More stunning beauty in the Botanical Building.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is a garden paradise. I love to walk through it, searching right and left for small scenes of stunning beauty.

This afternoon I managed to capture some good photographs.

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A plant in Balboa Park now extinct in the wild.

Balboa Park's knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.
Balboa Park’s knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.

I learned something really amazing last Sunday in Balboa Park. I had joined one of Ranger Kim Duclo’s park tours as it was in progress, and I followed the group into the Botanical Building.

Near the center of the Botanical Building, Ranger Kim stopped beside a beautiful green tree and told us it was one of the rarest plants in the entire world!

Deppea splendens was originally discovered in 1973 by botanist Dennis Breedlove. He found it growing in a single spot in Mexico’s southern mountains. Fortunately Dennis gathered some seeds. Because when he returned in 1986, the plants had all been destroyed. The area had been developed into farmland.

Ranger Kim told us that specimens of Deppea splendens now grow in relatively few places–mostly in special havens like Balboa Park. He also said that one day the plant might be reintroduced into the wild, much as the California condor was saved locally from extinction and successfully returned to its natural habitat.

May that day come!

A look at the thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park's lush Botanical Building.
Photo of a thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park’s lush Botanical Building.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. This public domain photograph is from Wikimedia Commons.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. I found this public domain photograph at Wikimedia Commons.
These beautiful green leaves might be reintroduced into the wild one day!
These rare, beautiful leaves might be seen once again in the wild!

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Orchids in Balboa Park’s amazing Botanical Building!

I believe all these beautiful images are of orchids! I apologize if I'm mistaken. Most photos were taken just inside the left door to the Botanical Building in Balboa Park.
I believe all these beautiful images are of orchids! I apologize if I’m mistaken. Most photos were taken just inside the left door to the Botanical Building in Balboa Park.

I believe all these photos are of orchids. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert when it comes to plants or flowers. Heck, I hardly even rank as an amateur. But I do recognize exquisite beauty. And you’ll find it just inside the left door of Balboa Park’s amazing Botanical Building!

I don’t know the types or names of these orchids. I looked for signs, but saw none. If you recognize anything, leave a comment!

Deep velvet beauty for everyone to enjoy.
Velvet beauty for everyone to enjoy.
So much to absorb in the amazing Botanical Building--one's eyes leap from bloom to bloom.
So much to absorb in the amazing Botanical Building–one’s eyes leap from bloom to bloom.
Nature's masterpieces are often small and fragile.
Nature’s masterpieces are often small and fragile.
Should you ever visit Balboa Park in San Diego, don't miss the Botanical Building. The enormous lath building stands behind the reflecting pool near El Prado.
Should you ever visit Balboa Park in San Diego, don’t miss the Botanical Building. The enormous lath building stands behind the reflecting pool near El Prado.
White angel-like flower seems to signal that the world is just fine.
White angel-like flower seems to signal that the world is just fine.
Many orchids in clay pots hanging from a wall trellis.
Many orchids in clay pots hanging from a wall trellis.
A long strand of gems.
A long strand of gems.
Everywhere you turn in the Botanical Building you'll discover lush plants and natural wonders.
Everywhere you turn in the Botanical Building you’ll discover lush plants and natural wonders.
A lady glides into heaven on Earth.
A lady glides into heaven on Earth.

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Young and old dream at Centennial Railway Garden.

Young and old together dream in a small outdoor nook in Balboa Park.
Young and old together dream in a small outdoor nook in Balboa Park.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park has erected a cool little exhibit on their outdoor rear patio called the Centennial Railway Garden. To commemorate the hundred year anniversary of Balboa Park, a detailed layout features streetcars traveling among 3D-printed reproductions of several buildings in the park. The scenes date from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Visitors young and old can dream they’ve traveled back in time as they take control of the fun model train action with their smart phone! (Technology has changed somewhat in the last hundred years!)

Go check out the Centennial Railway Garden and have a lot of fun!

