Robert Arends

Mission Valley is Full of Family Fun During October’s Kids Free in San Diego

Kids rule during Kids Free San Diego month!

Kids rule during Kids Free San Diego month!

The Kidvasion has begun! The 3rd annual Kids Free San Diego month kicks off today and continues through Halloween. Kids are sure to get a kick out of being VIPs (or should we say, VIKs – Very Important Kids 😉 ) all month long.

As you and your family are in town exploring the sights or planning a fun-filled fall visit to San Diego, be sure to check out these kids free deals in Mission Valley, conveniently located in the middle of it all just minutes from many major attractions.

Play!

Mission Trails Regional Park

Old Mission Dam - Mission Trails Regional Park

Enjoy the sound of the San Diego river rushing through the Old Mission Dam with a free hike through Mission Trails

Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the nation’s largest urban natural parks, is free for the whole family to explore, bike and hike 42 miles of scenic trails, including paths to the historic Old Mission Dam/San Diego River and to the top of Cowles Mountain, famous for its spectacular 360-degre views. The interactive Visitor Center is cool too, as are free guided nature walks every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 AM.

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Take a trip back in time at Mission San Diego

Take a trip back in time at Mission San Diego

Take a trip back to the time of the Spanish explorers and Franciscan friars who discovered San Diego at Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first mission in California (founded in 1769 and relocated to its present site in 1774). Children under 6 are free to tour the little museum (kids 6 to 12 are only $2). The Mission church and grounds, including a cool excavation site out back, are free for all to explore.

Junipero Serra Museum

Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Hill

Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Hill

Kids under 6 are also free at Junipero Serra Museum on Presidio Hill overlooking Mission Valley and Old Town. It was here in 1769 that the Spanish friar Junípero Serra and a group of soldiers built California’s first mission and a fort (called “presidio” in Spanish). The original buildings are gone, but an impressive Spanish-style museum sits on the site today.

Eat!

Lots of restaurants in Mission Valley’s hotels and resorts are rolling out the red carpet for children 12 and under. Kids eat free (with purchase of an adult entrée) at:

Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley

Kids eat free at the tiki-tastic Crowne Plaza Hotel!

At Doubletree by Hilton-Mission Valley, kids (up to two per room) can choose a free entrée from the children’s menu at the Fountain Café and Windows Lounge. Kids’ breakfasts are free at Ramada Conference Center plus free eats for kids at Sheraton Mission Valley!

Gifts!

Upon check in, Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel Circle is giving out a free welcome gift to each kid who checks in. WAY cool!

> Discover more of San Diego’s Mission Valley

As you can see, there are money-saving deals galore! See you in Mission Valley 🙂

Candice

Meet Jahja Ling: San Diego’s Guide to the Good Stuff for Music

[youtube http://youtu.be/Q0a2rEhSvM0]

San Diego is fortunate to have world-class conductor Jahja Ling leading the San Diego Symphony. But even after 10 years as the symphony’s music director, Jahja still finds his inspiration in the city itself.

Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony

Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony

“We have great music, great culture and museums, the beautiful ocean and beaches,” Jahja says. “It’s like an orchestra! Many different pieces that are good together.” So what spots most inspire this music legend? Check out some of Jahja’s favorite San Diego hangouts.

Best Spots from a Pre-Symphony Meal

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the San Diego Symphony is in a prime location for pre-show dining. Here are a few of Jahja’s favorites that can be found just minutes from the symphony’s front door.

  • Bertrand at Mister A’s: With plenty of windows all along this 12th floor restaurant and a location perfectly situated atop a hill in downtown, Mister A’s gives you a view of the entire city along with exceptional fine dining.
  • Cucina Urbana: For high quality food with a cozy, neighborhood restaurant vibe, the creative Italian fare at Cucina Urbana is popular with many locals.
  • Downtown San Diego has restaurants featuring just about every type of cuisine. Jahja loves pho, Mexican, and Spanish tapas. Try Cafe Sevilla for a variety of tapas and sangria during a lively happy hour.

Jahja Ling’s Favorite Non-Symphonic Activities

Jahja knows that even the most ardent symphony lover visiting San Diego won’t spend his or her entire trip in Copley Symphony Hall, so why not get out and try a few other Jahja-approved San Diego activities!

