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.
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While I love going to the beach and the pool in the summer, sometimes I just want to stay clean and cool and embark on an indoor museum adventure. There are some exciting exhibitions currently on view, or that will be opening soon, at a variety of San Diego Museum Council member museums that I highly recommend visiting with your family this summer. Make a bucket list and try to visit at least half of these memorable and educational exhibitions, your kids will love you for it.

The list below is organized according to geographical region and closing date. If you are looking for a whole-day experience, then scroll to the end of the blog where you will find a list of curated day-trips that include a museum, restaurant for lunch, and a play destination. Have fun exploring museums this summer!
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Being a museum member has many exciting benefits. Not only are you able to bring your family to a fun and educational venue, now you can use your membership to get into other museums for free during The Big Exchange, May 1-18, 2016. There are 33 San Diego Museums participating in this promotion including major museums such as the USS Midway Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and Mingei International Museum thanks to the San Diego Museum Council. All you have to do is show that you are a member of one of the participating museums and you get free admission to all 33 museums.
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Museum Gift Shops are the perfect place to find that one-of-a-kind gift for someone special. Instead of fighting crowds at the mall this holiday season head to a museum to explore their enlightening exhibitions and unique items in their museum gift store. Each year I discover beautiful handmade scarves, jewelry, interesting books and educational children’s toys at a variety of museums. I have compiled a list of 10 museums that feature engaging exhibitions and have a well-stocked museum gift store.
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California has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world from the beaches to the desert. Second best to traveling around the state to experience these various habitats is a new permanent exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT). Coast to Cactus in Southern California highlights how humans share space with nature through a dynamic array of native plants and animals, interactive play spaces and learning tools for all ages.
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The San Diego Botanic Garden located in Encinitas is much more than a garden. Boasting two excellent interactive play areas it is an adventurous place for families who want to explore different environments and learn about nature, water, music and more. For art lovers and kids that enjoy sculptures it is the perfect place to hike around and discover the many exceptional works of art located throughout the Garden.


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Located in downtown San Diego in the original Chinese Mission built in 1927, this museum showcases the heritage of San Diego's Chinese community and the essence of Chinese arts and culture.

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The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation (GQHF) is housed in the historic district's oldest standing structure, the Davis-Horton House (1850). As the steward of the Gaslamp Quarter's architecture, culture and history, GQHF operates the house as the Gaslamp Museum to share information about San Diego's early history through exhibitions, tours of the house, and guided tours of the Gaslamp neighborhood, Tuesday – Saturday.
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