Halloween Family Day at Balboa Park



San Diego has beautiful parks but none are quite as special as Balboa Park. This Halloween bring your families for a fun filled day of activities beginning at 11 am on Saturday, October 31st.

Since it is the last day of Kids FREE month, all children 17 and under are free to many museums with a paid adult. There are over two dozen participating museums with free hands on arts and craft projects for children. There will be events happening throughout the day, costume parades and contests, spooky tours, treasure hunts and tons of fun surprises until 4 p.m.

Children can also participate in the mini-carnival games with prizes hosted by the San Diego Park and Rec. One of our favorites not to miss is the San Diego Air & Space Museums annual rooftop Pumpkin Drop! The park will also host food trucks, zoo animals from our very own San Diego Zoo, and free activity and prize-drawing booths.

TIP: Adults can also receive best-value museum admission when purchasing the Balboa Park Explorer One-Day, Multi-Day, or Annual Pass. Children are FREE to all museums with a paid adult.

There are special family day activities and offers throughout the park, for the full list see below:

Balboa Park Visitors Center: Free gift to kids in costume who are accompanied by an adult (while supplies last). Enter a drawing to win:

  • Old Town Trolley/Seal Tour tickets
  • Live in Concert CD and 4 free tickets to a San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory concert in 2015-16
  • San Diego Junior Theatre Family 4-Pack of tickets to an upcoming show
  • 4 tickets to San Diego Civic Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker

balboa park halloween

House of Pacific Relations International Cottages:Open houses and trick-or-treating at select cottages from noon to 4pm.

Japanese Friendship Garden: Build your own bee house using traditional basketry techniques with Spanish Village artist Margaret Black Bear. A variety of materials to build with are available for children of all ages and skill levels.

Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater: Free puppet-making activity for children accompanied by an adult from 11:45am until 1pm show; show ticket required for performance but not for this activity.

Mingei International Museum: Go on a spooky treasure hunt to find snakes, horns, spells, alligators, and dolls. Makeyour own Halloween mask using a variety of materials.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: All ages can tinker with sugar skulls in the Tinkering Studio and take your creation home with you (fee applies). Kids 12 and under free with paid adult for gallery admission only. Add an IMAX® film for the special price of $9.95.

San Diego Air & Space Museum: Ghost rotor making activity (paper helicopters with a Halloween twist) at 11:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm; rooftop pumpkin-dropping experiment at 2:30pm; kid-friendly short films in 3D/4D movie theater; and Kid’s Aviation Action Hangar all day (simulators not included). Discounted admission price of $5 to see Da Vinci Machines special exhibition.

San Diego Automotive Museum: Gearhead hat-making activity for kids.

San Diego History Center: “Scent-sing San Diego” activity to learn how much your nose doesn’t know about San Diego’s past.

San Diego Junior Theatre: Buy 1 ticket (adult or child) to Mary Poppins and receive the second ticket free thru November 8 (subject to availability).

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: Halloween-themed games, crafts, and trains aboard the Haunted Express.

San Diego Museum of Art: “Mask and Costume”Search and Find handout to guide families on a hunt for artworks in the galleries that feature masks and costumes.

San Diego Museum of Man: “Monsters” exhibit, exploring forests, caves, and deep dark seas in search of fantastical creatures;hands-on monster creating activity.

San Diego Natural History Museum: Celebrate bats and other nocturnal creatures that lurk in the night — grab a flashlight, visit the Critter Cave, get a tattoo, and make a bat craft to take home. Children 12 and under receive free general admission* to theNAT with a paid adult or can pay a discounted rate of $11 to see the special exhibition Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, which includes access to unlimited 2D and 3D films in the Giant Screen Theater. To redeem this offer, download the coupon from the San Diego Museum Council’s website and present in person at the admissions desk.

*Free general admission does not include 3D films or special exhibitions. Coupon must be presented at time of visit. No retroactive discounts. Limit two free child admissions per paid adult. Cannot be combined with other offers.

