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San Diego, California: Your Mini-Guide to a Stress-Free Vacation

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Stress Free in SD

Perhaps you’re thinking of visiting sunny San Diego, California, in the near future. Without a doubt, this city is a great destination for all types of travelers. Balboa Park and LEGOLAND offer endless family fun, Pacific Beach offers endless nightlife options, and over 70 miles of coastline offer perfect places for relaxing. No matter what your goal is, I think we can all agree that vacations are intended to shed stress, not take on more of it. Here are some suggestions from a popular downtown hotel in San Diego on how to avoid common vacation debacles, hopefully saving you from a headache or two.

Getting Lost in San Diego County

For visitors, the city of San Diego often seems like a maze. That’s nothing compared to the county, which encompasses over 25 cities. Cities are connected by a handful of freeways that see tens of thousands of motorists each day. Therefore, navigating throughout San Diego County often proves difficult for tourists. Know your route ahead of time and avoid rush hour traffic from 3 PM to 5 PM on major freeways.

Stay Safe from the Sun

Fortunately, visitors rarely deal with rain in San Diego. The sun shines bright throughout most of the year, even in fall and winter months. However, summer temperatures and periods of abnormal heat might cause the mercury to rise to 90 degrees or more. Visitors should wear plenty of sunscreen, drink more water, and always wear sunglasses to shield eyes from dangerous UV rays.

Hit the Main Tourist Spots

Tourists often avoid doing the “touristy” activities in a given city. Don’t make this mistake in San Diego. Families can visit key attractions including the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld while sports fans can catch a home game at Petco Park or Qualcomm Stadium, rooting for the Padres and Chargers respectively.

Less Stress, More Rest

Careful planning ensures that your visit to San Diego runs smoothly. Visitors should book discount airfare and an affordable hotel near the San Diego airport well in advance to get the best rates. From there, vacationers can rely on a rental vehicle or public transportation to get around. The Pacific Inn in Little Italy is a great spot for a stress-free San Diego getaway. We offer a Best Rate Guarantee, free in-room Wi-Fi, pillow top beds, and we’re located within 6 miles of San Diego’s biggest attractions.

For more information or to book your room over the phone, call the San Diego Pacific Inn today at (619) 232-6391.

 

Understanding TSA PreCheck at the San Diego Airport

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New TSA PreCheck at SAN

Anyone who is flying through the San Diego international Airport, should be aware that there is a new service offered called the TSA PreCheck. This service allows travelers to proceed through airport security without the usual hassles that the average traveler faces. For instance, those who participate in TSA PreCheck won’t have to remove their laptop, liquids, belt, coat or shoes in order to make it to their gate.

Why Consider TSA PreCheck?

If you’re looking for expedited travel during an upcoming trip to San Diego, doing things like booking a hotel near the San Diego airport, arranging for transportation ahead of time, and looking into city-specific programs like PreCheck can all make your arrival and departure into America’s Finest City go as smoothly as possible.

How Do I Sign Up?

Some frequent fliers will have access to the TSA PreCheck for free if their airlines cover the cost of the service in return for their business. United and Delta frequent fliers have reported free access to TSA PreCheck. American Express Platinum Card holders receive a $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck so the service comes at essentially no cost for them as well.

For those who don’t qualify for free access, the PreCheck will cost $100. Those interested must sign up with Global Entry, the U.S. Customs’ partner program. Once thoroughly vetted and screened, you will receive a card which you can show to your airport carrier to receive the PreCheck screening badge on your boarding pass.

TSA also offers the service for $85 but international travelers will want to pay the extra $15 to avoid the enormous lines that they commonly encounter when re-entering the United States. They’ll also have access to convenient automated kiosks as well.

Only 60 other airports in the United States offer the TSA PreCheck service so anyone flying through San Diego should take advantage of this unique opportunity to save hours of unnecessary time waiting in line at airport security during busy holiday travel months.

Take the first step towards convenient and efficient travels by making a reservation at the San Diego Pacific Inn. Not only are we located a mere 2 miles from the airport, but we’re also currently offering an advance booking discount. Call (619) 232-6391 for more information or to book your room over the phone today.

