10th Annual Kids Free San Diego Returns in October with Big Savings and Even Bigger Family Fun
During the entire month of October, more than 100 San Diego hotels, restaurants, attractions, museums, tours and transportation companies will offer families the opportunity to unwind in San Diego without having to worry about breaking the bank. “Kids Free San Diego” provides parents an opportunity to save with a variety of unique deals for kids, ranging from complimentary admission at local attractions to free meals at restaurants to welcome amenities and experiences at area hotels and much more.
With world-class family attractions, a rich arts and culture scene, fresh, inventive cuisine, and popular activities on land and water, San Diego is consistently rated one of the top family destinations in the United States. In October, after the summer crowds diminish, visitors to San Diego can bask in the region’s sunny weather and warm temperatures and enjoy numerous fun-filled fall activities at reduced prices.
Below are highlights of the 10th annual “Kids Free San Diego” month.
Big Savings at Big Attractions
Home to world-class attractions like the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California Resort, San Diego is offering families big savings this October with admission deals at its popular theme parks.The San Diego Zoo is offering free admission to kids, ages 3 to 11, when accompanied by a paying adult, providing the perfect opportunity for families to learn about the zoo’s conservation efforts and see more than 4,000 animals representing more than 650 species from around the world, including animals such as gorillas, Komodo dragons, tigers, flamingos, mandrills, polar bears, birds of paradise, giant tortoises, elephants and more. The same offer is also valid at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, an 1,800-acre wildlife sanctuary and home to more than 300 species. Families can get up close and personal with lions lounging in the grasslands, antelope and giraffes mingling, rhinos wallowing in waterholes, and storks and cranes on the march.Children, ages 3 to 9, receive free admission to SeaWorld San Diego with one full-paid adult ticket so families can check out the park’s exciting Spooktacular event running through Oct. 31, 2021. Kids should be sure to pack their costumes so they can participate in an exciting trick-or-treating candy trail, fall-flavored food and beverages, amazing animals, thrilling coasters and so much moreLEGOLAND California Resort is offering free admission for kids, ages 2 to 12, with one paid adult admission. Families can enjoy more than 60 rides, shows and attractions plus some fun in the sun at LEGOLAND Water Park as well as the chance to chill out at SEA LIFE® aquarium right next door. New in 2021 is THE LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD, which features six interactive attractions using cutting-edge technology to bring the hit film to life. Hotels Roll Out the Welcome Mat for Kids
Hotels throughout San Diego, ranging from budget options to luxury escapes, are also offering free meals, special experiences and welcome gifts for kids this October.Located on the shores of Mission Bay and steps from San Diego’s famous Pacific Beach, Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa offers families an exciting getaway where kids, ages 12 and under, get a free meal for each paid adult entrée at its Oceana Coastal Kitchen, which offers up creative California cuisine. Resort guests also can tour Mission Bay courtesy of Catamaran's on-site partner Action Sport Rentals, which is offering a complimentary paddleboard rental with the purchase of an adult paddleboard session of one hour or longer.At the family friendly Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, kids, ages 12 and under, can play, shop or eat for free with a special “island allowance” worth $50. The credit can be applied toward ice cream, a toy from the gift shop, bike rental and more.Set on the village bluffs with panoramic views of the Pacific coastline and centrally located in La Jolla Village, La Valencia Hotel is giving kids, 12 and under, an exclusive activity kit at check-in that includes a take-home bag, details for an exciting scavenger hunt and an activity book. Families can also lounge on the ocean-view deck, which features a heated pool and spa. Kids Can Dig in with the Deals at San Diego’s Restaurants
After spending a fun day around the city, parents can have a taste of San Diego’s diverse culinary scene while kids eat free at participating family-friendly restaurants.The ultimate outdoor venue located on the waterfront in downtown San Diego, Carnitas' Snack Shack Embarcadero, is known for its laid-back atmosphere, pork-centric menu and specialty crafted cocktails. Families can take in the panoramic views of the skyline and San Diego Bay as well as walk to many of the area’s most popular attractions, including The Headquarters, Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter and the USS Midway. For all of October, Snack Shack is offering one free kid’s meal for kids, 12 and under, per each paying adult.Galaxy Taco in La Jolla Shores celebrates the culture and cuisine of Mexico with an emphasis on seafood and tacos. The restaurant is offering free meals for two kids, ages 12 and under, per each paid adult meal.After exploring the historic sites of Old Town San Diego, parents can unwind with a margarita and some traditional Mexican food at Casa Guadalajara, while up to three kids receive a free meal from the kids menu per one paid adult entrée. Kids Learn and Have a Blast at San Diego’s Diverse Arts and Culture Venues
