Located in the heart of the city, Balboa Park is one of the prettiest areas of San Diego with gardens, open spaces, museums and much more. It is a beautiful green space that is perfect for spending a sunny summer day with the family on your next vacation. In fact, there are so many things to do in this part of the city that you could spend an entire day within Balboa Park.
Located in the heart of the city, Balboa Park is accessible by the major streets. There are places to park throughout the park, especially near the zoo and at Inspiration Point. All attractions in the park are within walking distance of each other. If you are on a search for San Diego vacation ideas, here are a few suggestions of what to do on a day out in the park:
Museum of San Diego History
This excellent museum has a very large collection of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the history of the city. Entrance is $5 for adults and $2 for children. Don’t forget to spend some time looking at the photographs on the outer walls of the building’s atrium.
San Diego Zoo
This is more than just a zoo — it is a world-famous institution. The San Diego Zoo is home to more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals, including many exotic animals from all over the world including tigers, bears, zebras, lions, kangaroos, elephants, apes, polar bears, hippos, reptiles and hundreds of different species of birds.
The San Diego Zoo is also well-known for having one of the largest populations of the rare and endangered giant panda outside of Asia. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy all of the exhibits, from the Tiger River to the Polar Bear Plunge and the Reptile Mesa. If your feet get tired from walking around this huge zoo, you can take one of the hop-on hop-off guided bus tours.
San Diego Natural History Museum
If your kids are interested in dinosaurs (and what kids aren’t?) then you can take them to the San Diego Natural History Museum. This great kid-friendly museum features a number of fascinating exhibitions and a huge 3-D theater that shows films all about the natural world. There are also plenty of interesting displays about the biodiversity in the environment of the Southern California region and different traveling exhibitions throughout the year.
Old Globe Theatre
At the Old Globe Theatre, you can imagine that you are in medieval England. This San Diego version was designed as a copy of Shakespeare’s theatre in London. It was built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition but was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1982. During the summer, there will be a number of great theatrical performances on display, so take a look online in advance to see what is playing and book your tickets before your trip.
Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre
A longtime San Diego children’s favorite that was founded in the 1940s, the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre features a number of great family-friendly performances in Balboa Park. Your kids will be delighted to see the funny and entertaining puppet shows put on by a variety of local troupes. The theater also allows your little ones to see how the marionettes are made during special programs and workshops.
The Bud Kearns Memorial Swimming Pool
This swimming pool is the oldest public pool in San Diego, as it opened in 1933. It is also the most picturesque, as it is surrounded with lovely grassy hills and green palm trees. In the summertime, the pool is open seven days a week and a single day admission is only $4. After an exciting morning of exploring what Balboa Park has to offer, it is the perfect place to cool down and enjoy some of the glorious California sunshine.
These are a few of the great activities that you can enjoy in beautiful Balboa Park. There is so much to do in this fun and family-friendly part of San Diego. Enjoy your vacation!
About the Author: Roberta Allison is a freelance travel writer who runs a blog about family travel destinations. Her two sons love the San Diego Zoo and can’t wait to go back.