Every October, San Diego reaches out to families with free deals for kids — including free admission (with an adult ticket) to major attractions such as the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. Many hotels and restaurants offer kids-eat-free deals or gifts at check-in.
In all, there are more than 125 Kids Free October offers listed on the tourism website sandiego.org. Here are some highlights that might justify a quick weekend road trip or family vacation over fall break.
1. Experience SeaWorld. All month at SeaWorld San Diego, kids (ages 3 to 9) get free single-day admission to the park with each paid adult. The deal extends to a dolphin interaction. SeaWorld hosts its Halloween Spooktacular on weekends Sept. 21-Oct. 31 where kids can dress up in their Halloween best, go trick-or-treating throughout the park and enjoy Halloween and Día de los Muertos entertainment from 2:30 p.m. to park close, included with admission. 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego.
2. Party at the zoo. Up to 10 children (ages 11 and younger) get in free per each paid adult admission at the San Diego Zoo during October. See hippos, pandas, gorillas and elephants at the zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego. The same offer applies at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido.
3. Play at Legoland. Legoland California Resort theme park caters to younger kids with rides, playgrounds, live entertainment, Lego builds and more. Kids get a free ticket to both Legoland and Legoland Water Park or Legoland and Sea Life Aquarium with purchase of a full-price adult ticket. Legoland also offers Brick-or-Treat Party Nights during October, with trick-or-treating and Halloween activities during extended park hours, but that event requires separate tickets. 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad.
4. Go “Top Gun.” Up to two children (ages 6-12) receive free entry with one paid adult admission this month to go aboard the USS Midway Museum, the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier. Explore the floating city at sea and get a tour encompassing 50 years of world history. 910 Harbor Drive, San Diego.
5. Fly high. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the San Diego Air & Space Museum houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a flyable replica of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world. Up to two children (12 and younger) get free admission with one paid adult admission all month. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, the museum hosts Halloween Family Day, where families can make crafts, explore the Kid’s Aviation Action Hangar and enjoy a rooftop pumpkin drop at 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego.
6. Science Center. Get up to two free child admissions (ages 12 and younger) at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center with one paid adult admission. Kids can touch a tornado, make something in StudioX, watch a live science show, explore the universe and play on an adult-sized playground at 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego.
7. Children’s Museum. Up to two children (ages 12 and younger) receive free entry with one paid adult admission at this modern, hands-on museum filled with opportunities for younger kids to play, climb, make handmade clay art and more at 200 W. Island Ave., San Diego. 619-233-8792 or thinkplaycreate.org.
8. Maritime Museum. Up to two children (12 and younger) get free admission with one full-price paid adult at this downtown San Diego museum, which boasts one of the best collections of historic ships — from the iron-hulled 1863 Star of India to a 1967 Soviet attack submarine. For an additional $5 per person, families can take a cruise on San Diego Bay aboard the museum’s 1914 harbor pilot boat. 1492 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego. 619-234-9153 or sdmaritime.org.
9. Eat Free at San Diego Restaurants. Up to two kids per adult can receive a complimentary meal at Galaxy Taco, and Carnitas Snack Shack all month. Many hotels offers kids-eat-free deals with an adult entree, too.