What to do in Little Italy San Diego

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San Diego's Little Italy Attractions

Little Italy in San Diego is a small neighborhood packed full of art, culture, shopping, dining and nightlife destinations. There’s no shortage of things to do, rather, many visitors have a hard time narrowing down their list of top hot-spots. That’s why the downtown San Diego Pacific Inn has put together these tried and true recommendations.

Dining 

One of the best places to go is Mimmo’s Italian Village, which can be found on India Street. They’re well-known for their frutti di mare with seasonal shellfish, carbonara and fettuccine Bolognese, and you can even reserve a table in the wine cellar for special occasions.

Another great restaurant on India is the Trattoria Fantastica. This Sicilian-style restaurant specializes in wood-fired pizzas, but they’re also known for their incredible Gamberi Al Limone, which is jumbo shrimp in a lemon sauce.

Shopping

One of the best places to find antiques is India Street Antiques, which is located on the north end of Little Italy. This shop specializes in European antiques such as Belgian and English pottery, traditional cabinets, and beautiful antique furniture at affordable prices.

If you love fine art, then Meyer Fine Art Gallery on Kettner Boulevard has plenty of pieces on sale from artists such as Clay Walker, Luis Solari and Armando Romero. There are also special exhibits that can be seen throughout the year.

Nightlife

One of the hottest bars in the area is 98 Bottles, which is next to the Meyer Gallery on Kettner. This bar has some of the best craft beers brewed in San Diego, and you’ll also find one of the area’s biggest selections of sake. There’s also plenty of live entertainment every weekend.

Another great place is Princess Pub & Grille if you’re looking for a relaxed sports pub atmosphere. They serve up delicious bar food, cheap drinks and have a fun clientele, good for mixing and mingling.

If you’re not one for planning, you can’t go wrong simply enjoying a leisurely walk down Kettner and India, wandering into appealing cafes, restaurants, shops and bars.  However, parking can be sparse on busy weekend days, so be sure to book a room at one of the affordable hotels near Little Italy. The Pacific Inn is located on the outskirts of Little Italy, within a couple blocks of the city’s main highlights. Call (619) 232-6391 to reserve your room today and don’t forget to ask about our available discounts.

What’s New at the San Diego Zoo

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San Diego Zoo news & attractions

The San Diego Zoo hosts over four million visitors each year. As one of the most well-known zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo must keep pace with new research, practices and cultural interests. The zoo’s dedication to proving the best experiences possible for both the visitors and the animal residents results in regular improvements and additions throughout the park. Below is a glimpse of what’s new for The San Diego Zoo.

Early Morning with Pandas
This special, paid tour allows guests to enjoy a “two-hour adventure” through the zoo before the park opens for the day. The shuttle cart tour through the zoo includes visits with some of the resident animals, educational discussions and a stop at the giant panda viewing area to watch Xiao Liwu, Bai Yun and Gao Gao have breakfast. The tour runs from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM and costs $80. Because of the early call time, we recommend you stay at a San Diego hotel close to the Zoo for ease of access in the morning.

Tiger Trail
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park recently opened a new 5.2 acre habitat for their six Sumatran tigers. The new habitat features three open yards, climbing rocks, swimming ponds, trees for scratching and long grasses for catnip. Thanks to the new exhibit, visitors can enjoy close-up views with nothing more than a sheet of glass separating them from the tigers.

Zoo Babies
2014 has brought a plethora of new babies to the San Diego Zoo. This year, the zoo has celebrated the births of a gorilla, an okapi, an elephant, a black rhino, a giraffe and rare visayan warty pigs, to name a few. Visitors of the zoo are always excited to catch a peek of these young ones at play.

Koalafornia
Opened in 2013, the new Australian Outback area nicknamed “Koalafornia”, doubled the habitat space for the park’s koalas. The space includes more outdoor enclosures and other Australian wildlife such as wombats, wallabies and kookaburras.

