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Balboa Park

In 1868, 1,400 acres of land was set aside by civic leaders, but remained undeveloped for 20 years until, in 1892, Kate Sessions made a deal to plant 100 trees each year in the acreage known as "City Park," and to also donate 300 trees & shrubs for use elsewhere in the city in exchange for 32 acres of land for her commercial nursery.

California Tower - Museum of Man

Kate Sessions, the initial designer of the Park's beautiful landscaping, was named "the Mother of Balboa Park" during the 1935 Expo. Many of the original trees planted by Kate Sessions are still there today in the park's current 1200 acres.

The Park offers many museums (including: Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Automotive Museum, Hall of Champions Sports Museum), art studios (Spanish Village Art Center comprised of many individual studios), several performing arts centers (including: San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Youth Symphony, Organ Pavilion), international cottages, gardens (including: Botanical Building, Cactus Garden, Memorial Rose Garden), carousel and miniature train rides, recreational activities (including: Golf Complex, Tennis Club, Sports Complex, Gymnasium, Hiking and Biking Trails, Play and Picnics Areas), restaurants and snack carts, and many other activities and attractions. The San Diego Zoo, a world famous attraction, is located in the northern section of Balboa Park.


Balboa Park Annual Pass
As an Explorer Annual Passholder, you gain general admission to 16 museums throughout Balboa Park in addition to exclusive newsletters, special recommendations, and invitations to Explorer-only events.

     Details     Purchase

Balboa Park Passports
Balboa Park Multi-Day Pass

General admission to 17 Museums, valid for 7 consecutive days.

     Details     Purchase

Balboa Park Stay for the Day Pass
Balboa ParK One-Day Pass

General admission for up to 5 museums, valid for 1 day.


Balboa Park Passport
Passport to Balboa Park & Zoo (Explorer Multi-Day Pass)

This Combo package offers visitors the chance to experience the Balboa Park museums PLUS One-day admission to the world famous San Diego Zoo! The Multi-Day Explorer features one admission to each of the 17 participating museums, and is valid for seven consecutive days.

Balboa Park & Zoo Passport

Purchase: Page Includes Attraction Info & Map

Balboa Park Packages
Explore Balboa Park Package
Contains: Balboa Park Explorer Multi-Day Pass = Multi-Day Balboa Park Explorer Pass with One Day Zoo Admission Plus: 60 Hotels to choose from.
The Best of San Diego History
Includes your choice of hotel, Balboa Park Explorer Multi-Day Pass, Old Town Trolley Tour, and your choice of the USS Midway Museum, or the Maritime Museum of San Diego Plus: 62 Hotels to choose from.
Land, Sea, and Air Package
This package includes your choice of hotel, Balboa Park Explorer Multi-Day Pass, Old Town Trolley Tour, USS Midway Museum, and a 2-hour Flagship Harbor Cruise With its natural harbors, and rugged coastline Plus: 62 hotels to choose from.
San Diego Your Way
Includes your choice of hotel, and Your choice of at least 1 of the following tickets: Flagship Cruises & Events: Two Hour Harbor Cruise, SeaWorld San Diego: 7 days for the price of 1. San Diego Zoo: 1-Day Pass. LEGOLAND® California Resort: 1 Day Admission - PLUS: 35 hotels to choose from.

Aquatica San Diego: Single Day

General Admission Tickets

San Diego History Center ~ Balboa Park

Located in Balboa Park, the Museum of San Diego History presents the colorful and diverse history of the region since the 1800s.

San Diego History Center ~ Balboa Park

On display is an extensive collection including artifacts, costumes, textiles, art, photographs and vintage vehicles.

San Diego History Center
Admission: Suggested minimum donation is $10.00.

San Diego Museum of Man ~ Balboa Park

Discover the heritage of mankind at one of the nation's great collections of artifacts, folk art, and archaeological finds. Treasures of the past bring forth images of hunters creating the first spears and arrows, potters molding fragile ceramic vessels, weavers creating vibrantly colored textiles, and artisans blending forms and symbols.

