Destination California: Discovering historic Balboa Park

Destination California

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KSWB) — Tucked away in the corner of historic Balboa Park is the original carousel.

Built back in 1910, the carousel 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 still old carousels around, but not too many have all the features still intact. One of the cool things about it.”

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

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

The attraction was closed for more than a year and it did get a few upgrades.

Bill said they’re keeping a close watch on all the tiny details, with real horse hair 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. It’s an icon in San Diego, and many people don’t know you can climb inside.

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

“In 2015, we reopened the tower and it was the first time in generations that people could go up into the tower.”

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.

“It’s really a popular place to come up and pop the question. People get really creative.”

The iconic lookout tower finally made accessible with several staircases and debates over how many steps it actually takes to get there. Trust us, the trek to the top is definitely worth it.

With 360-degree views of America’s finest city, it’s not just the sites but also the sounds that make this a one-of-a-kind experience.

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