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Part 1 – Balboa Park

Several months back I shared with you about our impending trip to San Diego to visit family and friends.  It was a glorious two weeks and we packed in as much as possible.  On the second day of the trip we spent hours at Balboa Park just taking it all in and catching up with old friends while we strolled along the park grounds.

When my boys were tiny, we spent nearly each week visiting a different museum, having lunch in one of several restaurants and attending performances at the Old Globe Theatre.  They love to visit when we are in San Diego.

I miss this park desperately.  It was an integral part of my life when we moved to San Diego and I was ten years old.  I attended countless Broadway-bound shows at the Old Globe and my mother volunteered for years in the Visitor’s Center  within the House of Hospitality.

As you can tell, this park and I go way back.

This is one end of the organ pavilion which is adjacent to the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.  The actual organ is to the left of this photograph.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs.  There are fantastic performances throughout the year.  Sitting outside with a hot chocolate, underneath a wool Pendleton blanket listening to a performance on a Sunday evening is fantastic.  Yes, it gets chilly (or cool, as we say in San Diego) even on summer nights.

Just a note on the cottages…they are open on Sunday, each one representing a different country, showcasing their culture, language and food.  Typically each month one house puts on a cultural program (think bagpipes for House of Scotland) and serves food native to that country.  It’s awesome (and free).  Such a great place to spend the afternoon with your children.

The courtyard inside the House of Hospitality houses this beautiful statue and fountain.  I’ve had my picture taken so many times in front of her, but of course I could not remember her name.  She is called the Aztec Woman of Tehuantepec and was originally sculpted by Donal Hord.  Adjacent to the fountain is a great restaurant called the Prado at Balboa Park.  Just before we moved to North Carolina, my husband had a wonderful meal here and said our “goodbyes” to the life we had created in San Diego.

The San Diego Botanical Garden and accompanying fountains are just spectacular.  You can wander around inside the gardens or just take in the surrounding fountain and try to spot the Koi fish as they swim underneath the lily pads.  There is always something going on around this building as I blogged about here.

Here we are outside the Casa Del Prado Theater which is adjacent to the San Diego Natural History Museum.  It houses the San Diego Junior Theatre and serves as the oldest youth theater program in the United States.  I’ve attended many a performance by the San Diego JT over the years.

And, here is the Casa Del Prado building which is on the other side of the courtyard from the theater.  This building along with most inside the park, were built in 1915 to house the Pan American Exposition.

Here is one last view of Balboa Park with the California Tower off in the distance.  Doesn’t it make you want to go to San Diego for your next getaway?

Tomorrow we’ll head across the bridge to Coronado and a visit to the beach and the Hotel Del Coronado.  I can hardly wait to show you another of my favorite San Diego locales.