The San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park are listed on most travel guides as if they are two seperate destinations. Actually, the SD Zoo is IN Balboa Park at the northeast area from the Prado section. This part of the Park is missed quite often so I'll add it here.
The photos here will show that path from the Zoo to the Prado.
1. The SD Zoo entrance is located at 2920 Zoo Drive. The Exit is south of the entrance. Walking east on Zoo Drive and to your right will be two additional amusements for the little ones.
2. The Balboa Park Miniature Railroad and The Balboa Park Carousel. Both of these rides are open Saturday, Sunday and school holidays. Adults are allowed to accompany their small childern on the rides.
3. Spanish Village Art Center is one of the best art centers in San Diego and it is open everyday. There is no charge to visit any of the Artiist’s Studios and some of the art work is for sale. These historic buildings were built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
4. The Village Grill a good place to stop for a meal or snack after walking from the Zoo and visiting all the artists at Spanish Village. It’s a slow style of fast food.
5. View of the Natural History Museum’s backside from the Village Grill tables. The tall glass back entrance was built recently as part of the expansion and the addition of a multi-use venue. Also, the large tree in view is Moreton Bay Fig Tree which is one of the largest trees in the state and over100 years old.. Walking around to the front of the NHM you will find yourself on the Prado near the biggest fountain in the park.
Housed in delightful 1935 Exposition cottages, 30 groups promote international peace and understanding. Open Houses are held from noon–4:00 p.m. every Sunday, showcasing cultural traditions of different groups each week. At 2:00 p.m. on Sundays from March through October, Lawn Programs feature music, dance, traditional costumes, arts, crafts, and ethnic foods. On Memorial Day Sunday, HPR presents the annual Ethnic Food Fair, and as part of Balboa Park December Nights, HPR offers an International Christmas Festival.
The Spanish Village Art Center was built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition. The military took over much of Balboa Park during World War II, and when the War ended, the city planned to tear down the Village. However, a group of artists took it over in 1947. It is actually modeled after a town in Spain. There are almost 40 working artists' studios where you can actually see work being done and purchase the results. You can watch glass being blown, wood carvers, oil, watercolor, and oriental brush painting, jewelry making, pottery, and much more.
Do you like Sweden?
Visit House of Sweden - cottage in the House of pacific Relations at Balboa Park.
Hmm... it's opened ONLY on Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Are there any people from Sweden living in San Diego? I am sure there are. Is there any nationality not living in San Diego?
You can find this table (as on my picture) to the memory of the workers whose untiring and loyal efforts made possible the CALIFORNIA PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION 1936 at Balboa Park in front of Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Two big World's Fair took place in San Diego in 20th century:
1. PANAMA-CALIFORNIA Exposition in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal. San Diego would be the first American port of call north of the Panama Canal on the Pacific coast.
2. CALIFORNIA PACIFIC EXPOSITION in 1935 - 1936, the fair was a tremendous success and served to advertise San Diego's charms to another generation.
Walking from Spanish Village Art Center towards Natural History Museum in Balboa Park you must pass by really huge tree (on the left side) - look at my picture.
Isn't it the largest tree in San Diego county? I think so. As I know there are no sequioas in this area (too warm for them hehe).
It's Moreton Bay Fig Tree. This tree, planted before 1915, is over 60 feet tall with a spread of 120 feet.
Its grassy surroundings provide a secluded area for a picnic near the busy center of the park.
This Spanish style fountain on my picture looks really beautiful. Am I wrong?
Could you bath there in a hot day? I doubt - go to the beach better, btw are there any really hot days in San Diego?
Where is it? Haha, in the heart of Balboa Park, in front of San Diego Museum of Art at Plaza de Panama.
This big tree must be old/important - it's fenced, no wonder, wouldn't you like to climb it? Strictly forbidden, a fine: a fortune, I suppose :-).
As I know there are VT-ers whose kids were climbing this tree before :-))).
The tree (Ficus macrophylla, an Australian native) was probably planted in 1914 during preparations for the park's original exposition, according to the San Diego Natural History Museum Web site.
The last time the tree was measured (in 1997), the canopy covered 117 feet and the tree reached 64 feet tall. The Moreton Bay Fig is now estimated to be 87 years old.
Balboa Park is located next to the San Diego Zoo. It is the home off many of the museums in San Diego and also many fountains, floral/cacti gardens, park areas, and shops. It even has a replica of London's Old Globe Theatre where Shakespeare plays are held.
In 1915–1916, the Panama-California Exposition, honoring the completion of the Panama Canal, was held in Balboa Park. In, 1935–1936, San Diego held the California-Pacific International Exposition in the Park. Many exhibits came directly from the Chicago World’s Fair. The buildings, which are in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, from both Expositions still stand and house the musuems that are there today.
One Tuesdays of every week of the month different museums have free entry so you may want to check into the Balboa Park visitor's center and find out which musuems are free that day or check out: http://www.balboapark.org/visitors.html#freetours to find out which museums are free on which Tuesday.
Museum times for openning and closing can be found on the webpage for Balboa Park or by calling the phone number for the Visitor's Center..
Balboa Park - with about 20 interesting museums, beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden, puppet theater, rose gardens, globe theaters, outdoor shakespear theater and all kinds of events in the summer, it's
a wonderful place to spend a day.
Wandering around Balboa Park on my last day I stumbled upon the Japanese Friendship Garden. It ended up being a great find. It has a tea pavilion, zen garden, bunsai garden, koi (carp) pond, and several other sights. It's not very big but it was a great experience to end my trip. I was lucky enough to get a personalized tour from one of the volunteers. I ended my visit with lunch and tea at the pavilion. You can get more information from their website www.niwa.org. Check out some more pics in my travelogue.
Balboa Park has lots of great musuems. I won't include pictures of each and every one of them here. If you are interested in visiting the museums get the museum passport. That is best advice I can give you. The Historical Society was interesting. I enjoyed reading the diaries of Ah Quin there. Centro Cultural De La Raza is in a round building with murals painted on it near Park Boulevard and the World Beat Center. It was closed the day I was at Balboa Park. Rueben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center has hands on exhibits for children to learn about science and a dome movie theater. I saw a movie there about pandas. Museum of Photographic Arts has a lot of different kinds of photographs in it and they do not allow photographs to be taken inside. San Diego Natural History Museum sounds very nice but when I was there most of the museum was closed for renovation. In the Sports Hall of Fame be sure to try the tests of athletic ability just for fun.
Remember the 'Red Baron'? This is a fokker triplane like the Red Baron flew in World War I. It is located in the San Diego Aerospace Museum at Balboa park. Great museum full of machines that depict the history of flight.
San Diego Automotive Museum is a great place for car lovers. It is full of beautifully cared for classic cars. In this picture are some cars from the 50's parked as if in front of an old diner from that era. It is another of the museums in Balboa Park near the PanAmerican Plaza.
Japanese Friendship Garden is about halfway between PanAmerica Plaza and Plaza De Panama at Balboa Park. Admission to the traditional gardens cost $2 and it is closed on Mondays and I believe also Wednesdays. I liked the bonsai trees and the koi pond. There is a tea pavillion near the entrance to relax in and have a cup of tea.