Adult Lectures, Tours and Concerts

Upcoming Lectures:  

Please see Calendar of Events for more programs and lectures

Adult Group Tours

Have a group of family, friends, colleagues, or a social group that wants a unique outing in Balboa or Presidio Parks?  Then join our specially trained docents for a Group Tour of our museums.  Visitors of all ages will come to appreciate the rich and dynamic history of San Diego through shared stories attached to the objects, historic photographs, documents, costumes and more that are on view in our museums.  Your visit to San Diego History Center's historic sites is an experience that your group will likely remember for a long time to come.

Available Tours:


A joyous and exuberant celebration of the art of the world’s most popular children’s book author, artistic genius and beloved San Diegan. This tour offers a rare look at the man as a true artist, highlighting his inspirations, fears, doubts, triumphs and tribulations in his career. Includes a glimpse of artwork not necessarily associated with the man behind the Cat in the Hat!  Extend you stay by participanting in a number of hands-on activities that express your individual creativity and artistic talents!  Tour includes a 30 minute illustrated talk within our Thornton Theatre prior to a gallery tour.

Tour explores the region's past through historic artifacts, reproduction documents and photographs left behind as an historic record.  Hear stories associated with these items and others giving a more intimate look at the individual people, places and events that shaped our regional history.  Discover a different story each time you visit, as new artifacts and documents are installed periodically.


                                                          This is one tour you won't want to miss!
One of the defining features of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition was its celebration of the progressive forces in the American art world of its time. Touring the companion exhibition, Masterworks of the Exposition Era, commemorates the art of the original Exposition, which featured a dramatic presentation of the work of a group of prominent American painters, hand-selected by renowned artist Robert Henri, including George Bellows, John Sloan, William Glackens, George Luks, Guy Pene duBois and other great American artists of the era. The exhibition and accompanying tour of their now-classic paintings was complemented by a display by such notable California-based painters of the period as William Wendt, Guy Rose, Anna Hills and E. Charlton Fortune, along with outstanding works from a group of regional artists who were soon to turn San Diego into a thriving art center, including Maurice Braun, Alfred Mitchell, Alice Klauber and Charles Fries. Tour includes a 30 minute illustrated talk within our Thornton Theatre before the gallery tour.



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 tour showcases 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. Plan to extend your visit by participating in a number of hands-on activities, including a 'Make -n- Take' plaster medallion depicting the Spanish Colonial architecture of the exhibition buildings.


Life on Presidio Hill  Tour highlights the four different cultures that have occupied Presidio Hill from the Kumeyaay, Spanish, Mexican and early American periods.  The tour includes a walk through the former site of the Spanish fort built in 1769 and the gallery spaces inside the Junipero Serra Museum.

(Please note:  This tour travels over varied terrain and is outdoors for at least 30 minutes.  Comfortable, well supported walking shoes are recommended.)



Balboa Park History Stroll  Ever wonder how Balboa Park was named?  What structures stood in various locations in 1915?  Who were some of the individuals who helped shape the landscape and built environment, and what did they originally envision it to look like? Were the buildings in the Park today, copies or interpretations of real structures in other parts of the world?  What elements changed to prepare the Park for the 2nd Exposition in 1935?  Learn these trivia tidbits and more on this one hour walking tour along the Park's main street, with offshoots to locales with forgotten stories to reveal.  History Center Program Manager Gabe Selak leads this easy paced stroll through the Park revealing many of the intriguing aspects of its past, its endearing present, and exciting future. 

Tour Information:

Group Size:  A minimum of 10 people are required to schedule a group tour.
*Please Note:  A maximum of 25 people for the Group Balboa Park Walking Tours.

Reservations:  Reservations for a group tour are required at least 2 weeks in advance of your tour date, and can be made by contacting the Public Programs Manager at 619-232-6203, ext. 129.

Group Pricing:  All groups including adults, seniors, and college students are charged a $6 per person guided tour fee for our museum gallery tours and a non-refundable reservation fee of $10 is required.  Balboa Park Walking Tours are $10 per person.

Cancellations and changes Cancellations or changes made to reservations should be done at least 2 days prior to the scheduled museum visit.  Call the Public Programs Manager to make cancellations or changes at 619-232-6203, ext. 129.

PaymentPayment can be made upon arrival on the day of your tour, however, advanced payment is appreciated.  Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted.  Checks should be made out to San Diego History Center.

ParkingSan Diego History Center is located in the Casa de Balboa building in Balboa Park.  Parking is in adjacent lots behind the San Diego Natural History Museum or Reuben Fleet Science Center.  Once parked, walk to the front of the museums and the large Bea Eveson water fountain.  Head west towards the dome and tower of the California Building (Museum of Man).  Go down a slight set of stairs, and San Diego History Center is located on the left.

The Junipero Serra Museum is located at 2727 Presidio Drive in Presidio Park.  Parking is located in a large lot immediately below the museum. 



Check back soon for more events!  To see a list of upcoming events at the San Diego History Center, see our Calendar of Events.

Speaker's Bureau:

Astonishing stories, intriguing facts, informative quotes, and humorous accounts of San Diego's past. Speakers will come to your place of preference and wow the audience of your choice with interesting and informative discussions.

Speaker’s Fee:

$100 for non-profit organizations

$150 for-profit corporations & businesses

Checks may be made to San Diego History Center. We also accept cash, credit cards and purchase orders as payments. Payments are requested at least two weeks prior to your program date to hold your reservation, and all but $10 is refundable if you need to cancel your program. Cancellations are requested no later than 2 days before the scheduled program date.

Complete list of Speaker's Bureau Topics: More Information

Booking a Program:

Booking a program is easy. Simply choose a topic from the list provided and the date that you would like your program to occur. We strongly recommend that you choose at least two topics for your event, in chance that your first choice is not available on the date that you request a presentation. If your first choice cannot be accommodated, we will arrange your second choice. To arrange a program, please contact Gabe Selak, Public Programs Manager, or call 619-232-6203, ext. 129.