During the entire month of October, dozens of San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums, tours and transportation companies will offer families the opportunity to unwind in San Diego while saving big. The 11th annual “Kids Free San Diego” provides parents an opportunity to stretch their smile and wallet with a variety of unique deals for kids, ranging from complimentary admission at local attractions to free meals at restaurants to welcome amenities and experiences at area hotels and much more.
With world-class family attractions, endless activities on land and water, a rich arts and culture scene, and a delicious cuisine, San Diego is consistently rated one of the top family destinations in the United States.
In October, after the summer crowds diminish and the warm weather lingers, families can enjoy numerous fun-filled activities at reduced prices.
Below are highlights of the 11th annual “Kids Free San Diego” month for an affordable family getaway.
Major Savings at Major Attractions
Home to world-class attractions like the San Diego Zoo, 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, 11 years old and younger, when accompanied by a paying adult, providing the perfect opportunity for families to experience the zoo’s recently opened Denny Sanford Wildlife Explorers Basecamp. Guests can interact, climb, scramble, and jump in four innovative nature play areas and visit habitats from around the world, from desert dunes and wild woods to marsh meadows and rainforest.
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, 2022. 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 2022 is the world’s first LEGO® Ferrari “Build and Race” interactive attraction, featuring a life-size Ferrari F40 model developed by the LEGO® Group, “Build and Race” features three zones, offering different obstacles and challenges for riders as they try to clock the fastest time.
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 Mission Beach, Bahia Resort Hotel offers families an exciting getaway where kids, ages 12 and under, get a free meal for each paid adult entrée at Dockside 1953, which offers up creative coastal cuisine and comfort food. Resort guests can also tour Mission Bay courtesy of Bahia’s on-site partner Action Sport Rentals, which is offering a complimentary paddleboard or kayak rental with the purchase of an adult paddleboard or kayak 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.
After spending a fun day around the city, parents can 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.
Located inside the popular Little Italy Food Hall, at the much-buzzed Piazza della Famiglia, Samburgers offer families the opportunity to savor food-celebrity Sam the Cooking Guy’s fan favorite burgers. Kids 12 and under can enjoy one free kid’s meal with the purchase of one 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 Free San Diego Museum Admission Deals
Kids have endless options to learn while having fun at a plethora of museums offering free admission to all kids, ages 12 and under, in October.
Below are just a few of San Diego’s many kid-friendly museums to discover.
Head up to North County San Diego, where kids can learn about the largest of the 21 California Missions: Mission San Luis Rey. The museum kicks off Kids free October with 3 free activities that include adobe brick making, painting with cochineal and a Rancho period scavenger hunt. Kids can also take center stage and find out how music is made at the Museum of Making Music. Children will also have the opportunity to learn by doing and playing on a wide variety of hands-on instruments.
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 Museum of Us, where everyone can discover a variety of interactive exhibits highlighting human stories that span time and cultures.
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 real fighter jets. The New Children’s Museum stimulates imagination, creativity and critical thinking in children and families through engaging encounters with contemporary art.
Free Things to Do
During October, kids can take it to the land or sea and 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 under 17 years old rides free with a paid adult on a San Diego Whale Watch adventure. The on-staff Marine Biologists will have endless wildlife facts to share with passengers of all ages about the beautiful marine ecosystem San Diego has to offer. Each whale watching trip is a two-and-a-half-hour journey, with a chance to spot wildlife from the very beginning. Guests can expect to see Blue, Humpback, Minke and Finback Whales.
Kids can discover the historical side of San Diego on Murder n’ Mayhem’s Embarcadero Waterfront Ghost Tour. During this 1-hour walking tour, families will visit several of the Embarcadero’s most popular haunted locations while learning of spooky spirits and hearing tales of ghostly history. As an added bonus, guests will also be able to ghost haunt with paranormal and ghost investigation equipment. One free child admission per paid adult.
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, 2022, 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.