Day seven of our vacation in California was spent at the beautiful Balboa Park. The San Diego Zoo is also housed at this location and we debated trying to fit it in too, but decided that the zoo, being so large (and relatively expensive), deserved an entire day to itself, so we hope to return to visit it one day.
When we arrived, we caught the free tram at Inspiration Point and took a tour through the park before getting off at the Plaza de Panama on El Prado.
Along with acres of hiking trails, Balboa Park is full of museums and gardens, some have free admission, some cost money. We weren’t there for the museums (although I’d have loved to check out a few of them), we just wanted to wander around, look at the ornate faux Spanish-Renaissance buildings and enjoy the gardens. A must-see on my list was the Botanical Building, and good thing it happened to be free, because Hubby wasn’t in the mood to spend money when there was so much to see for free.
Carnivorous Pitcher Plant, one of my favourites.
This is a Moreton Bay Fig tree and it was impressively massive.
The Casa del Prado building, which houses the civic youth ballet, junior theater and youth symphony.
The fountain in front of the Reuben H Fleet Science Center, beautiful with blooming fruit trees.
Casa de Balboa, home to Museum of Photographic Arts, Museum of San Diego History and the Model Train Museum.
This little fellow was very friendly until he figured out we didn’t have anything to feed him, then he quickly abandoned us for easier pickings.
One of the museums I really wanted to go into was the Museum of Man. The exhibit was called Instruments of Torture. Hubby’s not much of a museum kind of guy, so I had to content myself with admiring its exterior.
House of Hospitality and Visitor Center
In front of the Museum of the Living Artist
Casa del Rey Moro Garden
Spreckels Organ Pavilion
The Air & Space Museum was another I’d have liked to explore. It was showing a Ripley’s Believe It or Not on the Wacky, Weird and Odd. Right up my alley.
An interesting phenomenon, if you can call it that, in that part of San Diego is the low flying planes. We live close to an airport flight path so are used to planes flying overhead, but not so closely overhead you can see the landing gear and definitely not with an average of a plane every three minutes. We had to take a little break and watch them for a while.
I thought this was so cute – little cars getting all juiced up.
I don’t know what this flower is called, but it’s breathtaking. And one of my favourite colours.
Kate Sessions is called the Mother of Balboa Park. This is what the inscription on her plaque says: During her life, Kate Sessions created gardens and landscapes for all to enjoy. In 1892 she began transforming the surrounding area from scrub covered land into what is now Balboa Park. She introduced hundreds of our favorite plants and trees. Her vision continues to enrich our lives with beauty.
Earlier, while on the tram, I’d spotted a sign that said Redwood Circle, and hoping we might see some giant redwoods, we tracked the place down on foot, and much to my amusement, found that it was a small park surrounded by a footpath and nary a redwood to be seen.
There were plenty of squirrels, at least, to assuage my disappointment.
At that point, we’d seen most of everything we wanted to see and the day was getting late. Rather than wait for the tram, we opted to walk back through the park to Inspiration Point where our vehicle was parked. We traversed Cabrillo Bridge.
Entrance to Balboa Park from Cabrillo Bridge, with Museum of Man to the left.
Hubby decided we should take a ‘shortcut’ through Palm Canyon. It didn’t actually end up being a shortcut (of course), but it was a nice walk through the trees, some of which were even palms. I don’t know how he does it, but Hubby spotted another little gecko or lizard.
We realized at some point we likely weren’t going to get to where we wanted to go while in the ‘canyon’ so we took a steep path back up into the park.
We had no idea where we were, but somehow, we came out near the road we had to take to the parking lot. Lucky us.
I’d like to say, and so ended a lovely day, but no, first we had to go on a little adventure on the way back to the hotel. When Hubby missed a turn, the gps decided to send us on a heck of a wild goose chase of a detour. I finally had to reprogram the address to get it set in the right direction. What should have taken 10 minutes, ended up taking 40, but we got to see parts of San Diego we’d never have seen otherwise and all’s well that ends well, as they say. It just took a little longer to end…