Balboa Park kiosk
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— Balboa Park's new touch-screen information kiosks are providing visitors with a high-tech way to navigate the park's myriad venues. The kiosks, which were funded by the Friends of Balboa Park and approved by the City of San Diego, were paid for by $350,000 of donor contributions. Each kiosk stands 13-feet tall and includes an informational touch screen, an ATM, and a full-color static map of the park. Additionally, each kiosk acts as a broadband WiFi hot spot that visitors can connect to for as little as $1.00 an hour or $5.00 a day. Currently, there are four kiosks strategically located around the park in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.

So, are visitors to Balboa Park taking advantage of the kiosks? “Absolutely,” says Loraine Schmalenberger, who works for the Friends of Balboa Park. According to the first set of user statistics collected since the kiosks were dedicated on September 25th, 2008, the touch screens averaged 82 unique users a day through the end of November 2008, and each visitor spent between 1.5 to 2.5 minutes at the kiosk. The topics most accessed by visitors include the location of restrooms as well as information about restaurants and museums. In addition, between 10 to 20 visitors a month logged on to the kiosk WiFi network. Time will tell if the kiosks are a success, but so far, they seem to be a hit.

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