San Diego Balboa Park – A Walk in the Park

If you’re looking to visit San Diego, then you your visit is undoubtedly incomplete without dropping by the Balboa Park. Balboa Park is located at the heart and soul of San Diego. It is one of the largest cultural complexes located west of the Mississippi. Most of the time it is referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West” for the concentration of cultural institutions within its boundaries. The San Diego Balboa Park was originally built for temporary use during the years 1915 and 1916 of the Panama-California Exposition. The buildings here, however, are beautiful enough to be considered as attractions in themselves, but most people are drawn to the culture, history, science, and arts held within their walls. Balboa Park boasts of eight gardens, fifteen museums, a Tony-Award winning theater, and the Zoo.

If you intend to visit more than one attraction here, then you can get the Balboa Park Passport, which is available at any of the thirteen attractions at the park. If you want a better deal, that is without having to spend a cent, you can take the free tour or get free admission on Tuesdays. With two to five locations participating every week, the free tour is normally held on a rotating basis. Here are some attractions you can look forward to when visiting the famous Park.

San Diego Zoo

The Zoo is not only world famous, it has also be named as one of Balboa Park’s main attractions. However, it is not the only place that houses animals; in the nearby Zoo Plaza, the 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel has a menagerie of its own. This is one of the few carousels in the world that still offer the brass ring game. Also close by, you will find the one-fifth scale model of the Miniature Railroad, an amazing replica of the General Motors F3 diesels. Even the train is a rare antique with as few as fifty remaining.

Visiting the Balboa Park Museums

The various museums in the Park cover almost every interest you might have. Here are a few of these museums that you can visit and their main highlights.

Balboa Park Gardens

– The Botanical Building that was considered as one of the world’s largest woodland structure when it was erected in 1915. It is also home to 2,100 tropical plant species.

– It has the Zoro Garden, which is a sunken butterfly garden.

– Palm Canyon, which is an oasis that contains 450 palms.

– The Desert Garden features 2.5 acres of succulents and drought-resistant plants that come from around the world.

Performing Arts inside Balboa Park

– The Old Globe Theatre, which won the 1984 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, is here and currently produces fourteen works on three stages.

– The Spreckels Organ Pavilion houses one of the world’s most amazing and largest outdoor pipe organs. The whole year round, Sunday organ concerts are held, while the annual Summer International Organ Festival is also staged here.

– You can also visit the Starlight Bowl where the Starlight Musical Theatre is being held every July and August.

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