30B430 – Balboa Park Edition

Now that the cat’s out of the bag about my big move back east, I can admit that my “30 Before 30” project has secretly been a “30 Things To Do Before Moving” list. I turn 30 on December 2nd, but I hop in a car to leave California (at least for now) on November 24th. This cuts right potentially critical days off my 90 day project, yikes! But I’ve been making great progress in the last week and have managed to cross four items completely off, as well as two taco shops.
This post is the Balboa Park edition because last Tuesday I spent the day exploring the greenest space in downtown SD, home of most of our museums. Unlike Washington DC, you have to pay to enter the majority of museums here. I don’t mind that, but I also don’t mind taking advantage of deals offered either. Every Tuesday, certain museums in Balboa are free to residents of SD County. Conveniently enough, the Model Railroad Museum and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center were both on my 30 Things list and are both free on the first Tuesday of each month. So I hopped in the car and headed south last Tuesday afternoon!

My first stop was the science center and it was full of excited children. They had an interesting exhibit on illusions set up, which I enjoyed walking through, as well as a weather section and DNA exploration. I enjoyed this museum and appreciated that everything was extremely hands-on, but I will admit that most of it was geared for younger children. There were a few IMAX films coming out that looked interesting though.


From there, I detoured into the Natural History Museum, another free option for the day, and took a quick loop. Stuffed replicas of ancient animals aren’t super exciting for me, they fall into the same category as wax museums for me, but there was an impressive shark hanging from the ceiling! A portion of the museum was closed as they set up a large King Tut exhibit, which looked promising. But I didn’t spend much time there this week. Since I was waiting for X to join me in the Model Railroad Museum, I popped into the Timken Museum of Art. At the risk of sounding uncultured or difficult to please, I have to say that art museums don’t do it for me either, lol. I enjoyed the small museum and even saw a few paintings that were pleasing to my eyes (and understandable to my brain) but again, I’m not sure I would go out of my way to go again 🙂 Luckily after a short rest by the lily ponds, X arrived and we could go see the railroads!

This was my favorite museum of the day by far. Not only were there many train setups, but each one had elaborate scenes around them. Some were designed to reflect trains and locations in the local area from the past while others were fictional scenes, but I loved them both! We had trains growing up and the smoke pellets brought back pleasant memories. The museum did a nice job of explaining differences in sizes of trains and tracks, as well as describing the history of the museum and its creators. There were conductors operating each section that was being run and the older gentlemen were more than happy to answer questions or explain the layouts. These volunteers were all extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their craft, which I always love to see! This museum isn’t overly large, but I would recommend it for all ages and groups. It’s cute and informative and well-done.


After the trains, I had a few errands to run elsewhere in the city. Then I circled back to Balboa for a musical performance at the Old Globe Theatre. I saw Allegiance here a few years ago and more recently saw a Shakespeare performance in the open-air theater attached to the Old Globe, but I was back for more. My friend, Aswin, has a SD list of his own and on it was to see a performance in the Old Globe. So he told me to look at the upcoming shows and pick one that looked good. I settled on Bright Star, which is a new musical produced by Steve Martin, and added it to my 30 Before 30 list. I’m not sure Aswin was too sure of my choice going in, but he’s a trooper and agreed. We were able to buy $20 under 30 tickets, which allow younger adults to see performances for cheaper on weeknights. All we knew from the quick synapsis was that a soldier was returning from World War I to a small town in America. And there would be singing, lol.

I won’t spoil the story for those of you in the area who might be interested (you should be!) but I will say that it was an outstanding performance. The general plot was a twisting of stories and tales of various members of the soldier’s hometown. But they were intertwined and told in such a way that at intermission, we had no idea how the pieces were all going to be connected. How awesome is that? And the singing was not constant, but was very folksy when it was happening. The most interesting part to me was that all of the characters moved the set constantly. The scene changes were incorporated into the storyline and everything flowed together. Also, a portion of the live band was on the stage in a house frame on wheels. Again, they went from being in the background just playing to the foreground where they were subordinate characters in the story. Props to Steve Martin for keeping us entertained and engaged throughout the entire performance! And if you live in San Diego, I recommend you check it out before it moves on in mid-November!

As mentioned in my previous 30B430 post , I’ll save all of my taco shop reviews for one big post. I’m down to only two left to try! I will briefly mention that I went to Casa de Bandini last week as well, but I wasn’t blown away. All of the food our group tried was GOOD… which isn’t what I should be saying after all of the hype. So I’m glad I went, but I waste more of your time describing the mediocre meal I had. As a teaser, I’m planning on hitting 3-4 more items on my list within the next week so check back soon for that post!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Revised 30 Before 30 Project | Rays of Funshine

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