Tag Archives: October

Kids Pool Fun -Courtesy Hilton San Diego Bayfront

San Diego offers free fun for families in October

Is there any better fun than free fun?

During the entire month of October, more than 110 San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums and transportation companies offer families with children special deals, so they can enjoy San Diego without emptying their wallets. “Kids Free San Diego” provides families an opportunity to save during budget-conscious times with a variety of “kids free” incentives, ranging from complimentary attraction admission, meals and Amtrak rides to welcome amenities at area hotels and much more.

In October after the summer beach crowds diminish, visitors to San Diego can relish in the region’s sunny weather and warm temperatures and enjoy a number of fun-filled fall activities for the whole family. Home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California Resort and Belmont Park, San Diego is offering substantial savings this October with free kids’ admission to local attractions.

Here are a few highlights of Kids Free San Diego month.

• Amtrak is offering one child, ages 2-12, a free ride with one paid adult rail fare aboard the Pacific Surfliner route, servicing San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Stops en route include the Santa Ynez Valley, Carpinteria, Ventura, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and more.

• All kids, ages 10 and younger, are admitted free into the San Diego Zoo, home to 3,700 rare and endangered birds, mammals and reptiles, and the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is now home to the Tull Family Tiger Tail, featuring a new forested habitat for the Safari Park’s Sumatran tigers with up-close views of the critically endangered species.

• SeaWorld San Diego wants families to join in the celebration of their 50th anniversary by offering one child, ages 3 to 9, free admission with one full-paid adult admission. The same offer is valid at Dine with Shamu, and kids, ages 10 to 13, can participate for free in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Programs with one paid adult participation.

• Legoland California Resort, featuring 128 acres of LEGO-themed fun and more than 50 interactive attractions, and SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium, with 36,000 sq. ft. of play zones and marine exhibits including the new Jellyfish Discovery, are offering a free one-day Child Hopper Ticket for one kid, ages 12 and under, with purchase of a full-price one-day Adult Hopper Ticket.

• Kids can eat free at a number of family-friendly properties, including the luxurious Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego along San Diego Bay, The Westin San Diego in the historic Gaslamp Quarter and the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina located near SeaWorld San Diego.

A complete listing of “Kids Free San Diego” Month participants and their special offers are available at SanDiego.org/KidsFree. All offers are valid Oct. 1–31.

Pacific Beach Boardwalk Cyclists -Courtesy Brett Shoaf

San Diego offers free admission for kids in October

Arizona residents flock to San Diego in the summer to escape the relentlessly dry heat. But have Arizona families ever considered experiencing the coastal city’s plethora of family adventures in the fall?

With almost guaranteed perfect weather, weeks of endless fun and entertainment and special family discounts, families can celebrate the season with the second annual Kids Free San Diego month in October.

“San Diego is a world-class destination for family travel,” says a representative at the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA). “The area offers something for everyone, including museums and cultural destinations, family-friendly eateries and beach activities like whale watching and surfing. The first Kids Free San Diego in 2012 was a tremendous success. Our area attractions, like the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego, reported a 10 percent increase in visitors from out of town.”

Az Business caught up with members of the SDTA to find out what families can expect to see, do, eat and save as Kids Free San Diego returns for an encore in 2013.

AB: What can Arizona families expect this year?
SDTA: Kids ages 10-13 will have the experience of a lifetime at SeaWorld – one child participates for free in the park’s dolphin and beluga whale interaction programs with a paid adult interaction. Every member of the family will enjoy exploring the famous San Diego Zoo and the 16 museums of Balboa Park, including the San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Automotive Museum and many more.

AB: Any ocean-related events and activities available to children and their families?
SD: There are a lot of great options to get out on the water during Kids Free San Diego. Families can cruise around scenic Mission Bay aboard a turn-of-the-century sternwheeler (one child rides for free with a paid adult). Both Flagship Cruises & Events and Hornblower Cruises & Events are offering free tours of San Diego Bay for kids with paid adult admission. Older kids even have the chance to learn to surf alongside mom or dad with a free kid’s lesson from Surf Diva at La Jolla Shores.

AB: What are area hotels doing this year to welcome children and families?
SD: Kids can eat for free at 40 San Diego area hotels during Kids Free San Diego. Many hotels are also offering free welcome amenities just for kids. Little ones, for instance, can get a special milk and cookie delivery at the Tower23 Hotel in Pacific Beach.

AB: Can AZ families take advantage of any travel discounts?
SD: Kids can ride for free about the Old Town Trolley Tour. In addition to offering a great sightseeing tour of San Diego, the Old Town Trolley Tour is a convenient way to get from place to place during the day, with on-and-off privileges at stops around downtown, Balboa Park, Coronado and many more points of interest.

