Tyler’s Toddler Take on Balboa Park in San Diego



Hi everyone,

It’s Tyler again from TheTravelingToddler.com.  As you might have heard, we were in San Diego recently.

We visited Cabrilo National Monument which is on the southern tip of San Diego. 

Another attraction that we visited in San Diego was Balboa Park.  Unfortunately, we only had an afternoon to spend, so we didn’t get to take in the full experience of Balboa Park. 

In today’s article, we’re going to tell you some basics about Balboa Park (https://www.balboapark.org/) and talk about three of the attractions we visited: the International Cottages, Spreckels Organ, and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum



Balboa Park is one of the most famous attractions in San Diego.  Besides being the home of the San Diego Zoo, there are 17 museums and many additional attractions.

Visiting the grounds of Balboa Park is free but the museums do charge admission.  The admission charge varies by location.  You can also purchase a pass that allows admission to all the museums for one price.

Parking at Balboa Park is plentiful and free. 

There are many pedestrian and stroller friendly zones within the park where cars are not allowed, so it’s a very safe environment to let your toddler wander around.


International Cottages

32 countries are represented here.  Every weekend, each country opens their cottage for about 6 hours a day to visitors.

Each cottage is decorated in the style of the represented country and local guides talk about their country’s culture and customs.  Occasionally food samples are offered.

We were lucky enough that the International Cottages were open when we visited and we went in about six of them.


Spreckels Organ at Balboa Park


Spreckels Organ

This is the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world, comprising over 5,000 pipes, some up to 32 feet in length.

There are performances every Sunday at 2pm.  We happened to catch a great performance while we were visiting.



Model Railroad Museum

Run by volunteer hobbyists, it’s the world’s largest operating model railroad museum.  The museum is dedicated to preserving the art of model railroading and features four enormous layouts of railroads throughout American history.

The museum is open most days except Mondays.  Admission is $11.50 for an adult and $6 for a child ages 6 to 14.  Younger children are free.


Tyler playing with the trains at the Model Railroad Museum



Balboa Park is a must visit attraction in San Diego. 

There’s something for every toddler, whether he or she loves sports, animals, trains, planes, science, space, dinosaurs, or cars.

You could easily spend a few days and still not see all the museums and attractions here. 

Thanks for reading.

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Do you have any thoughts about Balboa park?  What are your favorite attractions?  Leave your comments below.