San Diego, California, Kids Free

San Diego, California


October is the best month for budget-conscious families to visit San Diego.

During the entire month of October, more than 130 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 free incentives for kids, ranging from complimentary attraction admission, 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 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 relish in the region’s sunny weather and warm temperatures while enjoying numerous fun-filled activities at reduced prices.

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 free kids’ admission to its popular theme parks.

  • Kids (under 12) are admitted free into the San Diego Zoo where families can learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts and see more than 4,000 animals representing more than 800 species from around the world. Also occurring in October, kids of all ages can get in the Halloween spirit during the zoo’s HalGLOWeen event. The same offer also is 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, wallabies, and other unique Australian species at the park’s newest exhibit, Walkabout Australia.

  • Offering one child (ages 3-9) free admission with one full-paid adult ticket, SeaWorld San Diego lets kids and families check out the park’s exciting new dueling roller coaster, Tidal Twister. The same offer is valid at Dine with Orcas and the Dolphin Interaction program; kids must be at least 48 inches tall to participate.

  • Celebrating its 20th birthday, LEGOLAND California Resort offers free admission for kids (ages 2-12) with one paid adult admission. Kids can enjoy DUPLO Playtown, race down the Riptide Racers water slide in the LEGOLAND Water Park (open weekends), and take a dive on the LEGO CITY: Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride.

Hotels roll out the welcome mats for kids

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.

  • Located in downtown’s vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, Pendry offers families a modern luxury getaway where kids (ages 2-10) can enjoy a sleepover party with complimentary PJ Salvage pajamas (one pajama per family, additional pajamas at $21/child), two in-room movies, and snacks. The Kids Party Free package is available for every night booked in October.

  • 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 towards ice cream, a toy from the gift shop, bike rentals, and more.

  • Located in picturesque Coronado just a short walk from Coronado Beach, the Glorietta Bay Inn is giving kids a $25 gift card to MooTime Creamery, Coronado’s local premier ice cream shop. Kids can enjoy freshly-baked waffle cones and delicious handcrafted ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet in a fun and nostalgic atmosphere.

Kids can dig in with the deals at San Diego’s restaurants

After spending a fun day around the city, parents can indulge in San Diego’s diverse culinary scene while kids eat free at participating family-friendly restaurants.

  • Located in Seaport Village with breathtaking views of San Diego Bay and San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Buster's Beach House is a tropical, surf-themed restaurant offering one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.

  • Galaxy Taco in La Jolla Shores celebrates the culture and cuisine of Mexico with an emphasis on seafood and tacos. The restaurant is offering two children (ages 12 and under) a free kid's combo with each paid adult meal.

  • Set along the vibrant boardwalk in Pacific Beach with panoramic ocean views, Waterbar’s “social seafood” menu is inspired by East Coast, West Coast, and Baja cuisines. During October, the restaurant is offering one free child entrée with one paid adult entrée.

Kids learn at San Diego’s diverse arts and culture venues

Kids have endless options to learn while having fun at more than 30 San Diego museums which are all offering free admission to kids (ages 12 and under) in October. The offer is valid for two children per paid adult. Below are just a few of San Diego’s many kid-friendly museums to discover.

  • In Old Town San Diego, kids can forgo the history books and learn about the early settlers of San Diego at the Junipero Serra Museum. Kids also can learn about the region’s Native American history at the Barona Cultural Center & Museum in San Diego’s rural East County. Dedicated to the local Kumeyaay-Diegueño culture, the museum’s unique collection represents thousands of years of history with objects dating as far back as 10,000 years ago.

  • Families can spend hours exploring Balboa Park, home to 17 museums, beautiful botanical gardens, and exciting performing arts venues. Kids can enjoy free admission at participating park museums including the Japanese Friendship Garden, a living work of Japanese art and culture, and the San Diego Natural History Museum where kids can discover fossils and get to know the natural history of Southern California.

  • 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 with climb-in aircraft, exciting flight simulators, and more. At The New Children’s Museum, your child’s imagination will be stimulated through engaging experiences 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 and experience spectacular views of Navy ships, the USS Midway Museum, famous Star of India and historic ships at the Maritime Museum, Seaport Village, and more on this fun sightseeing journey.

  • Kids can learn photography or hone their Instagram skills when accompanying a paid adult on San Diego Photography Tours. Both walking and shuttled driving tours are offered with an experienced professional photographer as guide. Tours range from walking tours of the waterfront, downtown, and Old Town to driving tours of picturesque Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument, offering spectacular vistas and photo opportunities.

A complete listing of Kids Free San Diego participants and their special offers is available here. All offers are valid October 1 through 31, 2019; age limits and other restrictions vary by venue and activity.

Also check out KidTripster’s Top 10 Plays, Top 10 Stays and Top 10 Eats in San Diego, as recommended by our local KidTripster mom.

If you can't go this year, Editor Shellie Bailey-Shah recommends planning a trip to San Diego next October, as the promotion will likely run again.

Photo courtesy: SDZ Safari Park

Pin to Pinterest & read later

How to save money in San Diego