When we asked around about what we should not miss in San Diego one answer always seemed to come up (and it wasn’t Coronado Beach). It was Balboa Park, one of the nation's oldest city parks as it was established in 1868. Its 1400 acres is more than trails and trees. What makes this park unique is are the museums, theaters, artists' colony as well as one of the world's finest zoos. It also offers a free trolley running every 15 minutes for one to hop on and hop off at will. The drivers of the trolley are very friendly and offer historical information along with the ride.
Many of the buildings in Balboa Park came about as a result of hosting the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and the 1935 California-Pacific International Exposition. Several of the buildings built for these expositions still stand while others are replicas of those that were destroyed. The architecture is very fascinating… Many of buildings are from the Spanish Colonial period while others boast a Mayan flair and several are now home to modern museums.
A note for those who like museums is most of them charge admission so if you plan to visit a lot of museums one can save some bucks by purchasing a "Passport to Balboa Park". This passport gets you into most of the museums at a discount. Not really being museum types we didn’t enter very many of them since we were mesmerized by the exterior architecture and the buildings in Balboa Park had enough exterior detail to occupy most of a day just looking at them closely.
It was great to visit on a Sunday because each Sunday afternoon features a large open air pipe organ concert. Also on Sundays it is fun to visit to the "open houses" given by the many nationality groups that occupy the cluster of small cottages known as the House of Pacific Relations. In the summer months, the groups supplement their Sunday afternoon festivities with folk dances and entertainment in native costumes.
If you start at the beautiful west gate entrance you will enter an archway that opens up into a plaza where the Spanish styled California Building and its tower stand strikingly against the blue sky. The California Building is now home to the San Diego Museum of Man where the current exhibit was about machines of torture… too much for me as a retiree who considers work torture!
There are so many beautiful buildings here with very cool architectural features, way to many to talk about so I am going to just leave some pictures…
What can we say if you like interesting buildings you have to visit this park if you are anywhere near San Diego…