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.

Suzzanne

Top Free Things to Do In San Diego: October 4-7, 2012

This weekend we are highlighting some fun activities you can do…all for free!

1. Annual Pacific Beachfest

Pacific Beachfest Logo

On Saturday, October 6, Pacific Beach will be hosting a one-day event to highlight all that San Diego beaches have to offer. This year the Pacific Beachfest will feature a Pro/Am Surf Competition Final with surfers competing from around the world, an Action Alley where professional skaters will be on hand demonstrating their skills, a beach volleyball tournament, as well as artists, vendors, activities and music.

2. ArtOberfest Walkabout

On Saturday, October 6 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM, visitors can walk around the neighborhood of South Park and enjoy a fun-filled evening festival and be introduced to the shops and cafes of South Park. From Kalmia to Beech Streets, you’ll find shops open late, entertainment, specials and surprises. Browse, explore, shop and celebrate the independent spirit of this legendary neighborhood!

3. Old Town San Diego Art Festival

Old Town San Diego Art Festival Banner

Watch the streets of Historic Old Town San Diego transform into an art extravaganza on Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7. Stroll down San Diego Avenue and see the variety of artists, entertainment, food and wine. And for the first time this year, there will be a Young Artist area that will feature a children’s art competition.

4. Friday Night Liberty & Fall for the Arts Kickoff

October is when arts and culture takes center stage in San Diego. Fall for the Arts is a month-long spotlight on the many vibrant arts and cultural activities throughout the region in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month. On Friday, October 5, at the NTC Liberty Station, local arts and culture organizations will present hundreds of free (and almost free!) events to ensure residents and visitors can get more bang for the buck!

> Discover More Great Things to Do with San Diego’s Event Calendar

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Martin

Take the Kids Fishing in San Diego

Kids fishing at the docks
Kids fishing at the docks

Spend a day with the kids fishing.

With kids spending more and more time in front of Smart phones or desk computers and less time in the outdoors, organizations throughout the country have taken on the task of getting more kids involved outside.

One of them is the Take Me Fishing movement at www.takemefishing.org, an excellent source for parents seeking guidance on how to get their kids into fishing.

Those who have tried know it’s not easy prying their sweaty little palms away from their mobile phones or computer games, but maybe, just maybe, the tug of a fish on the other end of the line will hook a kid for a lifetime of great fishing experiences.

What I’ve learned about taking kids fishing is that you have to take them somewhere where they’ll catch fish or at least get lots of bites and action. There’s never a guarantee in fishing. It’s not called catching, but there are ways to ensure that they’ll at least get into some biting fish.

My best bets are a lake or pond when bluegill are biting or a sport boat when there’s good action on smaller fish like mackerel, bass or bonito hitting.

A few years ago I took golf writer Tod Leonard out from the U-T San Diego newspaper. His son, Casey, was new to fishing. We went to San Diego Bay with fishing guide Jeff Stock, and it was a very successful trip. Casey outfished us all, knowing just the right time to set the hook and start reeling. Tod and Casey had a fishing memory of a lifetime. And that’s what you want when you take a youngster fishing.

San Diego Bay can be a great place to take a kid. So can places like Lake Murray and Santee Lakes. Keep it simple. Use light gear, not kiddy stuff, but good light gear like a spinning rod and reel. Lower Otay Lake has a very healthy population of bluegill, and they can be found close to the shoreline in the summer months.

Takemefishing.org recommends keeping kids busy with other activities when the fish aren’t biting. Try and teach them about the nearby environment they’re in by pointing out birds or other animals around them. Teach them knots or the difference in lures that they’ll use and why they use them. If you’re on a boat, teach them nautical terms such as the boat’s stern, port side, starboard and bow. Teach them how to cast. There is no more valuable skill an angler can have than making a great cast. Work with them closely on this and then let them try on their own.

It’s not easy these days getting a young boy or girl to give up the instant gratification they get from computer games and switch to fishing, a pastime that often requires patience, but it’s worth a try. The best thing you’ll hear later is, “Gee, Dad, when are we going fishing again?”

