Balboa Park Botanical Building

1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA

Wood lathe botanical conservatory built in 1915


Balboa Park Botanical Building

Photo taken by Richard Doody in April 2012



The Balboa Park Botanical Building was originally constructed in 1914 for the Panama California Exposition, It was billed as the largest wood lathe structure in the world and was one of only four structures intended to remain permanently.The lathe shade structure is reminiscent of the great conservatories of Kew Gardens in London and the New York Botanical Gardens, but designed to show off the amazing growing climate of San Diego. The brainchild of Alfred D. Robinson, the world’s leading begonia breeder at the time, the Botanical Building was intended to serve as the anchor for a botanical garden in Balboa Park.

Plantings in the Botanical Building comprise more than 2,100 permanent varieties, including collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, and palms.

Update Log 

  • June 17, 2018: Added by Richard Doody


  • Richard Doody