Whether your interest is fine art, science, photography, history, natural history, planes, trains, or automobiles, there is a museum for you in San Diego. And during the month of February, you can visit all your favorites for half price.
The San Diego Museum Council offers a free pass to visit more than 40 participating museums at a 50% discount. The free passes are available at any San Diego County Library, any San Diego Hilton Hotel, and Macy’s stores. Each pass admits up to four people at the discounted price.
There’s no limit to the number of museums you can visit with your pass, but some museums may limit the number of times you can use the pass at their museum. If you plan to visit the same museum multiple times during the month, just ask the museum what their policy is.
Another thing to note is that the half-price passes don’t include traveling exhibits, special events, or IMAX films. Some participating museums may also have black-out dates, so be sure to call the museum to ask about any limitations before visiting.
Free passes for half-price admission are available to both San Diego residents and visitors to America’s Finest City.
Our Museum Picks for Grown Folks
USS Midway Museum
USS Midway Museum is hands down San Diego’s most visited museum. This unique museum is a retired aircraft carrier – the longest serving in the 20th century. You’ll find it permanently docked in San Diego Bay along the embarcadero.
Self-guided audio tours narrated by former sailors of the USS Midway guide you through the ship and provide information at various stopping points including the engine room, pilot ready room, and sleeping quarters. Audio tours are included in the museum admission price. You can also opt for docent led tours of the ship. Most docents served on the ship at one time and can add colorful accounts that bring the experience alive. Check out the aircraft on the ship’s deck, flight simulator, Fantail Café, and Jet Shop gift shop.
Maritime Museum of San Diego
You’ll find the Maritime Museum of San Diego a short walk down the embarcadero from the USS Midway Museum. This on-the-water museum gives visitors a look into the maritime history of San Diego that shaped the city.
Board and explore the vessels of the museum like the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship, and the Californian, California’s only official tall ship, plus two more sailing ships. There’s the HMS Surprise, a replication of a 24-gun British Frigate, two steamboats, two submarines, the San Diego Harbor Pilot boat, a racing yacht, and so much more. There are also five permanent exhibits and opportunities for excursions on some of the boats.
Favorite Museums with the Kids
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Although it may not seem like a ‘museum’ per se, it’s included in the list of half-price museums sponsored by the San Diego Museum Council. So, take advantage of the deal and give the kids an exciting and educational experience at Birch Aquarium. You’ll find it in La Jolla on Expedition Way.
Kids will marvel at everything from a giant Pacific octopus in the Hall of Fishes to a baby seahorse in the seahorse nursery. There are 60 habitats and lots of interactive displays. Another fun experience at Birch Aquarium is the tide pool area where kids can touch marine life like sea stars, hermit crabs, lobsters, and sea cucumbers.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
The Smithsonian affiliated San Diego Air & Space Museum is located in Balboa Park. This museum is wildly popular with families, since it has something fascinating for everyone.
This action-packed museum has tons of interactive experiences for all ages. You’ll find a reproduction of the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, a flyable replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, and the Apollo 9 Command Module. There are flight simulators, 4D theater presentations, six permanent galleries, and visiting exhibits. There’s even a play area for the littlest visitors where they can simulate flight. Don’t forget to lunch at the Flight Path Grill and Observation Deck and watch planes landing at San Diego International Airport.
Get Museum Discounts at Any Time
If you can’t fit San Diego Museum Month into your schedule this February, no worries. You can still get deep discounts on museum admissions with a Go San Diego Card any time of year. Enjoy the same museums, like the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum where your Go San Diego Card also lets you skip the line! Plus, your card gets you into San Diego’s biggest attractions, including SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND California, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It’s quick, convenient, and saves you lots of money.
If you aren’t sure you’d save money based on what you want to see and do, you can read about the Go San Diego Card here. We put together a post evaluating who gets the greatest value from a Go San Diego Card. And if you’d like more information on how easy it is to use the card, read our Go San Diego Card – More Than a Discount Card post.