Kids have endless options to learn while having fun at more than 20 San Diego museums offering free admission to all kids, ages 12 and under, with each full-priced adult ticket purchase. Below are just a few of San Diego’s many kid-friendly museums to discover with this great offer.Head up to North County San Diego, where kids can learn about the history of surfboards and wave riding at the California Surf Museum. The museum features permanent and revolving exhibits, such as the Bethany Hamilton's shark-bitten board. Kids can also explore interactive exhibits and come face to face with exciting creatures including a rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle, a Giant Pacific Octopus and Leopard Sharks at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla. New at Birch is its 600-gallon, cylindrical moon jelly experience in the Hall of Fishes, where guests can get close to the jellies and observe their tentacles, as well as a newer touch tank that lets visitors feel creatures like sharks and rays.Families can spend hours exploring Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in North America, home to 17 museums, beautiful botanical gardens and exciting performing arts venues. Kids receive free admission at participating park museums including the Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego, a living work of Japanese art and culture, and the San Diego Natural History Museum, where kids can discover fossils and dinosaur bones and get to know the natural history of Southern California, past to present.Downtown’s kid-friendly museums include the Maritime Museum of San Diego, a collection of historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats and deep diving submarines, and the USS Midway Museum, a historic aircraft carrier, which features exciting flight stimulators and more. The New Children’s Museum stimulates imagination, creativity and critical thinking in children and families through engaging encounters with contemporary art. Free Unique and Cool Ways for Kids to Explore San Diego
During October, kids can explore San Diego through a variety of unique tours and fun activities for free.Families can indulge in all the magic and tradition of Venice, as they cruise in a private gondola through the enchanting canals of scenic Coronado Cays with The Gondola Company. A limit of four kids, ages 12 and under, ride free with a paid cruise, and an adult must be present.One kid rides free with two paid adults on a 2-hour speedboat tour along San Diego Bay with Speed Boat Adventures. Families can drive at their own speed while checking out the spectacular views of Navy ships, the USS Midway, famous Star of India and historic ships of the Maritime Museum, Seaport Village, San Diego skyline and all the marine animals and wildlife that call San Diego Harbor home on this fun sightseeing journey.Kids can discover the historical side of San Diego when accompanying a paid adult on Murder n' Mayhem’s Embarcadero Waterfront History Tour. Starting in front of the Maritime Museum’s fascinating collection of ships, this 1.5-mile, 1.5-hour walking tour along San Diego’s Embarcadero covers the full range of San Diego’s history from the days of the Kumeyaay to the region’s first sighting by Spanish explorers; through San Diego’s important aviation firsts; and the key role the city and bay played for the Navy, especially during World War II. A complete listing of “Kids Free San Diego” participants and their special offers is available at SanDiego.org/KidsFree. All offers are valid Oct. 1–31, 2021, and age limits and other restrictions vary by venue and activity. Visitors should check for complete offer details and terms at SanDiego.org/KidsFree before visiting any attraction.
For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org.
With its temperate weather, safe environment and convenient location, Catalina Island– aka Kidalina – is the perfect destination for families with kids of all ages. We've put together a list of fun things to do with kids and listed ages for participation.
1. Catch a Glimpse of Bison Did you know that Catalina Island is home to bison? These amazing animals were brought to the island during the 1920s for filming and they never left! They still roam free on lands owned and maintained by the Catalina Island Conservancy. Take an eco-tour to view them and more of the wildlife on the island. (Children must be at least 5 years old to ride in a hummer or open air jeep tour. All ages are welcome on interior tours where the tour vehicle is a bus.)
2. Relax with a Day at the Beach Catalina Island has three beaches to choose from in Avalon. South Beach, Middle Beach and Step Beach are public beaches along Crescent Avenue. These beaches are only steps away from Avalon’s many hotels, shops, restaurants, restrooms and recreation. One of the last private beaches in California, Descanso Beach is located just beyond the Catalina Casino and offers a restaurant, cabanas and lounge chairs for rent. (All ages)
3. Take a Zipline Tour Catalina Island has a spectacular zipline tour with soaring views of the island. It’s the only zipline in Los Angeles and Orange County and begins 500 feet above Descanso Canyon. The five ziplines travel over three quarters of a mile and up to 35 mph. (Children ages 5-9 can zip in tandem with an adult. Children under 5 are too young to participate.)
4. Catalina Aerial Adventure Swing through the trees on this challenging ropes course, located at Descanso Canyon, adjacent to the Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour. Five self-guided, self-paced courses—each made up of rope ladders, log bridges, balance beams, zip lines, and other elements—are arranged in beginner, intermediate and advanced configurations, offering aerial excitement for everyone, regardless of skill or athletic ability. (Participants must be at least 7 years of age and at least 55 inches tall.)
