A freeway runs through it

And a flight pattern runs over it.  What is it?  BALBOA PARK – the nation’s largest urban cultural park.  It is also home to 15 major museums, performing arts venues, beautiful gardens, AND the San Diego Zoo.  You would need several days to get visit all of it!

Mr. T and I entered the park from the west, walking over Hwy 163 and encountering our first museum: Museum of Man.  This museum is located beneath the ornate 200-foot California Tower, and is devoted to anthropology. With its Spanish colonial and mission style architecture, the landmark building was originally constructed for the 1915–16 Panama-California Exposition.

The banner announcing “Instruments of Torture” caught Mr T’s attention right away.  This exhibition featured implements cruelly engineered to inflict unbelievable pain and suffering. The exhibit explores why torture occurs, even in today’s world, and make you question, “Are people the real instruments of torture?” Unfortunately, no photos permitted of visiting exhibits.

Another visiting exhibit was “Empowerment of Women” which tells the stories of women artisans working  together in cooperatives creating folk art that provides income for their families, preserves their cultural heritage, heals the wounds of war and domestic abuse, improves education, and protects their environments.

The remainder of the Museum of Man explores anthropology, however they did have one additional “special” exhibit: “Beerology”.  Here wet we learned agriculture, cities, writing, and religion all have ties to ancient craft brewing!  And would you believe the Egyptian pyramids were built by slaves, but the workers were actually paid — in beer!  In fact, to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, workers were paid 231 million gallons of beer. That’s a lot of beer.  There were many stories and artifacts that revealed the links between beer and culture.

The next museum we visited was the Museum of Air & Space (a flight path runs directly over this museum to the San Diego airport). It houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a working flying replica of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world.

Stay tuned for more on Balboa Park, as we returned a few days later!



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