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.
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.
Balboa Park's El Prado is the hub of the activity in the park's cultural center: a wide walkway between the historic buildings and museums which attract so many of the park's visitors.
In 1915, the site was the focus of much of the activity for the Panama-California Exposition and the star of the show that year were the Electriquettes--small wicker carts powered by electric motors––which visitors rented to travel the length of the Prado and enjoy the Plaza de Panama.
There is no better way to explore the wonderful sites of Balboa Park than to hop on a Sports or Cruiser Bikes or Surreys. You can tour the heart of Balboa Park, also known as the El Prado area, where you will find most of the Park's museums. No matter what you enjoy, there is something at Balboa Park for everyone and Wheel Fun Rentals is the way to get you there!
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.