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Panama-California Exposition Centennial
Celebration Events


Balboa Park Conservancy
Botanical Building Restoration and Enhancement
Throughout 2015
Balboa Park's centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition will draw attention to one of the Park's most historic and iconic buildings. The time is right to restore and repair the building's structure, enhance the visitor experience, and incorporate environmentally sustainable measures to ensure the enjoyment of the Botanical Building for generations to come.

Commission for Arts & Culture
Restoration Projects
Throughout 2015
During 2014 and 2015 the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture Restoration Project will conserve and restore public art in Balboa Park.

Committee of One Hundred
Panama-California Exposition Digital Archive
Throughout 2015
This online digital archive will preserve the important details of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition-the people and the places, the events and the stories, the souvenirs and ephemera. It will include books, booklets, periodicals, passes and tickets, photos and albums, correspondence, paintings, drawings, and video. Members of the public can contribute to this online digital archive by sending us photos or allowing us to photograph or scan their items. Examples from the collection are now on view in the Casa de Balboa on a video monitor by the stairwell. Visit to contact us and to follow our progress. · (619) 981-4521

San Diego Floral Association
Botanical Building Tours
Throughout 2015
Throughout the centennial celebration year, 45-minute docent-led tours will showcase the horticulture, origins, and design of Balboa Park's historic Botanical Building, a building so special that it became an immediate and enduring icon of Balboa Park. Visitors will also learn the fascinating story of English immigrant Alfred D. Robinson, the man who envisioned and proposed the construction of a botanical building for the 1915 Exposition. Free and open to the public.
Yearlong events flyer · · (619) 232-5762

San Diego History Center
San Diego Invites the World
Throughout 2015
The definitive commemorative exhibition of the 1915 Exposition is set in a framework of innovation as an event and as a showcase of innovations in commerce, industry, agriculture and arts/culture during that era. Both celebratory and educational, the exhibition will demonstrate the legacy of the 1915 Expo that put San Diego on the map, created the nation's largest urban cultural park, promoted Southern California as a land of optimism and opportunity, and fostered internationalism. Visitors will "Make & Take" plaster casts of the Spanish colonial architecture. · (619) 232-6203


San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Centennial Railway Garden
January 2015-June 2016
Consisting of a model of Balboa Park in 1915, the Centennial Railway Garden exhibit will feature a spectacular use of new technology, sustainable-energy practices, and sculptural art. An innovative smart phone application will operate exhibit lighting, sounds, streetcars, and models of park structures. Exhibit Designer Robert Treat, whose experience includes 12 years as an animation director at Disney, and David Reed, the landscape architect responsible for many park projects, have created a "Miniature Balboa Park" that highlights the contributions of John D. Spreckels and the San Diego railways to the success of the Panama-California Exposition in 1915.
Information · (619) 696-0199

San Diego Model Railroad Museum
John D. Spreckels Exhibit
January 2015-June 2016
In conjunction with the Centennial Railway Garden, this exhibit will highlight the contributions of John D. Spreckels · San Diego. Spreckels was instrumental in the development of San Diego as a metropolitan city and founded the San Diego Electric railway in 1892. To transport people to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, he developed the San Diego Class 1 Streetcar, a unique streetcar designed specially to accommodate the crowds coming to Balboa Park. Spreckels went on to oversee the completion of the San Diego and Arizona railway, which connected San Diego to the Southern Pacific Railroad and subsequently the rest of the country. · (619) 696-0199

Museum of Man
Climb the California Tower
January 1, 2015
For the first time since 1935, Balboa Park's California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man is open for public tours!

From the second floor of the Museum, you go up a staircase hidden to the public for decades. Then you climb seven floors, getting glimpses through narrow windows of the beauty outside. Finally, you climb a spiral metal stairway and emerge into sunlight where you will see a spectacular Southern California vista. · (619) 239-2001

Japanese Friendship Garden
Garden of Unity: Balboa Park's Japanese Legacy
January 9-December 31, 2015
Learn about the families and community leaders who were responsible for 100 years of Japanese presence in Balboa Park, San Diego's premier cultural center. The artifacts, photographs and personal stories are shown together for the first time in a year-long exhibition to celebrate the work of the San Diego Yokohama Sister City Society, the House of Japan, and the Japanese Friendship Garden in assuring that the post-war friendship with Japan, and the early presence of a tea house in the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, are not forgotten. This is a joint project of the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego and the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego. · (619) 232-2721

Horseless Carriage Club of America
1915 San Diego Exposition Road Race Centennial Event
January 10, 2015 · 9am-4pm
The local groups of the Horseless Carriage Club of America plan to commemorate the 1915 road race that was the opening event for the Panama-California Exposition. Plans include a tour over the original race course, a living history display of a typical pit area, and a car show highlighting the progress of automobiles over the last century.
event flyer pdf ·

