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Developed Regional Parks

Balboa Park

Photo Collage of Balboa Park

Balboa Park is made up of more than 1,000 acres and offers 15 museums, various gardens, arts and international culture associations, as well as the San Diego Zoo. All this makes it a place that offers something historical, horticultural, educational and recreational for everyone.

Approximately 14 million visitors come to the park each year. Displays of internationally significant art treasures, exotic animal species, unique model railroads, world folk art, sports memorabilia and rare aircraft -to name a few- are on view in the Park's museums.

This urban park, just minutes away from downtown San Diego, is also renowned for its brilliant displays of seasonal flowers, shady groves of trees and meandering paths through rolling lawns. Balboa Park is managed and maintained by the Developed Regional Parks Division of the City of San Diego Park & Recreation Department.

Many of the museums along Balboa Park's Prado are housed in magnificent Spanish Colonial Revival buildings, originally constructed for the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition. It was the first time that this richly decorated, highly ornamental architectural style had ever been used in the United States.

Discounted admissions to Balboa Park's major museums are available through the Balboa Park Explorer. Park museums also offer free admission one Tuesday per month on a rotating basis.

The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego's largest arts organization, is located in Balboa Park. On its three stages, the Globe annually presents at least 14 productions and 550 performances.

The rich ethnic diversity of San Diego is reflected in the Park's institutions:
  • the Centro Cultural de la Raza;
  • the World Beat Center (celebrating cultures of African origins);
  • the Museum of Man anthropological museum;
  • the Mingei Museum of International Folk Art;
  • the Japanese Friendship Garden; and
  • the House of Pacific Relations-17 cottages that are home to groups of diverse national origin.

Balboa Park's sports complex is named after John Morley, who was Park Superintendent from 1911-1939, years that encompassed the two international expositions that were so crucial to the development of the park. The facilities at Morley Field include USTA awarded tennis courts, a velodrome (bicycle track) where masters world cup championships are held, a swimming pool and a disc golf course.

Balboa Park also offers many family play and picnic areas, three leash-free dog parks, lawn bowling, canyon trails for hiking and a golf course.

For other questions or concerns, see the Frequently Asked Questions, call 619-525-8213 or use the My Park web comment form.