5. Catalina Climbing Wall Located at Descanso Canyon, adjacent to the Zip Line and Aerial Adventure, this 32 foot adventure offers eight different routes to the top for beginners through advanced climbers. (All ages, must weigh at least 40lbs.)
6. Glass-Bottom Boat Tours Kids will be thrilled by native ocean life on a glass-bottom boat tour. On Catalina Island boat tours, your family will experience the many species of fish and marine life that dwell in the kelp forests along the island. (All ages)
7. Ride in a Submarine Let’s face it, submarines are cool and two of the coolest semi-submersible submarines, the Nautilus and the Seawolf, are found on Catalina Island! Expert guides will educate your family on the ecology and history of the island – make this a part of your itinerary for your island vacation with your kids. (All ages)
8. Sealife Safari Take a speedy ribcraft boat out in the Catalina Channel in search of dolphins and sealions. (Ages 5 and up.)
9. Get in Some Snorkeling Who knew you could snorkel on an island in California? Catalina Island specializes in some of the best snorkeling this side of the border. Rent some gear or bring your own and head to the Casino Point Dive Park or Lovers Cove.
10. Parasailing What island adventure would be complete without parasailing or tubing? Whether rising high above the water for amazing views of the coastline or speeding along in a tube, kids 5 and older will have a blast on these water adventures. (Children must be 5 and older to participate.)
11. Go Fishing Catalina Island fishing is some of the best in southern California! Fishing from a pier does not require a permit in California. Grab a drop line from Joe's Rent a Boat and cast away. (All ages)
12.Flying Fish Tour Kids will love the evening “Flying Fish Tour” from Afishinados Charters or the Catalina Island Company. This tour is offered during late May to early September when the fish are most active. (All ages)
13. Play a Game of Miniature Golf Did you know that Catalina Island Miniature Golf Course is an award winning mini golf course? And it’s open every day of the year, weather permitting. Perfect for golfers of all ages. (All ages)
14. Rent a Kayak, Paddleboard, Pedal Boat or Motorboat A kayak, paddleboard or pedal boat rental offers a unique way to enjoy the pristine waters of the Avalon Harbor. For a more personal and self-guided way to enjoy the island, your family would also enjoy the view from a motorboat. See kayak and paddleboard rentals and pedal boat and motorboat rentals.
15. Rent a Bike or Golf Cart See more of Avalon at your own pace by renting a bike or golf cart. For those too young to pedal, child-seat attachments can be added to a rental at Brown's Bikes for children under 40 pounds and 12 months or older. A tag-a-long attachment that turns a Beach Cruiser into a tandem for a parent and child is another fun way to ride with kids aged four to six. Smaller children’s 20- and 24-inch rental bikes are also available for kids old enough to ride on their own. Bikes are rented by the hour or for the day.
Golf cart rental companies provide car seats for young children. Golf carts are rented by the hour with a maximum rental of 2 or 3 hours. (All ages)
17. Challenge your Family in an Escape Room Do you have what it takes to beat the clock? Find out in our escape room attraction – one of the hottest new activities around has arrived in Avalon, and it’s fun for all ages! (All ages)
18. Explore Catalina Island's History Step back in time and see what it was like to live and visit Catalina Island back in the day. Fun interactive exhibits for all ages. Kids under 15 are free at the Catalina Island Museum with a paid adult, every day. (All ages)
19. Stop by the Arcade Three Palms Arcade, located in the Metropole Marketplace is home to the Fun Zone. Enjoy island style mini bowling, arcade games, skee ball, air hockey and more. (All ages)
20. Playgrounds For our youngest visitors, stopping by the playground is an essential part of the trip. There are three playgrounds in Avalon and one in Two Harbors. Knabe Park is a pirate ship themed playground along Pebbly Beach Rd, on the way to town from the ferry dock. Machine Gun Park/City Park is just past the Catalina Conservancy Trailhead tucked up in the corner near the site of the old amphitheater. There is a webbed climbing structure, interactive musical toys and picnic tables. Avalon's Kid Park/Peoples Park is on Avalon Canyon Rd across from the Fire Station and offers climbing structures, slides, picnic tables and work out equipment. (All ages)
21. Visit Two Harbors via the Cyclone boat Two Harbors is considered Catalina Island's west end. The village of Two Harbors offers scenic beaches, cabana rentals, restaurants, general store, small playground and lots of opportunity for exploring. During summer months, take the Cyclone boat to Two Harbors from Avalon, departing several times a day from the Green Pleasure Pier and spend the day exploring. The boat ride is 40 minutes long, along Catalina's scenic coastline. (All ages)
22. Falconry Experience Learn to be a falconer. You'll learn the history and basic techniques of falconry. Get to know falcons, hawks and owls. Hold raptors, cast them from your glove and call them back again. Located at Descanso Canyon. (Minimum age is 7. Children must be accompanied by an adult.)