Volunteer at San Diego Model Railroad Museum walks past 3D-printed model of the historic California Building with its bell tower.
Volunteer at San Diego Model Railroad Museum walks past 3D-printed model of the historic California Building with its bell tower.
Putting a model of a streetcar on the tracks. A hundred years ago, John D. Spreckels' Class 1 streetcars provided transportation around San Diego.
Putting a model of a streetcar on the tracks. A hundred years ago, John D. Spreckels’ Class 1 streetcars provided transportation around San Diego.
This small replica of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is part of special exhibit that commemorates Balboa Park's centennial.
This small replica of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is part of special exhibit that commemorates Balboa Park’s centennial.
The Centennial Railway Garden also includes a model of Balboa Park's Botanical Building and nearby reflecting pool!
The Centennial Railway Garden also includes a model of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building and nearby reflecting pool!
Getting the streetcars ready early one weekend morning before many visitors arrive at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Getting the streetcars ready early one weekend morning before many visitors arrive at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
The very cool Centennial Railway Garden is a place in Balboa Park where dreams from the past come alive.
The very cool Centennial Railway Garden is a place in Balboa Park where dreams from the past come alive.

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Pics of Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park!

Child gives potted plant to spectator during floral wagon parade in Balboa Park.
Child gives potted plant to spectator during floral wagon parade in Balboa Park.

It was a memorable day in Balboa Park!

To celebrate its centennial, San Diego’s historic Balboa Park is throwing a number of special events this year. Today our beautiful park was the scene of the Garden Party of the Century. And what a party it was!

As the title suggests, the emphasis was on gardening and the many incredible gardens of our world-class urban park. Spring flowers filled every corner, and lots of people came out to enjoy excellent exhibits. A unique parade also took place, as you’ll see in the following photographs.

The event’s main ceremony involved Marines from San Diego’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot, which is perhaps a mile (or two) from the park. The Marines played an instrumental role during the early days of Balboa Park, which was created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The mere presence of a Marine camp inside the large park back then eventually helped to preserve many of the wonderful old Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings visitors marvel at today.

