October is a great month for kids and families to explore a new museum in San Diego or visit their favorite arts and culture destination. Thanks to the San Diego Museum Council’s Kids Free in October, kids 12 and under receive free admission at 40 museums all month long. Families will not want to miss some of the fun and educational exhibitions on view such as The Art of the Brick LEGO exhibit at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park or The Wonder Sound at the New Children’s Museum. Below you will find a list of my top ten favorite kid-centric museums and what they have on view this month. Have fun taking advantage of this amazing promotion by visiting the San Diego Museum Council website and downloading the Kids Free coupon.
1) BIRCH AQUARIUM AT SCRIPPS, La Jolla
Kids love exploring habitats filled with a kaleidoscopic variety of fish and marine life at this museum. My daughter especially enjoys the Seahorses exhibition, the Hall of Fishes and the Living Tide Pools. Consider making this your last museum visit of the month so you can experience their new exhibit Expedition at Sea: R/V Sally Ride opening October 28 that features America’s newest Research Vessel, the R/V Sally Ride and the science that happens on the ship.
2) LIVING COAST DISCOVERY CENTER, Chula Vista
Explore the Turtle Lagoon exhibit which underwent a major renovation and expansion this year or touch a bat ray in their interactive touch pool. Families will also enjoy connecting with coastal animals such as the bald eagle, sharks and shorebirds. If you love exploring native plants then bring your walking shoes and hike their 1.5 miles of walking trails.
3) MARITIME MUSEUM OF SAN DIEGO, Downtown San Diego
The pirate or sailor in your family is going to love boarding some of the eleven historic vessels that constitute this museum. Kids will be amazed by the new exhibition aboard the Ferryboat Berkeley, Steering Small: The Wonders of Nautical Models. Featuring a collection of intricate models, ships in bottles and toys this exhibition will spark your child’s imagination.
4) MUSEUM OF MAKING MUSIC, Carlsbad
Guitar players will love the new exhibition, The Dreadnought: 100 Years of a Might Martin Guitar, opening October 8. Visitors can discover the fascinating story of this iconic instrument through sound and interactive installations that allow you to play the guitar for yourself. Or, if your child is interested in electronic dance music, digital keyboards and pianos then don’t miss their Spotlight on Casio exhibition.
5) SAN DIEGO AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM, Balboa Park
Learn about the exciting world of aviation and space flight history by visiting this museum. Kids enjoy climbing inside historic aircrafts, taking a ride in the motion simulator and playing in the interactive Aviation Action Hanger. The museum also has an interesting exhibition about Leonardo Da Vinci and his inventions, artworks, machines and robotics.
6) SAN DIEGO CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY MUSEUM, Escondido
Experiment, imagine, explore and discover at this interactive Children’s Museum that your kids will love. My two-year-old enjoys the Kids Global Village exhibit where she learns about different cultures by shopping in the international marketplace. With indoor and outdoor exhibits, featuring a Discovery Sailboat and nature-based science activities, kids of all ages will find something to spark their interest.
7) SAN DIEGO MODEL RAILROAD MUSEUM, Balboa Park
Experience hundreds of model and toy trains moving on their track in elaborate city and urban environments at this unique museum. Kids will especially enjoy the Toy Train Gallery where they can push buttons to operate the coal trains.
8) SAN DIEGO NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM (theNAT), Balboa Park
This museum is always popular with families since they have so many educational exhibitions to enjoy such as Fossil Mysteries, Coast to Cactus in Southern California, Skulls, Water: A California Story and The Last Hurrah: The Photography of Abe Ordover. Don’t miss their new permanent exhibition Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science located in their research library where rare books, art, and photographs are brought to life through sensory objects and multimedia experiences.
9) THE NEW CHILDREN'S MUSEUM, Downtown San Diego
This is my toddler’s favorite museum since there are so many fun interactive exhibits to explore. She loves climbing up the rope maze in The Wonder Sound installation, playing with cars in the Desert Derby exhibit and jumping until she runs out of energy in the Missing Links exhibit (The Rainbow Jumpy).
10) THE RUBEN H. FLEET SCIENCE CENTER, Balboa Park
Don’t miss the new exhibition The Art of the Brick featuring over 100 sculptures created from LEGO bricks. Examples include a 20 foot long T-Rex skeleton and reimagined versions of famous art pieces like Michelangelo’s David and van Gogh’s Starry Night. Families can also design their own LEGO sculpture in the Fit-A-Brick Building Zone.
ADDITIONAL PARTICIPATING MUSEUMS:
Barona Cultural Center and Museum, Cabrillo National Monument, California Center for the Arts Museum, California Surf Museum, Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House, Heritage of the Americas Museum, Japanese Friendship Garden, La Jolla Historical Society, Living Coast Discovery Center, Lux Art Institute, Marston House Museum and Gardens, Mingei International Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum of Photographic Arts, Oceanside Museum of Art, San Diego Archaeological Center, San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, San Diego History Center, Serra Museum, The San Diego Museum of Art, The Water Conservation Garden, Tijuana Estuary, Timkin Museum of Art, USS Midway Museum, Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, Visions Art Museum, Warner-Carrillo Ranch House, Women’s Museum of California.
TAKE THE TRAIN TO THE MUSEUM
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is partnering with the San Diego Museum Council during Kids Free in October. On Saturday and Sunday two children (12 and under) ride free on the MTS with a paid adult. To plan your trip visit www.sdmts.com.
SHARE #KidsFreeSD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Share that priceless photo of your kids at the museum on social media using #KidsFreeSD. You can find the San Diego Museum Council at @gomuseums on Instagram and Twitter and on Facebook at @SanDiegoMuseumCouncil.