A Day in Balboa Park, San Diego

Looking across the lily pond outside the Balboa Park botanical building

Balboa Park in San Diego has 17 museums, and there’s no way you can see them all in a day. If you buy their one-day Limited Pass, though, you can at least see four museums of your choice. And if four isn’t enough, you can always buy tickets separately as needed. These are the venues that my family and I were able to see on a Saturday:

Japanese Friendship Garden

As far as Japanese gardens go, it’s okay. There’s a nice stream that runs through most of it, though the way the park is structured requires a fair amount of backtracking to get out.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

I’ve seen better model train exhibits, particularly the one at the Living Desert Zoo of all places. The trains in this museum are pretty tame, though I did appreciate the scavenger hunt sheets that encourage you to look more closely at the miniatures.

The San Diego Museum of Art

Your enjoyment of this one will largely depend on which special exhibits are currently on display. I really liked the photorealistic colored pencil drawings by Ana de Alvear, but the rest of the museum was pretty standard art museum material.

Museum of Us

My family and I all agreed that this was our favorite venue. The bottom floor was a bit of a letdown, but the second floor had some interesting displays on animals, race, and personal secrets. The bonus exhibit on cannibalism across the road was also much more informative than you might think.

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