A Rainy Day at Historic Balboa Park

It never rains in San Diego except when it does. Fortunately we’d already planned to spend the day at Balboa Park where we could hide in museums when necessary. So I left Bob at the Air and Space Museum and roamed among the gardens and grounds taking pictures of the historic buildings under gray and cloudy skies.

A Bit of History

The land on which Balboa Park sits was first set aside for public use in 1835 when it was Mexican territory.  After the Mexican-American War the land was ceded to the United States, and shortly thereafter California became a state in 1850.   San Diego’s  ‘City Park’ remained largely undeveloped until plans were laid in 1909 to hold the Panama-California Exposition to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal. City Park was renamed Balboa Park and the Exposition opened in 1915 and ran through the end of 1916.

The Architecture

Many of the Spanish-Renaissance style buildings built for the Exposition still exist along Balboa Park’s famous El Prado walkway and this is where I spent most of my time camera in hand. The day was rainy and gray and I admit to enhancing the photos to bring them into a better world of light and color.

Below is the Plaza de Panama Fountain, which I got carried away with in the second photo (still, nobody got hurt.)

The California Building with its 200 foot Tower and Dome, is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Diego. The building houses the San Diego Museum of Man but I didn’t go in, preferring to continue walking the lovely grounds, rain or not.

I did however enter the Botanic Building which houses ferns, palms and other tropical plants and is one of the largest lath structures in the world.

This Pitcher Plant hanging inside was both beautiful and beguiling and ready to catch any tasty insects that might happen by.

Back outside I came across the Park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree, over 60 feet tall with a spread of 120 feet.

Planted before the 1915 Exposition, It looks more like it belongs in Jurassic Park.

After lunch I continued my walk (16,000 steps according to Fitbit!) until the rain picked up and I ducked into the Natural History Museum where I saw the usual fossils, dinosaur bones and pretty rocks. Soon afterwards I met up with Bob who’d spent all his time in just two museums, Air and Space, and Automotive. (His attention span is longer than mine.)

There was still much more to see and do but by then we were tired and ready to move on.  Kind of like me, right now.  But before I close I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the world-famous San Diego Zoo which also makes its home in Balboa Park.  We opted to pass on it this time (I know, I know) but we did visit the zoo a few years earlier where I took this picture of a happy Panda.

Maybe next time.

~ Susanne

10 Comments on “A Rainy Day at Historic Balboa Park

  1. Impressive places, Susanne. I love that fig tree. It looks a lot older than 1915, I agree. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I’d never heard of Balboa Park (being an east coast girl). Thanks for taking me along. I love walks in the rain, too.

  3. I love Balboa Park! I’ve only been there a few times, I think the first was on a field trip in high school. I remember the atmosphere more than I do the museums. Looks like you got more Fitbit steps in one day than I do in a week! 😬 We got to see the baby panda there many years ago, I think it was Hua Mei 🤔🐼 Such a fun trip!

    • Yes it was wonderful! This was our second time to Balboa Park and I love just walking the beautiful grounds! (A good Fitbit day for sure!!) So much we didn’t see so will have to return someday! 🙂

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