Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor
San Diego is home to the largest urban cultural park in the nation. Rich and available to the aesthetic and historical interests of all, Balboa Park offers a cheerful break from the doldrums of everyday life. Unfortunately, accessibility can often breed neglect and indifference.
Close proximity can cause some to overlook or ignore this landmark. Luckily, locals now have a chance at clarity. February is Museum Month in San Diego, and through the park’s many discounts, events and attractions, there is no better time to rediscover the scenic and cultural haven that is Balboa Park.
Museum Month deals at the park
This month, local students and residents can pick up a free Museum Month pass at any San Diego County Macy’s store, which gives the wielder half-priced admission to 40 participating San Diego museums, including 14 located within Balboa Park. One pass can be used to discount admission for four people, so bring family or friends and make a day of it.
Art lovers will be delighted to witness the park’s countless masterpieces this month at the Museum of Photographic Arts and San Diego Museum of Art. The MoPA displays approximately 7,000 works representing poignant historic movements and photographic advancements throughout art history.
The San Diego Museum of Art is San Diego’s oldest and largest art museum, boasting contributions that range from old European masterpieces to contemporary and Latin American works. Regular admission is $6 for adults at the MoPA ($4 for students) and $12 for adults at the San Diego Museum of Art ($8 for students). Both museums are closed on Mondays.
Also participating are the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum. The Science Center, home to Southern California’s only IMAX Dome Theater, is open daily and offers more than 100 hands-on exhibits for all ages. The Hall of Champions, also open daily, is the nation’s largest multi-sport museum boasting approximately 70,000 square feet of museum space across three levels. These levels showcase diverse interests ranging from football to bass fishing. Regular adult admission for the Science Center is $10 while the Hall of Champions offers admission for $8 for adults and $6 for students.
Finally, history and anthropology buffs can find their niche at the San Diego Natural History Museum and San Diego Museum of Man. The Natural History Museum is one of Balboa Park’s central attractions where visitors can discover the origins of ancient reptiles, the creation of glittering gemstones and San Diego’s own unique fossil history. Admission for adults is $17 ($12 for students).
The Museum of Man, located beneath the historic California Tower, is the city’s only museum devoted to anthropology and archeology and features exhibits on ancient Egypt and human evolution. Adults may purchase tickets for $10 while students are admitted for $7.50. Both museums are open daily, so there is always enough time to explore.
Aside from these generous Museum Month discounts, many attractions offer free admission for San Diego students and residents with valid identification on alternating Tuesdays of each month. For more information, visit www.balboapark.org.
Current exhibits capture creativity
The San Diego Museum of Art boasts an Art Stop every Thursday and every third Tuesday of the month at noon. Each week in February, guests can enjoy a 15 minute tour of one to three pieces from the museum’s collection free with admission.
The MoPA is now hosting “Imagine That! Photographing an Invisible World.” The exhibit, which lasts all year, showcases photographers who capture unique perspectives and invites viewers to explore the meaning behind the photography, beyond what’s visible on the surface of the work.
At the Centro Cultural de la Raza, works by Malaquias Montoya illustrate the consequences of power and war in “Globalization & War: The Aftermath.” His artwork conveys the tragedies of war and displacement from globalization and runs until March 4.
Balboa Park offers entertainment for a range of interests. Take it from business and marketing senior and Balboa Park frequenter, Mike Butruce.
“I’ve learned so much about San Diego and other cultures,” Butruce said. “Everyone here is in the same mind set. There’s a good vibe about it.”
For Butruce, as well as countless others, Balboa Park is a refuge from the SDSU atmosphere and a peaceful, calm escape.