Balboa Park , nation’s largest urban cultural park ,located in San Diego, California , is a 1,200 acre (4.9 km²) park named after the Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa.
Balboa Park’s is home to a variety of cultural attractions including 15 major museums, theaters, gardens, shops and restaurants, as well as the world famous San Diego Zoo making it a place that offers something historical, horticultural, educational and recreational for everyone. This urban park, just minutes away from downtown San Diego, is also renowned for its brilliant displays of seasonal flowers, shady groves of trees, and meandering paths through rolling lawns. Balboa Park is managed and maintained by the Developed Regional Parks Division of the City of San Diego Park & Recreation Department.
Balboa Park, and the historic Exposition buildings, managed and maintained by the stewardship of the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of San Diego , were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Balboa Park Attractions
Here are the main attractions visitors can find in Balboa Park :
The entire Balboa Park is a primary attraction in San Diego and the region. The Park’s landscape has many mature, beautiful, and sometimes rare trees and groves creating an urban forest for San Diego. There are a number of Gardens in the Park including: Alcazar Garden, Botanical Building, Desert Cactus Garden, Casa del Rey Moro Garden, Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, George W. Marston House and Gardens, Palm Canyon, and Zoro Garden.
El Prado central area
Many of the park’s cultural attractions are along El Prado promenade and boulevard running through the center of the park. Along this boulevard are many of the park’s museums and cultural attractions, including the San Diego Museum of Man, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Art Institute the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Historical Society, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the Timken Museum of Art .
The rich ethnic diversity of San Diego is reflected in the Park’s institutions: the Centro Cultural de la Raza the World Beat Center , the Museum of Man anthropological museum ,the Mingei Museum of International Folk Art , the Japanese Friendship Garden, and the House of Pacific Relations.
Balboa Park also offers many family play and picnic areas, three leash-free dog parks, lawn bowling, canyon trails for hiking and a golf course.
Approximately 14 million visitors come to Balboa Park each year. Tourists should ask for information at Balboa Park Visitor Centre . Admittance is free to the Park grounds, Botanical building, outdoor gardens and some attractions. It opens daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The Passport to Balboa Park offers visitors the chance to experience 14 museums in the Park, with the convenience of a one-time purchase.