2014 Arbor Day in Balboa Park – Friday, April 25

ArborDayOakSaplingsFriends of Balboa Park invite you to celebrate National Arbor Day with us on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 10:00 am in Zoro Garden.Come celebrate with us to dedicate a new grove of trees for Arbor Day.  Special guest speaker will be Jean Palmer, great-granddaughter of Arbor Day Founder J. Sterling Morton.  Learn how the Friends, together with Park & Recreation, have been conserving water in the open spaces of Balboa Park.  Learn how you can help beautify the Park for the 2015 Centennial.  We will be joined by school children from Roosevelt Middle and San Diego High School.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Click here to download a flyer.  To reserve your space, RSVP by clicking here.





ZoroGarden4WebFriends of Balboa Park is proud to be initiating the new Adopt-A-Plot Program with the City of San Diego’s Park & Recreation Department for the 2015 Centennial. Professional landscape designers, horticulture and garden societies, businesses and volunteers will work with us to create new landscapes for key areas of Balboa Park including popular gardens in the Central Mesa, and many more acres of parkland in need of refurbishment. These projects will help ensure the preservation of the Park’s rich horticultural heritage. Click here for more information.

Water-Wise Program

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Friends of Balboa Park have responded to San Diego’s critical water shortage by initiating the Water-Wise Program for Balboa Park – a plan that will help achieve environmental sustainability. The Friends are leading the effort by raising funds to “smartscape” acres of land with drought tolerant plants, install water-saving irrigation and high-tech irrigation controllers, and study and implement water-reclamation systems.In addition, an important water and irrigation mapping project is underway which will bring immediate benefit to water conservation efforts in the Park. Click here for more information.


Friends Annual Awards Luncheon


Save-the-Date for Friends of Balboa Park’s Annual Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at the Balboa Park Club. Join us to honor and celebrate with exceptional visionaries and volunteers in Balboa Park. To view information about last year’s luncheon, click here.





April 2014 Balboa Park Exhibits/Performances

Click here to view the Current Exhibits and Performances.

theNAT-PiratestheNAT: San Diego Natural History Museum

Real Pirates: View more than 200 artifacts, including cannons, swords, coins, gold and jewelry, recovered off the coast of Cape Cod from the first authenticated pirate ship discovered in U.S. waters. Learn the true story of the Whydah, from her historic transformation from slave ship to pirate ship to her final resting place on the ocean floor.


Experience an inspiring story of love and dedication, and the amazing bond between humans and animals in the new IMAX® film BORN TO BE WILD. Narrated by Academy-Award® winner Morgan Freeman, this film follows the lives of orphaned orangutans and elephants, from birth to their rebirth into the wild. – See more at: http://www.rhfleet.org/shows/born-be-wild#sthash.GDDMtMKl.dpuf

Cabrillo Bridge Rehabilitation and Retrofit Project

163_Cabrillo_Bridge June2013KBCaltrans, in conjunction with the City of San Diego is working on a rehabilitation and retrofit project of the Cabrillo Bridge over State Route 163.  The Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic from January of 2014 through June 2014.  For the latest update on the project, click here.

San Diego Unified to Restart Pilot Balboa Park program with help from the Friends!

school bus Barta (2)Friends of Balboa Park has initiated the return of 5th grade school children to Balboa Park for one day field trips starting in 2014!  San Diego Unified School Board voted to restart this program, provided funding for buses can be guaranteed. Friends of Balboa Park will be raising funds for bus transportation.  At $185/bus, the annual need to get school children into the Park for one day/week will be $40,000 per year for all San Diego 5th graders.  We appreciate your support at any level to give each child this special enrichment to the regular curriculum, an experience the children will never forget. To read more about the program, and make a donation, click here.  Thank you!

Lily Pond Repairs & Restoration

Lily Pond in Bloom Summer 08-croppedWhen the  plants had gone dormant and the Park’s social calendar slowed sufficiently, Park & Recreation Department and Friends of Balboa Park completed the final work to recover from the damage to the Lily Pond in August of 2012.  To read more about the repairs and restoration, click here.  To view a complete listing of donors for the repair and restoration project, click here.  To view our photo galleries of the recent activity, including event photos from the Lily Pond Celebration on February 25,  click here.

Founder’s Perspective – Closing Speech by Betty Peabody from Friends of Balboa Park Annual Awards Luncheon

Founder Betty Peabody. 
Photo by Sam Hodgson

Today we are recognizing eight decades of volunteerism to Balboa Park by the extended Gildred Family.  We all thank Helen and Phil Gildred, Sr. for their progeny.

May I offer my congratulations to all of our honorees.  You each epitomize the purpose of this luncheon: to recognize decades of service, whether highly visible or little acknowledged dedication behind the scenes.  You all participate in polishing the treasure we call Balboa Park.  To read the text of the entire speech, click here.

Name that Tune!

Friends of Balboa Park is proud to get you behind the scenes around Balboa Park. If you are a regular Park visitor, you have probably heard one of the noontime bell medleys coming from the California Tower. But few people know the process behind the sound. To read more about this fascinating instrument and its rich history in the park, and to find out how you can submit a song request, click here to view entire article submitted by current Carillonneur Gina Seashore.