Destination California: Discovering historic Balboa Park in San Diego

Destination California

Tucked away in the corner of historic Balboa Park is the original carousel built back in 1910 that is reopen and ready for visitors to take a spin.

Bill Brown started working at the attraction at 16 — now he’s the manager.

“There are still old carousels around, but not too many have all the features still in tact — one of the cool things about it,” Brown said.

He added the carousel might be old, but it still moves fast.

As visitors start to make their way back, locals say they still remember the brass ring game from decades ago.

The attraction was closed for more than a year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it did get a few upgrades.

Brown says they’re keeping a close watch on all the tiny details, with real horse hair for the trail and real antlers for the deer.

They hope to keep up the progress so this ride can be here for years to come.

Once you’ve gone for a spin on the carousel, there’s a lesser-known attraction to see: the California Tower, a San Diego icon. And many people don’t know you can climb inside.

It’s a feature that wasn’t available for visitors for nearly 80 years.

Attached to the Museum of Us, four daily tours take you to a lookout landing complete with a rich lesson on Balboa Park’s 100-plus years of history, and maybe a few surprises.

The iconic lookout tower finally made accessible with several staircases and the trek to the top is definitely worth it: views of one of America’s finest city — and it’s not just the sites, but also the sounds that make this a one-of-a-kind experience.

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