With a park as big and varied as Balboa Park is, I don't even know how to BEGIN to talk about it! After two trips to the park--once to see the world-class San Diego Zoo and another time to visit the San Diego Aerospace Museum--I still felt that I knew next to NOTHING about the park. I decided it was time to return to the park just to walk around and get an "overview" of all the many things available. As it turned out, just ONE time walking and "overviewing" STILL wasn't enough to see all that was there! I'm thinking that the giant, attraction-filled Balboa Park could provide for DAYS of budget-conscious activities, rather than just one or two visits!
First of all, the park has all the usual attractions that any city park has--children's playgrounds, sports fields, places to picnic, spacious green lawns for Frisbee, and trails for hiking and biking. Then there are a few more unusual activities: a dog park, lawn bowling, golf courses, a kiddie train and carousel, a puppet theater, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and a rose garden. Last, we get to the category of "completely-one-of-a-kind" items, the biggest of these being Museum Row. There are more museums than anyone could tour in DAYS! But, even just touring the outside of the buildings is a day-trip in itself. They're such lovely buildings, I just wanted to linger, stare, and take photos of them. These Spanish Colonial-style buildings were built originally for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, but they've been painstakingly cared for throughout the years, so that they're still as beautiful now as when the fair first opened! Or, more so because of the beautiful, mature landscaping that adorns each of them.
There are 10 museums alone that deal with various arts and cultures, plus three science museums (Aerospace, Natural History, and Reuben Fleet Science Center). Plus, there are museums covering anthropology, model railroading, sports, cars, San Diego history, international relations, and veteran's affairs. There are four theaters, including the gorgeous Casa del Prado and the Old Globe, a reproduction of the famous English original. Completing the picture are grand fountains, a Japanese garden, and a large pipe organ that gives free concerts every Sunday afternoon. At this point, I'm totally stumped as to what I'll try to see next whenever I return to Balboa Park! There are just too many possibilities!