October is a great month for families to visit San Diego County museums and attractions – because at many of them, kids under 12 get in free all month-long. About two dozen museums and attractions are participating. It’s a great opportunity for families to learn about art, history or science in a fun and interactive environment. Up to two children get in free with each paying adult. The freebie is for general admission and doesn’t apply to field trips or special events and exhibitions. Make sure to print the require coupon!
The Old Globe Theatre’s version of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show opened in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center (9/15/2011 – 11/6/2011) to an audience of newbies (affectionately known as “virgins”) as well as long-time Rocky Horror Show followers. First timers to this live theatre show not in the know were caught off-guard by patrons dressed in costume and participating as if they part of the troupe, even going so far as to yell lines back at the stage. A cult classic from the early 70’s, Rocky Horror Show patrons are encouraged to participate by purchasing selected props made available by the Old Globe such as a newspaper, flashlight, balloon and playing cards. These props were then used at the same time the actors use them on stage. The acting was entertaining, the story line interesting and the costumes a little risqué making for a really fun adult experience.
Originally started as a theatrical production in June 1973, The Rocky Horror Show enjoyed a long run on London stages before being transformed into the cult movie classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. A time-warp experience for sure, this musical that became a cultural phenomenon is definitely worth seeing on stage at least once, and then you’ll want to bring your friends…
The country’s largest urban cultural park, Balboa Park, has been one of my favorite San Diego spots since childhood. I can remember taking class field trips to the many museums, my 8-year-old self awestruck by their enormous grandeur. As an adult, I still love visiting Balboa Park. No matter how many times I wander the park’s vast Spanish Colonial walkways, I always find something new and exciting to explore that awakens my inner 8-year-old spirit.
To celebrate Arts Month San Diego, take your inner child to explore the arts offerings of the nation’s largest cultural park. With 15 major museums and spectacular performing arts venues, art lovers of all walks are sure to find something to marvel at. Here are just a few of the inspired offerings you’ll find this September in Balboa Park:
Legendary designer Zandra Rhodes serves as the honorary chair for this annual exhibition and special event gala at the Timken Museum of Art. Fashion enthusiasts will be bowled over by the extraordinary fashions inspired by 15 artworks from the museum’s collection. Proceeds from tickets to the grand celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24 benefit the Timken’s art education programs, and Art of Fashion programming will continue at the Timken through October.
Fashion certainly plays an important role in this ground-breaking show that launched a cult phenomenon. The Old Globe’s stage production features all the outrageous music and characters created by Richard O’Brien, who wrote the original book, music, and lyrics for The Rocky Horror Show. Do the time warp back to Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter’s castle as it was meant to be seen – live onstage. The show runs through Nov. 6.
On view through Nov. 6, this momentous exhibition spanning five centuries showcases 64 masterful pieces from Spain’s most celebrated artists, including Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. In addition to the big names, visitors will discover works by artists little-known in the U.S., such as the Romantic Manuel Barrón y Carrillo, or the Modernist Romero de Torres.
From the Spanish masters to masters of photography, Balboa Park’s art museums are some of the best in the country. Be sure not to miss Imagine That! at the Museum of Photographic Arts, now through Oct. 9. Expect to see the unexpected in this exhibition that highlights unique perspectives, unknown realms and phenomena inaccessible to the naked eye and immediate senses.
Donated to the City of San Diego by John D. and Adolph Spreckels in 1914, the Spreckels Organ is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, containing 4,530 pipes that range in length from the size of a pencil to 32 feet. Since 1917, San Diego has had a civic organist, who performs free weekly Sunday concerts.
Want to experience all the Balboa Park has to offer for free? Leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win two Passport to Balboa Park certificates. Each Passport includes a one-time admission coupon to each of 14 museums, and the coupon booklet is valid for seven consecutive days. A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, Sept. 28, so be sure to post before 10:00 am on Wednesday!
Saturday, September 24 is National Museum Day, an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors for Free to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. You must register on the Smithsonian magazine website in order to receive the Museum Day ticket.
It’s a great opportunity to visit a museum you’ve never been to, or visit your favorite. I’ll be trying the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas…where will you go?
Below is a list of participating museums and be sure to bring your Museum Day ticket with you for your free admission.
- Barona Cultural Center & Museum – Lakeside
- Lux Art Institute – Encinitas
- Marston House Museum – San Diego
- Mingei International Museum – San Diego
- Museum of Making Music – Carlsbad
- Museum of Photographic Arts – San Diego
- Reuben H. Fleet Science Center – San Diego
- San Diego Air and Space Museum – San Diego
- San Diego Archaeological Center – San Diego
- San Diego Botanic Garden – Encinitas
- San Diego Chinese Historical Museum – San Diego
- San Dieguito Heritage Museum – Encinitas
- The Adobe Chapel Museum – San Diego
- The Whaley House Museum – San Diego
Ask five locals to name their favorite picnic spot and you’ll get five different answers. Got kids and want a playground? Prefer a romantic oceanfront perch? How about a great spot for watching fireworks? Want music with your bread and cheese? San Diego has so many great spots for picnicking that choosing a site is purely subjective. Given that, here are several suggestions:
- My favorite spot is on the grassy bluff overlooking the surf at Coast Boulevard Park, just south of the backside of the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. My husband and I picnic there year round; it’s where he proposed all those years ago – and where we opt to renew our contract each year on the anniversary of that date. At low tide, some take their picnics to a wide patch of bluff closer to the surf. From any vantage point, the view is breathtaking.
- For a more serene Pacific view, consider spreading picnic fixings in the bunker just beyond the lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument. Take beach chairs to enjoy comfy views of the wide Pacific. And don’t forget a jacket; it’s breezy out there. (Admission to the monument costs $5 per car.)
- Want entertainment with your picnic? Check out parks throughout the county where free concerts will be staged this summer. We blogged about them last month.
- Prime spots for picnics with fireworks viewing include Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park on Mission Bay. The sandy beach has fire rings – and a perfect sight-line for watching SeaWorld fireworks.
- For music and fireworks, spread a picnic blanket at the tip of Embarcadero Marina Park North when Summer Pops is on stage at the tip of Embarcadero Marina Park South.
- Balboa Park is filled with great picnic spots. After visiting a museum or two, generations of local families have picnicked at Pepper Grove, south of The Fleet along Park Boulevard. The big draping pepper trees remain – and there’s a large playground and 15 picnic tables.
- In East County, Santee Lakes is a 190-acre recreation preserve with seven lakes, a 300-space RV campground, cabins for rent – and plenty of fun for picnickers. Go fishing. Rent a pedal boat, rowboat, canoe or kayak ($11-$15 per hour). Kiddies can romp at five playgrounds (each geared for specific ages). The “Sprayground” is wet and wild fun for kids up to 13 years old. (Pay $2 at the front gate for a wristband and get soaked all day long.) Technically admission to the park is free, but parking costs $5 on weekends, $3 weekdays.
Want to extend your picnic? The park has 10 new cabins for rent – including three floating units. Each has an equipped kitchen and can accommodate up to six – but you’ll have to bring your own linens. Rates start at $100 per night midweek for lakefront units and go to $145 a night for a floating cabin on weekends and holidays. There are two swimming pools and a whirlpool spa exclusively for overnighters – including the many snowbirds who rent RV spaces by the month.
You have a favorite picnic spot we haven’t included here? Please tell us about it.