Logan and Roxy write: Dear Cosmos, In anticipation of spring break, our family is looking for quality off-leash entertainment that will appeal to pups of all ages and won’t break the piggy bank like a trip to “Pricey-land” would. What are the best options in Balboa Park this month?
Cosmos: Unlike another “happiest place on earth,” Balboa Park and its cultural attractions don’t charge extra bones to visit them on the most popular days, including weekends and spring break. In fact, many museums and performing arts organizations in Balboa Park are a downright steal compared to even going to the movies. After a little sniffing around, I’ve come up with a list of Balboa Park’s best-kept bargain secrets.
Free Outdoor Activities!
Balboa Park’s 1,200-acre campus is home to dozens of open-air experiences that are 100% free — every day. With five play areas with slides, swings, and picnic tables; over a dozen gardens, including the Botanical Building; and 65 miles of hiking trails, a family could visit Balboa Park for an entire week without digging into your eldest’s college fund.
Balboa Park Explorer Annual Pass for Families
Perhaps the best value in Southern California, the $229 Explorer Annual Pass offers general admission to two adults and up to four pups (3–17 in human years) to 17 different museums in the Park, including such kid favorites as the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Natural History Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum, and Museum of Man.
Museums with Family-Friendly Pricing and Exhibits
For out-of-towners or those not ready to commit to an annual pass, several museums feature a budget-friendly pricing structure. The San Diego Museum of Art, for example, charges $28 for a pack of two adults and two kids. The Museum of Photographic Arts is offering “Pay What You Wish” pricing through May 29. And the always pup-friendly San Diego History Center and Model Railroad Museum will also entertain a family of four for around $30.
Puppet Theater Shows Are Only $5!
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater is the only place in San Diego that features professional-quality puppet shows every day, year-round. Appropriate for everyone in your litter, this month’s performances include spring holiday favorites “Benito Bunny’s Great Easter Egg Hunt” and “Peter Rabbit.”