We love Balboa Park in beautiful San Diego. It's fun, a great place to learn and there is always something going on. We lived for twelve years in San Diego and would frequently visit Balboa Park, I'd say we were there for at least every other weekend and sometimes even during the week.
Beautiful gardens that are well kept, wonderful Museums filled with great exhibits, fantastic theaters and that fabulous outdoor Organ Pavilion -where we enjoyed several summer concerts. Then there is the House of Pacific Relations which were founded in 1935 and include 32 different nationalities!
These Cottages are amazing! We took advantage of a Sunday afternoon and Adventure Girl and I headed to Balboa Park. After we enjoyed a beautiful live Organ concert, and ate some sandwiches we walked across the street to take a self-guided tour of the International Cottages.
What exactly can you do at the International Cottages?
They are there to share a little piece of each participant country, each cottage is decorated according to the culture and you learn about that country's history and their traditions. On the particular Sunday we visited they were also offering tastings of traditional snacks from each country. You can also enjoy live music and dance performances on the lawn in the center of all the cottages. 32 Nations are represented, to view a list of the participating Nations please click here.
The house of China for example had a young lady writing your name in traditional Chinese lettering with ink and special pen in hand. This was fascinating to everyone. She did it with such grace and ease. Adventure Girl learned about their traditions, their holidays and they have a mannequin dressed in traditional attire.
The house of Israel was fascinating to me, it had just been updated to reflect a traditional home in Israel with cinder blocks that are visible on the inside and lots of marble on the walls and floors. It was also interesting to learn the pomegranate is an ancient symbol due to King Solomon basing his crown design on the "crown" of a pomegranate.
One of my favorite houses was the house of Sweden it had a Pippi Longstocking doll on display as well as some Viking history. On their chimney mantle there was a unique candle holder that caught my attention, it looked like a true Viking vessel.
The Irish Cottage was beautiful and very lively too! They had live music and there was even some dancing.
We also visited the House of the United States, which paid tribute to all the brave men and women of the armed forces. Outside of the house they were selling hot dogs and chips.
The house of Finland was very modern, colorful and sleek.
The House of Denmark had a table setup with Legos where children could play.
The International Cottages are open every Sunday from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m and admission is FREE. The are refreshments that are served for you to enjoy, they accept donations for these refreshments. If you plan on visiting between the months of March - November make sure you are there by 2:00 p.m. to enjoy their lawn programs, for exact dates and nations performing visit here
For updated information you may also find them on Facebook