There’s a fun new exhibit at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. It’s called The Lore Behind the ROAR! 100 Years of the San Diego Zoo. Like beautiful Balboa Park itself, the world-famous San Diego Zoo originated in 1915. Last year was its centennial!
Along the main hallway inside the Casa de Balboa, near the entrance to the San Diego History Center, visitors can enjoy a series of posters that feature some of the zoo’s beloved animal celebrities. Here they are!
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A treasure hunt is coming up this weekend in Balboa Park! The event takes place on Valentine’s Day (Sunday, February 14) and is courtesy of the artists of Spanish Village!
The free treasure hunt, which is open to absolutely anyone, is called the 2nd Annual Spanish Village Art Abandonment. Between 11am and 4pm, Balboa Park visitors will be able to find (and keep) free works of art hidden all around the park! If you’re lucky enough to discover a unique piece of art, you’ll be able to track where you found it online!
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Just for fun, I’ve taken close-up photos of colorful ceramic tiles that beautify locations around Balboa Park. These works of art, while not part of the treasure hunt, can be easily found by anyone! Please read the captions to learn more…
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Okay, I admit it. Possibly my very favorite place in Balboa Park is filled with rocks. Really beautiful rocks! And gems and fossils and jewelry and carvings . . .
Yes, I’m talking about the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society Museum, which is located at the north end of Spanish Village. Anyone who “digs” the beautiful natural productions of Mother Earth needs to drop on by. It’s free! And those who want to learn about the lapidary arts should seriously look into joining the society or taking classes. They’ve got a well-equipped lapidary workshop in one room where members facet and carve and polish . . . turning gems, metal and minerals into treasures fit for royalty.
When people refer to Balboa Park’s cactus garden, they usually mean the wonderful Desert Garden on the east side of Park Boulevard, just north of the gorgeous, award-winning Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. But there’s another. It’s called the 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden. And few visitors to the park know it exists.
The historic old garden might be a bit raggedy and lonely, but it’s the perfect place to sit at a picnic bench and relax in the sun while enjoying a quiet view of Bankers Hill and the Cabrillo Bridge. And plant lovers have plenty of large, fascinating specimens to explore. There are cacti, succulents and exotic Protea, not to mention trails that run down into the rugged nearby canyon and into tropical Palm Canyon, which runs toward the heart of Balboa Park.
The old cactus garden was created by Kate Sessions (San Diego’s beloved botanist and “Mother of Balboa Park”) for the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935. It is located near a park employee parking lot, off the beaten path. You’ll find it behind the Balboa Park Club, which was originally the New Mexico State Building. The picturesque Pueblo Revival-style building was designed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.