Spanish Village
Community Spirit: History of an Arts Village
January 17-December 31, 2015 · 11am-4pm
History exhibition opening Jan 17, 2015 in Gallery 21. History tours Jan 17-18. Self-guided tours all year. Explore the history of Spanish village, both its architecture and its artists through an exhibit in Gallery 21. Learn about past artists who had the foresight to create a unique interactive art community in San Diego. · (619) 233-9050


San Diego History Center
San Diego Invites the World: The 1915 Expo
February 1-January 10, 2016
This major exhibition, created in collaboration with regional museums, galleries, and private collectors, will feature award-winning artwork by Southern California artists displayed at the influential 1915 Exposition Art Show, along with plein air masterworks also displayed in 1915, all showcasing San Diego's rich artistic and cultural heritage. This popular and informative exhibition includes a commemorative catalog, "Painting of the Month" changing displays, oral history kiosks, and other interactive interpretive elements.
Information · (619) 232-6203


Congress of History
50th Annual History Conference • Balboa Park: 1915 & Beyond
March 6 & 7, 2015
Come be a part of this exciting Centennial celebration in 2015.

  • Historic videos
  • Presentations on history and development of Balboa Park
  • Exhibitors and book vendors · (619) 469-7283


San Diego Floral Association
Flower Show
April 2015
Over one weekend of the centennial year, San Diego Floral Association will stage a major flower show in the spirit of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, spotlighting some of the finest floral artists in the county. This family-friendly show will celebrate San Diego's historic floriculture industry and highlight changes in floral design from the 1910s to the present. Gardening techniques and demonstrations for visitors of all ages will be offered, and an exhibit of historic Balboa Park landscape phototography from the collections of park institutions will be on display. Free and open to the public. · (619) 232-5762

City of San Diego
Garden Party for the Century
April 24-May9, 2015
City Spring Signature event titled a "Garden Party for the Century" in partnership with San Diego Floral Association, Botanical Foundation, Friends of Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and Fern Street Circus to highlight the Park's gardens and horticultural history through a floral show, garden tours, expert consultations, demonstrations, entertainment. On May 9, 2015, 100 Balboa Park 2015 geraniums to the first 100 mothers the day before Mother's Day and 100 cork oak seedlings to the first 100 children. The celebration will kick off on Arbor Day April 24th and highlight gardens on the West and East Mesas each weekend until May 9, 2015 for the Garden Party in the historic core.
Information · (619) 232-5762


San Diego Floral Association
Historic Garden Tour
May 16, 2015
San Diego Floral Association's 10th-annual Historic Garden Tour will feature beautiful gardens of historic significance in the neighborhoods surrounding Balboa Park. Photographs tracing the development of homes and gardens will be displayed, and a colorful tour guidebook will provide the descriptions and historical context. Our self-guided "garden tour with a difference" is one of the most popular educational events San Diego Floral Association offers. Ticketed event. · (619) 232-5762


San Diego Vintage Dance Society
Fall Flapper Fling
October 3, 2015 · 6:15-9:30pm
Join the San Diego Vintage Dance Society for a post-Victorian evening of music and fun, and of course, dancing. Live period music by the Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra, under the direction of Bruce Vermazen. Evening wear c. 1900-1925 strongly encouraged; modern wear should be formal. Visit for tickets and more information

San Diego Floral Association
Lecture Series: The Panama-California Exposition and Cultural Landscape
October 2015
This three-day celebration and lecture forum will explore the evolution of Balboa Park's landscape from 1915 to the present. Participants will learn about the changing cultural landscape of the area and how it reflects and is influenced by a changing society. The series features an evening reception at the Marston House Garden, a stimulating program by renowned writers and thinkers on cultural landscapes, keynoted by a national expert, and a guided tour of the historic Botanical Building. · (619) 232-5762


San Diego Floral Association
Kate Sessions Birthday Celebration
November 7, 2015
Known as the "Mother of Balboa Park," Kate Sessions is recognized as an influential figure in Southern California landscape history. The family-friendly gala celebration of Kate's 158th birthday will include talks about her remarkable life and work and a guided walking tour through Kate-influenced areas of Balboa Park. The event features birthday cake, song, prizes, and fun for all ages! Free and open to the public. · (619) 232-5762


Spreckels Organ Society
Special Commemoration Concerts
December 31, 2015; January 1, 2016
Marking the 100th birthday of the Spreckels Organ, Civic Organist Dr. Carol Williams will hold a special concert featuring organ and choral participation on Wednesday, December 31, 2014, from approximately 7pm to 9pm. Similar commemorative concerts will be held on Thursday, January 1, 2015, and Friday, January 1, 2016, to mark the Centennial closure. · (619) 702-8138



2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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