Amtrak is offering one child, ages 2-15, free rides per one paid adult rail fare aboard the Pacific Surfliner route, servicing San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Stops include the Santa Ynez Valley, Carpinteria, Ventura, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and more.

San Diego hot spots

San Diego Zoo: The zoo in Balboa Park houses more than 3,700 animals and is also one of the few zoos in the world that is home to the giant panda. Haunted Trail of Terror in Balboa Park, San Diego’s all outdoor haunted attraction, runs Sept. 27-Nov. 2.

Seaport Village: The waterfront shopping and dining complex houses more than 70 shops, galleries, and restaurants in an assortment of architectural styles, from Victorian to traditional Mexican.

LEGOLAND: The 100-acre theme park features more than 50 rides, shows and attractions. Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad takes place on Saturdays and Sundays in October.

Gaslamp Quarters: If you are visiting San Diego and want time away from the kids, you would be remiss if you did not wander the Gaslamp Quarter for the the most amazing nightlife, eating, and drinking the city has to offer.

SeaWorld: The park features shows such as One Ocean, the Shamu show and Sea Lions Live, a comedic show with sea lions and otters. The Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld runs on Saturdays and Sundays from through Oct. 27.

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Phoenix leads all cities in housing price gains

US home prices rose in most major cities in October compared with a year ago, pushed up by rising sales and a decline in the supply of available homes. Higher prices show the housing market is improving even as it moves into the more dormant fall and winter sales period.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller national home price index released Wednesday increased 4.3 percent in October compared with a year ago. That’s the largest year-over-year increase in two and a half years, when a homebuyer tax credit temporarily boosted sales.

Prices rose in October from a year ago in 18 of 20 cities. Phoenix led all cities with a 21.7 percent gain, followed Detroit, where prices increased 10 percent. Prices declined in Chicago and New York.

Home prices fell in 12 of 20 cities in October compared with September. Monthly prices are not seasonally adjusted, so the decreases reflect the end of the peak buying season.

Still, the broader trend is encouraging. October marked the fifth straight month of year-over-year gains, after nearly two years of declines. Prices rose in mid-2010 in the final months before the tax credit expired. They had fallen sharply in 2008 and 2009.

“It is clear that the housing recovery is gaining strength,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indexes.

The improvement in housing is adding to economic growth and most analysts expect that to continue in 2013.

But automatic tax increases and spending cuts that are set to take effect next week could drag down growth. The White House and Congress have so far failed to reach agreement on a way to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” President Barack Obama and congressional lawmakers will return to Washington on Thursday to resume talks.

“We expect home price appreciation to continue for the foreseeable future, because inventories are lean amid rising sales,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank. “This assumes that a resolution to the ‘fiscal cliff’ is found … otherwise, the recent positive trend in housing would most certainly be in jeopardy along with the rest of the current economic expansion.”

Prices nationwide have recovered to about the same level as in the fall of 2003, according to the Case-Shiller index. They remain about 30 percent below the peak reached in the summer of 2006.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The October figures are the latest available.

Solid gains in home prices have helped drive a modest recovery in the housing market. Rising prices encourage more potential buyers to come off the sidelines and purchase homes. And more people may put their homes on the market as they gain confidence that they can sell at a good price.

Higher home prices can also make homeowners feel wealthier and more likely to spend more. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

Steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates have also helped propel the housing recovery. And the low supply of houses for sale is encouraging builders to start work on more homes. That should lead to more construction jobs.

The pace of home construction slipped in November but was still nearly 22 percent higher than a year earlier. Builders are on track this year to start work on the most homes in four years.

Builder confidence rose in December for a seventh straight month to the highest level in more than 6½ years, according to a survey released last week by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo.

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Arizona home prices jump 21.3%

A measure of U.S. home prices rose 6.3 percent in October compared with a year ago, the largest yearly gain since July 2006. The jump adds to signs of a comeback in the once-battered housing market.

Core Logic also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.2 percent in October from September, the second drop after six straight monthly increases. The monthly figures are not seasonally adjusted. The real estate data provider says the decline reflects the end of the summer home-buying season.

Steady price increases are helping fuel a housing recovery. They encourage more homeowners to sell their homes. And they entice would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Home values are rising in more states and cities, according to the report. Prices increased in 45 states in October, up from 43 the previous month. The biggest increases were in Arizona, where prices rose 21.3 percent, and in Hawaii, where they were up 13.2 percent.

