laundry station,
a water pump,
a brick firing station,
hobby horses, and more!
If I would let them, my kids would stay for hours. There is also a tower where there is a great view of the city. Oh, and did I mention the covered wagon out front?
We love this place! Did I mention it’s free? Totally.