Balboa Park news & stories

Considered Beautiful

In 1810, a black Khoisan woman from South Africa named (by her slave-master) Saartjie Baartman was brought to London and became an entertainment sensation. Kept in a cage, she was exhibited seminude in sideshows and ...

Is Your Child Passionate about School?

On Saturday, January 24, 2009 the San Diego Unified School District held a Magnet Schools Fair at the Recital Hall in Balboa Park from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The fair provided information regarding educational ...

Balboa Park Enters the Information Age

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 ...

Happy Birthday, Spreckels Organ!

San Diego’s unique and historic outdoor pipe organ in Balboa Park celebrated its 94th birthday on Sunday January 4, 2009, in honor of which the San Diego Park and Recreation Department, in cooperation with the ...

Wrapped with Care

“Every single gift must have its proper folds,” says Lisa Koide Halverson. “In America, on Christmas, you don’t wrap a present in black — usually red or green. On Easter it’s usually wrapped in pink ...

Balboa Park Trails

Incremental improvements over the past couple of years in Balboa Park’s hidden corners are resulting in the park’s rebirth. Canyon slopes formerly choked with dense undergrowth and used as de-facto drug dens have been cleared ...

District Three Doppelgangers

The Hillcrest Town Council held a community forum on September 9, with District Three candidates Stephen Whitburn and Todd Gloria fielding questions from members of the community. The two candidates attempted to distinguish themselves and ...

Can’t Get Enough

“I’m not sure if Animal House is as cult-y as Harold and Maude — it might be a little bit more mainstream,” says Lauren Turner, marketing and communications coordinator for the Museum of Photographic Arts. ...

Bellies and Hornpipes

“American Tribal Style is an inclusive belly-dance form,” says dancer Sandi Kay. “The dancer in the lead position can cue the dancers on what move they’re going to do next, so every dance ends up ...

What's Wrong with Balboa Park?

Money is the matter.

If the Pacific Ocean is San Diego’s swimming pool, Balboa Park is our backyard. When we want to get out of the house, Balboa Park is where we go, 11 million times per year. And ...

Women in Summer

“In the past, if we had a French exhibition, we’d show French films,” says Golda Akhgarnia, public relations coordinator for the San Diego Museum of Art. “This year we’re celebrating a ‘summer of women’ theme ...

Vaporous Volumes

Asilk thread seams together the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the tarot, feminism, and Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer whose impresario activities in the early 20th Century promoted American modernism and the careers of Charles Demuth, ...

Fruit Rare and Tasty

“The jaboticaba comes from Brazil; in South America they call it the black cherry,” says José Gallego, San Diego chapter chair for the California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc. “They’re expensive because they can take several ...

A Very Gassy Golf Course

Standing at the tee pad of hole 15, a Frisbee player on Morley Field’s Disc Golf Course can’t see the basket he’s aiming for. It’s hidden in a thicket of trees 246 feet away. Players ...

Get a Natural Clean

“I see people all the time spraying Windex on their countertop and then slapping down a sandwich — they don’t realize all the chemicals that are left on the counter from the Windex, like petroleum ...

Low-Rider, 1959

Phil Bateman holds a yardstick up to his bumper to show off the clearance of his low-rider, 1959. The previous year, San Diego hosted its first Custom and Hot Rod Show in Balboa Park. About ...

Balboa Park Carousel, 1957

The ride arrived in the West from New York in 1910. The operator of Coronado's seasonal Tent City bought it from an L.A. owner soon after. Some say the carousel was moved between the Tent ...

Car Trouble On SR 163, 1958

It only looked like car trouble on SR 163, near the Laurel Street bridge, in July of 1958. A newspaper reporter was dispatched to the site to pretend her car conked out. "Sixty cars passed ...

The Fall of King Eucalyptus

Plantsmen’s vision for a green future.

On the morning after one of those record-breaking cold nights this past January, Mike Rasmusson checked on his charges. Rasmusson supervises the Kate O. Sessions Balboa Park Nursery -- the city facility where many of ...

