The Japanese Friendship Garden ("the Garden") is an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city, Yokohama. It illustrates two cultures and creates an immersive experience into Japanese culture. The Garden's design is based on centuries-old Japanese techniques adapted to San Diego's climate and florae and seeks to foster a relationship between humans and nature, providing a respite attuned to Japanese simplicity, serenity, and aestheticism.
Peruse a comprehensive assortment of natural history products featuring dinosaurs and murals from Fossil Mysteries, the A.R. Valentien Signature Collection of botanical art products, and inspiring gift ideas with a sustainable message.
All garden tours are FREE with paid admission!
We are closed New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
Upper Level - This tour consists of the upper 2.5 acres only.
No RSVP needed – your tour starts at the Front Entrance Gate
Lower Level - This tour consists of the lower 4.5-acre canyon expansion area.
Step back in time and experience one of the most interesting places in Balboa Park: The Historic Botanical Building. 45-minute docent-led tours showcase the origins, design and horticulture of Balboa Park’s historic Botanical Building.
Learn the fascinating story of English immigrant and world renowned begonia expert, Alfred D. Robinson—the man behind the building.
Tours will leave from the south end of the Lily Pond, at 11:00 am, every 3rd Friday.
Approximately one hour long, these tours meet at 11 a.m. every Sunday at the Visitor Information Center in the Park's House of Hospitality. Park Rangers discuss the historical and botanical treasures of Balboa Park. The Park Rangers are committed to helping visitors have a wholesome, safe, and rewarding outdoor experience.
The goal of the San Diego Mineral and Gem Societies' museum is to help people gain a better understanding and appreciation of minerals, gems, fossils and the lapidary arts. Our museum is located in the San Diego Mineral & Gem Society building adjacent to the Spanish Village Art Center at Balboa Park, San Diego, California. The museum features many fine mineral, gem, lapidary and fossil specimens from around the world. The collection has been assembled over the last 75 years through purchases and donations. Admission to the museum is free.
This medium-sized playground is perfect for kids aged 5-12, families with dogs and those who love playing sports. There are slides, monkey bars, swings and a rock-climbing wall to enjoy. It is surrounded by fun places like the a swimming pool, dog park and tennis courts.
This playground is located south of Bud Kearns Memorial Swimming Pool on the northeast side of the Morley Field Sports Complex.
This off-leash area is located on Balboa Park’s West Mesa, south of El Prado / Laurel Street and east of Balboa Drive. It is approximately 2.3 acres and completely fenced with amenities that include a drinking fountain and picnic tables. Named for former San Diego city employee Nate Wells, the space has been used as a dog park since 1996.
This large playground is suitable for kids of all ages. It is separated into two main areas. The side designed for children younger than five has a giant sandbox, cushioned floors, slides and swings. The other side, designed for kids five and older, offers a large jungle gym, faux zip line and fun things to spin on.
There are also many picnic tables, big fields and amazing views.
The best way to start your time in Balboa Park is with a stop at the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Located across from The Prado Restaurant in the House of Hospitality, the Visitors Center has the most current and comprehensive information about the Park’s activities and attractions. Open from 9:30 am-4:30 pm daily (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s day), the Visitors Center offers brochures, maps, audio tours, free guided tours of the Park, transportation information, dining advice, and more.