Many tents with horticulture exhibits were around Balboa Park for the Garden Party of the Century. Some can be seen next to the Botanical Building.
Many tents with horticulture exhibits were around Balboa Park for the Garden Party of the Century. Some can be seen next to the Botanical Building.
These friendly folks explained that dahlia blooms can be as large as fourteen inches!
These friendly folks explained that dahlia blooms can be as large as fourteen inches!
Displays concerning gardening were front and center during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Displays concerning gardening were front and center during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
These master gardeners showed me what a ladybird larva looks like! (It's the critter on the right.)
These master gardeners showed me what a ladybird larva looks like! (It’s the critter on the right.)
There were lots of flower arrangements and botany-themed art throughout the park!
There were lots of flower arrangements and botany-themed art throughout the park!
It's still early in the morning, so some exhibitors are still setting up near the reflecting pool.
It’s still early in the morning, so some exhibitors are still setting up near the reflecting pool.
This super cool lady talked to me about the work of the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department.
This super cool lady talked to me about the work of the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department.
Smiling lady from the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Smiling lady from the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Lots of plants were for sale in the park, including on the Casa del Prado patio.
Lots of plants were for sale in the park, including on the Casa del Prado patio.
Ducks and baby ducklings were swimming about the lily pads in the Balboa Park reflecting pool!
Ducks and baby ducklings were swimming about the lily pads in the Balboa Park reflecting pool!
Sign shows the way to the Rose Garden across Park Boulevard.
Sign shows the way to the Rose Garden across Park Boulevard.
One example of Balboa Park's Adopt-A-Plot volunteer gardening program--this plot is in Sefton Plaza.
One example of Balboa Park’s Adopt-A-Plot volunteer gardening program. This plot is in Sefton Plaza.
A photo I took this morning of beautiful flower beds in the Alcazar Garden.
A photo I took this morning of beautiful flower beds in the Alcazar Garden.
Another exhibitor near the Moreton Bay Fig Tree and Natural History Museum has a cool trash can painted with flowers and a bee.
Another exhibitor near the huge Moreton Bay Fig Tree and Natural History Museum has a cool trash can painted with flowers and a bee.
The Navy was showcasing its environmental programs.
The Navy was showcasing its environmental programs.
Marines cross street in front of the Casa del Prado Theatre building.
Marines cross street in front of the Casa del Prado Theatre building.
The floral wagon parade staged in a parking lot by the Balboa Park carousel.
The floral wagon parade was staged in a parking lot by the Balboa Park carousel.
Musicians stand ready for the beginning of the big parade through Balboa Park.
Musicians stand ready for the beginning of the big parade through Balboa Park.
San Diego's own Fern Street Circus has gathered for the parade holding colorful banners.
San Diego’s own Fern Street Circus has gathered for the parade holding colorful banners.
Other performers from the Fern Street Circus wait a bit further down the parade route for the spectacle to begin.
Other performers from the Fern Street Circus wait a bit further down the parade route for the spectacle to begin.
The Garden Party of the Century Parade is underway and turning onto El Prado!
The Garden Party of the Century Parade is underway and turning onto El Prado!
Kids, families, wagons and flowers. An overcast day after our recent stormy weather.
Kids, families, wagons and flowers. An overcast day after our recent stormy weather.
Here come drummers and a flag down the festive parade route!
Here come drummers and a flag down the festive parade route!
Look at the boldly colored dresses and fantastic costumes!
Look at the boldly colored dresses and fantastic costumes!
Here come some lush, wonderful floral wagons.
Here come some lush, wonderful floral wagons.
Garden Party of the Century parade turns the corner and heads down El Prado toward Plaza de Panama.
Garden Party of the Century parade turns the corner and heads down El Prado toward Plaza de Panama.
Flower-laden wagons pass in front of ornate Casa del Prado.
Flower-laden wagons pass in front of ornate Casa del Prado facade.
A bee is followed by a beekeeper!
A bee is followed by a beekeeper!
The parade approaches the reflecting pool as it passes booths lining El Prado.
The parade approaches the reflecting pool as it passes booths that line El Prado.
This lady in an elegant old-fashioned dress was handing out goodies to the watching crowd.
This lady in an elegant old-fashioned dress was handing out goodies to the watching crowd.
A painter in Balboa Park gets an eyeful as the parade passes by.
A painter in Balboa Park gets an eyeful as the parade passes by.
Uncle Sam and lots of other happy San Diegans.
Uncle Sam and lots of other happy San Diegans.
Dr. Seuss seems to be a favorite author of the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department!
Dr. Seuss seems to be a favorite author of the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department!
The cool parade finally reaches the Plaza de Panama in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.
The cool parade finally reaches the spacious Plaza de Panama in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.
A second parade nears! Marines from San Diego's MCRD march down El Prado for a special historic ceremony.
A second parade nears! Marines from San Diego’s MCRD march down El Prado for a special ceremony.
The band leads the way as marchers from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot enter Plaza de Panama.
The band leads the way as marchers from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot enter Plaza de Panama.
The Marines played an important role in Balboa Park's beginning, and are duplicating their march from 100 years ago!
The Marines played an important role in Balboa Park’s beginning, and are duplicating their march from 100 years ago!
Marines stand at attention before San Diego mayor, MCRD commandant and other dignitaries speak during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Marines stand at attention. The San Diego mayor, MCRD commandant and other dignitaries spoke during the special Balboa Park Centennial event.
Civilian and military bystanders look on as a memorable San Diego event is taking place.
Civilian and military bystanders look on as a memorable San Diego event is taking place.
Proudly marching Marines head west down El Prado toward California Tower and Museum of Man.
Proudly marching Marines head west down El Prado toward California Tower and Museum of Man.
Marines start across the Cabrillo Bridge to reproduce a famous photograph from one hundred years ago!
Marines start across the Cabrillo Bridge to reproduce a famous photograph from one hundred years ago!

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Historical photos of Balboa Park a century ago.

Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition's La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. Dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.
Photograph of the Panama-California Exposition’s La Puerta del Oeste (west entrance) taken from Cabrillo Bridge. The dome and bell tower of the California State Building rise into the San Diego sky.

Balboa Park’s big Centennial celebration is approaching fast! The year-long event kicks off with the opening of December Nights on Friday, December 5th. Later this month, the celebration will continue with a grand New Year’s Eve procession and concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

The Balboa Park Centennial marks the hundred years that have passed since the opening of the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. While a large open space park near downtown San Diego (originally named City Park) was established in 1872, Balboa Park didn’t really take shape until many years later. Many of the buildings along El Prado which visitors enjoy today owe their existence to the development of the Panama-California Exposition, which covered 640 acres and promoted San Diego as the first United States port of call after a passage through the newly opened Panama Canal. Other parts of Balboa Park were created twenty years later for the California Pacific International Exposition–but that’s a different story.