  • The Old Globe: This famous theater company offers a popular summer Shakespeare Festival, in addition to many other productions year-round.
  • La Jolla Playhouse: Many New York theater goers never know that their favorite shows like Jersey Boys and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying began at this San Diego theater! You may be seeing the next Broadway hit before anyone else when you visit the La Jolla Playhouse.
  • Balboa Park’s museums: Jahja loves the variety of museums in Balboa Park. From contemporary art to a museum devoted to automobiles, there is something for everyone.

Ever wonder what San Diego would sound like if it were a musical instrument? Find out the answer and more from Jahja Ling at www.sandiego.org/goodstuff.

Candice

San Diego Museum Month: Half-Off at 40+ Museums

san diego museum month 2014

san diego museum month 2014

Exploring San Diego’s museums, both big and small, is a great way to learn about the life, culture, history and art that makes up the city. But if you plan on visiting more than one or two, admission prices can really add up.

Fear not, budget-savvy museum lovers. San Diego Museum Month 2014 is right around the corner. From February 1-28, 2014, visitors can pick up a special Museum Month pass that provides half-off admission to 44 participating museums around San Diego.

With so many participating museums, it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. Fortunately, San Diego’s wealth of museums means that visitors from all walks of life are sure to find something one (or more) to love.

History and Heritage

maritime museum of san diego

The Star of India is one of the ships featured at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The San Diego History Center showcases San Diego’s history with artifacts, costumes, art and one of the largest photograph collections in the western United States.

Famed architect Irving Gill designed the historic Craftsman period mansion, The Marston House, with an elegant English garden.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay offers one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the famous Star of India – the world’s oldest active tall ship.

Artsy and Cool

lux art institute

The Lux Art Institute sits hillside in San Diego’s North County

The Museum of Photographic Arts presents photography from leaders like Ansel Adams, as well as cutting edge new artists. An intimate and elegant, state-of-the-art movie theater screens film classics and cult classics alike.

Set on a secluded hillside in a bright, modern structure that resembles a tiny Getty Center, the LUX Art Institute in Encinitas maintains an artist-in-residence program offering up-close opportunities to view international artists at work.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego displays modern masterpieces, including multi-media exhibits from world-renowned contemporary artists, in two locations, downtown San Diego and La Jolla.

Only in San Diego

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier turned museum.

The USS Midway Museum is a decommissioned aircraft carrier museum in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay featuring aircraft displays and interactive exhibits honoring the U.S. military.

Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad features more than 450 musical instrument displays and interactive areas to listen to music, ranging from ragtime to rock ‘n’ roll.

California Surf Museum in Oceanside preserves the legacy of pioneering legends of the surfing world.

Museum Month passes are free and can be picked up at any San Diego area Macy’s store location (plus locations in Temecula and the Imperial Valley). Be sure to grab one early to make the most of your time in San Diego!

> Click here for a full list of San Diego Museum Month Participants

In the comments below, tell us which museum is your favorite and why…

Robert Arends

Family Fun for Free in San Diego’s Coronado!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Family fun in the sun in Coronado! Courtesy Joanne DiBona, SanDiego.org

The Kidvasion has begun! Kids Free in San Diego month is in full swing. As you and your family are in town enjoying the numerous (100+) free deals, be sure to visit sun-kissed Coronado, a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

Kids are sure to get a kick out of these free activities around the island:

The Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America - Coronado Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America – Coronado Beach

Make sandcastles at Coronado Beach – the #1 beach in America – with its expansive stretch of soft white sands. To the north, check out the tail-wagging fun at Dog Beach where friendly fidos splash in the surf and play fetch. Along Ocean Blvd., can you spot the giant sand dunes that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O? Pretty neat!

Coronado Museum of History & Art

US Navy's aircraft carriers at NAS North Island

Mighty aircraft carriers and high-flying jets at NAS North Island

Fly by the Coronado Museum of History & Art (kids under 12 are free with 1 adult paid admission) to check out their new 100+ Years of Yachting exhibition, plus cool U.S. Navy display. To see the real thing, head to Shoreline Park (First St. & I Ave.) for a peek at the Navy’s mighty aircraft carriers. A free air show of sorts can be seen almost daily at Coronado Beach, with Navy jets and helicopters flying overhead on their way to NAS North Island.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz Glass Panels - Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz scenes at the Coronado Public Library

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library to gander at massive glass panels depicting scenes from the Wizard of Oz. Oz author L. Frank Baum lived in Coronado! Join Coronado Touring on a walk back in time through the Hotel del Coronado (Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City) and past the yellow cottage where Baum wrote a few of his fantastical children’s books. Tour is free for kids under three ($12 each for mom and dad).

