Birch Aquarium at Scripps

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Balboa Park

As the largest urban park in North America, Balboa Park is filled with arts, cultural treasures, architectural grandeur, spectacular gardens, museums and the San Diego Zoo.

Expanding more than 1,200 acres, it features 17 museums devoted to topics such as anthropology, art, aviation, photography, science and the history of San Diego itself. The scope of objects contained within its institutions is staggering. A sampling includes the real capsule used in the Apollo 9 space mission at the San Diego Air & Space Museum and Louie Mattar's Fabulous $75,000 Car, which can be found at the San Diego Automotive Museum. Families can also enjoy one of the largest indoor railroad displays in the world and view giant-screen films in Southern California's only IMAX Dome Theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

The park is also renowned for its brilliant displays of seasonal flowers and shady groves of trees. Take in the beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden, known for its ornamental plants, colorful koi pond and beautiful bonsai display. Last but not least, take advantage of the park's variety of offerings, (select museums have free admission on Tuesdays for San Diego residents), free daily park tours and free public organ concerts on Sunday afternoons.