In honor of the Centennial–now just two days away–I figured I’d post a bunch of historical photographs of Balboa Park as it appeared a century ago. The following black-and-white photos are from Wikimedia Commons, and provide different views of the amazing Panama-California Exposition. I had to do a little detective work with some of the images. Since I’m by no means an expert, please leave a comment if I’ve written captions that require correction.

Cover of the 1915 Official Guide Book to San Diego's Panama-California Exposition. The event celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, and lasted through 1916.
Cover of the 1915 Official Guide Book to San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition. The event celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, and lasted through 1916.
Aerial view from downtown San Diego of Balboa Park's 1915 Panama-California Exposition. In 1910 San Diego had a small population of only 39,578.
Aerial view from downtown San Diego of Balboa Park’s 1915 Panama-California Exposition. In 1910 San Diego had a small population of only 39,578.
La Laguna Cabrillo lake and Camino Cabrillo road beneath Cabrillo Bridge. California State Route 163, a designated scenic highway, runs beneath the historic bridge today.
La Laguna Cabrillo lake and Camino Cabrillo road beneath Cabrillo Bridge. California State Route 163, a designated scenic highway, runs beneath the historic bridge today.
Detailed 1915 map shows Panama-California Exposition ground plan in Balboa Park (originally named City Park).
Detailed 1915 map shows Panama-California Exposition ground plan in Balboa Park (originally named City Park).
Photo taken of Balboa Park in 1915 from the California Tower provides panoramic view of many exposition buildings designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style.
Photo taken of Balboa Park in 1915 from the California Tower provides panoramic view of many exposition buildings designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style.
Looking west along El Prado through the heart of Balboa Park in 1915. At the exposition's opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson activated the electric street lamps with a telegraphic signal.
Looking west along El Prado through the heart of Balboa Park in 1915. At the exposition’s opening ceremony, President Woodrow Wilson activated the electric street lamps with a telegraphic signal.
Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building stand side-by-side on the south side of tree-lined El Prado. Today, the rebuilt structures are called the Casa de Balboa and House of Hospitality.
Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building stand side-by-side on the south side of tree-lined El Prado. Today, the rebuilt structures are called the Casa de Balboa and House of Hospitality.
Commerce and Industries Building. Rebuilt as Casa de Balboa, it's now home of Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center, and San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Commerce and Industries Building. Rebuilt as Casa de Balboa, it’s now home of Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego History Center, and San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
View of shady pergola and the iconic 208 feet tall California Tower from Los Jardines de Montezuma (Montezuma Gardens) in 1915.
View of shady pergola and the iconic 208 feet tall California Tower from Los Jardines de Montezuma (Montezuma Gardens) in 1915.
Los Jardines de Montezuma (today named Alcazar Garden) at Balboa Park's Panama-California Exposition.
Los Jardines de Montezuma (today named Alcazar Garden) at Balboa Park’s Panama-California Exposition.
Spacious gardens near California State Building's landmark dome and bell tower during the Panama-California Exposition.
Spacious gardens near California State Building’s landmark dome and bell tower during the Panama-California Exposition.
U.S. Navy ambulance parked near entrance of the California State Building, today the Museum of Man.
U.S. Navy ambulance parked near entrance of the California State Building, today the Museum of Man.
Kids feed pigeons on the central Plaza de Panama. The Indian Arts Building with mission bells on left was renamed House of Charm and reconstructed in 1996. It now contains the Mingei Museum.
Kids feed pigeons on the central Plaza de Panama. The Indian Arts Building with mission bells on left was renamed House of Charm and reconstructed in 1996. It now contains the Mingei Museum.
Expansive gardens near the Food Products Building. Today's enormous Moreton Fig Tree was planted in 1914 near this location.
Expansive gardens near the Food Products Building. Today’s enormous Moreton Fig Tree was planted in 1914 near this location.
Elegant facade of Food Products Building, which was eventually reconstructed in 1971 as part of the Casa del Prado. It's now the entrance to the San Diego Junior Theatre.
Elegant facade of Food Products Building, which was eventually reconstructed in 1971 as part of the Casa del Prado. It’s now the entrance to the San Diego Junior Theatre.
View of La Laguna de las Flores, the reflecting pool (or lagoon) at the Panama-California Exposition. This area was called the Botanical Court.
View of La Laguna de las Flores, the reflecting pool (or lagoon) at the Panama-California Exposition. This area was called the Botanical Court.
The Botanical Building, then and now one of the largest lath structures in the world. In 1915 its popular name was Lath Palace.
The Botanical Building, then and now one of the largest lath structures in the world. In 1915 its popular name was Lath Palace.
Fountain by Botanical Building at the Panama-California Expositon in Balboa Park. The Botanical Court a hundred years later remains largely unchanged.
Fountain by Botanical Building at the Panama-California Expositon in Balboa Park. The Botanical Court a hundred years later remains largely unchanged.
Gazing over reflecting pool at Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building. A favorite photographic spot for a century in San Diego.
Gazing over reflecting pool at Commerce and Industries Building and Foreign Arts Building. A favorite photographic spot for a century in San Diego.
Food Products Building is reflected in tranquil lily pond directly in front of the large lath Botanical Building.
Food Products Building is reflected in tranquil lily pond directly in front of the large lath Botanical Building.
View of tree-lined El Prado from second floor of Varied Industries Building, which is now part of the Casa del Prado.
