Balboa Park, San Diego
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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..
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.
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.
The Veterans Memorial Center is across Park Boulevard from Balboa Park near the large free parking area there.
I parked there and waited near a sign that said free park shuttle. A small bus pulled up and I got on. Some women wearing nurse uniforms and ID badges got on behind me. The bus headed toward the park then turned off and went through a gate guarded by marines and stopped under a large building. I had gotten on the wrong bus! I was at the US Naval Hospital in San Diego. The marines let me go and were nice enough about it. IMPORTANT TIP: The park shuttle looks like a trolley car. Don't get on the white minibus.
San Diego Model Railroad Museum is in Balboa Park. The main feature of the museum is a vast room with model train lay outs inside of it. I had an electric train set when I was a boy so I liked this place.
Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater in Balboa Park. Shows are Wednesdays to Sundays at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 2:30pm. Admission is $2 for children and $3 for adults. I like puppet shows. I was sad to find out they did not do shows on Tuesdays when I was there. If you are interested in puppets and don't want to go there like I did only to find out it is closed here is the theater hotline number (619) 685-5045
House of Pacific Relations at Balboa Park is open Sunday from noon to 5 pm. There are about a dozen tiny cottages in a group here and each cottage represents a different nation. Good place to learn about other countries and be entertained.