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Taking the Kids: San Diego where kids are free all month!

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Let the kids expand their palates (San Diego's famous fish tacos, maybe?) with so many restaurants offering kids-free meals. I applaud deals that don't limit kids to kids' menus -- Buster’s Beach House in Seaport Village invites kids to select any entree free with the purchase of an adult entree.

Opt for a hotel that lets kids try something new. At the Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, for example, families get a $50 credit to be used for the resort's kids' activities -- paddleboard rentals, mini golf and more. The new Pendry hotel, in the Gaslamp Quarter, is inviting young guests to their "Kids Party Free in their PJs,” including a designer pajama set, two in-room movies, candy and even aromatherapy pillow spray from Spa Pendry.

Dive deep into a specific area of interest at a San Diego Museum. More than three dozen museums are offering free admission to all kids, 12 and under, all October: The Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla is the place to see outdoor living tide pools, sharks, jellyfish and new research discoveries. The Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma not only has a restored lighthouse and kid-friendly ranger programs, but also great views and natural tide pools. For those musically inclined, the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad lets kids try all kinds of instruments as they learn how instruments have changed and evolved. (Have you ever heard a harp guitar?)

Try a new sport together. Get a free kid's lesson with an adult lesson at Surf Divas.

Wherever you go, make sure to thank servicemen and women for their service. You'll see lots of them here because there are many military installations in the area. (Kids are free in October at the USS Midway Museum).

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I also wouldn't miss the "Smithsonian of the West," as Balboa Park is called, because it is home to so many museums, the zoo, the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, the Old Globe Theater and more, including the world-famous gardens (don't miss the Japanese Friendship Garden or the San Diego Museum of Man to see what life was like for Californians thousands of years ago. At the San Diego Automotive Museum, gawk at all the cars and motorcycles. Take in a planetarium show at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center or challenge the kids to tell you where they would be if they were to step into a painting at the San Diego Museum of Art. Perhaps you have time to take in a show at the San Diego Junior Theatre, the country's oldest continuing theater program for kids.

Have a fish taco -- or two -- for me!


(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow "taking the kids" on, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.)



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