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Real Deal Hounds Shop the Park

Now that everyone has recovered from the holiday shopping feeding frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time for true shopping hounds to go to the only place in town where they can find a vast array of one-of-a-kind gifts in a historic setting while supporting this city’s best cultural attractions.

In other words, it’s time to shop Balboa Park’s gift stores.

Holiday Shopping Balboa Park, Museum of Photographic Arts, Diana Camera PackageWhether you’re looking for toys your pups won’t know are educational or fine jewelry and fashionable accessories from faraway places, the amount you’ll be saving in gas, parking, and ibuprofen (for the usual shopping headaches) alone makes Balboa Park worth the trip.

To highlight a few shopping destinations in the Park, the Museum of Photographic Arts once again hopes to make everyone on your holiday gift list smile with three different vintage-style camera packages: the Diana, the Holga, and the SuperHeadz Wide Angle.

For the hard-to-gift geek, the Reuben H. Fleet’s North Star Science Store is filled with gadgets, gizmos, and thingamajigs. Among the non-chewable varieties are the Medusa Jellyfish Lamp, the magically kinetic Hoberman Sphere, and the Nebula Ball that produces a dazzling plasma light show.

The Museum of Man’s gift store has dug up a number of high-quality artifacts from various world cultures, such as Mata Ortiz pots, Zuni fetishes, handmade Native American jewelry, carved animals from Oaxaca, and whimsical Mexican folk art.

Sticking closer to home, the San Diego History Center Store is nostalgia central with its many books on San Diego history, memorabilia and historic prints, merchandise from local artisans, and gifts inspired by vintage styles.

For those who would appreciate a gift of the Park itself, the Visitors Center has the largest selection of Balboa Park-themed T-shirts and sweat shirts, Park-related coffee table and guide books, a festively gift-wrapped Balboa Park Passport, in addition to nature-themed fashion jewelry and Christmas tree decorations (you know, the kind you put near the top of the tree so certain fury family members can’t turn them into cat toys).