The Conservancy fulfills its commitment to enriching the visitor experience with the help of more than 60 dedicated volunteers, who staff the information counter inside the Balboa Park Visitors Center. One volunteer who enjoys the hustle and bustle of the Free Residents Tuesday crowds is David Bevilacqua, who considers himself a life-long learner. We sat down with David to learn more about his experience as a Visitors Center volunteer and what he likes most about being in the park.

How long and in what capacity have you been volunteering in Balboa Park?

I have been a volunteer in the Visitors Center, working behind the Information Desk, since 2011.

What got you interested in volunteering in Balboa Park?

I’ve been involved as a volunteer in a variety of endeavors, from professional growth organizations to homeowner associations, to community planning groups. I feel I’ve benefited from each and every opportunity. Balboa Park, which I visited extensively over the years, has so much to offer, and I enjoy sharing that with our visitors and patrons, and especially those visiting the park for the first time.

Tell us something most people don’t know about Balboa Park.

Two things come to mind: the Old Cactus Garden is a hidden gem, and the free, or low-cost, Balboa Park tours that are available to everyone.

What is your favorite season or time of year in the park and why?

I love coming to the park year-round, and especially during springtime. The beauty of the park is awakening after the winter slumber and everything looks fresh, bright, and renewed.

What do you most like about volunteering in the park?

When people take the time to come back and tell me how much they enjoyed the park, particularly when they tell me that the advice or information I gave them helped them enjoy the park more. I don’t expect it, so it’s always a thrill and a rush when you know you’ve done your job well.

What is the most interesting/unusual thing you’ve encountered while volunteering in the park?

Probably the thing that surprises me the most, being here on Residents Free Tuesdays, which I’ve done for three or four years now, is the number of San Diegans who have never been to Balboa Park. That’s shocking to me, but I’m glad they’re here, and I hope they find something that makes them want to come back.

Tell us a little bit about your background? Is there anything about you that would surprise most people?

I received a master’s degree in public education from San Diego State University. And my professional career was on the business and finance side of public education. I have always valued education and consider myself a life-long learner. I am currently enrolled in four continuing education classes, some of which feed my passion: opera!

Is there anything else you’d like to say about your experience volunteering in the park?

There are so many benefits to volunteering in the park: meeting and developing friendships with other volunteers, opportunities to see the museum exhibitions and attractions, and the satisfaction of helping others learn about the park. As I said earlier, it is so heartwarming when someone returns to the Visitors Center to say thank you for helping them maximize their Balboa Park experience.