Top San Diego attractions that are free for kids By Eileen Ogintz
SeaWorld (Flickr: Chris Favero )
All October, kids go free throughout San Diego at restaurants, museums, restaurants, tours and attractions.
(TRIP PLAN: Find out how one family spent their three-day vacation in San Diego.)
Panda at the San Diego Zoo (Flickr: fortherock)
And we’re not talking small attractions either. Kids can get into SeaWorld (which has Halloween Spooktakular with special shows and goodies), LEGOLAND (with Brick-Or-Treat and other Halloween fun and games), the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and more than 30 San Diego museums, like the USS Midway Museum at Navy Pier highlighting San Diego’s military history and the hundreds of thousands of men who served aboard. . Kids can even ride free on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.
There really isn’t too much fine print. The deals typically are for a child 12 or under with an adult paid admission. You can save literally hundreds of dollars by visiting in October; A child’s admission alone to SeaWorld or LEGOLAND can be nearly $80.
Mission Beach Boardwalk (Flickr: Kit Corry)
Let’s not forget all that glorious sunshine and San Diego’s 70 miles of coast line. Rollerblade, skateboard or bicycle along the Mission Beach Boardwalk, the scenic 3-mile boardwalk along picturesque Mission and Pacific Beaches. See humpback, fin and minke whales and dolphins too. Here’s your chance to take a surf lesson. (Kids can get a free lesson with yours at Surf Diva.) San Diego is a good place to learn about California history too—it is, after all, called the birthplace of California. (For more fall fun in the sun, check out Family Travel Forum’s Fabulous Fall Getaways section.)
Come the first weekend in October and catch The MCAS Miramar Air Show with the best military and civilian pilots in the world.
There are also plenty of hotel deals to pick from with the value-added amenities families love—kids eat free all over town, kids rent bikes free (at the San Diego KOA resort), and get free kayak rentals (at Paradise Point Resort). Kds tour free (with Hornblower Flagship Cruises), sail free (with Sail San Diego), and golf free (at the Maderas Golf Club). You can find a full list of offers —- 100 in all — at San Diego KidVasion.
(MORE: Find kid-friendly hotels to stay in San Diego.)
Scripps Pier where the Scripps Institute of Oceanography launches their boat and do research. (Flickr: SD Dirk)
Take your pick of museums, based on the kids’ interests-of-the-moment. Learn about Pacific Marine life at the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography>; Head to the Museum of Making Music, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center or the San Diego Museum of Art.
Balboa Park (Flickr: Oleg Shpyrko)
The Science Center, Museum of Art and San Diego Natural History Museum are among 15 museums located in San Diego’s downtown Balboa Park, which is also home to performing arts venues (go to a Puppet Shows at the Marie Hitchock Puppet Theater) beautiful gardens, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park Carousel and the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad. The best part: acres of grass where the kids can run and play.
With all these savings, you’ll be the one doing handstands in the park!
Visit Taking the Kids for more great ideas for a fall getaway with kids.