San Diego Museum of Man ~ Balboa Park

San Diego Museum of Man
Exhibits      Tickets

San Diego Natural History Museum ~ Balboa Park

The museum is all about nature--past and present. The Museum’s award-winning exhibit design team creates exhibitions that focus on the unique and biodiverse southern California region.

San Diego Natural History Museum ~ Balboa Park

San Diego Natural History Museum
Attraction Info - Tickets - Map & Nearby

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center ~ Balboa Park

An educational, entertaining experience for visitors of all ages. With exhibits to touch, virtual reality to experience, films to see and fun to be had, the Science Center features more than 100 interactive science exhibits in five galleries.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center ~ Balboa Park

The little ones will enjoy Kid City complete with a Book Nook, Young Explorer Computers, a child-sized Grocery Store, a kids’ Factory and more. The Science Center is also home to the world’s first IMAX Dome Theater, presenting the biggest films on the planet.

Fleet Science Center
Discount Tickets    Attraction Info - Tickets - Map & Nearby

San Diego Air & Space Museum ~ Balboa Park

Don't miss this one...the world famous San Diego Air & Space Museum. See a model of the Montgolfier Brothers' hot air balloon of 1783, and an authentic reproduction of the Wright Brothers' 1903 flier. Get a close up and personal view of NASA's Apollo 9 Command Module and much much more!  (Ticket in Balboa Park Passport).

San Diego Air & Space Museum ~ Balboa Park

San Diego Model Railroad Museum ~ Balboa Park

The Museum is the largest model railroad display in the world. Opened to the public since 1982, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum features four operating scale-model railroads of the Southwest in O, HO, and N scales, an interactive Lionel Toy Train Gallery, and more. Its mission is to educate the public and preserve the heritage of railroading.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum ~ Balboa Park

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Admission - Fees - Hours     Website

Japanese Friendship Garden ~ Balboa Park

The Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego provides educational programs that encourage understanding of the Japanese heritage among people of diverse ethnic backgrounds and cultures. The Japanese Friendship Garden is dedicated to the well-being of all people. It includes a Zen garden for meditation, an exhibit house, koi pond, bonsai exhibit, ceremonial gate, and a Fujidana (wisteria arbor). Weekend classes in sushi making, calligraphy, bonsai, and conversational Japanese. 

Japanese Friendship Garden ~ Balboa Park

Japanese Friendship Garden
Attraction Info - Tickets - Map & Nearby     Website


San Diego Zoo

A world famous conservation organization, and home to more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing more than 800 species and subspecies. Visitors can see exotic animals, giant pandas, koalas, reptiles, and more in simulated natural environments.  Website     Attraction Info - Tickets - Map & Nearby

Balboa Park Carousel

The carousel is a menagerie of animals and all but two pairs are original with hand-carved European craftsmanship. The hand-painted murals surrounding the upper portion of the carousel and the music are also the original.   Info

Balboa Park Miniature Train

A model G16 train, a rare antique with as few as fifty currently remaining, takes you on a 3-minute half-hour trip through the Park.  Info

House of Hospitality & Balboa Park Visitors Center

The non-profit House of Hospitality Association promotes Balboa Park and is responsible for the National Historic Landmark House of Hospitality building. Located in the building is the Park Visitors Center, a police storefront, offices of cultural and educational organizations, and The Prado, a public restaurant.  Info

House of Pacific Relations International Cottages

Housed in historic 1935 Exposition cottages, 31 groups promote multicultural goodwill and understanding through educational and cultural programs.  Info

Photographic Arts Building

Home to the Southern California Association of Camera Clubs (SCACC), the local association of camera clubs in San Diego County. It was organized to promote the visual arts through photography and the art of film-making. The Museum of Photographic Arts houses more than 4,000 works, representing the entire history of photography.  Info

Sefton Plaza

The west entrance features several bronze statues that provide a look into Balboa Park's history. The north side is known as Founder's Plaza and features bronze sculptures of three prominent San Diegans instrumental in the creation of Balboa Park.  Info

