The San Diego Balboa Park Botanical Gardens with the Surly Straggler


You can’t miss the historic Botanical Building in the center of San Diego Balboa Park. The ornate building sits adjacent to the lily pond and lagoon, where it was built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition (the exposition/fair celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal). The Botanical Building is one of the largest lath structures in the world. Plantings inside include more than 2,100 permanent plants, featuring fascinating collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, other tropical plants, and palms. The Botanical Building also presents some of the Park’s vibrant seasonal flower displays – during December months you can see the annual display of poinsettias.

On the third Friday of each month at 11:00 am, the San Diego Floral Association guides 45 minute tours through the building, emphasizing the origins, design, and horticulture of the “park’s jewel”. The docent-led tours tell the story of the visionary behind the building (world-renowned begonia expert) Alfred D. Robinson.

Free Admission

The Botanical Building is free to the public on Friday through Wednesday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed Thursdays and holidays). Tours are also open and free to the public.

Biking in the Area

Begin from the Park Blvd Gateway, located in the South Park side near Golden Hill. You can use the signage to guide you along the trail to the museum, or you can download the Balboa Park iOS app (for iPhone 8.3 and later) that gives you exact directions based on your location.

Bike of Choice

The Surley Straggler 650b is a perfect all-round adventure bike for the San Diego explorer. The Surely 4130 CroMoly frame and fork with disc brakes and SRAM Apex groupset make this bike basically indestructible. Take on steel hills with confidence with the extended range cassette and smaller wheel size. Cruise with ease over to the Balboa museums, and take a joy ride through the dirt trails of Balboa Park before heading home. Available at MJ’s Cyclery on Park Blvd near Balboa Park in San Diego.


FRAME: Surly 4130 CroMoly tubing, ED Coated, TIG-welded, Double-butted




CASSETTE: 11–32t, 10-speed


BRAKES: Hayes CX-expert, V-series 160mm rotors front & rear

HANDLEBAR: Salsa Cowbell

SADDLE: Velo VL-1353

FRONT HUB: Formula RX25 Disc, 32h. 100mm, black w/QR

REAR HUB: Formula RX2611 Disc, 32h. 135mm, black w/QR

RIMS: Alex XD-E Lite

TIRES: Surly Knard 650b x 41, 60tpi