There’s never a bad time to plan a visit to the San Diego Zoo! If you’re still looking for a nearby hotel, consider the San Diego Pacific Inn. We are currently selling discounted Zoo admission passes from our front desk. And if you purchase your admission through us, you’ll also receive an additional 15% off on your hotel stay! Click on the “reservations” tab above to take advantage of this money-saving offer today.

Eat, Drink, And Be Merry At The Annual Reader’s Feast!

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San Diego Foodie Event

The Reader, San Diego’s popular entertainment and food publication, is hosting their third annual “Reader’s Feast” tasting extravaganza on Friday, September 5 at the Broadway Pier Port Pavilion conveniently located near affordable Downtown San Diego hotels. The sponsor this year is The Inslider, the purveyor of yummy sliders found in their specially marked food trucks all around the San Diego area. To ensure you have the best time possible at this year’s foodie event, check out our list of tips.

Buy Your Tickets Before You Arrive
The festival begins at 6 PM and the food and drink party doesn’t stop until 9 PM. Your special online purchase price of $30 gets you samples from this year’s participating vendors. The $40 VIP ticket grants you early access to the event as well as two full-pour drinks and gift bag. If you wait to buy your ticket at the gate on the day of the event, both tickets double in price to $60 and $80.

It’s A Gourmet Tasting Extravaganza
The festival is a food lover’s delight. More than forty restaurants, breweries, food trucks, and wineries fill up the pavilion for this once-a-year event. You’ll be able to treat your gastronomical cravings while enjoying a scenic sunset over San Diego Bay.

The Best Of San Diego’s Eateries and Local Wineries and Breweries
Fill up on fresh sushi from Ra Sushi and pizza baked hot from a wood burning stove. Whether it’s fresh guacamole from Rubio’s or contemporary American eats from House of Blues, wash it all down with the hundreds of beers on tap, wine from Falkner Wineries or one of the craft ales and spirits from Twisted Manzanita.

Drink Responsibly
You can drink and party responsibly by ordering car service from Uber. When you schedule your ride, key in the promotional code READERFEAST, and you get a free round trip ticket. An even more affordable option is reserving a Downtown San Diego hotel near the bay within walking distance of the venue.

Proceeds Support Local Non-Profit
A portion of ticket sales will go to Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a charity organization that pays for disadvantaged children and teens with physical defects to undergo reconstructive surgery.

Help a good cause while also helping yourself to some of San Diego’s most delicious creations all in one place. Enjoy this 21+ event without the added stress of transportation or parking by booking a nearby hotel room at the San Diego Pacific Inn and Suites. Our affordable downtown hotel is located a leisurely 0.7 miles from the Port Pavilion Pier. Call (619) 232-6391 to ask about our discounts or to book your room over the phone today.

Top Italian Restaurants in Little Italy San Diego

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san-diego-italian-food

Little Italy is considered one of the main rising gems of San Diego, California due to the plethora of quaint neighborhood cafes and trendy eateries. If you’re vacating in San Diego and staying in one of the area’s Little Italy hotels, it can be hard to choose from the diverse selection of appetizing restaurant options. Locals tend to opt for the authentic Italian restaurants before grabbing a scoop of gelato at one of the local coffee shops. Here are a few of the notable and authentic Italian restaurants in Little Italy:BencottoFrom the summer sauce on tagliatelle to the squid ink pasta menu items, there are several handcrafted options that include plenty of spices and a versatile menu that models Northern Italian cuisine. The pasta is made on-site with fresh choices, making this a popular restaurant in Little Italy. Guests also enjoy the modern and trendy decor while being served by a friendly staff. Although the restaurant is high-end, it’s a welcoming establishment that feels like home.

Buon Appetito

Buon Appetito dishes up hearty servings that include farfalle con pollo affumicato and linguini boscomare. For gourmet Italian food that is made by five-star chefs on-site this restaurant can’t be beat. Guests can enjoy dining in a relaxed and cozy environment that isn’t stuffy. Be sure you don’t leave before trying the hazelnut gelato or tiramisu for dessert.

Mimmo’s Italian Village

Considered a staple in Little Italy, Mimmo’s offers unique menu items that are decadent and flavorful in their design. The pear salad is perfect in the summer season while the grilled cheese feta is a hit among local foodies. The restaurant offers a quiet and cozy atmosphere with a front patio that is reminiscent of an old Italian village.