View of tree-lined El Prado from second floor of Varied Industries Building, which is now part of the Casa del Prado.
Varied Industries Building seen from the west a short distance. Rebuilt as a part of Casa del Prado, today it houses various art and botanical organizations.
Varied Industries Building seen from the west a short distance. Rebuilt as a part of Casa del Prado, today it houses various art and botanical organizations.
Home Economy Building (left of Foreign Arts Building), site of today's Timken Museum of Art. A wicker Electriquette motor cart is visible among people in the Plaza de Panama.
Home Economy Building (left of Foreign Arts Building), site of today’s Timken Museum of Art. A wicker Electriquette motor cart is visible among people in the Plaza de Panama.
Fine photo across Esplanade of the Indian Arts Building, rebuilt in later years and renamed the House of Charm.
Fine photo across Esplanade of the Indian Arts Building, rebuilt in later years and renamed the House of Charm.
One of many popular recitals in the Organ Pavilion at the Panama-California Exposition. (This venue is now called the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
One of many popular recitals in the Organ Pavilion at the Panama-California Exposition. (This venue is now called the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
Organ Pavilion colonnade with California Bell Tower in distance. Trees and a large parking exist today on the left, behind the classic structure.
Organ Pavilion colonnade with California Bell Tower in distance. Trees and a large parking lot exist today on the left, behind the classic structure.
View of Spreckels Organ in 1915, from a shady spot in the colonnade. Those wooden benches were replaced many years ago with benches made of steel.
View of Spreckels Organ in 1915, from a shady spot in the colonnade. Those wooden benches were replaced many years ago with benches made of steel.
The distant Organ Pavilion appears in this photo between the San Joaquin Valley Building and the Kern and Tulare Counties Building.
The distant Organ Pavilion appears in this photo between the San Joaquin Valley Building and the Kern and Tulare Counties Building.
Kansas State Building at Panama-California Exposition. Most of these old state buildings no longer exist today, a hundred years later.
Kansas State Building at Panama-California Exposition. Most of these old state buildings no longer exist today, a hundred years later.
Montana State Building, near the site of today's International Cottages.
Montana State Building, near the site of today’s International Cottages.
People take a stroll past a handful of state buildings at the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
People take a stroll past a handful of state buildings at the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
Utah State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Utah State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Washington State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Washington State Building at the Panama-California Exposition.
Artillery practice at the exposition's U.S. Marine Camp, which was located near the site of today's Air and Space Museum.
Artillery practice at the exposition’s U.S. Marine Camp, which was located near the site of today’s Air and Space Museum.
Southern California Counties Building, which stood a century ago in Balboa Park at the site of today's Natural History Museum.
Southern California Counties Building, which stood a century ago in Balboa Park at the site of today’s Natural History Museum.
Visitors back in 1915 enjoy the Southern California Counties Building's elegant patio.
Visitors back in 1915 enjoy the Southern California Counties Building’s elegant patio.
Large area called the Painted Desert at the Panama-California Exposition. This unique attraction was near the site of today's Veteran's Memorial.
Large area called the Painted Desert at the Panama-California Exposition. This unique attraction was near the site of today’s Veteran’s Memorial.
The elaborate Taos pueblo in the Painted Desert was a fantastic sight at San Diego's Panama-California Exposition.
The elaborate Taos pueblo in the Painted Desert was a fantastic sight at San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition.
Realistic exhibit shows Zuni native life at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego's Balboa Park.
Realistic exhibit shows Zuni native life at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The Pala gem mine was one of the amusements along the Isthmus north of El Prado, near today's San Diego Zoo parking lot. It featured a 300 foot long tunnel filled with simulated gems.
The Pala gem mine was one of the amusements along the Isthmus north of El Prado, near today’s San Diego Zoo parking lot. It featured a 300 foot long tunnel filled with simulated gems.
The Cawston Ostrich Farm was an Egyptian pyramid-shaped amusement on the Isthmus, a section of the expo popularly called the fun street.
The Cawston Ostrich Farm was an Egyptian pyramid-shaped amusement on the Isthmus, a section of the expo popularly called the fun street.
The Japanese Tea Pavilion, northeast of the Botanical Building in 1915. Today, the Japanese Tea Pavilion is located elsewhere and appears entirely different.
The Japanese Tea Pavilion, northeast of the Botanical Building in 1915. Today, the Tea Pavilion at the Japanese Friendship Garden is located elsewhere and appears entirely different.
Citrus and other gardens in a wide north section of the Panama-California Exposition. This is near the entrance of today's San Diego Zoo.
Citrus and other gardens in a wide north section of the Panama-California Exposition. This is near the entrance of today’s San Diego Zoo.
The long Tractor Buillding was located near a tractor demonstration field, just west of the Painted Desert.
The long Tractor Building was located near a tractor demonstration field, just west of the Painted Desert.
California bungalow, surrounded by model farm at the 1915 exposition. Agricultural exhibits and demonstrations were an important part of the event.
California bungalow, surrounded by model farm at the 1915 exposition. Agricultural exhibits and demonstrations were an important part of the event.
The Lipton Tea Gardens at the Panama-California Exposition, one more interesting image from San Diego's rich history.
The Lipton Tea Gardens at the Panama-California Exposition, one more interesting image from San Diego’s rich history.

