‘Kids Free San Diego’ returns in October

Above: SeaWorld visitors interact with killer whales through the glass. Lifestyle | 6 Sep, 2018 |

During the entire month of October, more than 100 San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums, tours and transportation companies offer families the opportunity to unwind in San Diego without having to worry about breaking the bank. “Kids Free San Diego” provides parents an opportunity to save with a variety of unique free incentives for kids, ranging from complimentary attraction admission to meals, welcome amenities at area hotels and much more.

With world-class family attractions, a rich arts and culture scene, delicious Cali-Baja cuisine and popular activities like whale watching, golfing, surfing and kayaking, San Diego is constantly rated a top family destination. 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 at reduced prices.

Below are highlights of the 7th 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 more, San Diego is offering families big savings this October with free kids’ admission to local theme parks.

• Kids, ages 11 and younger, are admitted free into the San Diego Zoo where families can learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts and also explore Africa Rocks, the zoo’s newest exhibit highlighting Africa’s biodiversity. The offer is also valid at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, an 1,800-acre wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 300 species. Families can walk among kangaroos and wallabies and other unique Australian species at the brand-new Walkabout Australia exhibit, which opened June 2018.

• Offering one child, ages 3 to 9, free admission with one full-paid adult ticket, SeaWorld San Diego lets kids dive into Ocean Explorer, a new attraction featuring five rides, while mom and dad get their adrenaline pumping at the brand new Electric Eel, San Diego’s tallest and fastest roller coaster which opened May 2018. The same offer is valid at Dine with Orcas. Children, ages 10 to 12, can participate for free in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Interaction Program with one paid adult participation (kids must be at least 48” tall to participate).

• Families can slide, swim and splash at Aquatica San Diego, a waterpark located 20 minutes from downtown San Diego and featuring seven thrilling water slides, a wave pool with swells of up to 5 feet high, three family friendly pools, a relaxing lazy river and up-close animal experiences. Kids, ages 3 to 9, are admitted free per paid adult admission.

Hotels Roll Out the Welcome Mat for Kids

Located throughout San Diego, hotels ranging from budget options to luxury escapes are offering special experiences just for kids this October. Kids can eat free at many hotels or receive special welcome gifts upon arrival at others.

• Opened in February 2017 in downtown’s vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, The Pendry offers families a modern luxury getaway where kids, ages 12 and under, can enjoy a sleepover party with complimentary PJ Salvage pajamas, two in-room movies, snacks and Kid’s Sleepy Time aromatherapy pillow spray courtesy of Spa Pendry. The “Kids Party Free” package is available for every night booked.

• At the family friendly Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, kids ages 12 and under, will be able to play, shop or eat for free with a special “island allowance” worth $50. The credit can be applied towards ice cream, a toy from the gift shop or a bike rental.

• Centrally located in Mission Valley, close to local attractions, beaches and downtown San Diego, the Homewood Suites Hotel Circle offers families a home away from home with extended day suites and free daily hot breakfast. During October, kids ages 12 and younger, will be welcomed with a free plush toy upon arrival.

Kids Can Dig In with the Deals at San Diego’s Restaurants

After an enjoyable day around the city, parents can have a taste of San Diego’s emerging culinary scene while kids eat free at participating family-friendly restaurants.

• Located along downtown’s waterfront close to popular family attractions like the USS Midway Museum and Seaport Village, Carnitas’ Snack Shack at the Embarcadero offers kids, ages 12 and under, one free “Kid’s Combo” with the purchase of an adult meal. The offer is valid only at the Embarcadero location and includes a maximum of two kids per paying adult.   

• Known for its signature Baja buckets filled with lobster tails, crab legs and grilled shrimp accompanied with corn on the cob and flour tortillas, Rockin’ Baja Lobster is a family friendly restaurant where children, ages 12 and under, can enjoy one free meal and a beverage with every paid adult entrée. The offer is valid only at the Gaslamp Quarter location and has a maximum of two kid’s meals per table.

• Families can satisfy any craving at Hope 46 restaurant in North Park’s Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, where classic American dishes with a memorable flair are served in swanky yet unpretentious surroundings. Kids, ages 12 and under, can enjoy a free entree through October, with a maximum of two kids per paid adult.

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 three dozen San Diego museums that are offering free admission to all kids, ages 12 and under, in October. The offer is valid for two children per paid adult. Here are just a few of San Diego’s many kid-friendly museums to discover:

• Families can spend hours exploring Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in North America, home to 17 museums, botanical gardens and performing arts venues. Kids can enjoy free admission at participating museums within the park including the San Diego Natural History Museum, where kids can walk among dinosaurs and learn about San Diego’s rich fossil history, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum, which houses historic aircrafts and spacecraft around the world.

• Kids can get hands on with interactive exhibits, watch a tank feeding and explore the wonders of the ocean at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla, featuring more than 60 colorful habitats that include marine life, coral reefs, sharks, jellyfish and outdoor living tide pools. Part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, this interactive museum also showcases cutting-edge research and discoveries in climate, earth and ocean science.

• Kids can learn about California’s most iconic sport at the California Surf Museum, located in the coastal city of Oceanside. The museum tells the story of surf through permanent and temporal exhibits showcasing surfboards, trophies, photographs and unique memorabilia.

Free Unique and Cool Ways for Kids to Explore San Diego

During October, kids can explore San Diego’s most iconic landmarks and hot spots for free. From utilizing a unique pedestrian bridge connecting Tijuana and San Diego to hopping on and off a double-decker tour bus in some of San Diego’s most historic neighborhoods, families have many ways to enjoy San Diego.

• Families traveling across the U.S.-Mexico border can now save time and money with the Cross Border Xpress (CBX), a unique pedestrian bridge connecting the Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) with San Diego. When flying into TIJ, children ages 12 and under, can get a free single trip CBX ticket from Tijuana to San Diego with purchase of an adult ticket. The offer is not available online and must be purchased at CBX counters at TIJ.

• Kids ages 12 and under, can hop around town for free on San Diego’s newest tour, The Hopper. The premier “hop on/hop off” transportation and attraction service offers families the opportunity to learn about and explore many of San Diego’s most iconic places, including Old Town, Little Italy, Balboa Park, the Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village and Embarcadero from a vibrant, double decker bus equipped with various amenities.

San Diego Padres & Petco Park Tours offers sports fans the unique opportunity to tour the world-famous Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. One child, ages 12 and under, can tour the park for free with each paid adult. The tour features behind-the-scenes looks at the press box and dugout and more. Participants must present a valid Kids Free coupon, and the offer is not valid on school field trips.

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, 2018, 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.

Happiness is calling in San Diego. 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.

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