Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - 39

The Casa de Balboa,
home of the San Diego
History Center

AN URBAN
PARADISE

Museums, gardens, galleries, and
a world-class zoo make San Diego's
Balboa Park a cultural oasis like
no other
BY MARIANNE WAIT

W

hether your group's pleasure is pandas or polar bears, model trains or
classic cars, gardens or art, it will find
countless diversions in Balboa Park,
the nation's largest urban cultural
park and a horticulturalist's dream.
This 1,200-acre jewel is largely a legacy of two expositions: the
1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition, honoring the Panama
Canal, and the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition. Thanks to the former, the El Prado pedestrian walkway
boasts highly ornamented Spanish Renaissance-style buildings,
many of which house museums, as do buildings on
Pan American Plaza, whose architecture tells the
story of the Southwest.
Countless performances and exhibitions take place
at any given time, and 2015 brings something special.
"The 2015 centennial celebration will take it up a
notch as we highlight the park's wonderful museums
Ticket Info:
and cultural institutions," says San Diego Mayor 
Discounted pricing is available
Kevin L. Faulconer. "We're going to hold two signafor groups of 15 or more. Contact
passportgroups@ballboapark.org or
ture events to highlight all that's unique to San Diego
(619) 231-1640.
and its people." Think craft beer, biotechnology, and
Where to Park:
the arts. One event will take place next spring, the
Buses should park at Inspiration
other sometime in the fall.
Point and can drop off passengers

Getting In
and Around

near the House of Hospitality. From
there, guests can catch a free tram
that stops at several points in the
park.

Museums and Gardens Galore

The park offers such an embarrassment of riches that
it's impossible to see it all in one weekend. A one-hour
When to Visit:
audio walking tour, available for purchase at the VisiThe weather is lovely year-round,
tors Center, may be a good place to start.
though clouds gather in late spring.
Expect crowds from mid-June
For some, the landscape alone is worth the trip.
through Labor Day.
"It's pretty in an exotic way," says Ted Shafer, a local
resident and frequent visitor. "There are beautiful
desert paths planted with cacti. Other areas feel
almost tropical with huge palms and unusual botanicals."
For museum lovers, the Stay-for-the-Day Pass grants admission to five museums in one day. Visitors can take their pick from
JULY-AUGUST 2014

\ DESTINATIONS 39



Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014

Contents
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - BB1
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - BB2
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover1
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - Cover2
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - 1
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Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - 3
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - Contents
Destinations Magazine - July/August 2014 - 5
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