December Nights Information Booths

December Nights has been a tradition within Balboa Park for over the past 40 years. This event is a San Diego tradition to celebrate the holiday season with an abundance of free music, dance performances, vendors, and of course, food!

Friends of Balboa Park has traditionally hosted an event information booth to guide park visitors to various performances and activities. Volunteers hold an important role and it wouldn’t be possible without people like you. To get more information about available time-slots, please contact or call (619) 232-2282.

This year, it will take place on:

Friday December 1: 3 to 11 p.m. 

Saturday December 2: Noon to 11 p.m. 


Balustrades at El Cid are Completed 2015

recent projects baulastradsFriends of Balboa Park proudly announces the completion of the Balustrades at El Cid Project. The $60,000 project replaced the crumbling balustrades and sidewalk with new footings, created a sidewalk with American Disability Association-approved ramps, and cast concrete balustrades painted in original Balboa Park colors.

“The completion of the balustrade renovations demonstrates the ongoing investment being made in Balboa Park,” said Councilmember Todd Gloria. “I thank the Friends of Balboa Park for sharing my commitment to preserving the historical architecture and features throughout the park. The Centennial Celebration is an appropriate occasion to mark with capital improvements like this.”

To read the entire press release, click here.



Arbor Day in Balboa Park – photos!

DSC_4550Friends of Balboa Park celebrated Arbor Day  on Friday, April 24, 2015.   Eleven American Tulip trees were planted with volunteer help from local area students at the War Memorial Building. Click on the image at left to view our photos.   Click here for more information on Arbor Day, including information on how you can purchase a dedicated tree in honor of a loved one.  We have two of the tulip trees still available.

Pictured at left are Girl Scouts from Troop 3289 who used their cookie earnings to dedicate a tree!

Balboa Park Summer Camp Brochures

Summer is here and the Park museums and organizations are accepting sign ups.  Click here to download our collaborative summer camp brochure which has all the information you need to register, including:

  • Collaborative half day camp offerings that coordinate lunch time supervision and coordination so that your child may spend the morning at one camp and the afternoon in another;
  • Contact information for registration with each camp description.
  • Published and funded by Friends of Balboa Park! Please contact us if you would like one mailed to you.




Cabrillo Bridge Rehab and Retrofit Project 2015

lights under the cabrillo bridgeCaltrans, in conjunction with the City of San Diego completed the rehabilitation and retrofit project of the Cabrillo Bridge over State Route 163.  Caltrans rang in the new Year by lighting up the arches on the Cabrillo Bridge, which is now illuminated at night.

The Cabrillo Bridge (Laurel Street Overcrossing) Retrofit and Rehabilitation Project team met its goal to complete the exterior work and restore the bridge to its original beauty in time for the Balboa Park’s Centennial Celebration in 2015. New Year’s Eve marked the unveiling of new LED arch lighting, creating a stunning nighttime view of this historic San Diego landmark. Temporary concrete barriers along State Route 163 were removed in early 2015. Work to install electrical conduit and metal ladders and doors on the catwalks continues inside the columns.

Work began on the seismic retrofit and rehabilitation project in September 2013. Work sequence and timing challenges had to be met to ensure that the work was complete before the Park’s Centennial Celebration. This included closing the bridge to vehicle traffic for six months.

Crews were faced with removing a century’s worth of sludge made up of dirt, silt and animal waste inside each of the 14 piers and two abutments. Workers had to climb into small enclosed chambers and manually shovel the mire into buckets which were hefted up and down by rope.

The exterior work to upgrade the bridge deck and repair unsound concrete was completed  November 2014. Interior work included installing vertical and horizontal post tensioning steel cables, reinforcing column walls, replacing utilities, and installing a catwalk system for future bridge inspection and maintenance. A new storm drain system was also installed as part of the project.

For project information, go to Questions may be addressed to Caltrans Media Relations Officer Cathryne Bruce-Johnson at or by phone at (619) 688-6670 and to the City of San Diego Supervising Public Information Officer Bill Harris at, phone (858) 541-4354.

New Kiosks in the Park 2014

Friends of Balboa Park, together with our partner Kiosk Arts, finished installation of two new kiosks this fall.  Click here to view a map of all five locations. Look for our new updated kiosks in locations at the corner of Pan American Plaza just below the International Cottages and at the Inspiration Point Tram Stop.

The new kiosks feature touch screen technology that has a new look and feel, thanks to the work of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative who has been designed the software updates.   Information on museum exhibits, performances, park tours, and special events are available to kiosk users as well as map locations for all the park’s features including restaurants, restrooms, museums, gardens, and attractions.   Each Kiosk offers FREE WiFi, an ATM,park map, and sponsor messages from our partners.

Thanks to funding from Las Patronas, Balboa Park Trust at The San Diego Foundation, and the Thursday Club, we are now putting the finishing touches on a multi-year project that helps connect people to the park!



Share your stories of Balboa Park for “A Tapestry of Time”

Please share with us what you or your family remembers about Balboa Park.  We want to tell future generations of your role in building the rich heritage of the Park.  We plan to publish the collection in a new volume of “A Tapestry of Time.”  Click here to download “A Tapestry of Time” Volume I – a rich history of Balboa Park as told through people’s memories of the Park from the Expositions in 1915 and 1935 which were collected and published by Betty and Homer Peabody in 1997 .  Click here for more information about how you can submit new stories.  Thank you!

Postcard courtesy of David Marshall

Eco Ambassador Campaign 2014

Eco Ambassadors 2014Thank you for voting in the 2014 Eco-Ambassadors People’s Choice campaign!

Voting has now ended in the online campaign. We thank all who took time to vote in support of our Plaza de Balboa Smartscape project. Your vote helped support our  water conservation efforts in Balboa Park. Congratulations to the winner – ArtForm.  Because of your efforts we received over 2,500 votes!  Thank you!

Friends Celebrate National Arbor Day – Friday, April 25

ArborDay2014JeanPalmer&RooseveltStudentsFriends of Balboa Park celebrated National Arbor Day on Friday, April 25, 2014 in Zoro Garden.  Attendees  learned about programs underway to beautify the Park for the 2015 Centennial, including water conservation and smart scaping in several gardens around the Park.  We were joined by school children from Roosevelt Middle and San Diego High School.  Featured special guest Jean Palmer, the great-granddaughter of Arbor Day Founder J. Sterling Morton, is pictured at left planting  a special ceremonial Oak tree to commemorate the occasion.   To view our event program, 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!