With world-class family attractions, a rich arts and culture scene, fresh, inventive cuisine, and popular activities on land and water, San Diego is consistently rated one of the top family destinations in the United States. In October, after the summer crowds diminish, visitors to San Diego can bask in the region’s sunny weather and warm temperatures and enjoy numerous fun-filled fall activities at reduced prices.
Below are highlights of the 10th annual “Kids Free San Diego” month.
Big Savings at Big Attractions
Home to world-class attractions like the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California Resort, San Diego is offering families big savings this October with admission deals at its popular theme parks.
- The San Diego Zoo is offering free admission to kids, ages 3 to 11, when accompanied by a paying adult, providing the perfect opportunity for families to learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts and see more than 4,000 animals representing more than 650 species from around the world, including animals such as gorillas, Komodo dragons, tigers, flamingos, mandrills, polar bears, birds of paradise, giant tortoises, elephants and more. The same offer is also valid at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, an 1,800-acre wildlife sanctuary and home to more than 300 species. Families can get up close and personal with lions lounging in the grasslands, antelope and giraffes mingling, rhinos wallowing in waterholes, and storks and cranes on the march.
- Children, ages 3 to 9, receive free admission to SeaWorld San Diego with one full-paid adult ticket so families can check out the park’s exciting Spooktacular event running through Oct. 31, 2021. Kids should be sure to pack their costumes so they can participate in an exciting trick-or-treating candy trail, fall-flavored food and beverages, amazing animals, thrilling coasters and so much more
- LEGOLAND California Resort is offering free admission for kids, ages 2 to 12, with one paid adult admission. Families can enjoy more than 60 rides, shows and attractions plus some fun in the sun at LEGOLAND Water Park as well as the chance to chill out at SEA LIFE® aquarium right next door. New in 2021 is THE LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD, which features six interactive attractions using cutting-edge technology to bring the hit film to life.
Hotels Roll Out the Welcome Mat for Kids
Hotels throughout San Diego, ranging from budget options to luxury escapes, are also offering free meals, special experiences and welcome gifts for kids this October.
- Located on the shores of Mission Bay and steps from San Diego’s famous Pacific Beach, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa offers families an exciting getaway where kids, ages 12 and under, get a free meal for each paid adult entrée at its Oceana Coastal Kitchen, which offers up creative California cuisine. Resort guests also can tour Mission Bay courtesy of Catamaran's on-site partner Action Sport Rentals, which is offering a complimentary paddleboard rental with the purchase of an adult paddleboard session of one hour or longer.
- At the family friendly Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, kids, ages 12 and under, can play, shop or eat for free with a special “island allowance” worth $50. The credit can be applied toward ice cream, a toy from the gift shop, bike rental and more.
- Set on the village bluffs with panoramic views of the Pacific coastline and centrally located in La Jolla Village, La Valencia Hotel is giving kids, 12 and under, an exclusive activity kit at check-in that includes a take-home bag, details for an exciting scavenger hunt and an activity book. Families can also lounge on the ocean-view deck, which features a heated pool and spa.
Kids Can Dig in with the Deals at San Diego’s Restaurants
After spending a fun day around the city, parents can have a taste of San Diego’s diverse culinary scene while kids eat free at participating family-friendly restaurants.
- The ultimate outdoor venue located on the waterfront in downtown San Diego, Carnitas' Snack Shack Embarcadero, is known for its laid-back atmosphere, pork-centric menu and specialty crafted cocktails. Families can take in the panoramic views of the skyline and San Diego Bay as well as walk to many of the area’s most popular attractions, including The Headquarters, Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter and the USS Midway. For all of October, Snack Shack is offering one free kid’s meal for kids, 12 and under, per each paying adult.
- Galaxy Taco in La Jolla Shores celebrates the culture and cuisine of Mexico with an emphasis on seafood and tacos. The restaurant is offering free meals for two kids, ages 12 and under, per each paid adult meal.
- After exploring the historic sites of Old Town San Diego, parents can unwind with a margarita and some traditional Mexican food at Casa Guadalajara, while up to three kids receive a free meal from the kids menu per one paid adult entrée.
Kids Learn and Have a Blast at San Diego’s Diverse Arts and Culture Venues
Kids have endless options to learn while having fun at more than 20 San Diego museums offering free admission to all kids, ages 12 and under, with each full-priced adult ticket purchase. Below are just a few of San Diego’s many kid-friendly museums to discover with this great offer.
- Head up to North County San Diego, where kids can learn about the history of surfboards and wave riding at the California Surf Museum. The museum features permanent and revolving exhibits, such as the Bethany Hamilton's shark-bitten board. Kids can also explore interactive exhibits and come face to face with exciting creatures including a rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle, a Giant Pacific Octopus and Leopard Sharks at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla. New at Birch is its 600-gallon, cylindrical moon jelly experience in the Hall of Fishes, where guests can get close to the jellies and observe their tentacles, as well as a newer touch tank that lets visitors feel creatures like sharks and rays.
- Families can spend hours exploring Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in North America, home to 17 museums, beautiful botanical gardens and exciting performing arts venues. Kids receive free admission at participating park museums including the Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego, a living work of Japanese art and culture, and the San Diego Natural History Museum, where kids can discover fossils and dinosaur bones and get to know the natural history of Southern California, past to present.
- Downtown’s kid-friendly museums include the Maritime Museum of San Diego, a collection of historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats and deep diving submarines, and the USS Midway Museum, a historic aircraft carrier, which features exciting flight stimulators and more. The New Children’s Museum stimulates imagination, creativity and critical thinking in children and families through engaging encounters with contemporary art.
Free Unique and Cool Ways for Kids to Explore San Diego
During October, kids can explore San Diego through a variety of unique tours and fun activities for free.
- Families can indulge in all the magic and tradition of Venice, as they cruise in a private gondola through the enchanting canals of scenic Coronado Cays with The Gondola Company. A limit of four kids, ages 12 and under, ride free with a paid cruise, and an adult must be present.
- One kid rides free with two paid adults on a 2-hour speedboat tour along San Diego Bay with Speed Boat Adventures. Families can drive at their own speed while checking out the spectacular views of Navy ships, the USS Midway, famous Star of India and historic ships of the Maritime Museum, Seaport Village, San Diego skyline and all the marine animals and wildlife that call San Diego Harbor home on this fun sightseeing journey.
- Kids can discover the historical side of San Diego when accompanying a paid adult on Murder n' Mayhem’s Embarcadero Waterfront History Tour. Starting in front of the Maritime Museum’s fascinating collection of ships, this 1.5-mile, 1.5-hour walking tour along San Diego’s Embarcadero covers the full range of San Diego’s history from the days of the Kumeyaay to the region’s first sighting by Spanish explorers; through San Diego’s important aviation firsts; and the key role the city and bay played for the Navy, especially during World War II.
A complete listing of “Kids Free San Diego” participants and their special offers is available at SanDiego.org/KidsFree. All offers are valid Oct. 1–31, 2021, and age limits and other restrictions vary by venue and activity. Visitors should check for complete offer details and terms at SanDiego.org/KidsFree before visiting any attraction.
For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org.