Southern California, stretching down the Pacific Coast to the Mexico border, is made up of the larger cities of San Diego and Los Angeles, as well as other smaller cities and communities, including Oceanside, Irvine, Escondido and Murrieta. Teens in these areas have a broad range of exciting activities to keep them busy, ranging from trips to a science center to indoor sky diving.
Teens can meet and learn about more than 1,100 interesting animals at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The zoo covers 133 acres of land and features more than 250 species of animals, with 29 that are endangered. Activities include an Indian Rhino Encounter, bird shows, a carousel and elephant training demonstrations. The San Diego Zoo sits on 100 acres and is home to more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals. Teens can explore the zoo, ride the train, take a guided bus tour, participate in an animal encounter and catch a sea lion show. Programs designed specifically for teens include Zoo Corps and Zoo InternQuest.
Southern California has many amusement parks. Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park features roller coasters -- GhostRider, Boomerang and Silver Bullet -- as well as other thrill rides like Rip Tide, Supreme Scream and Wipeout, along with water rides, including Bigfoot Rapids and Timber Mountain Log Ride. At Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, teen attractions include the California Screamin' roller coaster, the Grizzly River Run water ride, interactive games, the Radiator Springs Racers ride and the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, with rope bridges, climbing towers and hiking trails.
Teens learn while having fun at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Permanent exhibits include Science Court, where you can ride a bike across a cable high up in the air, and Stars and Telescopes, which teaches about the Hubble space telescope and Uhuru, the first telescope dedicated to X-ray astronomy. Community teen internship programs are also offered. In San Diego, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center offers such exhibits as Gallery of Illusions and Perceptions, So Watt! and the Tinker Studio. Special events include Family Science Saturdays, The Sky Tonight and Tinkerers' Club.
Teens looking for something a bit more daring can visit Skydive Perris, in Perris, where they can give indoor skydiving a whirl. The facility features a 96-foot indoor wind tunnel that gives the sensation of freefalling without ever having to jump off a plane. At Trapeze High San Diego, you can take a beginner trapeze class or join the Trapeze High Club to experience everything trapeze is about. At Miramar Speed Circuit Kart Racing and Laser Tag, in San Diego, you can play a game of laser tag in the 5,000-square-foot arena maze or race down the 1/4 mile racetrack, which features two straight-aways and four hairpin turns.