Photo: Lisa Lopez

What do sea monsters, a pony carnival, a pumpkin patch farm tour, a haunted ship, an after-dark Halloween-themed hike and a brand new Frida Kahlo exhibit geared for kids have in common? They’re all on this weekend’s itinerary for family fun! Read on for the details on where to enjoy these great events and more activities your kids will love.

La Jolla

Haunted Aquarium: Sea Monster Mash
At Haunted Aquarium: Sea Monster Mash, enjoy close encounters with Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists and search the galleries for unusual underwater creatures rarely seen at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Discover a sea of glowing beasts (big and small), get sticky with slime and enjoy spooky stories, all while boo-gieing down to live music and having a monstrously good time. Note: general admission tickets cannot be used for Haunted Aquarium. You will need to purchase a separate ticket for the special event. Note: The aquarium closes between 5 and 6 p.m Fri. & Sat. Event details.

Liberty Station

Spooky Family Fridays
Celebrate Halloween every Friday in October by creating mad masterpieces at Pachis. Make haunted houses, decorate pumpkins, spooky creatures and Halloween-themed art projects. Fri. Event details.

Balboa Park

Frida & Me Exhibition
The San Diego Museum of Art is encouraging kids to open their minds and get hands-on with “Frida and Me,” an educational exhibition for kids that explores the inventiveness and power of Frida Kahlo’s work. On view for the first time in the U.S., this interactive exhibition is comprised of multiple modules based on Kahlo’s life and the famed Casa Azul, her residence in Mexico City. Each section features interactive elements and workshops that engage young visitors creatively and help them tap into the artist within. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the Museum’s “Modern Masters from Latin America.” This exhibition features more than 100 works by some of the greatest modern masters, including Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Mission Hills

Haunted Garden Tour & Family Fair
This haunted garden tour and family fair includes a garden tour of historic Mission Hills’ homes and a wonderful kids fair to experience pre-Halloween activities and crafts, while the brave at heart can experience the undead in a docent-led tour of Pioneer Park, one of San Diego’s most haunted locations! After your walk, return to the Mission Hills Nursery for a fun-filled and scary Family Fair for children and their parents. Parents will enjoy the “farm to fork” cooking experience of The Red Door Restaurant, while keeping it organic and natural with Lazy Acres Market including a food sampling of their best. Kids of all ages can be an Earth Hero with Ms. Smarty Plants from the Water Conservation Garden. Lucy Ramirez will delight the children with her one-of-a-kind award-winning face painting. Learn to design a labyrinth with Melanie Ekberg and sing a song of praise to our unsung heroes the native solitary bee with SoloBee. Take away crafts for both children and adults. Children’s costume contests, garden-themed market place and vendor fair, pumpkin patches and more! Sat. Event details.


Hoot, Howl & Prowl
Dress up in your favorite costumes and embark on an after-dark adventure through the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve where you can see docents dressed as native critters. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa at the end of your journey. Sat. Event details.


Haunted Tales of the Ship
Feel the rock of the harbor beneath your feet and take note of every creek during your time aboard downtown’s iron-hulling sailing ship the Star of India. Built in 1863, you’ll be told tales by lantern light from its 153 year-old history. These tales are creepy and true or not, you’re not likely to hear these stories during its daytime operating hours. Be sure to bring a sweater because if the harbor air doesn’t chill you, the stories will. Sat. Event details.

Bankers Hill

2nd Annual Bankers Hill Fall Festival
Visit the historic community of Bankers Hill to celebrate the season. 30 businesses will offer local tastes, wellness demos, one-day shopping specials and other surprises. Neighborhood hotspots including restaurants, fitness studios, boutiques, spas and art galleries will showcase their fare and wares inside their doors and upon sidewalks; streets will remain open to traffic and offer plentiful parking. Sat. Event details.

Del Mar

San Diego Kids Expo and Fair
The ever so popular San Diego Kids Expo & Fair is back. This fun fair features 150 local and national companies that have products and services catered to kids and families. Meet instructors and coaches teaching karate, soccer and football. Or sign up for a gymnastics, talent or dance school. Pet a furry friend like a miniature donkey or touch exotic animals like a huge a snake! Help your budding scientist with experiments or building with one of the STEAMmakers. Make an art masterpiece at a potting wheel, ride the trackless train or take a break and catch a kid performance or Magic Show on Central Park stage or a rockin’ kids band at the outdoor Rock n’ Roll stage. Outside there will be a 300 foot long zip line, Euro bungee, human hamster ball and Xorbing ball, lazer tag a gaming trailer and much more. Sat. & Sun. Event details.


Annual Oktoberfest Farm Tour
Tour the J.R. Organics CSA Farm, go on a hay ride, explore the pumpkin patch, peruse the craft tent and enjoy lunch made from farm veggies! Notes on what to bring: a sturdy stroller for dirt roads, hats, handiwipes, good walking shoes, sunscreen and small bills to pay with cash. RSVP for the farm tour here. Sat. Event details.

Rancho Santa Fe

Laughing Pony Rescue Carnival
Laughing Pony Rescue will be celebrating with the community with free carnival entry, pony rides, arts and crafts, ranch tours, prizes, free carnival games, caricatures, photos with the mini’s and other ranch horses, pony painting, live entertainment and more. Feeling competitive? Wear your Halloween costume to the carnival and post your photo on LPR’s Facebook page to win a prize. Feeling hungry? Compete in Laughing Pony’s pie eating contest and steal the title from the official pie eating champ. Most importantly, come meet LPR’s magnificent survivors; their current resident rescue horses. Laughing Pony Rescue is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned horses of any breed. Note: Street parking available. Sun. Event details.

North Park

Day of the Dead Festival
Artelexia invites everyone in the community to come celebrate and learn about this vibrant Mexican holiday. Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) is a time to honor and remember those who have passed. The unity of life and death is celebrated when friends and families come together to offer hospitality to the spirits of loved ones. To add to this Magical Celebration, you’ll find sugar skull decorating, face painting, a community altar, artisan vendors, tequila & mezcal tasting, a biergarten and food trucks. Sun. Event details.

Where are you enjoying the weekend? Let us know in the comments!

––Beth Shea