The five states where prices declined were: Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Alabama.

In 100 large metro areas, only 17 reported price declines. That’s an improvement September, when 21 reported declines.

Mortgage rates are near record lows, while rents in many cities are rising. That makes home buying more affordable, pushing up demand.

And more people are looking to buy or rent a home after living with relatives or friends during and immediately after the Great Recession.

At the same time, the number of available homes is at the lowest level in 10 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. The combination of low inventory and rising demand pushes up prices.

Last week, an index measuring the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to the highest level in almost six years. That suggests sales of previously occupied homes will rise in the coming months.

Builders, meanwhile, are more optimistic that the recovery will endure. A measure of their confidence rose to the highest level in six and a half years last month. And builders broke ground on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years in October.

pennies

Arizona’s state revenue up 2.6% in October

Revenue for state government is up amid what legislative budget analysts call a sluggish, slow-growth economy.

October’s revenue increased by 2.6 percent over the same month a year earlier, with the increase largely propelled by 5 percent growth of individual income taxes.

Sales tax collections rose by just under 1 percent in October. Collections from retail sales were up but collections on contracting were down for the second straight month.

Revenue figures were reported by the staff of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

employment

Arizona unemployment rate dips to 8.1 percent

Arizona’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is down again, declining to 8.1 percent in October.

September’s rate was 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent the previous two months.

Department of Administration economists say the state gained 11,900 jobs in October. The increase is lower than the 10-average October increase of 16,900 jobs.

Both government and private sectors had below-average gains. Of the 11 economic sectors, six added jobs, four lost jobs and one remained unchanged.

The biggest gain was recorded by the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 4,900 jobs. That sector typically adds jobs this time of year as retailers prepare for the upcoming holiday season.

foreclosure

Arizona foreclosure numbers drop

The number of Arizona homes in some stage of the foreclosure process dropped again in October compared with a year ago, and homes actually repossessed by banks also dipped.

Data released Thursday by foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac shows lenders actually repossessed nearly 2,821 Arizona homes in October, 600 fewer homes than in September. New foreclosure filings rose slightly to about 3,900 last month.

October saw a 36 percent drop in homes being repossessed or receiving initial foreclosure filings compared to October 2011.

RealtyTrac says one in every 420 Arizona homes was in some stage of the foreclosure process last month.

The state dropped one position to No. 5 for foreclosure activity rate in the nation. Florida is No. 1 and Nevada No. 2.

Economy

U.S. adds 171,000 jobs in October

U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October, and hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought. The solid job growth showed that the economy is strengthening slowly but consistently.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September. That was mainly because many more people began looking for work, and not all of them found jobs. The government uses a separate survey to calculate the unemployment rate, and it counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they’re looking for one.

Friday’s report was the last major snapshot of the economy before Tuesday’s elections. It’s unclear what political effect the report might have. By now, all but a few voters have made up their minds, particularly about the economy, analysts say.

Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month. That’s up from 67,000 a month from April through June. Still, President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt and slightly higher than the 7.8 percent on Inauguration Day.

The work force — the number of people either working or looking for work — rose by 578,000 in October. And 410,000 more people said they were employed. The difference is the reason the unemployment rate rose slightly.

The influx of people seeking jobs “could be a sign that people are starting to see better job prospects and so should be read as another positive aspect to the report,” said Julia Coronado, an economist at BNP Paribas.

During a campaign stop in Columbus, Ohio, Obama said the job figures show the economy is slowly healing.

“We’ve made real progress, but we are here today because we know we’ve got more work to do,” Obama said. “Our fight goes on.”

But GOP challenger Mitt Romney pointed out to voters that the unemployment rate is now higher than when Obama took office.

“For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we’re making progress,” Romney said. “For too many American families, those words ring hollow. We can do better.”

Friday’s report included a range of encouraging details.

The government revised its data to show that 84,000 more jobs were added in August and September than previously estimated. August’s job gains were revised from 142,000 to 192,000, September’s from 114,000 to 148,000.

The unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point in the past 12 months. Much of that decline occurred because people gave up looking for work. That pushed the percentage of Americans working or looking for work to 63.5 percent in August, a 31-year low.

But since then, more Americans have started or resumed their job hunts and most have found work. The percentage of Americans working or looking for work rose for a second straight month in October to 63.8 percent.

The number of people with part-time jobs who wanted full-time work dropped last month. And the number of discouraged workers also declined. A measure of unemployment that includes those two groups plus the unemployed dipped to 14.6 percent from 14.7 percent.

The economy has added jobs for 25 straight months. There are now 580,000 more than when Obama took office.