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

The whimsical "Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" at Stephen Clayton Galleries

The whimsical “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” at Stephen Clayton Galleries

Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat greets kids at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat greets guests at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Another famous children’s author who lived in San Diego was Dr. Seuss. Discover the “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” – including sculptures of magical creatures and other-worldly paintings – at the Stephen Clayton Galleries at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

And don’t forget Coronado’s Kids Free month participants and special deals, including:

Coronado’s fun and free playground of activities awaits! 🙂

Robert Arends

Stellar Finds at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego’s East County

Palomar Observatory
View from Mt. Palomar

Spectacular views from high atop Mt. Palomar.

Fall is here and there’s no better time to visit scenic East County where the trees are starting to change into a kaleidoscope of autumn colors – a real treat for leaf peepers! Over the weekend I trekked to East County’s legendary Palomar Observatory to do some exploring and I’ve got to say, it was out of this world! (pun intended)

Half The Fun is Getting to the Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory amongst the changing leaves.

The drive there was half the fun. Take Highway 78 east from Ramona – where you’ll pass some excellent local wineries offering tastings – then fuel up with a quick bite of scrumptious apple pie at Dudley’s Bakery in Santa Ysabel. Just past the bakery, head north on Highway 79, then west on Highway 76 toward Lake Henshaw. After La Jolla Indian Reservation, turn right on South Grade Rd./S6 which begins a wonderfully winding adventure up Mt. Palomar with panoramic overlooks at every turn. You can see as far as the Pacific!

Atop the mountain, continue straight on Canfield Rd. and follow the signs to Palomar Observatory. Forests and fern meadows abound; don’t be surprised if you spot flocks of wild turkeys on the roadside! (Mmm…Thanksgiving! 😉 )

What To Do Once You’re There

Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda galaxy at the Palomar Observatory museum.

Seeing the observatory’s giant Art Deco-style white dome for the first time is jaw-dropping! Inside, a colossal 7-story Hale Telescope points toward the heavens. Tours are available Saturdays/Sundays at 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM at the low price of $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and children under 12 are free. Be sure to explore the free museum, spotlighting Palomar’s stellar discoveries, including the first brown dwarf and a planetoid called Sedna. My favorite cosmic find was a massive photo (above) of the twinkling Andromeda galaxy gracing the back wall.

Did You Know…

Palomar Observatory Dome

7-story dome at Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory houses the 8th largest telescope in the U.S. and weighing in at 14 ½ tons, the telescope’s main mirror is one of the heaviest pieces of glass in the world!

On The Way Back

Lake Henshaw Vista Point

Do a little birding at the Lake Henshaw Vista Point

Head down Mt. Palomar on East Grade Rd./S7.  At the 1.8 mile marker, stop at Henshaw Vista Point for breathtaking views of Lake Henshaw. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks and eagles soaring high above Santa Ysabel Valley. If you close your eyes, you can imagine you too have taken flight over San Diego’s East County…Will wonders never cease! 🙂

> Discover More of San Diego’s East County

Have you been to the Palomar Observatory? What was your favorite thing there? Let me and others know in the comments below.

Candice

2013: A Year of Anniversaries and History in San Diego

The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla and the famous Hotel del Coronado celebrating anniversaries in 2013

San Diego is full of rich history. In fact, the history of California began in San Diego when explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay under the Spanish flag and was the first European to discover California.

Centuries later, on October 14, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson reserved a half-acre of Fort Rosecrans on the tip of Point Loma in where Cabrillo first landed for “The Order of Panama … to construct a heroic statue of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo.” Now encompassing 160 acres, the Cabrillo National Monument celebrates 100 years of history with exhibitors from many of Southern California’s federal, state and local agencies, and non-profit organizations during a three-day celebration weekend from Oct. 12 -14, 2013.