For quality Italian food, there’s no other place to go than San Diego’s Little Italy. This charming neighborhood also serves as a great “home base” due to it’s convenient location next to the San Diego Bay and the lively Gaslamp Quarter. For a popular, affordable and comfortable Little Italy hotel option, book your stay at the Pacific Inn. Call us today at (619) 232-6391 to see how much money we can save you on your upcoming vacation.

Greater San Diego’s Unique Wineries

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san-diego-wineries

There’s no need to venture all the way to Temecula in order to taste some of California’s finest wines. San Diego County is home to several award-winning wineries, many most likely within a few minutes driving distance from your affordable San Diego hotel. The warm Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grapes and with both large wineries and small family-owned establishments, there is plenty to see and taste. Some are set along the stunning coast while others are hidden within the rolling hills of the north. Even more are tucked into the mountains of the east, and one little gem has made its debut in downtown’s Little Italy. Here are some of our favorites that we’ve deemed well worth the short drive.

Carruth Cellars- Winery on Cedros
Carruth Cellars operates the Winery on the Cedros, an urban winery and tasting room located just blocks from the ocean in Solana Beach. This coastal winery acquires its grapes from various vineyards in Northern California and then completes the wine making process at their beach location. An added bonus is that this fun and event-filled winery is located just 20 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Bernardo Winery
Bernardo Winery is the oldest winery in San Diego. Founded in 1889 on what was originally a Spanish Land Grant, the Bernardo Winery has stood the test of time, even surviving the difficult years of Prohibition. Today, the winery still operates out of the original buildings which are now over 125 years old. The old world, rustic ambiance and the little-village shops, art galleries and restaurant truly allow wine lovers to step back into time and fully enjoy their wine tasting and shopping experience. Located in Rancho Bernardo, an entire day can be spent touring the winery, sampling different varietals in the tasting room, and perusing the village. Take part in the Annual Bernardo Winery Grapestomp which occurs every mid-September and includes a traditional Italian buffet, live music, and of course, grape stomping. Or stop by on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy a glass of wine and live musical entertainment on the Tasting Room Patio.

Hacienda de las Rosas Winery
Hacienda de las Rosas Winery makes its home in the town of Ramona, just 45 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. Ramona is nicknamed “The Valley of the Sun” as it is nestled in both the Santa Maria and San Vicente Valleys at the base of the foothills to the Laguna Mountains. Hacienda de las Rosas blends two of Spain’s finest passions together: Spanish wine and horses. Doubling as both a winery and a Peruvian Paso Horse Ranch makes a visit to this vineyard truly unique. The atmosphere of the mission-style winery perfectly complements the fine Spanish reds that Hacienda specializes in. A tour of the winery includes picturesque views of the beautiful Ramona scenery as well as views of the majestic Peruvian Paso show horses. The wines are all named after one of the horses and can be sampled in the tasting room.

Menghini Winery
Menghini Winery makes its home in the foothills of Volcan Mountain near the historic town of Julian, which sits about 65 miles northeast of downtown San Diego. Unlike many other areas of Southern California, the location of the Menghini Winery in the Cuyamaca Mountains provides a climate that includes four diverse seasons. Enjoying a glass of wine amidst the changing colors of autumn or sampling wines in the tasting room while watching snow flurries hit the windowpanes can make a visit truly unique when compared to other area wineries. Take a little extra time and venture past the numerous apple orchards into the nearby town of Julian. With roots that date back to the 1870s gold rush, this little town embraces its history and exudes unending charm, from storefronts housed in original buildings to the boasting of their famous apple pie.

