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Halloween Family Day 2013

Balboa Park Halloween Family Day Treats Kids to Free Museum Admission, Creepy Crafts, and Hair-Raising Activities 

SAN DIEGO — Balboa Park’s 5th-annual park-wide Halloween Family Day once again treats kids 12 and under to a day full of hair-raising fun and free museum admission with a paid adult. Participating museums and cultural attractions will present a spooktacular array of hands-on activities, crafts, costume parades, tours, storytelling, and other free goodies from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Adults also receive discounted admission when they pick up a Stay-for-the-Day Pass, a one-day excursion pass allowing one adult admission to five park museums for a low price of $43.

Among the highlights of this year’s park-wide Halloween Family Day is a doggie costume parade and contest in the Spanish Village Art Center, spooky storytelling and mask-making at the Timken Museum of Art, a host of activities centered on the Model Railroad Museum’s Haunted Train Town, a creepy nocturnal Critter Cave at the Natural History Museum, and a variety of free activity and prize-drawing booths on the Prado. Please see below for a complete listing of all the activities scheduled for the October 26 Family Day. For updates, visit

Special Family Day Activities and Offers

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

  • Passports to Balboa Park
  • Old Town Trolley/Seal Tour tickets
  • Win a CD and 2 free tickets to a San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory concert at CA Center for the Arts or Copley Symphony Hall
  • San Diego Junior Theatre tickets to an upcoming show

Japanese Friendship Garden: Halloween-themed crafts andTaste of Japan Food Fest!featuring cuisine from different Japanese food vendors. Families can picnic in the newly opened portion of the garden expansion.

Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre: Free puppet-making activity for children accompanied by an adult at 11:45am before the 1pm show; show ticket not required.

Mingei International Museum: Children 12 and under free with paid adult.

Museum of Photographic Arts: Special Halloween sunprint craft for all ages, using photographic paper, Halloween-themed cut-outs, and the light of the sun to create spooky designs.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: Toddlers 5 and younger can get crafty in Kid City with Pasta Skeletons and Pumpkin Guts, and kids of all ages can unleash their inner mad scientists and invent FrankenToys in the Tinkering Studio. Kids 12 and under free with paid adult for gallery admission only.

San Diego Air & Space Museum: Make ghost rotors (paper helicopters with a Halloween twist) in the education center at 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30 and launch them into the sky! At 2:30, see what happens when two pumpkins are dropped from the roof — one with a parachute and one without. Enjoy the kid-friendly 3D/4D movie theater and Kid’s Aviation Action Hangar all day (simulators not included). Discounted admission price of $5 to see the Ripley’s Believe It or Not special exhibition.

San Diego Automotive Museum:Ghost car coloring sheets help kids discover their inner (scary) car designer in the Children’s Art Gallery.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: Explore the Haunted Train Town featuring five spooky train stations! Passengers on the Haunted Express can go on a Halloween scavenger hunt, listen to a Ghost Train story, make a Boo Train, and collect prizes.

San Diego Museum of Art:A special Search & Find activity will award prizes for costumes and activity completion.

San Diego Natural History Museum:Grab a flashlight and visit the Critter Cave to learn about bats and other nocturnal creatures, then join in a costume parade led by Ms. Frizzle at 2:00pm following her 1:00pm performance. Also, hands-on activities to create a batty craft to take home. 3D films are included with free admission for kids 12 and under with paid adult.

San Diego Museum of Man: Learn about Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), make a calavera mask, and learn about sugar skulls. Stop by the Bone Yard to meet Mr. Bones and discover how skeletons are put together, and then take a spooky tour of the museum’s mummy collection.

San Diego Youth Symphony: Free open orchestra rehearsals (classical melodies) on the second floor of the Casa del Prado building, rooms 207 & 205, from 8:45am to 5:15pm.

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: Dog Costume Parade/Contest at 1:30pm in the Spanish Village courtyard. Sign up begins at 1:00pm. Dog treats for the winners, and first place receives a $25 Spanish Village Gift Certificate. Free art activities, including trick-or-treat bag decorating, trick-or-treating at 37 studios, entertainment, art, and food booths.

Timken Museum of Art:Art Tales & Mini Mastersstorytelling for children ages 5and upat 11am, featuring “not too spooky”interactive tales told by professional storyteller Harlynne Geisler. Afterwards, children can gather outside the museum with artist Elizabeth Washburn for mask-making activities that can serve as the start of a Halloween costume.Admission and art materials are freefor all ages. No reservations required.

UNA International Gift Shop: Kids can pick up a Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF box to take along with them as they go trick-or-treating this Halloween. The money they collect will be sent to UNICEF to help children around the world who need clean water, food, school supplies, etc.

Booths along the Prado:

Fiesta del Reyes/Old Town State Historic Park:Play the Magnifying Guessing Game and have optical illusions twist your mind! Learn about the new menu at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant, where kids eat free!

Girl Scouts of America:A “Gizmos & Gears” activity teaches boys and girls how to create their own tracks of gears and how they work. A magnet activity allows kids to arrange magnets in geometric shapes while learning about their properties.

House of Pacific Relations International Cottages: Families can learn about the organization and the national cultures it represents, programs for youth, and year-round events. A number of cottages will be open on Family Day from noon to 4pm so families can explore different cultures.

Marston House:Mask-making and coloring. Receive a vintage, c. 1900-style treat bag full of various goodies, including coupons and candy (while supplies last).

The Old Globe: Learn about this year’s performance of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and enter for a chance to win a Family 4-Pack to the show.

RH Fleet Science Center:Park visitors are invited to make slime!

San Diego Civic Youth Ballet: Crafts, ballet dancers, and information on upcoming programs, including The Nutcracker.

SDG&E: Sign up to receive free water-savings kits that include a low-flow shower head, kitchen sink aerator, and two bathroom sink aerators. Craft activities for kids.

San Diego History Center: “Wicked Brewing: What’s Stirring in our Halloween Cauldron?” Take a turn at stirring the trivia pot and see what history surfaces. From San Diego’s sodaworks to craft beers, there’s nearly a brew for everyone’s palette in our city’s past.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: Halloween-themed activities. Kids 12 and under can pick up a ticket for free admission (with a paid adult) to Haunted Train Town inside the museum.

San Diego Natural History Museum: Get ready for Real Pirates (dropping anchor at theNAT February 8) by picking up some pirate’s booty and participating in buoyancy experiments. Also check out some mammoth teeth to get a sneak peek at the Mammoths and Mastodons exhibition, which closes November 11.

San Diego Zoo: Pins, decals, magazines, and Halloween candy will be handed out to everyone. Zoo animals at the booth.