Thanksgiving is such a special holiday. This day is a chance for families to gather, to be thankful, enjoy being with one another and to create memories. There’s no place like home during the holidays but if you are looking to step outside before or after the feast and explore our beautiful Balboa Park, here are some fun places to visit on Thanksgiving Day:

Fleet Science Center

10 am – 6 pm

Experience Winter Paradice, San Diego-style, at the Fleet Science Center! Trade-in your flip-flops for lace-up skates and take a glide session on their new “ice” rink. When you’re done skating, continue the fun by jumping in the ball pit or sliding down a 31-foot slide in their adult-sized playground exhibition, Pause|Play. Get crafty with ornament making, create your own ice cream flavor in the cafe and immerse yourself in their interactive galleries. Gather your family and friends, as you don’t want to miss out on this festive adventure!

Japanese Friendship Garden

10 am – 5 pm
Last admission at 5 pm

 Take a relaxing walk in one of the best gardens in Balboa Park! Stroll through the winding paths and lovely gardens, visit the koi pond and stop by the beautiful bonsai exhibit and the Washi (Japanese Traditional Handmade Paper) exhibit by Maki Ishiwata featuring delicately made plant figures. The Japanese Friendship Garden is very beautiful during autumn, so come by before or after your Thanksgiving feast.

Explore more Gardens at Balboa Park!

All Day!

Balboa Park is the perfect place to plan to make new memories. Take the Palm Canyon hike for lush green scenery, or visit the flower beds at the Alcazar Garden. Walk down El Prado and stop by the blooming Lily Pond. The Zoro Garden is surrounded by amazing ficus trees and makes a perfect backdrop for any photograph! Located across Park Blvd., you’ll find the California Native Plant Garden and the Desert Garden with more than 1,300 plants from all over the world. Close by, the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose full of blooming beauty and aromas.


Balboa Park Miniature Train

11 am – 4:30 pm

All Aboard! Bring your little ones to this amazing miniature train. Located outside of the San Diego Zoo’s exit. Train tickets are $3 for ages 1 and older; children younger than age 1 are free. Ages 5 and younger must ride with a paying adult.


San Diego Zoo

9 am – 5 pm

The world-renowned San Diego Zoo is a great place to gather with your loved ones! It’s also a perfect place to take your out-of-town relatives or friends!  Explore this massive zoo and see hundreds of animals from around the world in engaging exhibit spaces.

We wish you a most wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

And remember, share your memories with us! Instagram |Facebook|Twitter#ExploreBalboaPark

By Zia Sinclair Hance | Balboa Park Explorer | November