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory: Free, open orchestra rehearsals (classical melodies) on the 2nd floor of the Casa del Prado building, rooms 207 & 205, 8:30am–7:15pm.

San Diego Zoo: Free admission to all children through 11 years of age, regardless of adult ticket purchase. Part of “Kids Free Month” (October) promotion.

Spanish Village Art Center: Doggie costume contest (1pm),trick-or-treat bag decorating (all day), studio trick-or-treating (with accompanying adult).

Spreckels Organ Society: Silent Film Night at 7:30pm. Organist Christian Elliott plays the musical soundtrack on the Spreckels Organ for Phantom of the Opera (1925) starring Lon Chaney. The evening’s film and performance are free of charge.

Timken Museum of Art: Family Activity Flyerto guide families on a fun-filled gallery tour. Free admission for the entire family!

UNA International Gift Shop: Free Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF box to take along whiletrick-or-treating to benefitchildren around the world who need clean water, food, school supplies, etc.; one free U.N. pen to take home(while supplies last).

Booths along the Prado and in the Plazas

Fab Trailers Photo Booth: Come in costume and take fun photos of yourself and your kids to share on Facebook,Twitter, andInstagram, and to email to friends.

Fiesta de Reyes/Old Town State Historic Park: Spin the ornate 1800s replica “Wheel of Fortune” prize-wheel to win coupons and prizes from the Fiesta de Reyes shops and restaurants located in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Food Trucks(Plaza de Panama): Enjoy special selections from popular local food trucks Tacos la Mezcla and Simply Fresh. Tacos la Mezcla serves classic street tacos, and Simply Fresh makes fresh sandwiches, wraps, and salads, using 100% natural ingredients.

Japanese Friendship Garden: Halloween origami craft and a cardboard roll bat.

House of Pacific Relations International Cottages: Meet the HPR Queens who provide festive fun as well as information about HPR, the national cultures it represents, youth programs, and year-round events.

Metropolitan Transit System (MTS): — Pick up punch-out cardboard Rapid and Trolley banks, coloring books, and other fun items for kids, in addition to MTS Rapid, Bus and Trolley route and schedule information.

Museum of Photographic Arts: Create spooky images using otherworldly photographic techniques.

Russell the Giraffe: Chat and interact with the 17-foot tall electrical giraffe in front the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

San Diego Park and Rec (Plaza de Panama): Test your skills at various mini-carnival games to win prizes; Halloween costume contests in multiple age categories throughout the day starting at 11:30am; prizes for first, second, and third place.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: Explore the world of polymers and transform two liquids into slippery slime!

San Diego Civic Dance Arts: Dance performances and lessons for kids and adults guaranteed to give a real “thrill,” at Noon and 1:15 pm.

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet: Crown-making craft, see-and-touch props display, and costumed characters from The Nutcracker.

SDG&E: Information about energy-saving solutions to help families get rid of “energy vampires”; activities for kids.

San Diego History Center: “Scent-sing San Diego” activity to learn how much your nose doesn’t know about San Diego’s past.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: Halloween-themed games, crafts, and trains aboard the Haunted Express.

San Diego Natural History Museum: Learn about our eight-legged friend, the spider.

San Diego Public Library: FHalloween crafts, library card applications, and info on the many free educational and cultural resources at 36 library locations throughout San Diego.

San Diego Zoo: Live zoo animals and free pins, decals, magazines, and Halloween candy for everyone.

Spanish Village Art Center: Pick up a free bag to take back to Spanish Village to decorate for trick-or-treating in all participating Spanish Village studios.

Think Blue San Diego: Pick up a coloring book and learn about watersheds and what can been done to prevent pollution at our beaches and bays

Timken Museum of Art: Create a spooky ghost to take home and hang in your window!

Whole Foods Hillcrest: Build your own food necklace station, with candy, pretzels, and other snacks that can be strung on a necklace; pick up literature about our Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation.

Worldview Project: Free exotic snacks from faraway places (while they last), culture quiz to see how much you know about world cultures; and a “Been There, Want to Go There Next” activity for the whole family.


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