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7 Little-Known Facts About Balboa Park

By Mike in Things to Do with 0 Comments

Larger than New York’s Central Park, Balboa Park encompasses 1,200 acres, including San Diego’s famous zoo. In addition to the gardens, walking paths and other open space areas, it is the home of 15 major museums, several theatres and a handful of restaurants. For the family, the park boasts a carousel, dating back to 1910, a half-mile long miniature railroad, and children’s favorite, the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. Here are a few other little-known facts about this San Diego gem.

1. The very first IMAX Dome Theater, Southern California’s only IMAX Dome Theater, is located at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The center offers hands-on exhibits and films for all ages.

2. Palm Canyon boasts 450 palm trees, with 58 species represented, amid winding paths and an historic trail leading to the Old Cactus Garden.

3. The 200-foot high California Tower and Museum of Man recently opened. It was closed since 1935. Climb to the top to see the many sculptures located at each level.

4. Balboa Park’s buildings were used by the military during both World Wars. The area was renamed Camp Kidd after an admiral killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Park improvements were put on hold during WWII.

5. Ken Allen, a 230-pound Bornean orangutan, escaped from the zoo three times. Harmless, gentle, and raised in captivity, Ken never went anywhere. He was easily caught and was favorite of zoogoers. He died in the year 2000.

6. Following the building of the Panama Canal in 1914, the park hosted the 1915 Panama-California Exposition celebrating its completion, and touting San Diego as the first U.S. port of call for ships traveling north from the canal.

7. During the Expo, Native Americans helped build an exhibit called the Painted Desert. And a number of Apache, Hopi, and Navajo lived on the site.

Whether you live in the San Diego Area, are planning to buy real estate in Downtown San Diego, or are just visiting, spend some time appreciating all Balboa Park has to offer and impress those around you with these fun facts.

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