posted on: 06/08/2011 - 1:25pm by Cosmos
Now that a wetter-than-normal spring has sprouted lusher-than-normal landscaping and gardens in Balboa Park, this is a perfect time to explore the Park’s vast grounds with your best four-legged friend and a knowledgeable tour guide. Covering over 1,200 acres of parkland, these informative tours kick off in front of the Visitors Center.
Offshoot Tours — Ideal for weekend warriors who can’t make any of the weekday tours, Offshoot Tours put your weekend on track each Saturday morning at 10am with a leisurely stroll through the Park’s Central Mesa area.
Each week a different expert highlights a unique aspect of the Park, beginning with the Park’s history on the first Saturday, the diverse specimens of palm trees on the second Saturday, all other tree types on the third (my favorite), desert flora on the fourth, and a selection of one of the above on the occasional fifth Saturday.
Ranger-led Tours— Aside from yours truly, no one else has better tracking skills in the Park than the rangers. And at 1:00pm on both Tuesday (museum free day!) and Sunday, they put their best foot forward on a walking tour of the Park’s history and its botanical and architectural treats.
Wednesday Trail Walks — More ambitious hikers will want to hit the trails on the second Wednesday of the month when a Park Ranger leads a trek along one of the many marked routes through the canyons and mesas. Though the pace is easy, the trail length and terrain may be a bit rough for some bipeds, so it’s best to call ahead to the Visitors Center (619 239-0512) to find out which trail will be featured. The walks begin at the designated trailhead sign at 10am.
Architectural Heritage Tours — Learn what they would say “if these walls could talk” with the help of a knowledgeable architectural historian on the first Wednesday of the month at 9:30am. In addition to discussing the long history of many of the main park buildings, the Architectural Heritage Tours also highlight what’s inside of them.
Don’t like to be tied to someone else’s schedule? Then the handheld audio tour wand, available for rental in the Visitors Center, is just your ticket. These entertaining tours, voiced by a team of park experts, also comes in a kid- (and pet-)friendly version.