Balboa Park is quite striking, particularly for its amazing architecture. Only later did I discover that it was originally designed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and later used for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. Both left behind a heritage of amazing buildings, resulting in it being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Many of the buildings are in a very ornate Spanish Colonial architectural style. There are various museums, theatres and art galleries plus extensive sports facilities. The Spreckels Organ Pavilion features one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs and nearby there is a reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe theatre. The botanical building is in the shape of a traditional grand glasshouse with a big central dome but in fact the whole structure is a timber lath shade house, built for the 1915 Exposition.
|Botanical Building and reflecting pool|
|Inside the lath structure|
|California Bell Tower & San Diego Museum of Man|
|Casa Del Prado home of various youth performing arts groups as well as the Botanical gardens Foundation|
The whole site is landscaped with grass and trees, and includes several specific areas such as the Alcazar Gardens, the Reflecting Pool, the Cactus Garden, the Casa del Rey Moro Garden, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Friendship Garden, Palm Canyon, and Zoro Garden. San Diego is only a two hour drive from Palm Springs but being coastal has a more equable climate than the severe heat of the desert inland.
|Arbutus unedo - the strawberry tree|
|Sorry - don't know the name of this - anyone enlighten me? Update - thanks to Max for the identification - Spathodea campanulata|
|The Alcazar garden|
|Japanese Friendship Garden which wasn't very welcoming as it was locked!|
|Inside the lath house|
|Orchid display in the lath house|
|Desert garden -not a patch on Huntington|
|The rose garden - never seen decent roses in California but they persist in growing them|
|Just love these Brugmansia|
|Just loved the roots on this Ficus|
The park extends to 1200 acres with 1500 trees but with a disappointing palette of only 350 species of plant. It was a pleasant Sunday morning walk with some interest but compared to so many wonderful parks and gardens I have seen, this was just a B+ - could do better! By contrast I recall that the gardens around the zoo were really far more interesting, so maybe next time I need to eat humble pie and visit the zoo again!