San Diego's Urban Cultural Park
Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) urban cultural park in San Diego, California, United States. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park's site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. Balboa Park is managed and maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of San Diego.
Named for the Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the park hosted the 1915–16 Panama–California Exposition and 1935–36 California Pacific International Exposition, both of which left architectural landmarks.
The park and its historic Exposition buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Landmark District in 1977, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Balboa Park Geography
The park is essentially rectangular, bounded by Sixth Avenue to the west, Upas Street to the north, 28th Street to the east, and Russ Boulevard to the south. The rectangle has been modified by the addition of the Marston Hills natural area in the northwest corner of the park, while the southwest corner of the rectangle is occupied by a portion of the Cortez Hill neighborhood of Downtown San Diego and San Diego High School, both of which are separated from the park by Interstate 5. Also encroaching on the northern perimeter of the park is Roosevelt Middle School.
Two north-south canyons — Cabrillo Canyon and Florida Canyon — traverse the park and separate it into three mesas. The Sixth Avenue Mesa is a narrow strip bordering Sixth Avenue on the western edge of the park, which provides areas of passive recreation, grassy spaces, and tree groves. The Central Mesa is home to much of the park's cultural facilities, and includes scout camps, the San Diego Zoo, the Prado, and Inspiration Point. East Mesa is home to Morley Field and many of the active recreation facilities in the park.
The park is crossed by several freeways, which take up a total of 111 acres once designated for parkland. In 1948, California State Route 163 was built through Cabrillo Canyon and under the Cabrillo Bridge. This stretch of road, initially named the Cabrillo Freeway, has been called one of America's most beautiful parkways. A portion of Interstate 5 was built in the park in the 1950s.
Surrounding the park are many of San Diego's older neighborhoods, including Downtown, Bankers Hill, North Park, and Golden Hill.
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Updated: 10th May, 2021 5:08 AM (UTC).