Balboa Park houses a number of architecturally significant and beautiful structures, many of which are museums, theaters, or gardens that are accessible to the public. The majority of these are centrally located in and around El Prado (Spanish for "the meadow"). The rest of Balboa Park’s acreage provides space for the San Diego Zoo, golf courses, trails, and the like.
Land for Balboa Park was set aside in the mid 19th century, but it wasn’t until preparation for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 that many of the buildings were designed and constructed.
The collection of museums, gardens, and theaters could keep a visitor occupied for days. Even strolling the grounds of El Prado and the Pan American Plaza can take an entire afternoon. Vendors supply food and beverages, and a free tram can expedite the sightseeing or give reprieve to weary legs.