MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS IN BALBOA PARK
A multidisciplinary cultural arts center dedicated to creating, promoting, preserving and educating about Chicano, Mexican, Indigenous and Latino art and culture. Features rotating exhibits and performances with theater, dance, music, and film/video. The Centro offers educational tours and workshops by appointment; the resident company, Ballet Folklorico en Aztlan, features Sunday Zapateado presented by Target every 2nd Sunday; and Centro Mercado showcases visual artists selling their unique creations on the 3rd Sunday.
The non-profit Balboa Park Central promotes Balboa Park through its programs, Balboa Park Visitors Center, Balboa Park Marketing, Passport to Balboa Park and the web site, www.balboapark.org. Balboa Park Central is also responsible for the National Historic Landmark House of Hospitality building. The Balboa Park Visitors Center, a police storefront, offices of cultural and educational organizations, and a public restaurant-The Prado at Balboa Park-are housed in the House of Hospitality.
The Garden originated as a teahouse during the 1915–16 Panama-California Exposition and now lies on two acres near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Along the Garden’s winding paths are a Zen garden for meditation, an exhibit house, koi pond, bonsai exhibit, ceremonial gate, and a Fujidana (wisteria arbor). Weekend classes are offered in sushi making, bonsai, calligraphy, and conversational Japanese.
This classic 1905 Arts and Crafts style museum home was built for noted civic leader and merchant, George W. Marston and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by renowned local architects William Hebbard and Irving Gill, it sits on five acres of landscaped English and California influenced gardens.
Dedicated to art of the people (mingei) from all eras and cultures of the world, Mingei International Museum features dynamic, changing exhibitions of historical and contemporary folk art, craft and design. Mingei International’s superb collections and stunning exhibitions showcase the finest examples of creative expression from unknown craftsmen to renowned contemporary designers.
One of the few institutions in the country devoted to the photographic arts, the Museum of Photographic Arts houses more than 4,000 works, representing the entire history of photography, its aesthetic movements, and technological advancements. Illustrating the complex and varied history of the medium, the museum's collection is particularly strong in modern and contemporary work, specifically social documentary photography and photojournalism. The museum is also home to a state-of-the-art movie theater.
The Fleet is home to Southern California’s only IMAX® Dome Theater and 100+ hands-on science exhibits for all ages. Watch immersive giant-screen films and amazing planetarium shows in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Dome Theatre and experience seven galleries of fun, interactive exhibits. A 23-passenger motion simulator ride thrills visitors with journeys into exciting realms. Enjoy sandwiches, salads and healthful treats in Galileo’s Café. Find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the Science Store.
Science, space and aviation history all unfold at the San Diego Air & Space Museum—California’s Official Air and Space Museum. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a working flying replica of Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world. The Museum also offers interactive exhibits including MaxFlight® and Space Shuttle simulators plus dynamic, hands-on and ever-changing traveling exhibitions.
A new exhibition of works by San Diego artists opens every four to six weeks in this 10,000-square-foot gallery, dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts through outreach, education, and exhibition. Solo artist exhibitions are also featured. The David Fleet Young Artists Gallery showcases youth art from San Diego schools. The gallery store offers jewelry and gift items made by local artists.
A nostalgic look at the icon of the 20th-century features more than 80 historic autos and motorcycles. Includes Frank Sinatra’s 1967 Austin Petrol Hire Car and Louie Mattar’s Fabulous $75,000 Car. Special exhibitions every two or three months display other fine vehicles and famous autos.
The nation's largest multi-sport museum boasts memorabilia reflecting San Diego's sporting legacy. Visitors can call play-by-play for Tony Gwynn and Ted Williams in the state-of-the-art media center, follow the evolution of the surfboard, or soar with skateboard legend Tony Hawk. In 2010, that San Diego Hall of Champions also added an official 2010 Olympic snowboard from two-time gold medalist Shaun White to its permanent collection.
More than an archive of San Diego sports, this 70,000-square-foot facility on three levels is a center that encourages visitors to be participants as well as observers.
The museum showcases the region's unique, colorful, and diverse history exhibiting artifacts, costumes, textiles, art, and photographs detailing life and development of the local area. The Research Library contains extensive local historical resources and houses documents, maps, architectural drawings, books, oral history, as well as one of the largest photograph collections in the western U.S. with more than 2.5 million images documenting local history.
At 28,000 square feet, the museum is the world's largest operating model railroad museum. This unique museum contains four enormous scale and model layouts, built by separate clubs, which depict railroads of the Southwest in O, HO, and N scales. In addition, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum features a Toy Train Gallery with an interactive Lionel layout for children and state-of-the-art theater lighting.
Located beneath the ornate 200-foot California Tower, the San Diego Museum of Man is the city’s only museum devoted to anthropology. With its Spanish colonial and mission style architecture, the landmark building was originally constructed for the 1915–16 Panama-California Exposition. Today, a key focus of the museum is to create and display dynamic and educational anthropological exhibits about people and places throughout the Americas and around the world.
Founded by a handful of citizen-naturalists in 1874, the museum is an active research institution and is the second oldest scientific institution in Southern California. The museum is dedicated to interpreting the natural world through research and education, offering local and international exhibitions and promoting understanding of the evolution and diversity of the Southern California-Baja California region. The museum also features giant-screen films and offers a wide selection of public programs for people of all ages.
Home to more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing more than 800 species and subspecies, the San Diego Zoo is a world famous conservation organization where visitors view exotic animals in habitat environments. Zoo guests may view rare giant pandas, cuddly looking koalas, reptiles of various shapes and sizes and many more interesting species.
Google Street View -- For a sneak peak inside the San Diego Zoo grounds, click on the Google Street View to click, zoom and spin your way around all of the public streets, alleys and walkways inside the park.
As the region's oldest and largest art museum, The San Diego Museum of Art's renowned holdings include a fine selection of European old masters, 19th and 20th century American art, an encyclopedic Asian collection, and growing collections of contemporary and Latin American art. In addition, the museum presents major art exhibitions from around the world, as well as an extensive schedule of supporting cultural and educational programs.
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.
Dr. Carol Williams has been the San Diego Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society in San Diego, California since 2001. http://www.melcot.com/
Considered one of the great small museums in the world, the Timken houses the world-class Putnam Foundation Collection of European old master paintings, American paintings, and Russian icons. Artists represented include Rembrandt, Rubens, Fragonard, Bierstadt, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, John Singleton Copley, and Eastman Johnson. The Timken's modern, white marble building was designed by San Diego architect Frank Hope, Jr. The museum also hosts special exhibitions. Admission is always free..
Located in the historic Old Navy Chapel, the museum preserves and honors the memory of men and women of the Armed Forces, Coast Guard, and Wartime Merchant Marine. The collection contains artifacts, documents, photographs, memorabilia, and artwork from the Civil War to the present. Changing exhibitions highlight San Diego veterans' experiences and contributions throughout history.
Housed in a colorfully painted former water tower, WorldBeat Center opened in Balboa Park in 1996. The Center is dedicated to promoting and preserving African, African-American, and other indigenous cultures of the world through art, music, dance, education, and technology. Classes in international dance and drumming are offered year round, along with concerts and lectures.