Exploring Balboa Park

I’ve decided to make the most out of being a) unemployed b) a new mom and c) living in a new city. LG and I are making Tuesdays and Thursdays our excursion days where we go out and explore San Diego. I don’t want to set too lofty a goal so we’re starting small with the idea that once we get in the habit of leaving the house a couple times a week it will be easier on all of us. And this isn’t to say we don’t leave the house other days for random errands here and there, but keeping it fun on these days will help break up the week.

Now, I haven’t been a total hermette. I do leave the house with LG, but I’m admittedly way better at it on the weekends when I have a partner in crime/parenting. MainMan often reminds me that while yes, we have to be on LG’s schedule as far as eating and pooping goes, we can’t just lie around with him in our PJs all day, although it is nice from time to time… I’m getting better, but baby steps, right?

Right now LG cries as soon as you put him in the carseat (not fun) which means I have to be ready to walk out the door with him when I do so, though typically I’m throwing on shoes, running to the bathroom one last time, making sure pets are squared away and grabbing a roadie ice coffee and anything else I can fit on my arms and/or in the diaper bag. Luckily the crying stops when you pick him up and walk him outside. We’ve attached a velcro toy strap to the handle of the carseat which distracts him a little bit, but it’s still not a tears-free operation. I bought it for the cross-country road trip in October and he barely showed any interest in it. I’m happy it’s serving its purpose now (LG just turned five months yesterday).

Last Tuesday we decided to explore Balboa Park. I heard someone describe it as San Diego’s Central Park. This isn’t completely accurate. Central Park is much more of a pedestrian park. Balboa Park is a swath of land with a lot of things in it (like the San Diego Zoo!), but highways and major roads run through it which make it less walkable. There is a good chunk of it where you can walk, but it’s no Central Park. We didn’t really have a plan other than to see what was there and to perhaps hop into a museum or two.

We parked on Park Blvd. and I threw LG in his LILLEbaby carrier and off we went. He loves the carrier and seldom cries in it unless he’s been in it for a while and suddenly wakes up from a nap. Right now he faces me in the front, but I think we’re ready to experiment with him facing the world. He definitely likes to look around.

We walked to the opposite end of El Prado and over the high, beautiful bridge that crosses Hwy 163 and turned around at Balboa Drive. We discovered a great big dog park we will return to with Agnes.

LG was awake for about 20 minutes or so of walking then he slept the rest of the time. I was impressed by the buildings off El Prado, the stunning archways alongside it and the rooftop towers of the Museum of Man (known for its ornate steeple visible from many areas of San Diego). I want to climb to the top of it a la Notre Dame Cathedral, but I’ll wait to do that with MainMan. We can’t have all the fun without him.

Tuesday we enjoyed the sunshine and stayed mainly outdoors in the park. Thursday we decided to go back in the rain to check out the Natural History Museum. It was nice to poke about the rooms of various scientific themes (why we have earthquakes and wildfires, night in the desert, what dinosaurs roamed San Diego millions of years ago, etc.), but there wasn’t enough substance there to make me want to go back, which was disappointing.

Next door is the botanical building. I was mesmerized by the lighting hitting the plants in the glassless building, but I wish they had more variety of flora. There’s a lily pond in front of it that was teeming with colorful koi and ducks. Before we got back to the car we walked through the Spanish Art Center with its rainbow-painted stone walkway. I look forward to returning to the Museum of Man and to the art museums. There are a few stands offering coffee and snacks, which was perfect for me. I don’t have a lot of luck sitting and eating with LG in the carrier. I grabbed a cheesy tortilla and an horchata latte at Casa 1915 which is to the left of the Museum of Photographic Arts.

LG just woke up from his morning nap. And I was just about to start planning our Tuesday outing. If you’re reading and you’re a San Diegan, I would love any recommendations.

Click on any image below to see my photos in a larger gallery.

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