But the Cabrillo National Monument isn’t the only other site in San Diego celebrating an anniversary in 2013. Several of San Diego iconic hotels, museums and attractions mark milestones this year.

Century-Old Historic Hotels

The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla and the famous Hotel del Coronado celebrating anniversaries in 2013

The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla; the famous Hotel del Coronado

Grande Colonial Hotel

Amidst the pristine beaches and bluffs of San Diego’s beautiful coastal village of La Jolla, the luxurious Grande Colonial Hotel celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2013. Completely modernized, yet faithful to its storied past, this intimate boutique hotel harkens back to a quieter, more dignified era. Throughout 2013, the Grande Colonial marks the 100th anniversary of its grand opening in February 1913 with special packages, old-fashioned cocktails and more.

Hotel Del Coronado

Opened in 1888 and designed to be “the talk of the Western world,” the landmark Hotel del Coronado is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Throughout its rich history, The Del has played host to presidents, royalty and Hollywood’s elite and was the glamorous setting for Billy Wilder’s comedy classic Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The Del celebrates this milestone year with a series of dining and spa specials, guest packages, community events, charitable promotions and the release of a new history book.

Celebrating Science in San Diego

The Salk Institute, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and Air & Space Museum

The Salk Institute, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and Air & Space Museum

Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies

In 1963, Jonas Salk established the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. Adjacent to the University of California, San Diego, the institute is world-renowned for its medical research and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The 26-acre campus, designed by world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn, overlooks the Pacific Ocean on Torrey Pines Mesa and offers free public tours.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

40 years ago, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park opened its doors and brought interactive exhibits and the world’s first IMAX® Dome Theater to San Diego. Today, the Fleet inspires minds and connects individuals to science and technology through more than 100 hands-on exhibits for all ages, IMAX films and planetarium shows in the recently renovated Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

The San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park celebrates its 50th anniversary. The museum first opened its doors in Balboa Park in 1963. When a fire destroyed the museum and its contents in 1978, the San Diego community came together to rebuild, and the museum moved into the historic Ford Building in 1980, where it resides today. The museum is California’s official Air and Space Museum, one of the largest aviation and space museums and home to the third largest aviation archives and library in the country.

Artsy Anniversaries

The Museum of Photographic Arts and the Mingei International Museum

The Museum of Photographic Arts and the Mingei International Museum

Museum of Photographic Arts

The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park celebrates 30 years dedicated to exhibiting photography, film and video. Since its founding in 1983, MOPA has presented dynamic world-class photography exhibitions in San Diego and built a world-class photography collection. The anniversary exhibition 30x: Three Decades highlights one acquisition from each of MOPA’s 30 years and showcases a selection of influential figures in the history of photography, including works by Alexander Rodchenko, Loretta Lux, Thomas Struth, Lee Friedlander, Robert Adams, Marian Drew and many others.

Mingei International Museum

The Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2013 with a broad range of signature exhibitions, events and programs. In May 1978, the Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art opened with the mission to further the understanding of art of the people (mingei) from all cultures of the world. Thirty-five years later, the museum continues to offer unique exhibitions and events highlighting the arts, crafts and traditions of cultures from around the world.

Speaking of anniversaries, let us know if you have ever celebrated one in San Diego in the comments below.

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do in San Diego: November 29 – December 2, 2012

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

The holiday season is officially upon us! If you are avoiding the stores (or even better…done with your shopping), get out and enjoy one of these San Diego events and things to do this weekend.

1. NCAA® 2012 Women’s College Cup

NCAA 2012 Women's College Cup

Catch the excitement of the NCAA 2012 Women’s College Cup for its first visit to San Diego

For the first time ever, the University of San Diego will be hosting the NCAA College Cup, the women’s Division I soccer national championship on November 30 & December 2, 2012 at Torero Stadium. Penn State, Florida State, North Carolina and Stanford will make their way to San Diego to play for the national championship.

Location: Torero Stadium, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110 (map)
Dates: November 20 and December 2, 2012
Cost: $40 for all three games. Parking is free
> Find out more about the NCAA 2012 Women’s College Cup

2. LEGO Train City Exhibit

LEGO Train City Exhibit - San Diego Model Railroad Museum

All aboard the train to LEGO City at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum

If you have kids of a certain age, visiting this exhibit at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is a must. The exhibit features LEGO trains, trestles, transportation, skyscrapers, canyons, mountains, an ocean boardwalk and town buildings. Little ones can also enjoy playful learning in a LEGO Brick City zone filled with interactive, creative and educational activities.

