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The Gardens of Balboa Park

(For other online garden tours, see the listing at the bottom of this page.)  

Balboa Park San Diego California

The gardens surrounding the historic buildings in Balboa Park in San Diego are more enhancements to the buildings still standing from the 1915 and 1935 Expositions than strictly botanical gardens.

botanical building balboa park san diego

Even the lath house, called the "Botanical Building" is primarily a visual showcase, rather than an educational garden. 

Inside the spectacular Botanical Building, however,  you will find thousands of tropical plants. Unlike glass greenhouses in colder climates, this lath house in the heart of Balboa Park is open to the air, but the laths shade the carefully tended plants inside.

The real center of focus are the many museums in Balboa Park. Happily most of the gardens are within easy walking distance of the Botanical Building.  You can enjoy seeing them as you move from museum to museum along El Prado drive.

angels trumpets brugmansia balboa park

These Angels' Trumpets (Brugmansia) are at the edge of a large parterre garden called the Alcazar garden. The flowers within the parterre squares change seasonally.


The desert garden and rose garden, reached by walking across an overpass, are okay.  We have seen much better examples of both types of gardens elsewhere.

museum balboa park san diego

The collection of buildings housing the museums are amazing architecturally.  This one is home to the San Diego Junior Ballet.  


Just steps away are the Timken Museum of Art,  the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Man, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Museum of Natural History and many others.

dragon sculpture balboa park san diego

Outside the Mingei International Museum, just across the street from the Botanical Building, is this whimsical dragon sculpture.


For more information about the Gardens and Museums of Balboa Park, visit this website.

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Take these Hot Gardens online preview tours, too:    

Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden  - Arcadia
Huntington Gardens Desert Garden - near Pasadena 
Descanso Gardens - near Pasadena 
Arlington Garden - in Pasadena
Getty Villa Gardens - Malibu
South Coast Botanic Garden - southwest Los Angeles  
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden - Claremont, California
Santa Barbara Gardens - Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden  - Santa Barbara, California
Tucson Public Gardens  - Tucson, Arizona
Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden  - Phoenix, Arizona
Balboa Park Gardens, San Diego, California
Tropical Garden in the Dominican Republic
Shore Acres Gardens - Coos Bay Oregon
San Luis Obispo Creek Park - San Luis Obispo, California
Japanese Garden - Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California
Japanese Garden - Long Beach, California
San Gabriel Mission - San Gabriel, California
San Fernando Mission - Los Angeles


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