WOW is the first thing to say about this park in the middle of San Diego. We had been here years ago and then we came by on Sunday on the trolley tour. It was high on our list to return to spend a day. Mind you, you could spend many days if you wanted to visit each of the museums. We contented ourselves with enjoying the weather and the magnificent architecture.
Balboa Park began as 1400 acres of land set aside in 1868 by San Diego civic leaders. Known then as “City Park”, the scrub-filled mesa that overlooked present day Downtown San Diego sat without formal landscaping or development for more than 20 years.(today the Park's total land parcel has been reduced to 1,200 acres.
San Diego was set to play host to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, and “City Park” was a less-than memorable or distinctive name for such an internationally prestigious event. In 1910, Park Commissioners announced plans to re-name City Park and the public was eager to throw potential names into the hat, including: San Diego Park, Silver Gate Park, Horton Park and Miramar Park. After months of discussion and great public interest, the Park Commissioners decided on the name Balboa Park, chosen in honor of Spanish-born Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, the first European to spot the Pacific Ocean while on exploration in Panama.
Click here for lots more park history.
This post will be only one of at least four posts I will write on this park. It is magnificent, full of incredible museums.
Our first stop once John parked the car - free!!!
Across is the Museum of Art.
House of Charm
Around The Globe area.
Around the Natural History Museum
John D. and Adolph Spreckels donated the Spreckels Organ, one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs, to the City of San Diego in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition. This unique organ contains 4,530 pipes ranging in length from the size of a pencil to 32 feet and is housed in an ornate vaulted structure with highly embellished gables. Since 1917, San Diego has had a civic organist, who performs free weekly Sunday concerts.