Navigating Through Balboa Park

Stepping foot in Balboa Park in San Diego, California brings a sense of awe to it. Immediately, you are met with gardens expanding what seems like endlessly. It is an open space of acres and acres of land, filled with museums, interesting architecture, ponds, and gardens of all types. Traveling right before the start of the pandemic, the weather in North Carolina was the typical cold and gray kind of days that we see in late February. Because of this, the warmth of that 75-degree, cloudless day in California remains a lasting memory that I correlate with Balboa Park. The sun coloring the park brought life to it all and it is obvious the designers worked with this idea entirely. Walking in, Balboa Park is filled with Spanish architecture as its name is in honor of Spanish explorer, Vasco Nunez de Balboa. Large and beige cathedral like buildings tower around the park with bits of vegetation and gardens spread throughout. Given these towers hold such a different sort of architectural style than the buildings surrounding the park, it stops one completely in their tracks at first sight. A lot of these breathtaking buildings are museums. Inside, they are light and airy. The numerous amounts of windows make you feel as if you are still outside given the compliments of design between indoor and outdoor spaces. The pathways across the park are the same beige color as the buildings so it all seems to run together effortlessly. In the heart of Balboa Park is a botanical garden, made of what looks to be strips of wood, curved out perfectly to allow sun to shine right through the spaces. Inside, a jungle of plants emerges, and you feel as if you are simply viewing this under the shade of a large tree. The entirety of Balboa Park seems to want the visitor to feel as if they walked into a land of unknown that is always sunny, allowing for groups to gather and laugh in centralized areas as well as others to explore the vastness of the park. Further, the use of indoor and outdoor space being similar never makes one feel as if they are anywhere but in the park. Overall, there is not much I would change about the park. Its size is intimidating but is quite inviting, the gardens are breathtaking, and the use of ponds and fountains throughout the park create a space that is tranquil.