Location: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: November 20, 2012 – January 18, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (Closed on Mondays)
Cost: Included with admission. Adults – $8, Seniors – $6, Children 14 and under – Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s LEGO Train City Exhibit

3. Holiday Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObT5PiEu2Fk]

Enjoy the largest animated drive-through light show on the U.S. West Coast with more than 400 brilliant holiday light displays. Themed for the holiday season, the Holiday of Lights is a spectacular drive-through light show with crowd-pleasing, family oriented displays organized into themes, which include: Candy Cane Lane, Toyland, San Diego County Fair, Treasures by the Lake, Del Mar Racetrack, the Twelve Days of Christmas and Elves at Play.

> Find more Christmas light displays in San Diego

Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014 (map)
Dates: November 22, 2012 – January 1, 2013
Times: Sunday-Thursday: 5:30 to 10:00 PM. Friday-Saturday: 5:30 to 10:30 PM
Cost: $15 per car, up to 5 people. $20 per vehicle, 6 or more people. $50 per bus. $10 per person for the Holiday Hayride
> Find out more about Holiday Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

4. North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Get swept up in the holiday spirit during the North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Celebrating its 49th year, the North Park Toyland Parade and festival includes vintage cars, marching bands, dance groups, beauty queens and city officials. Keep your eye out for Santa Claus and his sleigh, as he jingles all the way down the parade route.

> Discover even more Holiday Things to Do in San Diego

Location: Click here for the parade route
Date: December 1, 2012
Time: Parade starts at 11:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

5. SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza

SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza Collage

Chili, Shopping, Chili, Beer and Wine, Chili and Family Fun at the SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza. Did we mention there will be chili?

For the past 3 years, the two neighborhoods of South Park and North Park come together for the SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza. This family friendly festival offers a kids zone, shopping from local artisans, music, local craft beer and, of course, chili made by local restaurants and residents. Stop by to taste some chili and vote for your favorite in the “People’s Choice Award.”

Location: 32nd Street and Thorn, San Diego, CA 92104 (map)
Date: December 2, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Festival is Free. $20 for a ceramic chili bowl, 5 restaurant tastings and unlimited community tastings
> Find out more about SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza

> Browse more great things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of any other great events going on in San Diego this weekend? Let us and others know about them in the comments below.

Alison

The Marston House – A Step Back into San Diego History

Marston House circa 1905.
Marston House circa 1905.

The Marston House in 1905. Before Balboa Park was built.

San Diego’s Marston House Museum and Gardens tells a story that goes well beyond bricks and mortar. Today, this 16-room Arts and Crafts masterpiece on the edge of Balboa Park tells the story of one of San Diego’s prominent early 20th century families, George and Anna Marston and their five children.

George Marston, a philanthropist, civic leader and owner of the city’s premier department store, commissioned renowned architects William S. Hebbard and Irving Gill to build his family an English Tudor-style home. Mid-project, Gill visited his old friend Frank Lloyd Wright and was inspired to change the design. The result is San Diego’s preeminent Craftsman treasure.

The Marston House – A Craftsman Treasure

Living Room - Marston House

A classic craftsman living room.

Visit the Marston House and savor the design. Ponder that the place had solar water heating a century ago. Marvel at the flush butterfly joints that hold together the old-growth redwood paneling in the living room. Admire the Tiffany lamps and caress the Stickley rockers. But don’t stop there.

Table by the Fire - Marston House

Meals enjoyed by the fire at the Marston House.

As natural light filters golden through windows in late afternoon, remember that this was a living home. The place still feels like home. Serene. Comforting. Embrace what it might have been like to be part of the family – and let your mind play. Join George and Anna in easy conversation around their dining room table, with Teddy Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington, Kate Sessions (the Mother of Balboa Park). Listen to the squeals of children scampering outdoors. Be transported. Become part of the Marston House story.

Kitchen with a classic stove in the Marston House.

The latest and greatest in kitchen technology…back in the early 20th century.

