Balboa Park – San Diego’s Landscape of Arts and Culture

Balboa Park Gardens-1

San Diego, California.

Visitors to San Diego often know of the San Diego Zoo, but many don’t realize the zoo is just one component of a 1200-acre city park that is one of the oldest public-use recreation areas in the United States. On our one-day visit, we couldn’t begin to visit the entire park, nor could I feature photographs from every area we visited in a single blog post and expect to do it justice. In addition to the zoo, which we saved for another visit some day, the park is home to gardens, theaters, museums, sports and recreation facilities, shops, and restaurants. In this post, we focus on three of the over a dozen gardens in the park. The opening photo features the indoor botanical garden’s building and pond.

Balboa Park Gardens-3

Our first view of the park, only because of its closeness to our parked car, was the Old Cactus Garden. Developed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, the garden features a wide variety of large succulents, and African and Australian Protea plants. The first images in the garden gallery features views of the Cactus Garden and some of the surrounding park area.

Balboa Park Gardens-6 Our next stop in our garden walk was the Inez Grant memorial Rose Garden. More than 130 varieties of roses live in a 3-acre garden. There are roses in bloom from March through December, but if you are lucky to visit during the months of April or May, you’ll get the best view of roses in bloom. The image gallery features a collection of macro images of roses in full bloom.

Balboa Park Gardens-11

The final images in our garden gallery feature images from the Botanical Building and grounds. The garden, it’s lily pond, and lagoon were built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. As of this writing, interpretive tours of the building and it’s more than 2,100 permanent plants are offered on Fridays. The gallery of images below features but a few of the gardens of Balboa Park. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery. Next week we feature some of the park’s historic architecture as we stroll down the park’s main pedestrian malls. More information about park activities can be found here.

John Steiner


3 thoughts on “Balboa Park – San Diego’s Landscape of Arts and Culture

  1. We’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the surrounding area of Balboa park when at the zoo… Thanks for the photo tour we’ll remember to check it out next time we’re there!

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