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Park's Exotic Flora, Fauna Invite Walk on Wild Side
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 4 page 6-6
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The California Building is the park's centerpiece.  Brett Shoaf/Artistic Visuals

Little walk in the park might seem like a pleasant diversion during the APA 2007 annual meeting, but a visit to San Diego's Balboa Park can turn into a stroll or an expedition, depending on one's mood.

The park—said to be America's largest urban cultural park—contains 1,200 acres, 17 museums, 14 gardens, six performing-arts stages, tennis courts, hiking trails, a carousel, a golf course, a soccer field, and the city's renowned zoo. The park is just a 10-minute drive or cab ride from the San Diego Convention Center.

Of course, visitors can simply ramble about, since trails wind from one end of the park to the other. The park is home to collections of Spanish-inspired architecture built during the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition or the 1935-36 California-Pacific International Exposition. The visual symbol of the city, the California Tower, was designed in the style of a Spanish-Colonial church as the entryway for the latter exposition and today is part of the Museum of Man (see page 38).

Park rangers offer free tours of the architectural, historic, and botanical highlights of the park every Tuesday and Saturday. The park's visitors center rents self-guided audio tours for $5 ($3 for children) for those who prefer to ramble on their own.

Visitors can walk around Balboa Park for free, but many museums and other venues charge admission. A $35 Passport to Balboa Park ($19 for children) is valid for seven days and covers admission to 13 museums in the complex, including the San Diego Museum of Art (see facing page), San Diego Museum of Man, and San Diego Natural History Museum (see page 38). (There's an extra charge for admission to the zoo.)

During the annual meeting, the Tony-Award-winning Old Globe Theater will present "Two Trains Running," part of the late August Wilson's epic 10-play cycle portraying African-American life in the 20th century. Set in a Pittsburgh diner at the end of the 1960s, "Two Trains Running" explores the civil-rights movement and urban renewal in a community in decline.

Balboa Park is also famous for its flora as well as its fauna, and the park presents innumerable vantage points from which to view both. Garden lovers can visit the following free of charge:

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Balboa Park

The Old Globe Theater

(619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623)

WorldBeat Center's Children's Ethnobotany Garden

(619) 230-1190

Japanese Friendship Garden

(619) 232-2721 ▪

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The California Building is the park's centerpiece.  Brett Shoaf/Artistic Visuals

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