Located in the heart of San Diego, Balboa Park is ripe with culture, science and history. It is home to the Natural History Museum, where kids can play in Camp-o-Saurus, a campground outfitted with a dinosaur nest to play in and robotic butterflies. For a rest between rotating exhibits, stop in the Dinosaur Cafe.
Botanical Building at Balboa Park
One of the most popular images of San Diego and Balboa Park is the Botanical Building with the Lily Pond. The garden houses more than 2,000 permanent plants, including vibrant flowers and a variety of tropical orchids, palms and ferns. The Touch and Smell Garden features aromatic and unusual varieties of foliage. The Lily Pond sits in the foreground of the Botanical Building. It is an aquatic garden complete with exotic water lilies, lotuses, frogs and Koi fish.
San Diego Zoo
Thousands of animals also call Balboa Park home. The San Diego Zoo is the ;park's main attraction. Here, children can learn about the giant panda; it is one of the few zoos worldwide that has them. Polar bears and silverback gorillas also call the zoo home. The zoo's focus on animal and habitat conservation as well as cage-free exhibits give kids the sense that they are traveling through the wild. They can get a bird's-eye view from a sky safari gondola, known as Skyfari, that crosses the zoo. Guided buses can take you through most of the park, should your feet need a rest.
San Diego boasts the nation's largest urban cultural park. Balboa Park sprawls over 1,200 acres of downtown. The landscape, artistic, cultural and horticultural, distinguished Balboa Park as one of the best parks in the world by the Project for Public Places in 2003. The eight gardens are free to enjoy. The park is home to a 100-year-old musical carousel you can ride for five minutes, open on weekends only. It also has a miniature antique railroad that operates on weekends.