Are you too tired to do Halloween on a Sunday night? Does the thought of getting up early on Monday put a damper on your Halloween plans this year? Why not start the party a day earlier? On Saturday, October 30th, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the museums at Balboa Park in San Diego, California are offering creative, fun, and interactive activities, such as special theme crafts, spooky tours, goblin goodies and sweet treats to help celebrate Halloween and The Day of the Dead. For just $35, adults can purchase a “Stay for the Day Pass” and gain entry into all participating museums. One child is free when accompanied by a paying adult.
The park is accessible by city bus or your car. If public transportation is your plan, MTS Bus #7 travels along Zoo Place, stopping in front of the zoo and near the Ruben H. Fleet Space Museum. We drive and then park in the San Diego Zoo parking lot (where the parking is free). Then we walk west toward the fountain in front of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Center. Smaller parking lots are available next to the Spanish Art Village and the Natural History Museum.
If you park in any of these three parking lots, consider making your first stop at the Spanish Village Art Center. They will be having a doggie costume contest, trick-or-treat bag decorating activity, a steam-powered giraffe performance, and more. From the Art Center entrance, walk across the street to the Natural History Museum and learn about creepy crawly night creatures, make a bat necklace, and get a nocturnal tattoo.
After you get your tattoos, make your way to The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. There the younger crowd can participate in toddler-themed activities, get a close up view of hissing cockroaches and magnified fruit flies.
If you still have energy after checking out the hissing cockroaches, head down the street and visit the Model Railroad Museum. This museum is located on the left side of the street when walking north and it is inside the building, on the lower level. Many people walk right past this museum, as it is not well marked. This museum is truly worth a visit, especially for the kids, as model railroad enthusiasts have created wonderful model rail road towns, mountain ranges and cities. While there, you can build a glow-in-the dark spooky steam engine and participate in a scavenger hunt.
When you exit the Model Railroad Museum, turn left and continue walking down the street. Go pass the lily pond and the Botanical Gardens and on the right side of the road you will find the Museum of Art. Here you can take part in interactive gallery games and receive a free treat package. Afterwards, continue down the street to the Museum of Man and join in on a spooky tour, build a little Day of the Dead Alter or decorate a sugar skull or mask.
The San Diego Museum of Art, the Mingei International Museum and the Timpken Museum of Art are located on three sides of a quad intersection where if you decide to follow the road to the west, away from the Museum of Art building, you can find the next section of museums.
If you decide to cross the street from the San Diego Museum of Art and pay a visit to the Mingei International Museum, you can watch a weaving demonstration or participate in a fun art hunt. If you still have energy, stop by the Timpken Museum of Art for ghostly storytelling.
Walking down the left side of the road, you will see the Organ Pavilion in front of you and the Japanese Friendship Garden on your left. At the Friendship Garden, the kids can make their own colorful Koi Fish Mask. Further down the road are the Automotive Museum and the Aerospace Museum, each with special events to add to the Halloween fun.
Whether you decide to tour all the museums or visit just one or two, the variety of planned activities will be fun for adults and children. Costumes are welcome as long as they are safe and appropriate for all ages. This is a family event. Balboa Park is a great place to spend the day, as each museum has planned events to delight the kids was well as teach them something. Learning without realizing it is the best way to learn as knowledge gained through activities is usually retained longer than anything read in a book is. So educate yourself and your little ones, have some fun and celebrate Halloween 2010 one day early.