> Find More Family Friendly Travel Guides for San Diego

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do In San Diego: September 27-30

Band Playing at Oktoberfest

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love pumpkin patches, crisp evenings and all the fun things there is to do in San Diego. Here’s my top picks for this weekend. What will you be doing?

1. Cabrillo Festival

Cabrillo National Monument

For the 49th year, San Diego will celebrate the day in 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed on the shore that is now San Diego. On September 29th and 30th, visitors can learn more about San Diego’s early history at this fun event for the whole family.

2. Oktoberfest in El Cajon

Band Playing at Oktoberfest

Lederhosen, Beer, Bratwurst and Family Fun at the Authentic Oktoberfest in El Cajon.

Head east and partake in authentic German food, beers and liquors at the annual Oktoberfest in El Cajon. Visitors will enjoy traditional folk dancing performances, games and contests, vendor and craft booths and a Kids’ Zone. The fun kicks off September 28th.

3. 40th Annual Poway Rodeo

Girls Carrying Flags on top of Horses at the Poway Rodeo

Western Fun at the Poway Rodeo

Get a taste of the western life as professional rodeo cowboys from all over the country compete at the annual Poway Rodeo. This rodeo has everything including, bareback riding, tie down roping, a clown act, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Break out your dancing boots for the Rodeo Dances on both nights. Rodeo runs Friday, September 28-Saturday, September 29.

4. Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair

Normal Heights sign above the Adams Avenue Street Fair

Music, Food, Rides and More at the Adams Avenue Street Fair

Southern California’s largest free music festival features arts and crafts, carnival rides, food, circus acts and musical acts on six outdoor stages. Festivities take place September 29-30 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday.

5. Trolley Dances

Discover Unconventional Dance Spaces during the 2012 Trolley Dances. Photo by Yvonne M. Portra.

Hop on board and travel to six stops along the MTS Trolley line featuring site-specific dance. New work to be performed by 50 of San Diego’s most adventurous dancers. As an added twist, this year’s event will present WillyGood, a French circus duo. Tickets includes a free all day Trolley Pass with advance purchase.

Suzzanne

Fall Activities with the Kids in San Diego

Fall is a great time to visit San Diego. And it’s even better with kids free all month-long in October. I plan on taking full advantage of all the free offerings around town. Below are my top 5 fall activities I’m doing with my kids.

1. Tide Pools

Explore the many tide pools throughout San Diego.

San Diego’s tide pools are a blast to visit. Besides being completely free, they offer a chance to touch up close the little sea creatures. One of my favorite spots is Swami’s in Cardiff. During a good low tide, you can explore and see sea hares, brittle stars and octopi.

2. San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Are you faster than a cheetah?

With the temperatures dropping in Fall, the Safari Park is a perfect time to visit. Recently we were lucky enough to catch their famous Cheetah Run. For an extra $10 per person, you get to stand up close and watch the fastest land animal on the planet run. What a thrill!

> Kids Go Free to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park this October

3. Pumpkin Patches

It wouldn’t be fall without a visit to a Pumpkin Patch. This year, we are going to Bates Nut Farm. Kids can enjoy hayrides, a maze, pony rides, and a petting zoo. Guests can bring a picnic and hang out on one of the many picnic benches.

4. LEGOLAND California’s Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

I’ve been to LEGOLAND pretty much every time of year, and I have to say, this is my favorite time to visit. Every Saturday night in October, LEGOLAND celebrates from 5:00 to 9:00 PM with its Brick-or-Treat Party Nights. Kids can come in costume and visit several areas that will be open late including Land of Adventure, Castle Hill, the Imagination Zone and Park favorites Coastersaurus and Safari Trek. Be sure to have the kids dress in costume. Prizes will be given for Best Pirate, Most LEGO Themed and Most Creative.

> Kids Go Free to LEGOLAND California this October

5. Balboa Park’s Halloween Family Day

Costumed fun in San Diego’s Historic Balboa Park

Over a dozen museums are treating families to free admission for children 12 and under during the 4th Annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day on Saturday, October 27. There will be a spooky array of hands-on activities, crafts, special tours, storytelling and other free goodies from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

> Kids Go Free to San Diego County Museums this October

> Take Advantage of Over 100 Kids Free Offers this October in San Diego

What do you have planned for your kids this Fall in San Diego?

