Experience San Diego’s Kidvasion in October

If you are a parent that is trying to get away for some affordable family fun before the year ends, then you need to know about the Kidvasion that has descended upon San Diego this October.

Kids Looking at the Bay. Photo courtesy Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Kids Looking at the Bay. Photo courtesy Hilton San Diego Bayfront

About a two-hour drive south of Los Angeles, San Diego is located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and a stone’s throw from the Mexican border. Packed with beautiful beaches, wineries, distilleries, and kid’s attractions, San Diego is a great option for anyone who wants a little more sunshine in their life.

During the entire month of October, more than 100 San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums and transportation companies will offer families with children special deals, so they can enjoy San Diego without emptying their wallets. “Kids Free San Diego” provides families an opportunity to save during budget-conscious times with a variety of “kids free” incentives, ranging from complimentary attraction admission, meals and Amtrak rides to welcome amenities at area hotels and much more.

Kid-friendly destinations can really pack a punch with admission fees so this is a great opportunity to get away for some fun in the sun with kids, and not have to worry about paying their way.

La Jolla Shores. Photo courtesy Annie Peason, SanDiego.org

La Jolla Shores. Photo courtesy Annie Peason, SanDiego.org

Did you know?: Dr. Seuss lived in San Diego and his widow still resides there. Dr. Seuss lovers will enjoy visiting the locations where one of the greatest children’s authors of all time drew his inspiration from.

The list of places to save at is as extensive as the savings themselves and includes everything from admissions, sightseeing, helicopter, dining, exploring, and more. Many of the hotels are offering a kids eat free promotion and travel options have free kid’s passes as well. You can’t eat every meal at the hotel and many restaurants around town are offering the kids free with a paid adult meal option as well.

LEGOLAND Waterpark. Photo courtesy LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND Waterpark. Photo courtesy LEGOLAND California

Here are some of the offers.


  • Amtrak is offering one child, ages 2-12, a free ride with one paid adult rail fare aboard the Pacific Surfliner route, servicing San Luis Obispo to San Diego.  Stops en route include the Santa Ynez Valley, Carpinteria, Ventura, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and more.
  • Hornblower Cruises & Events and Flagship Cruises & Events are offering kids, ages 12 and under, a free ride on their popular 1- and 2-hour harbor tours along picturesque San Diego Bay.
  • One child, age 12 or under, rides free per one paid adult on the entertaining, on- and off-boarding Old Town Trolley Tours of America and the thrilling San Diego SEAL Tours Sea and Land Adventures.
Old Town Trolley Tour in Little Italy. Photo courtesy Historic Tours of America

Old Town Trolley Tour in Little Italy. Photo courtesy Historic Tours of America

World-Class Family Attractions

  • All kids, ages 10 and younger, are admitted free into the San Diego Zoo.
  • SeaWorld San Diego is offering one child, ages 3 to 9, free admission with one full-paid adult admission. The same offer is valid at Dine with Shamu, and kids, ages 10 to 13, can participate for free in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Programs with one paid adult participation.
  • LEGOLAND® California Resort, featuring 128 acres of LEGO-themed fun and more than 50 interactive attractions, and SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium, with 36,000 sq. ft. of play zones and marine exhibits, are offering a free one-day Child Hopper Ticket for one kid, ages 12 and under, with purchase of a full-price one-day Adult Hopper Ticket.
San Diego Zoo. Photo courtesy San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo. Photo courtesy San Diego Zoo


  • Kids can eat free at a variety of hotels in the heart of downtown San Diego, including the vintage Horton Grand Hotel in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the luxurious Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina located along San Diego Bay and the Manchester Grand Hyatt, which offers some of the best views in San Diego alongside family-friendly amenities.
  • At the family-friendly Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, kids will be able to play for free on land and sea with a special “island allowance” worth $50 that can be applied towards bike or paddleboard rentals, miniature golf, ice cream or any of the resort’s many other kid-approved amenities.
  • Families staying at the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa or the Bahia Resort Hotel along scenic Mission Bay can enjoy free rides for kids, ages 12 and under, aboard the Bahia Belle, an 1860s-era sternwheeler that tours the bay and offers transport between the two resorts. Kids must be accompanied by a paid adult hotel guest.
Catamaran Resort parrots. Photo courtesy Catamaran Resort

Catamaran Resort parrots. Photo courtesy Catamaran Resort


  • After exploring the historic sites of Old Town San Diego, parents can unwind with a margarita and some traditional Mexican fare at Barra Barra Saloon & Restaurant, while kids enjoy a free meal from the kids menu with every paid adult entrée.
  • Mom and Dad can soak up the stunning bayside views from the Coronado Ferry Landing and savor fresh seafood at Peohe’s, while kids enjoy a complimentary meal with every paid adult entrée.
Salad at Coronado Peohes Restaurant. Photo courtesy SanDiego.org

Salad at Coronado Peohe’s Restaurant. Photo courtesy SanDiego.org

Additonal activities

  • Up to four kids can cruise for free with every paid adult couple with The Gondola Company in Coronado. Families will glide through the scenic canals and waterways of the Coronado Cays aboard an authentic and luxurious Venetian-style gondola.
  • Corporate Helicopters: for every paid adult 30-minute tour, one kid can ride for free, soaring over the tops of La Jolla Cove, Petco Park, Balboa Park, the Coronado Bridge and other famous San Diego landmarks.
  • San Diego Speed Boat Adventures, Inc: offers kids a free guided and narrated San Diego Harbor Tour aboard their own mini speedboat, with a paid adult tour.

The complete list of available offers can be found on the San Diego tourism site. Flights to San Diego are also convenient with WestJet flying there from Calgary direct, five days a week.

Found in Fall, Travel
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