Getting Oriented :
Museums & Culture
& Entertainment | Logistics
Park—the heart and soul of San Diego—is a verdant
oasis situated minutes from downtown, the harbor, and Mission Valley.
Imagine wide green lawns, tinkling fountains, Spanish architecture,
lush gardens... Balboa Park’s 15 diverse museums span interests
like aerospace, sports, fine art, folk art, history, and dinosaurs.
Part with some cash or visit all day for free; Balboa Park’s
offers a wide range of low or no-cost activities for the entire
family. But be forewarned: You may just find yourself returning
to Balboa Park’s 1,200 visitor-friendly acres again and again—just
like a native San Diegan!
Stop at Balboa
Park’s Visitor Center to familiarize yourself to get oriented,
pick up an Events Guide, check out the free Tuesday museum schedule,
and learn about the Passport Program (if you plan to visit several
museums). You can also find out about deals that include admission
to the San Diego Zoo at great
Visit the Reuben
H. Fleet Science Center for an unforgettable film experience
and over 30 interactive exhibits. Kids love to play around the wonderful
fountain adjacent to the Science Center. At the Spanish
Village Art Center, watch artists work amid the ambiance of
a traditional plaza complete with a flagstone patio, flowers, and
fountain. There are playgrounds
throughout the Park, along with trails
for hikers and bikers. Explore the reflecting pool, visit the Arboretum,
stroll the walkways, enjoy the Spanish Architecture or bring a picnic
lunch. On weekends, the miniature train—a favorite for kids—runs
all day, as does the carousel, with its brightly painted horses
and animals. And don’t be surprised to hear the chatter of
monkeys or the squeal of baboons—after all, you’re next
door to the San Diego Zoo.
Balboa Park offers a range of dining options. Choose from snack
carts, the full-service Prado
Restaurant in the House of Hospitality, or the Tea Pavilion
at the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Park is also home to the
Theatres—stop by and check the schedule of plays.
Parking is free, and Balboa Park features
several big lots. Try the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center lot off
Park Boulevard or the big lot at Inspiration Point on the east side
of Park Boulevard. From there, you can take a convenient tram to
the Balboa Park Visitor Center, which is centrally located in the
House of Hospitality on the Prado (the long east-west walkway).
Southbound from I-5, take the 10th Avenue
exit, turn left on A Street, left again on Park Boulevard, and follow
the signs to Balboa Park. Northbound from I-5, take the B Street
/ Pershing exit to Pershing and then go left on Florida Drive. Turn
left on Zoo Drive, left onto Park Boulevard, and follow signs to
Balboa Park. Southbound from Highway 163, take the Park Boulevard
exit, turn left, and follow signs to Balboa Park.
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