Brent Bernasconi

Spend A Day With the Kids on Coronado

Coronado Beach - Brett Shoaf
Coronado Beach - Brett Shoaf

Bring the Kids for a Day on Coronado. Photo courtesy of Brett Shoaf

Looking to spend a day with the kids at the beach in San Diego? With its pristine beaches, near perfect-weather, beachfront dining and plenty of sweet-treat shops, Coronado is a great and easy option.

To make your beach trip even easier, here are just a few of the things you can add to your itinerary throughout the day in Coronado.

Sandcastles at the Beach

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

Start off a day with the kids at Coronado Beach, the #1 Beach in America! The kids can easily spend hours splashing in the water and building monumental sandcastles while you lounge on the towel with your favorite book.

Lunch at by the Water at Sheerwater

When lunchtime comes around and the kids are hungry, you don’t want to have to go far and luckily Sheerwater at the Hotel del Coronado is just steps away from the beach. The kids menu has favorites including hamburgers, pizza, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and more. While the kids chow down, you can relax with more “adult” options while enjoying the sunshine and the sound of the ocean waves accompanied with your kids excitement.

Mid-Afternoon Treats

Elvis (and a cow!) greet ice cream fans at Moo Time.

After lunch, head back to the beach for a few more hours and then take a sweet mid-afternoon walk to pick up a yummy treat. If the day is really warm, pop into Mootime Creamery for hand-made ice cream served in fresh waffle cones, all made daily. With two convenient locations in the Hotel del and on Orange Avenue, you never have to go far from the beach.

In the mood for some chocolate or another confectionary delight? Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory is the spot for you and the kids. Chocolate, caramel and more are made daily for your enjoyment. If the kids are on their best behavior, they might even receive a free sample!

If you don’t need the sugar rush, spoil the kids by allowing them to pick out a toy at the Blue Octopus Toy Store in the Hotel Del. This blue store has something fun for everyone including big plush octopi (of course), stickers, games, coloring books and more. The perfect thing to distract the kids for the rest of the evening.

Make It Overnight for More Fun

Why not extend the fun with an overnight on the island. During the month of October (2012), book a stay at the Hotel del Coronado or the Glorietta Bay Inn and they will surprise the kids with a Free Welcome Gift.

With a room booked on the island, head out for dinner with Vigilucci’s Ristorante Coronado, which has a Kids Eat Free offer this October!

The next morning, step back in time with breakfast at Clayton’s Coffee Shop. Take a seat in a retro “leather” booth or cozy on up to a chrome stool around the horseshoe counter and start off the day with delicious pancakes, waffles, omelets or cup of coffee. Don’t worry if you sleep in, breakfast is served all day at Clayton’s!

After breakfast, finish off your stay by learning the history of the Enchanted Island at the Coronado Museum of History and Art. In October, the museum extends a special a Kids Go Free Offer.

> Find even More Kids Free Offers in San Diego for this October

Is there something or someplace else you would take this kids during a visit to Coronado? Let us and others know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Calling All Kids – Let the Kidvasion of San Diego Begin!

Get ready for the ultimate family vacation! During the entire month of October, kids eat, stay and play for free throughout San Diego. Take advantage of great deals at over 100 participating partners including Amtrak, world-class attractions, museums, hotels, restaurants, surf companies, tour companies and more.

> Find Over a Hundred Kids Free Offers in San Diego This October

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do in San Diego: August 9-12

Here’s our top picks for this weekend. What will you be doing?

1. Hillcrest Cityfest

Hillcrest’s Cityfest

Head over to the eclectic neighborhood of Hillcrest on Sunday, August 12th for the annual Hillcrest Cityfest. Arts, crafts, food and live entertainment are featured at this popular annual street festival, held along Fifth Avenue.