San Diego Cellars
San Diego’s Little Italy district is one of downtown’s most thriving neighborhoods. Filled to the brim with Italian restaurants, quaint sidewalk cafés, art galleries, boutiques and plenty of pubs to keep the nightlife hopping, it carries an ambiance unlike any other area of the city. San Diego Cellars has now moved into the neighborhood as the city’s first urban winery. Offering wine tastings, a dining menu, indoor and patio seating, live entertainment, and even beer, SD Cellars is ready to make their footprint in San Diego. With a nod to the local brewery methods, they offer wine on tap, which is way to allow for wines to be featured in a rotation so as to keep things changing and enabling newer wines to be introduced more frequently. Wine lovers will enjoy their refillable one-liter bottles called the “CRUzers.” Grapes are sourced from several California vineyards, including many in the San Diego area.

All vacationing “winos” should take time to taste the county’s top varietals during their travels. Each of these wineries is unique in its own right, offering decadents wines, a fun atmosphere and a great day trip option when staying in one of San Diego’s Little Italy hotels such as Pacific Inn & Suites. If you’re still looking to book a room for your upcoming trip, contact Pacific Inn at 1-800-571-2933!

 

Benefits of Traveling without Kids

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traveling-without-kids

Traveling provides a way for the mind and body to refresh, recharge and relax… unless of course you’re traveling with kids, which can just be an added stressor. How am I going to keep my eye on them at all times? Where can we go that we’ll all enjoy? How much is all this going to cost? Traveling as a whole family is certainly a fun bonding experience, but many couples neglect to take vacations without their kids as they grow older. When was the last time you and your spouse enjoyed a romantic getaway where your only priority was to relax, share new experiences and spend quality time together?  There are definitely some spousal benefits to booking a Downtown San Diego hotel room for two and just getting away for a couple of days.

Bonding

Bonding in a relationship is important and it’s something you have to make time for. Married couples oftentimes wish that they could spend more time together without constant interruption from the kids, regardless of how much you love and cherish your children.  However, when parents travel with their children, they find that they require a lot of attention which doesn’t allow partners the opportunity to focus on each other.

Taking a trip without your kids might seem like a distressing thought at first, but when you consider that they’ll be under the careful watch of a trusted family member or friend, you’ll be able to relax, leave work worries and parenting problems at home, and finally have the time to genuinely re-connect with your true love.

Nightlife

Does drinks and dancing sounds like a fun night out? When you leave your kids at home, you and your partner will have the freedom to paint the town red for a night or two! A child-free vacation allows late night romantic evenings in the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter or Little Italy that couldn’t otherwise be done.

Life is what people make it. While some wish year after year to get away, only those who make time will do it. Relationships need to be nurtured on an ongoing basis and arranging a getaway trip to San Diego is the perfect way to bond.

If you think it’s time for your kids to spend some quality time at their grandparent’s house so that you can finally spend some time with your significant other, take your vacation up a notch by booking a cheap San Diego hotel with in room Jacuzzi and whirlpool jets at the Pacific Inn. Our affordable hotel is located in the charming Little Italy neighborhood by the bay which is perfect for vacationing couples. For more information on fun things to see and do near our hotel or to ask about our romantic Jacuzzi Suites, call (619) 232-6391 today to see if we can offer you exclusive discounts!

“People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all life for happiness.” – unknown.

 

Guide to Downtown San Diego Parks

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downtown-san-diego-parks

San Diego is known for its exemplary zoo, beautiful beaches, and mild climate, but it also has some very good parks located amid the hustle and bustle of downtown’s concrete jungle. If you haven’t visited one of these parks, Pacific Inn & Suites – a popular downtown San Diego hotel, recommends you add it to your bucket list, whether you live in San Diego or are just visiting.

Pantoja Park
Built in 1850, this is officially the city’s oldest park. Nestled in the southwest part of downtown San Diego, this 1-acre park emits the feeling of a Latin American Plaza complete with a statue of Benito Juarez in the middle of the park. It’s especially nice for dog lovers and for those who appreciate a little bit of solitude in a bustling city. The green trees and grass is a welcome site amidst all the concrete.

Petco Park
Home of the San Diego Padres, this new ballpark recently opened its gates in 2004.  Grab a lawn seat and enjoy an MLB game from a blanket under the blue San Diego sky or take a stroll through the park and have a picnic, or play a little ball on their miniature field that is open to the public. This ballpark has been upgrading and adding acclaimed establishments like Stone and Phil’s BBQ to please baseball fans on game day.

