Balboa Park San Diego

See lovely natural sights at the many Balboa gardens

By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

San Diegans are proud of their city and the beauty of its natural surroundings and have been since the early days, with Balboa Park being a prime example. In 1868, the powers that led San Diego designated 1400 acres of land to be used as a park. For years, however, nothing was done with the parcel. It wasn’t landscaped nor was it developed; it just sat there being ignored.

In 1892, a lady who is now known as the mother of San Diego Balboa Park, Kate Sessions, did some wheeling and dealing with the city leaders, offering to landscape the park to the tune of 100 trees a year in trade for 32 acres that she could use as a commercial nursery, and “City Park” as it was known then was on its way. In 1910, the name was changed to Balboa Park, after the explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa, who discovered the Pacific Ocean. Today, it is home to 17 different museums, nine performing arts venues, nine different attractions—including a miniature railroad—19 gardens, and too much more to cover in a brief article!

Balboa Park Museums

  • World Beat Center – Colorful, bright, and located in what was once a water tower, this unique museum celebrates all that is African.
  • San Diego Automotive Museum – From the beginning, automobiles were part functional, part creative pieces of colorful art, and if you want to catch a glimpse of Frank Sinatra’s 1967 Austin Petrol Hire Car, this is the spot to go!
  • San Diego Museum of Man – Housed in a building that was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, this museum educates us on men throughout the centuries.

Attractions in Balboa Park

  • Balboa Park Carousel – Built in 1910, this charming carousel contains most of its original hand-carved animals and also still offers the opportunity to participate in the brass ring game!
  • House of Pacific Relations International Cottages – A group of 34 houses are designed to represent 34 different countries; most of the cottages are from the 1935 Exposition.
  • San Diego Zoo – It’s a zoo and it’s wonderful! Housing over 4000 animals that are either rare or endangered, a day spent here is one you won’t soon forget!

Balboa Park Gardens

  • 1935 Cactus Garden – The mother of Balboa Park was responsible for developing this desert wonderland, which is a crowd pleaser for tourists and locals alike.
  • Children’s Ethnobotany Garden – A part of the World Beat Center, this garden of herbs, fruits, and vegetables is a tribute to George Washington Carver and teaches kids the joy of gardening.
  • Zoro Gardens – What was once a nudist colony is now a butterfly garden expressing freedom of a more socially acceptable sort!

710 Beach Rentals

Balboa Park San Diego is a wonderland that has to be seen to be believed. Book your 710 Beach Rentals vacation home today and experience all that is amazing about this special place! There are even more sights and activities to experience, including:


Visit Balboa Park San Diego

Address: San Diego, CA 92104

Phone(619) 239-0512