Balboa park and old town san diego

Trip Start Aug 03, 2013
Trip End Aug 18, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, August 15, 2013

today we've had a lot of museum fun. rather than use the car we bought a bus day pass and headed up to balboa park. named after the spanish explorer that first set eyes on the pacific ocean in 1513, the park was founded in 1868 and occupies over 1,200 acres. the park was the site of the 1915 panama-california expo that celebrated the opening of the panama canal. several of the spanish colonial-style buildings still survive, and to these have been added new buildings that host a variety of museums. we bought a single-day 5 museum pass and managed to fit in 5 of the 14 venues available. the first port of call was the san diego air and space museum. they have a really good collection of space craft, including the command module from apollo 9 mission. a good number of plane exhibits too and a really fab 4d cinema that we went in. next was the automobile museum. this wasn't so good, but had an interesting exhibit of a car two brothers modified to make a non-stop journey across america. fitted with everything required for the 6,500 mile trip, theycould refuel without stopping and even change a wheel without having to stop. the museum of photographic arts featured a number of atmospheric black and white photostory images that were stunning. we then had a while as trainspotters in the san diego model rail museum. while not model train buffs, you couldn't help to be impressed by the sheer size and numbers of model trains and the layouts they had. certainly the largest train set collections i've ever seen - mind you i've not seen a lot - several more appear to be under construction too. our last museum of the day was the reuben h fleet science museum. this place was really good. not only did it encourage interaction with various science experiments on a larger scale than at-bristol, it also had an imax dome-shaped planetrium theatre. we watched 4 films about our solar system, simply oustanding seeing it wrap around and above you. time was cracking on so at 5.30pm we caught the next bus back to the downtown area and our hotel. after a short rest we headed out and caught a trolley tram up to the old town of san diego. the original centre of san diego up until the 1870s, the city was centered around the old presidio, or fort, that the spanish military built. some of the old buildings still survive, but by and large the buildings are now mainly replicas hosting lots of mexican gift shops and restaurants. we had a good shop around and enjoyed dinner sat outside in a mexican cantina.
with full tums we made our way back to the hotel.
tomorrow is our last hoo.
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