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Tranquil beauty near the center of San Diego.

Botanical Building by reflecting pool in Balboa Park.
Botanical Building by reflecting pool in Balboa Park.

In Balboa Park you can retreat from life’s turbulence. Simply walk, read a book or sit quietly and reflect. You can delight your senses with splashing fountains, green lawns, music, museums. Pleasing architecture is on every side. And there are many beautiful gardens.

My favorite garden of all grows in the Botanical Building. Stroll down El Prado and you’ll see an imposing wood lath building at the opposite end of the reflecting pool. That’s the Botanical Building.

Built for the 1915 to 1916 Panama-California Exposition, the beautiful old structure contains a collection of more than 2000 permanent plants. Take a slow walk through it and you’ll discover ferns, palms, orchids and other tropical plants. You’ll hear the soothing bubble of water tumbling into small rocky pools. You’ll smell sweet fragrances and be touched by many colors. You’ll want to linger.

The Botanical Building is open to the public every day except Thursday, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Admission is free!

People walk through the huge, lush botanical collection.
People walk through the huge, lush botanical collection.
Information and guest book near entrance to historic Botanical Building.
Information and guest book near entrance of historic Botanical Building.
Alfred D. Robinson used the lath house to display plants at 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Alfred D. Robinson used building to display plants at 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Hundreds of different plants and endless beauty.
Hundreds of different plants and endless beauty.
Visitors walk quietly through the cathedral-like space.
Visitors walk quietly through the tranquil, cathedral-like space.
Some people just sit on benches and absorb the tranquil atmosphere.
Some people just sit on benches and absorb the tranquil atmosphere.
A section of wall bright with colorful blooms.
A section of wall bright with colorful blooms.
A sample of the natural beauty found in this special place.
A sample of the natural beauty found in this special place.
Platycerium, commonly known as the Stag Horn Fern.
Platycerium, commonly known as the Stag Horn Fern.
Beautiful orchids and other plants on display in Balboa Park's Botanical Building.
Beautiful orchids and other plants on display in Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
Botanical Building visitors near display of Easter lilies.
Botanical Building visitors near seasonal display of Easter lilies.
Lots of cheerful, colorful Hippeastrum hybrids.
Lots of cheerful, colorful Hippeastrum hybrids.
Bare carnivorous plant bog isn't yet in season.
Bare carnivorous plant bog isn’t yet in season.
Delicate beauty on display for anyone to see.
Delicate beauty on display for anyone to see.

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