Lifestyle: Balboa Park’s newest attraction

As a born and bred San Diegan, Balboa Park has been a staple for my educational background from field trips to family picnics. It is what make San Diego unique (other than the gorgeous beaches) so much culture surrounded by nature. It’s the perfect place for a wedding or to ride you bike. (oh and Frisbee Golf).

Thanks to Guru, you can find everything and anything going on in Balboa Park with their new innovative Balboa Park App.

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Guru is a new experiential technology company that creates apps for scenic attractions including museums, parks, aquariums and zoos to change the way attendees experience learning at cultural institutions. Guru’s one of-a-kind educational approach utilizes cutting-edge technology to help users easily navigate and explore cultural institutions in a personalized and customization way.


The Balboa Park app is free and available for iOS and Android devices. The app allows users to explore the beautiful 1,200-acre landscape of arts, science, food and culture at Balboa Park. As one of San Diego’s primary and scenic attractions, users are able to utilize the app as a go-to source of information to explore everything that Balboa Park has t Along with the Balboa Park app they have created an app for the San Diego Museum of Art. The San Diego Museum of Art app’s group-friendly tour app, powered by Guru and available for free download on iOS and Android devices, allow users to explore the exhibits in a group setting or on their own by creating a personalized and customization tour.



For more information on Guru’s impact on museums and more, read my interview with Guru founder Paul Burke.


Natalie Neece: What makes the Balboa Park App & San Diego Museum of Art App unique?


Paul Burke: What makes our app’s unique are the voice, functionality and special features. For example, at the San Diego Museum of Art, not only can you learn more about paintings by listening to our completely original audio tour, but you can also watch a painting come to life via augmented reality. It really is exceptional to see. At this point you just hold your phone up to a scene of 16th century Venice and before you know it the ships begin to move and the clouds begin to shift. You even get a taste for what it must have sounded like! This is definitely not your Grandma’s museum audio tour.


With our Balboa Park app it’s all about the visitor experience. We make the park easy to navigate, complete with museum hours, bathroom locations and a “find your car” section. We also included a walking tour, so you can get to know the park and its history better.


NN: How can users benefit from using the app?


PB: Visitors benefit through education, first and foremost. When someone visits a place as special as a museum or city park, they are there to enjoy themselves and learn. There are so many things you can take away from a museum as special as the San Diego Museum of Art without having an art history background. Our app makes the artwork or the unique aspects of Balboa Park for that matter, accessible for anyone. It creates a new way for a visitor to fully interact with a cultural institution.


NN: How did Guru come up with the ideas for both apps?


PB: The idea for our platform came from a trip I took with my niece and nephew two years ago. Wandering around the Coliseum in Rome I ended up yelling at them to put their phones away while walking around the ruins. It turns out they were looking up info about the venue on their phones. People want to learn when they are in a setting like a museum or a park with as much history and culture as Balboa Park. What we do is give visitors the ability to learn with ease, making a trip to a cultural institution an all-encompassing and fun experience for everyone.


NN: What other museums/places/landmarks will Guru be featuring next year?


PB: Right now you can find the Battleship Iowa App at the app store or play store for free. Our partnership with the WWII era Battleship based in the Port of Los Angeles has been a terrific experience as we have been able to show our range by talking about everything from the ship’s history at war to its complicated weapons systems.
We are also currently in talks with a wide range of museums from across the country. Our newest offering will be for the Little Italy neighborhood in San Diego. We are creating a custom app that will give visitors the chance to learn more about the history of the neighborhood through multiple themed walking tours they can download free to their phone. We are excited about using our voice in a new setting and are looking forward to the possibilities city centers and neighborhoods can bring.



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