Balboa Park
This is where you’ll find the magnificent San Diego Zoo, the Botanical Building and the California Bell Tower. This urban cultural park has been rated as one of the top ten parks in the United States for good reason. Inside Balboa Park there are over 15 museums and theaters, plus the Pepper Grove Children’s Playground. There are also over 16 unique gardens, including the famous Japanese Friendship Garden.

While the Gaslamp Quarter city life can be thrilling, it’s also nice to step away from the crowded streets to stop and smell the roses at one of these beautiful and unique parks. All of these locations have plenty of places for picnics, play and physical activity like running or walking if you so desire. To have easy access to these downtown parks, be sure to book a convenient and affordable hotel room at the San Diego Pacific Inn located near the Gaslamp Quarter. Call (619) 232-6391 to inquire about rates, reservations and exclusive discounts.

 

8 Cost Cutting Vacation Tips

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San Diego money saving vacation tips
Taking a vacation with the family can break the bank without careful planning and knowledge of the area. The San Diego Pacific Inn wants to help make your upcoming San Diego vacation as affordable as possible, which is why we put together these 8 easy  cost cutting tips to make sure  your trip is stress-free.

1. Eat at your hotel.
Buying meals throughout each day for multiple people can quickly add up. One way to save a lot of money is by booking a hotel near Little Italy that offers a free in-room refrigerator, microwave, and coffee/tea maker and close proximity to stores and farmer’s markets. You can easily purchase healthy microwavable foods or simply re-heat the previous day’s leftovers for a quick, easy and free meal.

2. Take advantage of lunch specials.
Restaurants offer special discounts to the lunch crowd with the potential to cut the price of each meal down significantly. Only dine where there are advertised specials and look for “Kids Eat Free” deals when dining with children. A comprehensive list of restaurants offering free food for kids can be found at sandiegofamily.com.

3. Book a hotel near the sites you want to see.
San Diego has beautiful weather that makes walking and biking to local attractions a great option. Once your itinerary is planned, find a hotel that allows the option to take a taxi, trolley, or walk.

4. Only rent a car when necessary.
Plan activities that require travel by vehicle all in the same day when possible. The other methods of transportation are cheaper, and less stressful than dealing with traffic.

5. Buy multi-attraction passes.
Paying to get into LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Disneyland, and other popular attractions individually can be a nightmare on your wallet. Research the best passes to get you into the attractions your family wants to visit for one price. The GO San Diego Card tends to offer the best bang for your buck with discounts to 46 local attractions. Go to smartdestinations.com to purchase your pass.

6. Visit places with free admission.
Why pay to get into attractions each day when there are plenty of things to do in San Diego for free? Old Town, the beaches, and La Jolla are exciting places to spend the day enjoying the sights and sun. A lot of local museums also offer free admission days.

7. Stay away from peak seasons.
Discounts abound in San Diego in order to keep tourism alive when the summer travel season is over. Hotel rooms and most attractions are less expensive when visiting the city at the beginning and end of each year, excluding the major holidays.

8. Break out the coupons
If complimentary meals for the kids, discounts on admission, and free rental equipment sound appealing to you, check out the visitors bureau online to print coupons. The deals change from time to time, but this is one of the best resources for coupons and current promotions. You can also download the Groupon and LivingSocial apps on your smartphone to search for local deals on the go.

If you’re trying to plan a thrifty vacation, start by booking a room at the Pacific Inn- an affordable hotel near the San Diego Zoo. Interested in how Pacific Inn can help you save money? We offer competitive room rates, we’re located within minutes of San Diego’s major attractions, we have a variety of specials listed under our Discount Pricing tab, and guests can purchase discount Zoo and Sea World admission from us while also receiving 15% off on their hotel stay. Sound good? Call (619) 232-6391 to see exactly how much money we can save you and to book your room today!

 

Advance Booking

14 Days - 12% Off

7 Days - 10% Off

3 Days - 8% Off

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Zoo & Seaworld Discount

15% OFF

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Weekday Discount

10% OFF

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10% OFF

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