San Diego’s Balboa Park is a veritable universe unto itself. While everyone knows about the famous zoo tucked away in the 1,200-acre urban oasis, oodles of other attractions combine to make this a truly world-class destination.
Here are 10 ways you can make the most of this natural and cultural wonderland with your kids:
1. Jump on a century-old carousel, with original European hand-carved animals, for a five-minute whirl.
2. See how your face changes as you age, and peer through a microscope at real human cells at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
3. Visit the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages between 2 and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays to experience traditional costumes, food, and dance from a different country each week.
4. Find “Showa,” a five-year-old fish that lives in the koi pond at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
6. At the WorldBeat Cultural Center, learn how medicinal plants are used around the world.
7. Explore Palm Canyon Trail, home to a group of century-old palm trees, and count the elephant-ear-shaped leaves from the wooden bridge.
8. Enjoy a free concert from one of the largest outdoor pipe organs in the world at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on Sundays.
This piece, written by Laura Willard, appeared in the June/July 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.