2. 2nd Annual San Diego Wine Country Festival

The Bernardo Winery, located in Rancho Bernardo, will be host on August 11, 2012 to the San Diego Wine Country Festival. Over 20 of San Diego’s local Wineries pouring their latest releases from 1:00 to 5:00 PM on August 11th. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet the winemakers and get the inside scoop into San Diego Winemaking while sampling wine under the olive trees on the picturesque grounds of the 120 year old Bernardo Winery.

3. Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro

Catch the world’s top female surfers compete in Oceanside at the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro. This event will serve as the only ASP Star event on the 2012 ASP North America calendar. Twelve of the top sixteen ranked surfers in the world will be competing from August 9th through the 12th. Event is free.

4. Cardiff Dog Days of Summer

The fastest-growing street fair for dogs and dog lovers in Southern California is set for Saturday, August 11th, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Aberdeen Drive and Newcastle Ave in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Highlights of this year’s Cardiff Dog Days of Summer event include the Purina Pro Plan Rally to Rescue Ambassador Program, an obstacle course sponsored by K-9 Connection, a Kid Zone with a bird show and games, silent auction and contests such as, Cutest Puppy, Best Dressed Dog, Best Kisser to name a few.

5. Kettner Nights

Little Italy’s Kettner Boulevard comes alive as visitors mix and mingle their way through the many boutiques and galleries, August 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM between West Grape West Laurel Streets on Kettner.

Suzzanne

Watch the Opening Olympic Ceremonies Aboard the USS Midway Museum FREE!

USS Midway Museum

Catch the Olympic spirit and cheer on Team USA aboard the USS Miday Museum, Friday, July 27. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., program begins at 7:00 p.m. Watch the live broadcast on two giant screens starting at 7:30 p.m. Festivities include:

* An the opportunity to meet the 2012 BMX Olympic Team before they head to London!
* Take photos with a real Olympic torch and meet Olympians and Paralympians
* Archery demos from Chula Vista Olympic Training Center resident athletes
* Join in on a juggling contest with members of the 2012 Paralypic Soccer Team
* A Kids Zone presented by the YMCA of San Diego County with rugby, field hockey, soccer, gymnastics and fitness stations
* Interactive displays
and more!

British food and drinks will be available for purchase. Lightweight lawn chairs and blankets are allowed.

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Summer is officially here and what better way to celebrate than to get outside and enjoy one of these outdoor activities this weekend in San Diego!

> Find Even More Great Events on SanDiego.org

1. La Jolla Festival of the Arts

La Jolla Festival of the Arts

The festival takes place June 23rd & 24th on the campus of UC San Diego at Warren Field. The “La Jolla” is one of the most prestigious juried art shows in the country and will once again feature over 190-award winning artists, along with live chalk art creations, art performances, delicious and healthy cuisines, adult beverage libations and live entertainment throughout the weekend.

2. 33rd Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cookoff

OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-off

Thousands flock to Newport Ave. and surrounding areas each year on the 4th Saturday in June. They come for the live music and entertainment, unique vendors, talented artists, thrilling rides, refreshing beer garden, and so much more! It’s a free festival, with fun for the entire family!

3. San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo

San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo

Come to the Zoo when the animals come alive. The extended hours of Nighttime Zoo – from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm – give guests more time to visit the more than 4,500 rare and endangered animals at the Zoo.

4. San Diego Padres vs. Seattle Mariners

Padres at PETCO Park

Catch the Padres take on the Mariners at PETCO Park

The Padres take on the Mariners at PETCO Park June 22-24. Friday night’s game features fireworks and the Ultimate Cookout. Bring the kids on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases and US Army Appreciation.

> Full Padres Home Schedule

5. Summer Concert Series at Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing Concert

Bayside concerts at Coronado Ferry Landing.

Pack a blanket and head over the bridge to Coronado for the Coronado Ferry Landing’s free concert series. Catch Dixie Jazz Katz on Saturday from 2:00 – 5:00 pm or Velvet Cafe on Sunday.

> Listen to a Summer Full of Free Summer Concerts

What do you have planned for the weekend in San Diego?