Most, but not all, Balboa Park museums to reopen in time for Fourth of July
The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Man and Spanish Village will open later this month
Two weeks after county officials gave Balboa Park permission to reopen, only about half of the park’s attractions are expected to have their doors open again by the Fourth of July on Saturday.
The San Diego Zoo, nine of the major museums and all of the restaurants will be back in business by Independence Day. But some of the park’s most popular attractions — including the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Man, Botanical Building and Balboa Park Carousel — are weeks away from reopening.
Peter Comiskey, executive director of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, said that the park’s museums have refused to rush their reopening procedures, even though the week following July 4 is usually one of the biggest of the year for park attendance.
“Part of the reason for the gradual reopening is that all of them are very keen that guest safety is really their No. 1 priority for staff and guests alike,” Comiskey said.
Because the museums are unique in their size, layout, capacity and hands-on exhibits, each one has had to develop its own safety protocols and procedures to meet the county’s social-distancing guidelines. Many museums are also adopting a reservation system to control crowds and are reducing their hours. Meanwhile, park officials have been creating uniform signage for visitors that has been installed at locations throughout the park, including face mask requirements and hand-washing recommendations.
Balboa Park Conservancy officials are working to set up signage to guide visitors through the narrow walkways of the Botanical Building, but it won’t be open in time for the holiday weekend. Like all amusement park rides, the park’s 110-year-old carousel and 1935-era miniature train ride are closed down indefinitely. And like all theaters, The Old Globe theater complex has canceled its summer productions. Last week, the Globe reopened its courtyard to the public for weekday use, offering shaded table seating, high-speed WiFi, charging stations and public bathrooms. But the courtyard will be closed this Friday through Sunday.
Comiskey said park museums and restaurants are anticipating smaller-than-usual crowds in the coming weeks due to museums limiting attendance and the decline in summer tourism. To perk up visitorship a bit this month, the park is relaunching sales of its Explorer Pass today for usage beginning Saturday. Available online at explorer.balboapark.org/, the passes offer admission to all of the park’s 16 museums for one price ranging from $99 for college students and seniors to $229 for a family of up to six.
Comiskey said the smaller crowds are likely to continue for the rest of the year, since many people are cautious about traveling and visiting public places. That’s a blow not only for the museums and attractions but also for the city, since Balboa Park has a $680 million economic impact on its economy. But once people do feel safe venturing out again, he said the park’s long-in-the-planning public health programs should make visitors feel safer.
“Balboa Park will play an instrumental role in ensuring that our tourism rebuilds, ensuring that our economy rebuilds and ensuring that our locals can return to a park that is the absolute cultural heart of San Diego,” Comiskey said.
The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership has a page on its website listing museum reopening dates with hourly updates at culturalpartnership.org/updates. Below is the schedule as of Tuesday afternoon. Before visiting the park, check the updates page and the individual museum websites for ticketing information, reservations, safety rules and hours.
- Balboa Park Conservancy Visitors Center, 1549 El Prado. (619) 239-0512, balboaparkconservancy.org
- Panama 66 restaurant at the San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado. (619) 696-1966, panama66.com
- The Prado at Balboa Park restaurant, 1549 El Prado. (619) 557-9441, cohnrestaurants.com/theprado
- San Diego Air & Space Museum, 2001 Pan American Plaza. (619) 234-8291, sandiegoairandspace.org
- San Diego Automotive Museum, 2080 Pan American Plaza. (619) 231-2886, sdautomuseum.org
- San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive. (619) 231-1515, sandiegozoo.org
- Japanese Friendship Garden & Tea Pavilion, 2215 Pan American Way. (619) 232-2721, www.niwa.org
- Fleet Science Center, 1875 El Prado. (619) 238-1233, rhfleet.org
- The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, Chapel Road. (619) 804-3200, veteranmuseum.net
- San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado. (619) 232-3821, sdnhm.org
- United Nations International Gift Shop, 2171 Pan American Plaza. (619) 233-5044, unasd.org/unasd-gift-shop/
- Museum of Photographic Arts, 1649 El Prado. (619) 238-7559, mopa.org
- San Diego History Center, 1649 El Prado, Suite 3. (619) 232-6203, sandiegohistory.org
- San Diego Model Railroad Museum, 1649 El Prado, Suite. (619) 696-0199, sdmrm.org
Opening July 9:
- San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado. (619) 232-7931, sdmart.org
Opening July 15 (partial):
- Spanish Village Art Studios (with full reopening Aug. 1), 2770 Village Place. (619) 233-9050, spanishvillageartcenter.com
Opening July 18:
- San Diego Museum of Man, 1350 El Prado. (619) 239-2001, museumofman.org
No reopening date announced:
- Balboa Park Carousel, 2125 Park Blvd. (619) 232-2282, friendsofbalboapark.org/balboa-park-carousel
- Balboa Park Miniature Train, 2920 Zoo Drive. (619) 239-4748, balboapark.org/attractions/miniature-train
- Botanical Building, 1549 El Prado. balboapark.org/gardens/botanical-building
- Centro Cultura de la Raza, 2004 Park Blvd. (619) 363-1372, centrodelaraza.com
- House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, 2191 Pan American Road West. (619) 234-0739, sdhpr.org
- San Diego Art Institute, 1239 El Prado. (619) 236-0011, sandiego-art.org
- San Diego Junior Theatre, 1650 El Prado, Suite 208. (619) 239-1311, juniortheatre.com
- The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way. (619) 234-5623, theoldglobe.org
- San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, 1800 Village Place. (619) 233-3004, sdcyb.org
- San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory, 1650 El Prado, Suite 207A. (619) 233-3232, sdys.org
- Timken Museum of Art, 1500 El Prado. (619) 239-5548, timkenmuseum.org
- WorldBeat Cultural Center, 2100 Park Blvd. (619) 230-1190, worldbeatcenter.org
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