Balboa Park, San Diego

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 114 Reviews

1549 El Prado (619) 239-0512

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  • Balboa Park
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  • Bird of paradise flower at Balboa Park
    Bird of paradise flower at Balboa Park
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    Balboa Parl's Botanical Building
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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Spreckels Organ Pavilion 1914

    by Yaqui Written Apr 25, 2010

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    This lovely ornate theatre caught my eye when exploring Balboa Park. I had no idea it has an actual 1914 pipe organ that contains 4,530 pipes. It is secured by a medal door. After researching it was John D. and Adolph Spreckels dream to donated this lovely organ to the city he loved. It is considered one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs. It found a home here during the 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition.

    On Sundays they perform free weekly performances sine 1917.

    Hours:
    Concerts, Sun. 2:00–3:00 p.m.; mid-June–Aug.
    International Summer Organ Festival Mon. 7:30 p.m.

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    Moreton Bay Fig Tree

    by Yaqui Written Apr 25, 2010

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    This living piece of history was planted in 1915 and considered one of Balboa Park landmarks. It's over 70 feet tall, with a canopy spread of 125 feet and a trunk diameter of 13 feet. It is located across from the San Diego Natural History Museum. It has a fence all around it to keep folks from disturbing it to keep it healthy.

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    Casa del Prado Theatre 1913

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 25, 2010

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    This lovely ornate Spanish Colonial building is located in Balboa Park. Casa del Prado was built for the 1913-15 California-Panama Exposition. It has served for 60 years as the San Diego Junior Theater and the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet and seats 600.

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    Spending the day

    by serenazulle Updated Jun 27, 2009

    lots of museums (my favorite timken and natural history), great place to take photos, beautiful gardens, several places to eat (prado restaurant has great margaritas), various trails, occasional festivals and cultural events, awesome pottery shops, and well... there's also the world famous SD Zoo.

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    Palm Canyon Balboa Park

    by AVG2319 Written Nov 11, 2008

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    Across the Parking lot from the Alcazar Garden, Palm Canyon in Balboa Park will take you across a wooden footbridge, down some stairs to a wide winding path through lush palm trees. Some of the Palm trees date back to 1912. Palm Canyon has more than 450 palms and is home to many squirrels. We enjoyed watching them play and eat. You can hear them knawing on their food, this is how quiet it is in Palm Canyon. While you walk through Palm Canyon you can often hear the organ from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

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    Zoro Garden-Former Nudist Colony

    by AVG2319 Written Nov 11, 2008

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    The Zoro grotto garden located within Balboa Park use to be a nudist colony in the 1930's, now it is a lovely butterfly garden. Early in the morning we saw many butterflies sipping the nectar from their favorite flowers. This is a neat garden because it is sunken in, tucked away within the trees.

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    Inez Grant Parker Rose Garden

    by AVG2319 Updated Nov 11, 2008

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    Rose Garden Balboa Park
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    Across the pedestrian Bridge at Balboa Park you will find a beautiful rose garden with over 2,000 roses in every color. The garden is 3 acres and along the pathways and fountains there are nearly 200 varieties of beautiful roses. If you love to visit botanical gardens, this is a great spot to see and smell the roses. And it is free to see!

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    Balboa Park-San Diego's Jewel

    by AVG2319 Written Nov 11, 2008

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    You could spend your entire vacation here at the park and not see everything there is to see. Balboa Park houses the San Diego Zoo, the Science Center, Museum of San Diego History, home to 15 major museums, several theaters, botanical gardens, several flower gardens and fountains, train rides-there is something for every age group at Balboa Park. The architecture alone is beautiful to look at. Even if you don't have time for the museums, a visit to Balboa Park is a must if you are in San Diego. Most of the gardens are free, with the exception of the Japanese Garden, and many of the museums are free on Tuesdays. You can pick up a map of the park at the Visitor's Center.

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    Balboa Park-Sculptures

    by Dabs Updated Nov 9, 2008

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    Thanks to an exhibit of French artisit Niki de Saint Phalle's sculptures at the Garfield Conservatory in Chicago, the instant I saw "Nikigator" (1991) outside the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park, I knew that it was one of her sculptures. Her sculptures are colorful, whimsical, exaggerated and larger than life, many of them are women known as "nanas" and many are animals.

    There are two other of her sculptures in Balboa Park that I saw, also near the Mingei Museum is "Poet and Muse", and near the Hall of Champions is "#23 Basketball Player" which coming from Chicago I knew to be Michael Jordan's number with the Chicago Bulls.

    Niki de Saint Phalle lived in San Diego from 1994 until her death in 2002. I saw references to Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Escondido's Kit Carson Park, a sculpture garden which was her last major project but I couldn't get what appeared to be the official website to open up. But I assume it's still there and it looked like a cool place to visit if you enjoy her work.

