Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) urban cultural park in San Diego, California. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park’s site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. Today, Balboa Park is managed and maintained by the stewardship of the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of San Diego.
Named for the Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the park hosted the 1915–16 Panama–California Exposition and 1935–36 California Pacific International Exposition, both of which left architectural landmarks. The park and its historic Exposition buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark andNational Historic Landmark District in 1977, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.