While it's possible to buy annual memberships to favorite museums, the Balboa Park Explorer Pass provides another alternative for people who love to visit the museums in San Diego's famous Balboa Park.
The Explorer Pass makes bouncing between the 17 museums – most are within steps from each other, anyway – economical, while increasing the fun quotient substantially.
Visit museums like the San Diego Natural History Museum with your Balboa Park Explorer Pass — Photo courtesy of Richard Benton / Balboa Park
There are no blackout dates, as the pass is good for every day that the participating museums are open. Note that if there is a special event happening, such as the King Tut exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum, additional admission will apply, just as it does to the general public.
The museums here aren't large, with an hour or sometimes less providing enough time to browse current exhibits, especially for repeat visitors or those with small kids in tow.
After purchasing the pass online, a printable voucher is issued for immediate access to museums. Choose to have the official card mailed to your home (It takes about a week to arrive.), or pick it up at the park.
Two types of family passes exist. One is for two adults and up to four children, while another includes two adults and five or more children. Both are the same price at just $199 per year, which can pay for itself after just a few visits to Balboa Park.
Adult passes are $129, while senior and student passes cost $99. Note that children under the age of three receive free entry to Balboa Park museums and do not require a pass.
The Balboa Park Explorer offers general admission to the following venues:
- Centro Cultural de la Raza
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- Mingei International Museum
- Museum of Photographic Arts
- Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
- San Diego Air and Space Museum
- San Diego Art Institute-Museum of the Living Artist
- San Diego Automotive Museum
- San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum
- San Diego History Center
- San Diego Model Railroad Museum
- San Diego Museum of Man
- The NAT (San Diego Natural History Museum)
- The San Diego Museum of Art
- Timken Museum of Art
- Veterans Museum and Memorial Center
- WorldBeat Cultural Center
Using the pass is easy. Adults just need to present photo ID and the pass to museum staff. Kids have their own passes that will need to be presented as well.
Make the most of your visit to Balboa Park by considering this pass. And keep it in mind as a holiday gift, too.