Spanish Village Art Center

This historic site houses 37 art studios in a charming setting that re-creates the feeling of a town square in Spain. More than 200 artists and craftspeople work on site in a wide variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry, woodcarving, glass blowing, and pottery.  Info

United Nations Building

The United Nations Building houses the United Nations Association of San Diego (UNA-SD), the Eleanor Roosevelt Global Classroom, and the International Gift Shop.  Info


Centro Cultural de la Raza
Mexican, Chicano, and Latino art and culture. Features rotating exhibits & performances with theater, dance, music, & film/video.
Marston House & Gardens
Classic 1905 Arts & Crafts style museum home furnished with original furniture & decorative arts from the early American Arts & Crafts period including exquisite pottery & Native American basket collections.
Mingei International Museum
Dedicated to furthering the understanding of world folk art, the museum showcases the finest examples from everyday artist craftsmen from a wide diversity of world cultural traditions.   Info - Tickets - Map & Nearby
Museum of the Living Artist ~ San Diego Art Institute
A new exhibition of works by San Diego artists opens every 4 to 6 weeks in this 10,000 sq ft gallery.
San Diego Automotive Museum
The permanent collection contains more than 80 historic autos and motorcycles. Special exhibitions every 2-3 months feature other fine vehicles.
San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum
This 70,000 square foot facility on three levels is the nation's largest multi-sport museum, with memorabilia reflecting San Diego's sporting legacy.
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego County's first and largest art institution, includes a fine selection of European old masters, 19th and 20th century American art, an Asian collection, contemporary and Latin American art.
Timken Museum of Art
One of the finest small museums in the U.S. Represented are the works of Dutch, Flemish, French, and Italian painters, as well as American artists.
Veterans Museum & Memorial Center
The museum preserves & honors the memory of men & women of the Armed Forces, Coast Guard, & Wartime Merchant Marine. Permanent, rotating, & visiting exhibits of patriotic, military, & war-related memorabilia, artifacts, photographs, & other artwork.
Balboa Park Passport
World Beat Center
The Center is dedicated to promoting & preserving African, African-American, & other indigenous cultures of the world through art, music, dance, education, & technology.



Balboa Park Explorer Multi-Day Pass
This Combo package offers visitors the chance to experience the Balboa Park museums PLUS One-day admission to the world famous San Diego Zoo!
Tickets: Includes Overview / Passes / Packages / Map & Nearby

Balboa Park Visitors Center
1549 El Prado  -  San Diego, CA 92101

3190 Mission Blvd   San Diego CA 92109
General Information (619) 239-0512
Map & Directions

DIRECTIONS:  Balboa Park is located just minutes from downtown San Diego. It's easy to get to and has an informative Visitors Center, located in the heart of the Park, to help you plan your day when you get there. 

Southbound from I-5
Take the 10th Avenue Exit off I-5. Turn left on "A" Street and left again on Park Blvd. Follow the signs to Balboa Park.

Southbound from Hwy 163
Take the Park Blvd. exit off Hwy 163. Turn left on Park Blvd. Follow the signs to Balboa Park.

Northbound from I-5
Take the B Street/Pershing exit off I-5 to Pershing Street. Take Pershing and then left on Florida Dr. Turn left on Zoo Place to Park Blvd. Left on Park Blvd.

Photos Courtesy BalboaPark.org

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Balboa Park

art studios, gardens, hiking...

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San Diego Balboa Park
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Belmont Park

Traditional Amusement Park, Arcade & more
San Diego Belmont Park - Amusement Park
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LEGOLAND, Water Park & Aquarium
LEGOLAND California
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SeaWorld Adventure Park
San Diego SeaWorld Adventure Park
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San Diego Zoo

The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
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Zoo's Safari Park

Formerly known as Wild Animal Park
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San Diego Zoo's Safari Park -- formerly Wild Animal Park
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San Diego  Casinos
& Hotels
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San Diego Casinos - Casino Resorts
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Whale Watching

Whale Watching Excursions
San Diego Whale Watching Excursions
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Wine Tours

Several Tours to choose from
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