Gracia Mae Carpenter, 1939

From the daily paper: "[The] president of Young Republican club doesn't appear to be getting unduly roiled at this picture of Adolf Hitler in the German bungalow, House of Pacific Relations, Balboa Park. "When San ...

Explore Balboa Park's wilder east side on foot or by mountain bike.

Balboa Park has plenty of "tame" places to walk, such as landscaped sidewalks on the grassy west side, paved trails inside the San Diego Zoo, and a number of semiwild trails in canyon bottoms near ...

We're on Vacation, Here to Play. Don't Let Facts Get in Our Way.

Playing tourist in San Diego.

I had taken eight or nine guided tours of San Diego in two weeks when a friend asked if I was tired of sightseeing. I had to say no. Being out on buses and boats ...

The King's Things

'It's a Budweiser and badminton bash," Brandon said when he invited me to his son's birthday party at Balboa Park. I had plans that day but had to know what people called a "shuttlecock" after ...

Wordsmiths and Shutterbugs

Local paper Word San Diego invited me to their 3rd Annual Anti-Social Writers Party. I was told the $10 cover at the door was to keep the publication running. I threw in the cash and ...

Two For The Price Of None

I went to two parties in one day that tested my crashing ability. The first was a luncheon at Balboa Park. The ticket was $40, but I weaseled in without paying. I did feel guilty, ...

Best of 2003: Best Public Display Of Bosoms

Casa de Balboa, Balboa Park www.sandiegohistory.org/bpbuildings/casabalb.htm You can't touch them and you won't see any suckling infant, but there they are -- big, pendulous breasts -- out in the open for the whole world to ...

Best of 2003: Best Place To Learn Rose Pruning

San Diego Rose Society's Annual Hands-On Demonstration, Balboa Park www.sdrosesociety.org 619-235-0004 Come January, it's possible to find a half-dozen sources of rose-pruning instruction throughout the county. But none provide as much inspiration as the free ...

Best of 2003: Best Urban & Coastal Stargazing

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center www.sdaa.org 619-238-1233, x6 Oceanside Photo and Telescope I-5 and Mission, Oceanside www.optcorp.com 800-483-6287 On the first Wednesday of each month, the San Diego Astronomy Association sponsors free evening star parties ...

Best of 2003: Best Place To See A Double Feature

Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park www.mopa.org/film.html 619-238-7559 Not only is MoPA the only film house in town that regularly offers double features (for a mere $7), but curator Scott Marks ...

Best of 2003: Best Mojito

Prado Restaurant House of Hospitality, Balboa Park www.pradobalboa.com 619-557-9441 There's a new drink in town, kiddies. The mojito. It's a Cuban hottie that sailed into San Diego a few years ago and is giving the ...

Best of 2003: Best Place To Buy Historical Pictures Of San Diego

San Diego Historical Society Research Archives Casa de Balboa, Balboa Park www.sandiegohistory.org 619-232-6203, x127 Hunting for an early San Diego picture of whaling ships in the bay, the neighborhood your family grew up in, or ...

Best of 2003: Best Edible Plants

Foraging in San Diego's Canyons Balboa Park Could you live off Mother Nature in San Diego? Maybe, says Jon Rebman, curator of botany at San Diego's Natural History Museum, but only if you know what ...

Best of 2003: Best Inexpensive, High-Quality Art

C Note Sale San Diego Art Institute 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park 619-236-0011 This semiannual event (June and December) features paintings, photographs, and sculptures created by local San Diego artists, many of whom are in ...

The Zoo May Seek Compromise

Believe it or not, the 800-pound gorilla may not sit down exactly where it pleases. In the middle of last week, there was a sudden consensus shift indicating that the gorilla -- the San Diego ...

The guy who designed Central Park, did he design Balboa Park?

Hey, Matt: Is it true that Balboa Park was designed by the same dude that designed Central Park in New York? -- Paul Broadway, San Diego Common misconception. Well, maybe not common, since most people ...

Best of 2001: Best Place To Get Your Groove (And Sense Of Justice) Back

WorldBeat Center 2100 Park Boulevard, Balboa Park 619-230-1190 The WorldBeat Center is shaped like a drum, which is appropriate because it uses music (lots of reggae) to advance its primary mission -- to present and ...

