When I first visited San Diego with my husband and daughter, we spent a great deal of time at Balboa Park. This is one of my favorite parks. There is so much to do and see, whether you are into Museums, Art, Culture, food, running, hiking, playing or just a day at the Zoo! I can’t get enough of this place!
The Park is a city park located in San Diego, with a history dating back to 1868. It is 1200 acres of fun and contains museums, puppet theater, carousel, mini train, gardens, outdoor theaters, shopping, restaurants and is the home of the San Diego Zoo. You can always start at the Visitor’s Center, where you can buy passes and maps and plan your visit.
If you are military or a resident there is an added bonus to the park, Resident Free Tuesdays! On every Tuesdays of the month Military and residents get into certain museums for FREE! You can find details here.
(There are exceptions, as with anything, special exhibits are NOT included, 3D films are NOT included, and due to large crowds strollers may not be permitted, so plan accordingly.)
If you are not up for a day of museums, there is still plenty to see and do at the park. If you have children, be sure to take a ride on the carousel! It runs regularly in the summer from 11am-6pm, and is one of the few in the world to offer the brass ring game! My older children could ride the carousel all day! In fact when we do go to the park we have to plan on several rides.
The Minature Railroad is sure to be a thrill for train enthusiasts! The train is a rare model G16 that winds through a ½ mile loop that covers 4 acres of the park. It runs daily in the summer 11am-6:30pm. My kids LOVE the miniature Railroad….in fact we ride it five or six times before moving on to something else. The Train Engineer even blows the horn through the miniature tunnel. What fun!
One of my favorite places in the park is The Spanish Village Art Center. There are thirty-seven studios and demonstrations daily. It is open daily 11am-4pm. I love the multi colored stepping stones and quaint little studios everywhere. The artists are extremely talented and you can find special one of a kind items here.
If you are visiting with children and they need to run off some energy, Balboa Park offers numerous Play Areas around the park. There are also many Gardens to visit and admire, with beautiful flowers and cacti; Dog Parks for furry members of the family; numerous Hiking, Biking and Running Trails, Restaurants, and so much more! Don’t forget to visit the San Diego Zoo while visiting Balboa Park, it’s worth a trip! In fact, if you plan to ever go back it’s worth a pass. We visit weekly.
During the summer, you can catch a free movie under the stars on Morley Field. While visiting or living in San Diego, add Balboa Park to your list of things to do!
I now realize I need to spend even more time at the park! After my trip to Maine, I’m going to spend the rest of the summer taking the kids to the playgrounds and museums and exploring the park! So stay tuned for another post about our trips!