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Halloween Family Day 2016

Celebrate Halloween Day at Free Balboa Park Family Day
October 29, 2016 - 11am-4pm

The Balboa Park Conservancy invites families to a safe, fun, and culturally inspired way to kick off their Halloween activities at the 8th Annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day on Saturday, October 29. Over two dozen participating museums, cultural attractions, and community partners will present free craft projects for kids, costume parades and contests, spooky gallery tours and treasure hunts, and other fun surprises from 11am to 4pm. Participating museums are offering free admission to children 12 and under with paying adult.


Among the day’s highlights are mini-carnival games for prizes presented by the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, a doggie costume contest in the Spanish Village Art Center, a rooftop pumpkin drop experiment at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, live animals from the San Diego Zoo, food trucks, and free activity booths on the Prado and Plaza de Panama. For a complete listing of all scheduled activities, visit Adults can receive best-value museum admission when purchasing the Balboa Park Explorer One-Day, Multi-Day, or Annual Pass.


Families looking to save money and avoid parking during Balboa Park Family Days can take advantage of MTS Family Weekends, which allows two children 12 and under to ride any MTS service for free on Saturdays and Sundays when accompanied by a paying adult passenger (18+). Rapid 215 provides limited-stop service to the San Diego Zoo and the museums on Balboa Park’s east side. Visitors can also access Balboa Park directly via MTS Route 7, which runs along Broadway, Park Boulevard and University Avenue, as well as MTS Routes 3 and 120, which provide service to the Park’s west side along Fourth and Fifth Avenues. To plan your trip, visit



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

Fleet Science Center: Prepare for Dia de los Muertos by decorating a sugar skull for your home altar in the Tinkering Studio. Free gallery admission for kids 12 and under with paid adult. Special pricing for The Art of the Brick exhibition: $29.95 for adults, $16.95 for kids 12 and under (includes IMAX and general gallery admission). Please see the Fleet's website for details.

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

Japanese Friendship Garden:Free monster mask-making activity.

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 and then make flowers out of tissue paper to add to a costume or place on a Dia de los Muertos altar at home.

Special $5 admission price for families.

San Diego Air & Space Museum:Engineer your own Da Vinci-inspired flying machine, 11:00am-4:00pm; participate and witness a rooftop pumpkin-dropping experiment at 2:30pm; and watch kid-friendly short films in the 3D/4D movie theater (simulators not included). Discounted admission price of $5 to see Da Vinci: The Ultimate Innovator special exhibition.

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

San Diego Junior Theatre:Buy 1 ticket (adult or child) to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and receive the second ticket free through November 6 (subject to availability).

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: “Ghost Train” craft activity andspooky scavenger hunt.

San Diego Natural History Museum: Celebrate bats and other creatures that lurk in the night at theNat. Grab a flashlight, visit the Critter Cave, get a tattoo, and make a bat craft to take home. Children 12 and under will receive free general admission* with a paid adult or can pay $5 to enjoy unlimited access to 2D and 3D films in our giant-screen theater. To redeem this offer, download the coupon from the San Diego Museum Council and present in person at the admissions desk.

*Free general admission does not include 3D films, but will include the special exhibition Animals: Machines in Motion from October 29 to 31. 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 second 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), and studio trick-or-treating (with accompanying adult).

The 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. 17 and under FREE.
Please see the website for details

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 Plaza

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.

Fleet Science Center: Halloween-themed science activities.

Food Trucks(Village Place): Enjoy special selections from popular local food trucks, Tacos la Mezcla, PIZZA PAZZA, Two for the Road, and many more.

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.

Japanese Friendship Garden: "Monster Attack!" As part of the Japanese Friendship Garden's kids craft, children can design and draw their own monster puppet to take home.

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: Transform yourself and your family into spirits using otherworldly photographic techniques.

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

San Diego Gas &Electric: Information about energy-saving solutions to help families get rid of “energy vampires”; activities for kids.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum:“Witch Pitch” carnival game to win prizes and Halloween candy.

San Diego Natural History Museum: Gobatty with theNat as they debunk myths about bats; kids can make a bat mask to take home.

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 11:00am; prizes for first, second, and third place.

Halloween Costume Contest
Age Divisions and Times

  • 3 & Under 12pm
  • 4-6yrs 12:30pm
  • 7-9yrs 1pm
  • 10-12yrs 1:30pm

San Diego Public Library:Halloween crafts, library card applications, and info on the many free educational and cultural resources at 36 library locations in 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 be done to prevent pollution at our beaches and bays.

Timken Museum of Art:Help paint a spooky Halloween mural.

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.

XEWT Channel 12: Join XEWT TV for a funDay of the Dead crafting experience.

Please be advised that photographs will be taken at this event for use on the Balboa Park website and in the press, Balboa Park marketing materials, and other Park publications. By entering this event, you consent to the organizers in Balboa Park photographing and using your image and likeness.