Museums At San Diego's Balboa Park

Hi guys, so every once in a great while my second mom decides to visit the lovely state of California because she has family down in San Diego. When she comes out, I make the 2-3 hour (depending on traffic) trek in an effort to be a good adopted kid. You see, she has terminal cancer and I never know when I talk to her or see her or hug her if it will be the last time I ever get to do it.

She's actually the mom of an ex. Kind of weird but my relationship with her is stronger than my relationship with her son. Her son and I still talk - I'm on every family members facebook and we all chat. Last year she came out for Mother's Day and I took her out to lunch to celebrate. This year she's out for a few weeks so I decided what better way to start out June than to go on a little road trip?

One of my favorite places to stop right before you get to San Diego is Oceanside. First of all the drive to San Diego, down interstate 5 is one of the prettiest drives in the country. It's literally along the ocean (hence the town name). You also get to see Camp Pendleton, a Marine (not navy like many would think with it being by the water) base so you can be all "proud to be an American" when you see it. They are always doing stuff when I drive by. Sometimes they are out in the field or in the water but I almost always see some kind of aircraft. It's kind of distracting when you're driving. As in, I freaked out because there was an armed tank driving towards me, EEK! But basically by the time I hit Oceanside I'm giddy excited because it means I'm only 15 minutes away from seeing her.

These are my photo's from last year's trip - I actually stopped by the ocean in Oceanside to take pictures.
It was a terrible idea because I climbed rocks, got soaked, it was windy and I think I even got a small sunburn.

A tiny theater where they have concerts

I love the architecture of the place.

Balcony Selfie... I just got done "excavating" some bones.

This is a tower you can walk up and look out... I decided against it. Too many stairs for my cohort to go up.

Brains on display.

View from Cabrillo Bridge

Globe Theater and the Tower as seen from Cabrillo Bridge

Cabrillo Bridge from bellow. Also known as Suicide Bridge and you can see why!

I like flowers and landscapes - clearly. Bougainvillea

This exhibit sparked the inner weirdo in me. We were NOT allowed to take photo's so I took notes instead.
It's a short, but graphic walk through gallery with torture devices on display. I'm going to discuss a few "favorites" so if you're squeemish, like I thought I wasn't, I'd click away now.
This is NSFW and graphic.

From the Museum of Man Website:
Instruments of Torture is a gripping exhibition featuring implements cruelly engineered to inflict unbelievable pain and suffering. But these artifacts also have a deeper significance in helping us understand who we are as human beings. By exploring why torture occurs, even in today’s world, this exhibition compels us to ask “Are people the real instruments of torture?”

But basically, people are some sick freaks. I kind of like it. Until I saw some of the devices. *shudder* Most of them were designed for and used on women. A handful were designed or used for men, mainly homosexual men and then another handful were for those seen as witches or heretics. The overall tone of devices intended to be unisex were actually less brutal and more "to the point" of slow death but a surefire route to execution. It seems the depth of human depravity was almost exclusively for women.

They had both a stake to impale someone on and the Judas Cradle. So gruesome.

They had one of these in addition to a contraption that looked like a coffin with spikes on the inside. If the door was closed, one would be forced to impale themselves in the back with the spikes because of their fear of the spikes stabbing them in the chest. One was made with a compartment for the head and one without - so you can see the pain of the victim.

This is often depicted in movies.

It looks just like a wagon wheel... but so much bigger.

Ok, this was the end of it for me. I literally was like "Omg, I can't" and left. Seeing the thing in real life is much more graphic than seeing an image of it because in a sick sense you can feel how awful and painful that had to have been for whoever it was used on.

This is only a handful of the devices that were on display and as you can see, they aren't pictures I took. These images and text came from here. They did not allow photography and there were docents and security who basically followed you around when you took out your cellphone. I snapped a few of this odd looking helmet (which you may have seen if you follow me on instagram):

The barrel was made to house the victim and the helmet placed on their head. They would be left in the device for days in an effort to humiliate them. I mean, it would be embarrassing to be seen with a metal chicken helmet right?

So, would you like to visit? Definitely check it out. My admission ticket to both the Museum of Man and the Instruments of Torture exhibit was only $20. If you have a student ID you get a discount (must bring the ID card with you), as do seniors and children. Parking is free and there is a tram that takes you from one end, including the parking lots to the other which is more museum heavy. There are also several other museums in the area. Such as the Museum of Art and the Aircraft museum's. I would have loved to do those as well but my cohort was tired so we left.

More from my instagram:

Monkey Brain Comparison... humans are in there somewhere. They also compare skulls, hand prinst and foot prints.

Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well Horatio!

Some shruken heads in the Egyptian section.

I drank some redbull and it gave me wings. ;)

What was your favorite part of this post?
Which torture device do you think you could survive?


  1. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them at bloggers brags pinterest party. pinned!

  2. Hi Essie - I am totally ready to go to San Diego now! Very intrigued by the Instruments of Torture exhibition....have certainly not come across one of those on my travels as yet. Love the photos too!

    Girl Vs Globe Link-up

  3. […] keep all of those sample’s you get from Sephora and packed away for that weekend trip to San Diego nice and tidy and all in one […]


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