The lazy days of summer may be over, but fall is when there's FREE stuff for kids to do in San Diego. So, pack up and head to SoCal's favorite tourist destination to take advantage of San Diego Tourism Authority's annual Kids Free promotion.
This citywide campaign kicks off October 1, enticing families to visit San Diego's big-ticket attractions like Legoland, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wildlife Park, and Seaworld. Kids can eat, stay, and play for free at more than 100 participating hotels, restaurants, museums, and parks until October 31.
We've selected a dozen offers that we think are particularly good deals—put two or three together, and you've definitely got savings worth traveling for. Scroll down for a link to all 100+ free opportunities for kids in October.
Lions and tigers and koalas, oh my! The world-famous zoo features more than 3,700 animals including pandas, polar bears, and Malayan tigers. Every child ages 3 to 11 gets free admission when accompanied by a paying adult. (Kids under 3 are always free.)
San Diego Zoo's sister park is an impressive, 1,800-acre refuge for more than 2,600 animals who roam freely, offering a safari-like experience to 2 million people each year. The park is home to cheetahs, zebras, condors, African rhinos, and giraffes who love acacia leaves. Just like at the San Diego Zoo, every kiddo ages 3 to 11 gets free admission when accompanied by a paying adult.
Everything is awesome at Legoland's October park hopper promotion, which includes one complimentary child ticket with the purchase of each full-price adult ticket to Legoland and Sea Life Aquarium. Note: Separately ticketed events (like Brick-or-Treat Party Night) are not included.
Kids are free this month at Seaworld Spooktacular, which includes a trick-or-treating candy trail, fall-flavored food & beverages, all your favorite amazing animals, rides and roller coasters, and more. Receive a free ticket for a child aged 3 to 9 with each paid adult ticket.
RELATED: 50 Things To Do in San Diego with Kids
Make friends with the dolphins. Photo courtesy of SeaWorld
Flight simulators, Apollo Command Modules, historic and military aircraft—what's not to love? And during October up to 2 kids get free admission with each adult.
Learn about the history of surfboards and surfing and see some impressive exhibits, like Bethany Hamilton's shark-bitten board! Up to two children 12 & under to get in free with each full-price paid adult.
Kids under 12 can ride along free with every full-fare paid adult on a 3-hour whale watching cruise all month long. These voyages always have a naturalist on board, and while the company can't guarantee you'll see a while, it does promise that if you don’t see a whale or dolphin, you’ll receive a free pass for another whale watching trip.
Kids can get up close and personal with marine animals. Photo courtesy of Birch Aquarium
Speaking of the water wildlife, here's another place where up to 2 kids can get in free with each adult.
Stopping for dinner in Old Town? That stop could be at the Mexican restaurant voted most kid-friendly by San Diego Magazine readers. There's a free kids' meal for each paid adult meal; the mariachis are on the house, too.
Do you hear what I hear? Photo courtesy of The New Children's Museum
Score one free child admission with every paid adult ticket to San Diego's New Children's Museum.
Ever feel tempted to take a ride on one of those graceful, peaceful boats from another age, pushed through calm waters by a dashing gondolier? It's not just a Valentine's Day thing; kids love these rides, too, and The Gondola Company is inviting up to four kids, ages 12 and under, to ride free with a paid cruise.
For stunning views of the city and San Diego Bay (not to mention a fabulous outdoor patio on the waterfront and incredible cocktails for parents), hit the Carnitas' Snack Shack, where for the month of October, kids 12 and under can get one free kid's meal per paying adult.
For a complete list of all 100+ offers in the Kids Free October promotion, including many hotels and restaurants, check out the Kids Free San Diego website.
Originally posted September 26, 2017
All photos courtesy of SanDiego.org