24. Sweet Treats No vacation is complete with a few sweet treats. Find confections, caramel apples, salt water taffy and ice cream at Lloyd's of Avalon. Stop by Scoops for gelato, homemade ice cream and chocolate covered bananas. Seaside Sweets in the Metropole Marketplace offers La Michoacana Premium paletas in a variety of delicious flavors as well as Mexican candy and treats. In addition to delicious burgers and hot dogs, Coney Island West serves up milk shakes, floats and soft serve ice cream. Eric's on the Pier serves ice cream on the go, funnel cakes and frozen bananas.
NEWS: The Santa Barbara Zoo has an exciting announcement to make. This is the birth of its first ever Amur leopard. The baby was born on 4th August 2021. 4:05 am is the exact time of the delivery. The cub’s mother is none other than Ajax. Furthermore, she is the first cub born in 20 years at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
Marta is the name given to the cub. The Premier Foster Feeder sponsors chose the baby’s name. The cub weighs 1.1 pounds. Amur leopards are the most endangered big cats in the world. There are about 100 living in the wild.
The Santa Barbara Zoo is committed to saving the endangered species and is a part of the Species Survival Plan. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) manages this plan. This cub birth happened under this Species Survival Plan.
Ajax is the most genetically diverse Amur leopard in North America. This is another great achievement of the zoo. The zoo staff have been trying to breed the big cats for years.
Dr. Julie Barnes confirms the cub’s good health and stated Ajax is performing her motherly duties well. They are being kept in a safe enclosure and need time to bond. They will be available to the public when it is approptiate.
Congratulations to the Santa Barbara Zoo on this ground-breaking achievement. For membership or Zoo visiting hours see: www.sbzoo.org.
United Way Partners with Housing Authority for United Learning Center – GRAD Academy
United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWBSC) partners with the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) for United Learning Center – GRAD Academy. This partnership will transition students who previously attended the Housing Authority’s GRAD Academy after school program to United Way’s long standing United Learning Center programming.
After operating an after-school learning center for nearly twenty years, the Housing Authority’s original GRAD (Growth, Readiness and Development) Academy services became considerably impacted by COVID-19. Given the importance of the HACSB’s after-school center operations, particularly at a time when students are facing substantial learning loss, HACSB knew it would be best to partner with a local organization specializing in serving youth for the administration of continuing their program. Based on their existing United Learning Center, UWSBC was selected as the most suitable applicant with their curriculum and experience in literacy development and small group instruction.
The United Way's United Learning Center is a known successful program with the main classroom at the United Way facility and satellite classrooms at local schools and other locations. Through small group tutoring in reading and writing, students and instructors work together on personalized lesson plans developed by a credentialed teacher. The focus is on "whole child success” achieved through data driven instruction and a robust enrichment curriculum developed to engage learners at all levels. Students that attend the United Learning Center gain an average of 2 grade levels in their literacy skills working in 12 week cohorts.
“During this time, it is extremely important that students have additional educational support to prevent even greater learning loss as a result of the pandemic,” said Steve Ortiz, CEO of UWSBC. “We are honored to partner with the HACSB‘s GRAD Academy and we look forward to seeing successful outcomes for years to come.”
“With their proven track record, we have 100% confidence in the UWSBC’s ability to continue powerful educational support for local students through this collaboration,” said Rob Fredericks, CEO of HACSB, adding “stable affordable housing coupled with educational opportunities are foundational to the success of our resident youth.”
UWSBC and HACSB would like to recognize the Assistance League (AL) of Santa Barbara as key partners in the program. The AL has been working with the HACSB since the afterschool program began twenty years ago. They are committed to supporting local students in their academics and will work with UWSBC in this new partnership with HASCB.
Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has been a key leader in local efforts to empower children, families, and communities through its own unique collaborative programs and initiatives, partnership convening efforts, volunteer development, and funding. UWSBC’s mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org.
About Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is a local public agency created for the purpose of providing safe, decent, and quality affordable housing and supportive services to eligible persons with limited incomes, through a variety of federal, state, local and private resources. Since 1969, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara has developed and/or secured over 4,000 units of affordable rental housing for Santa Barbara through a variety of federal, state, local and private funding sources. Please visit the website at http://hacsb.org/.