Marston House Tours and More

The Save Our Heritage Organisation docents bring the house alive during the daily 45 minute tours of the house. If visiting on a weekend, a calm and tranquil tour through the 5 acres Marston House Historical Gardens is a must. Historic Seventh Avenue Tours are also offered on the weekends.

Marston House Museum and Gardens Information:

Location: 3525 Seventh Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103 (map)
Hours: Friday-Monday (Winter) and Thursday-Monday (Summer): 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $4-$10, $15 for two tours, $20 for all three tours.
Website: www.marstonhouse.org

Suzzanne

Halloween Fun for Kids in San Diego

Princesses at SeaWorld San Diego's Halloween Spooktacular

Halloween isn’t just for the 31st anymore, especially if you have kids. Browse the list for fun things to do with your kids this Halloween season.

1. LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

Cruise on over to LEGOLAND California for Halloween Fun.

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is back for its one-of-a-kind party every Saturday Night in October from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. Several monstrously fun areas of LEGOLAND are open late for Party Nights, including Land of Adventure, Castle Hill and the Imaginati

Halloween fun for kids isn’t just on the 31st anymore. Browse the list for fun things to do in San Diego with your kids this Halloween season.

on Zone. Be sure the little ones come in costume; prizes will be given for Best Pirate, Most LEGO Themed and Most Creative. And visitors who stay until 9:00 PM will be treated to an awesome fireworks display!

Dates: Saturdays, October 20 & 27, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights
> Kids Go Free to LEGOLAND California during October’s Kids Free San Diego

2. Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked!

Pirate Ship - Haunted Birch Aquarium - Shipwrecked

Haunted Pirate Ships and More at the Birch Aquarium

Ghouls and buoys of all ages are invited to spend a safe and “spirited” Halloween with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Discover what lurks beneath the surface and soak up spooky science activities and explore the aquarium’s “wreckage” for sunken treasures. Kids can come in their costume for a chance to win great prizes!

Dates: Friday-Saturday, October 26-27, 2012
Cost: Members – $15, Nonmembers – $17, At the Door – $19
> Find out more about Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked!
> Kids Go Free to the Birch Aquarium during Kids Free San Diego
(Offer for regular admission only, does not include special events)

3. Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld San Diego

Princesses at SeaWorld San Diego's Halloween Spooktacular

Who’s the Fairest Pumpkin Princess at SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular?

During SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular, kids can meet some spooky and not-so-spooky animals, pose for pictures with mesmerizing mermaids and trick-or-treat in a sea-inspired atmosphere.

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21 & 27-28, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about the Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld San Diego
> Kids Go and Eat Free to SeaWorld San Diego during October’s Kids Free San Diego

4. Haunted Tales from our Seafaring Past

The Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego is place to be on for all aspiring ghosts, goblins and princesses to gether for some ghostly tales of enormous proportions. Creepy treats will be given to all who dare attend and kids are encouraged to wear costumes.

Dates: Friday-Saturday, October 20, 26-27, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Haunted Tales from our Seafaring Past at the Maritime Museum of San Diego

5. Balboa Park’s Halloween Family Day

Costumed fun in San Diego’s Historic Balboa Park

Head over to Balboa Park for a Park-wide Halloween celebration. There will be Halloween-themed family activities in the museums from 11:00 to 3:00 PM as well as booths along the Prado with activities.

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Cost: Children 12 and under free at participating museums
> Find out more about Balboa Park’s Halloween Family Day
> Kids Go Free to 30 Museum in San Diego during October’s Kids Free San Diego
(Offer for regular admission only, does not include special events/exhibits)

Know of any more great Halloween fun for Kids in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! in San Diego

San Diego Air & Space Museum Exterior
San Diego Air & Space Museum Exterior

Explore the San Diego Air & Space Museum with Free Admission during Smithsonian magazine Museum Day Live!

Saturday, September 29th, 2012, is Smithsonian magazine Museum Day Live! 15 museums in San Diego are throwing open their doors and offering free admission to anyone with a Museum Day Live! ticket. This is a great opportunity for you and a friend to venture out and explore a new museum.

> Click here to register for a Museum Day Live Ticket!
FYI – You must register to receive a Museum Day Live! ticket.

2012 Participating San Diego Museums

> This October, Kids Get in Free to 35 Museums in San Diego