Wednesday, January 11, 2012
San Diego's crown jewel is Balboa Park, at 1,174 acres the largest urban cultural park in the nation. The park was established in 1868 and commemorates the Spanish explorer Balboa. Although landscaping began in the late 19th century, the initial buildings were created to host the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition, and another expo in 1935-36 saw additional structures added to the property. The park features gardens and mature landscaping, eye-popping Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings (example below) housing diverse museums, walking paths and hiking trails, an ornate pavilion with one of the world's largest outdoor organs, an IMAX theater, the acclaimed Old Globe Theatre, and the San Diego Zoo.