The United States' largest urban cultural park is also one of the world's most scenic, with a dazzling array of museums, entertainment venues, botanical gardens and architectural landmarks. The world-renowned San Diego Zoo is just one of the many treasures nestled within the verdant expanse of this 1,200-acre (490-hectare) park, set aside as a reserve for public use as early as 1835. The 1915-16 Panama-California Expo and the 1935–36 California Pacific International Expo left behind a wealth of architectural jewels strewn across the park, including the California Building fashioned after the typical design of a Spanish Colonial Church and now home to the San Diego Museum of Man. Fifteen museums, award-winning theaters, an antique carousel, a miniature railroad and the Spanish Village Arts Center come together at Balboa Park to celebrate the cultural diversity of the state and its inspiring natural landscape.
Fun for adults and kids, this museum-on-water is the focal point of San Diego's historic Embarcadero Promenade. Comprised of several painstakingly restored historic ships, it is a tribute to the sea-faring age. One of the ships showcased at Maritime Museum of San Diego is the Star of India (1863), a stunning vision that graces the coastline as the world's oldest actively-sailed, square-rigged ship.
Founded in 1769, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was the first mission founded by Father Junipero Serra in The Californias. Like many of the Spanish missions that were built along California's famous El Camino Real, the mission is actually the namesake of the major city it's near--in this case, San Diego. The mission experienced a tumultuous history since its founding, and its church building has since been rebuilt five times on the same site. Today, the mission stands as a remarkable example of early California history and is currently registered as a National Historic Landmark.
These hands-on science and technology exhibits open a window into the future. Take a multi-sensory simulated space mission and encounter a rogue comet. Also found here is the world's first Omnimax Theater, a dome 10 times larger than a typical movie screen. If the exploration of the science center makes you hungry, pay a visit to the museum's Galileo Cafe for a snack or a cup of coffee.
San Diego's anthropological museum is home to 70,000 artifacts, folk art and archaeological finds from all over the world. With mummies and ancient carved monuments, the treasures inside the San Diego Museum of Man are abundant but the building itself is also a San Diego treasure and city symbol. The California Building with its tile-capped tower was designed in 1915 by Bertram G. Goodhue and reflects a whimsical "California Mission" style of architecture. Exhibits inside explore the culture and lives of ancient civilizations of the Inuits, the Mapuche, and the Mayans among others.
Climb 145 steps down into Sunny Jim Cave, the largest of the grottoes in La Jolla Cove. The area is now run by the Cave Store, which displays historic photographs of La Jolla and offers a small concession where visitors can purchase souvenirs, postcards, and T-shirts. A trip here provides a fascinating glimpse into what lies under, as well as over, the scenic California coastline.
Vine Idea are wine excursions that visit various wineries throughout San Diego county, with the focus of introducing people to California's newest side of wine country. Each excursion includes a visit to at least two wineries in Escondido Valley, Ramona Valley, and Julian; and they usually include five to six one ounce pours of their most exclusive or award winning wines. For those who would like to book an all day excursion, they must do so months in advance to allow time for booking of transportation and at vineyards. Vine Idea is also able to accommodate private excursion or groups of up to 35, but they recommend the smaller the group the more intimate the experience.
HMS Surprise is a replica that pays tribute to Rose, a war-ship that is now a part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. This ship also featured in movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
Explore the azure waters of San Diego bay with a memorable marine excursion with Marietta Yacht. A swanky whale watching sailboat, Marietta offers an airy ambiance for a private party or a cocktail evening. Its sprawling sun-splashed deck promises some spectacular views of the neighboring landscape. The spacious reception lounge indoors is an idyllic spot for school functions, harbor sightseeing tours and other intimate ceremonies.
Now a part of the Maritime Museum Of San Diego, this California State Historic Landmark, and a National Historic Landmark had to be restored owing to deterioration and neglect. The displays at this ferry include steam engine and other items pertaining to it. The vessel also houses a fully- equipped research library, a workshop and administrative offices of the museum. For more details, call ahead.
Owned by the Soviet Navy, the Soviet Submarine B-39 is a submarine used to track ships that belonged to NATO and United States. It came into prominence during the Cold War; now it is a part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Enjoy an enchanting evening under the stars aboard one of San Diego's most popular yachts. A dinner cruise aboard this yacht will exceed your expectations, guaranteed! Champagne greets you as you board this wondrous vessel, which is a perfect way to launch an evening on San Diego harbor. There are several packages providing either a full-hosted bar or a standard cash bar, depending on customer request.