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    Balboa Park

    by apbeaches Written Jul 16, 2008

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    Balboa Park is a 1,200 acre urban cultural park in San Diego, California, United States. Placed in reserve in 1835, it is one of the oldest sites in the United States dedicated to public recreational usage. Besides open areas and natural vegetation, it contains a variety of cultural attractions including museums, theaters, gardens, shops and restaurants as well as the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The park is managed and maintained by the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department.

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    Balboa Park

    by Dabs Updated May 4, 2008

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    Balboa Park is home to the San Diego Zoo and a wealth of museums but it's also a lovely place to have a stroll on a sunny day. Frommers has a nice online walking tour of Balboa Park that takes about 2 1/2 hours if you don't stop and see any of the museums or attractions.

    Named for Spanish explorer Balboa, the 1st European to see the Pacific Ocean, Balboa Park dates back to 1868 and is the 2nd oldest city park in the US after Central Park in New York City. The Spanish style buildings were built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal. They were intended to be temporary exhibit halls but were reused for the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition. The now permanent structures now house a variety of museums.

    Balboa Park also has extensive gardens including a beautiful rose garden, a cactus garden, Palm Canyon, a Japanese Friendship Garden and the Alcazar Garden modeled to look like the one in Seville Spain.

    I was lucky enough to grab one of the few parking spots near the Museum of Art since I got there before the museums opened, but there is more parking near some of the other museums. It was quite crowded the day I was there due to a graduation and another luncheon going on that day.

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    San Diego's Balboa Park

    by VeronicaG Updated Mar 5, 2008

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    Casa del Prado at Balboa Park

    We loved San Diego--the balmy weather, beautiful scenery and Balboa Park! Balboa Park is an urban park nestled within the city itself.

    Within Balboa Park is the San Diego Museum of Art, which is the regions oldest and largest art museum. Plan to have lunch at one of the outdoor cafes, then trod over to see noteworthy artwork at this museum. Hours are Tues.-Sun. 10 am-6 pm and Thurs. 10 am-9 pm. For more information call (619) 232-7931 or www.sdmart.org

    We also took the time to tour San Diego Natural History Museum, which is inside the park. Its dramatic entrance drew us to want to look inside! It was established in 1873 and is the oldest Scientific Institute in Southern California. Hours are 10 am-5pm daily. For more information call (619) 232-3821 or www.sdnhm.org.

    The Balboa Park visitors center is a wise stop to make, located at 1549 El Parador. You'll find helpful information here, but you can also call, (619) 239-0510 or www.balboapark.org.

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    Lots of things to do

    by olgaehr Written Dec 7, 2007

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    Bolboa Park has many things to offer for different age groups such as museums, theaters, gardens, shops,restaurants and world famous San Diego Zoo

    Here is the list of the museums:
    Museum of Man
    San Diego Museum of Art
    Museum of Photographic Arts
    San Diego Model Railroad Museum
    the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
    Timken Museum of Art.

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  • bren1125's Profile Photo

    A full day of activity.

    by bren1125 Written Sep 20, 2007

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    Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo, the Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes.

    Admittance to the Park grounds is free. The Botanical Building, outdoor gardens and some additional attractions are also offered free of charge.

    Passport to Balboa Park, San Diego's best cultural value, offers visitors the chance to experience 13 museums in the Park, with savings of more than 50% and the convenience of a one-time purchase. The Passport is valid for seven consecutive days, and includes one admission to each of the 13 attractions. The Zoo/Passport Combo includes the Passport to Balboa Park plus one-day deluxe admission at the San Diego Zoo, all for one low price. Passport products may be purchased online before your visit

    Balboa Park Audio Tour -one and a half hour audio walking tour of the Park can be rented at the Balboa Park Visitors Center.

    A Walk in Balboa Park:Self-Guided Walking Tour by Pam Crooks
    This convienient pocket sized book has a handy central map and insights into the history, buildings, major botanical gardens and various other features of the park.

    The beauty of Balboa Park offers a lovely setting for destination weddings.

    The Museum Stores of Balboa Park present unique merchandise-from jewelry to artifacts, from photos to folk art, from gardening items to history books. Spanish Village Art Center presents more than 50 artists and craftspeople with their arts for sale in a charming setting, the UN Building's International Gift Shop sells world handicrafts and The Old Globe offers an assortment of theater-related products

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    San Diego Hall Of Champions

    by Jim_Eliason Written Aug 26, 2007

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    San Diego Hall Of Champions
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    This Balboa park museum is a hall fo fame of sorts for San Diego's most famous sports figures. It features the famous players for the Padres and Chargers and also famous San Diegans who made it big on pro teams of other cities.

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