November 27, 2002

Balboa Park December Nights

The 25th Anniversary of Christmas on the Prado

Balboa Park December Nights — The 25th Anniversary of Christmas on the Prado, Balboa Park’s holiday gift to San Diego, will take place on Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7, 2002, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. More than 80 museums and cultural organizations will open their doors free of charge during this popular community festival.

The largest free community festival in San Diego, Balboa Park December Nights is expected to attract over 125,000 visitors into the Park who will celebrate the many joyous holiday traditions of the season.


In addition to free admission to Park institutions, the many offerings at December Nights includes delicious foods from around the globe; hands-on craft activities; photos with Santa; gift shopping in museum stores, Spanish Village, the House of Hospitality and the UNICEF store; music and choral productions on 3 stages; and multi-cultural dance and theatrical presentations.

The Museum of Man will present the beautiful Santa Lucia procession twice each evening. Busy Santa will be at the Automotive Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, Spanish Village and in the Spreckles Organ Pavilion. The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet at the Casa del Prado Theater will perform excerpts from “The Nutcraker.” The Timken Museum of Art will display the exquisite Schlappi Collection of Hord and Schlappi Christmas ornaments, and the San Diego Floral Association hosts their annual themed show, this year entitled Communities in Bloom. Junior Theatre will stage outside seasonal performances and multi-cultural dance troupes perform at the International Cottages.

The FUN Zone, sponsored by the World-Famous San Diego Zoo, will enchant little elves with live Zoo animal presentations, the Safari Bush Band, stage shows and a variety of Zoo characters. A new International Food Park brings tasty delicacies from the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages into an updated area; and hands-on craft activities buses provided by the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department and festive fun.

Food Offerings

Bring your appetites to Balboa Park December Nights to sample gourmet fare from around the world as well as lots of all-American favorites. The Museum of Man will offer traditional Swedish Christmas specialties like glögg and Swedish meatballs. As you’re shopping in Spanish Village Art Center, enjoy giant hot dogs, baked potatoes and Mexican fare. More noshing opportunities: visit the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for bratwurst in the outdoor beer garden or the Civic Dance Association at Casa del Prado for pasta with tomato-basil sauce. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Natural History Museum with home-baked goodies; Junior Theatre offers seasonal goodies and bratwurst; Mingei has homemade ginger people; roasted peanuts and old fashioned candies are available at the Historical Society; and the Civic Youth Ballet has caramel apples, popcorn and flavored coffees at Casa del Prado. For mouth-watering ethnic culinary specialties from 28 countries, stop in at the International Cottages and then pop over to the Japanese Friendship Garden for their terrific teriyaki, yaki-soba and misu soup.


Shopping opportunities abound at Balboa Park December Nights for purchasing one-of-kind and specialty gift items. Don’t miss shopping at the Museum of Man, Mingei and UNICEF International Gift Shop for unusual hand-made and international goodies, or the Museum of Art and the Globe Theatre shops for unique items. Each museum shop has special items relevant to its collecting specialty: Railroad goodies at the Model Railroad Museum, scientifically fascinating gifts at the Fleet Science Center and Natural History Museums, stuff from your favorite sports teams at the Hall of Champions and Mexican items at Centro Cultural de la Raza.


Free parking is available along Park Boulevard, the Inspiration Point Lot and again this year there is free parking at San Diego City College lots. These parking lots have adequate lighting and continuous free shuttle service. The Zoo parking lots (including the overflow lot) are also available for free public parking but shuttle will not be provided from the Zoo lot. Avoid the parking crush by taking the San Diego Trolley to City College station.

Brochures are available since mid-November at the Visitors Center in the historic House of Hospitality and Park museums. For more information about Balboa Park December Nights-The 25th Anniversary of Christmas on the Prado, or details about parking, visit the website at

Balboa Park December Nights—The 25th Anniversary of Christmas on the Prado is made possible by the Balboa Park Endowment Funds of The San Diego Foundation; San Diego County Community Enhancement Funds; The Dr. Seuss Foundation; and other generous donors—and is presented in partnership with the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, which manages and maintains Balboa Park.

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