The lazy days of summer may be over, but that's no reason to trade adventurous family outings for a never-ending cycle of school drop-offs, pick-ups, and algebra homework. Instead, pack up and head for San Diego during San Diego Tourism Authority's annual Kids Free promotion.
The 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. Children can eat, stay, and play for free at more than 100 participating hotels, restaurants, museums, and parks until October 31.
We've selected 10 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.
1. San Diego Zoo
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The world-famous zoo features more than 3,700 animals including pandas, polar bears, and Malayan tigers. Receive free admission for up to ten children aged 11 and under with each paid adult ticket.
2. San Diego Zoo Safari Park
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. Every paying adult can bring up to ten kids free of charge in October.
3. Legoland California Resort
Does Ninjago play on a non-stop loop in your home? If the answer is yes, you'll love 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: Access to Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is not included.
4. SeaWorld San Diego
Kids can get up-close-and-personal with their favorite marine animals at San Diego's sprawling amusement park where the entire family can see dolphins, sharks, penguins, and sea lions in an intimate setting. 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
5. San Diego Air and Space Museum
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.
6. Surf Diva Surf School
Get the complete California experience at this renowned surf school at sunny La Jolla Shores Beach. Your mini-me can hang ten for free with the purchase of one adult or child admission. Note: This offer only includes private lessons and group classes. Clinics and camps require a separate fee.
7. Flagship Cruises Whale Watching
Three kids can ride along free with every full-fare paid adult on whale watching cruises all month long. These voyages always have a naturalist on board from San Diego's Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Trips leave twice daily.
Photo courtesy of Birch Aquarium
8. Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Speaking of the Aquarium, that's another place where up to 2 kids can get in free with each adult.
9. Casa Guadalajara
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.
Audio at The Complex. Photo courtesy of The New Children's Museum
10. The New Children's Museum
Up to two kids can get free admission with every paid adult ticket to San Diego's New Children's Museum.
11. The Gondola Company
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 each couple to bring up to 4 kids on their ride for free. Pack a picnic, and it can be cheaper than dinner out.
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 9/26/17
All photos courtesy of SanDiego.org