Don't miss WMA's Balboa Park Day: October 28, 2009

By Stephanie Weaver

On Wednesday, October 28 the attendees to the Western Museums Association will be heading to San Diego's Balboa Park for the afternoon. This will be an amazing opportunity to tour the "Smithsonian of the West," with all the cultural institutions opening their doors for free. The day is sponsored by the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, with the transportation underwritten by the Barona Band of Mission Indians.

The clock tower at the San Diego Museum of Man

The clock tower at the San Diego Museum of Man

The San Diego Host Committee has put together a map and schedule of events for the day, which you can download here. The map design was donated by Tanya Bredehoft of Artefact Design.

Many of the museums are hosting special opportunities, like a free screening of the Dinosaurs Alive 3-D movie, reduced IMAX movie tickets, behind-the-scenes tours, and opportunities to meet your peers and talk specifics (see the map for details).

Tour guides from the Balboa Park Visitors Center will be on the shuttle buses to give you an overview on your way over to the Park. If you are not attending the WMA luncheon event you can pre-order a $10 sack lunch and pick it up at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center patio. Lunch order forms will be available at the Catamaran registration desk and you'll have your choice of turkey, vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Volunteers will be on hand to direct you throughout the Park once you arrive.

You'll have the opportunity to visit any of the museums for free as well as take part in the activities listed on the map. There are also two special sessions taking place in the Park: Tours of the Balboa Art Conservation Center (space is very limited) and the ever-popular exhibition critique session of the San Diego Natural History Museum's Fossil Mysteries. Pre-register for those sessions at the Catamaran.

Short behind-the-scenes tours of the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the Old Globe Theater will add variety to the day. Most of the gift shops will be offering a discount to badge-wearers, and you may also be surprised by a free gift! If you'd like to sample the Park's audio tour, you can pick it up at the Visitor Center.

Lily pond and El Prado

Lily pond and El Prado

As you head through the Park, you'll enjoy seeing the famous El Prado pedestrian walkway and the Spanish-Renaissance style buildings constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. It was one of the first times that this highly ornamented, flamboyant architectural style had ever been used in the United States.

The afternoon will end at the San Diego Air & Space Museum with light refreshments and networking, as well as the opportunity to view The DaVinci Experience. Shuttle buses will pick you up to return you to the Catamaran. You can opt to make your own way to the Midway for the closing night party if you don't want to return to the hotel. The shuttle buses will take attendees from the hotel to the Midway after the Park tour concludes.

Our thanks to all the staff members, the San Diego Host Committee, and the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership for making this day possible. We hope you come and take advantage of it!


Stephanie, you and the BPCP did a magnificent job with the Balboa Park Day. I am still basking in the numerous compliments for the SD Host Committee from WMA conference participants. They absolutely loved the offsite idea, the ease of movement through the Park, and the generosity and welcome received from the participating institutions and volunteers. I attended the Exhibition Critique at SD Natural History Museum and it was a lively, creative session. The overflow event had to be relocated into a larger room. People commented on how great it was to have the session at the institution where the Exhibit was located-- and many ran back upstairs to review after the hearing the session comments.
Just an amazing organizational effort overall; you are a wonder Ms. Stephanie of Experienceology!

We worked hard, and actually I'm gluten-free, so I insisted we figure out a way to do it. :) Looking forward to seeing you in San Diego. Thanks for all YOUR hard work!

I'm impressed. Aside from all the action (I had no idea there were so many events) this is the
first time I've seen gluten-free as a menu choice. Very thoughtful.

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Just want to see if you are a robot.