Best of 2001: Best Multicultural Way To Pig Out

House of Pacific Relations, Balboa Park 619-234-0739 If you've ever craved Hungarian goulash followed by Norwegian abelskiver and Ukrainian pierogi, once a year you can have that meal -- and follow it with genuine French ...

Best of 2001: Best Example Of Benevolent Government

Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse 2600 Golf Course Drive, East Balboa Park 619-239-1660 There are two courses at Balboa: an 18-hole course that ranks as one of the most challenging in the county and ...

Best of 2001: Best Frisbee Fun

Morley Field Disc Golf Course Corner of Pershing Drive and Redwood Street, Balboa Park 619-692-3607 It costs $1 to play here weekdays (when it's open from 8:00 a.m. to dusk); $1.50 on weekends (when it ...

Best of 2000: Best Street Performances

The Prado, Balboa Park Big Brother is everywhere, so even street performers have to be licensed by the city. On any summer day, along the walkways of Balboa Park, throngs of diverse show-biz startups compete ...

Best of 2000: Best Place To Study Graffiti

Barrio Logan Some people admire the elaborate mural-sized geometric designs of former guerrilla tagger Saki, others prefer the primitive kinetic power of a simple bathroom-wall limerick. Sponsored graffiti -- wall paintings commissioned by civic groups ...

Best of 2000: Best Place To Play Petanque

Morley Field Balboa Park (858) 488-6710 It's your call: You can play bowls the English way, on manicured greens wearing formal whites; like the Italians, with wood-hearted bocce bowls in long sand pits; or like ...

Best of 2000: Best Theater Without The Hyperbole

Cassius Carter Centre Stage Balboa Park (619) 239-2255 (Box Office) This is "theatre in the round," a sunken stage no larger than a small dance floor, ringed by a mere 225 seats. A sigh of ...

Best of 2000: Best Place To Get On Track

San Diego Model Railroad Museum Casa de Balboa, lower level, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park (619) 696-0199 One of the world's largest running train displays is chugging along right in the middle of Balboa Park. ...

Best of 2000: Best Place To See Actors As People

Old Globe Theatre Balboa Park (619) 231-1941 The play's the thing, all right; but you want more. Intermission's discussion leads to postplay plot analysis, and it's still not enough. If you haven't the stomach to ...

Best of 2000: Best Music To Laugh Along With

San Diego Comic Opera Casa del Prado Theatre, Balboa Park (619) 239-8836 The Casa del Prado Theatre is an intimate 19-row theater housed in a mission-style building on Village Place in Balboa Park. When their ...

Best of 2000: Best Free (And Underrated) Museum

The Timken Museum of Art 1500 El Prado, Balboa Park (619) 239-5548 www.gort.ucsd.edu/sj/timken The product of the Putnam sisters' taste and generosity, the museum's works are organized by "national schools." Half the space is dedicated ...

Best of 2000: Best Tot Train

Balboa Park Railroad Balboa Park, next to the carousel and the zoo Runs weekends and holidays (619) 239-4748 Balboa Park Railroad is a fun, inexpensive cure to childhood boredom. The scaled-down version of a Santa ...

Best of 2000: Best Place To Display Your Tennis Prowess

The Challenge Court, Balboa Tennis Club 2221 Morley Field Drive, Balboa Park (619) 295-9278 This is for the brave, the blusterers, the big-mouths. Go to Balboa Tennis Club's reservations desk, hand over $5, and say ...

Balboa Go-Around

When a new cast of characters auditions next week for the Centre City Development Corp., it aims to revive San Diego's longest-running empty stage. The Balboa Theatre, a national historic landmark in downtown San Diego, ...

Can you make a list of the steepest streets in San Diego?

Matt: Would you do a favor for all us bike riders and make a list of the steepest streets in San Diego? -- A. Rider, San Diego Dear Matthew Alice: What are the steepest street ...

How did the bare busted statues get in Balboa Park?

Dear Matthew Alice: Am I the only person in Balboa Park who ever looks up? Otherwise, how is it that we have dozens of statues of bare-breasted, buxom ladies overhead and no one ever mentions ...

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