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“Appropriate for children”

Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater
Ranked #249 of 387 things to do in San Diego
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Owner description: This popular puppet theater in Balboa Park is great for small children.
Reviewed 30 August 2014

This is a nice thing to do with young children. The puppet shows are aimed at their level. They have a nice facility for doing this. If your child is having a birthday, be sure to tell the ticket booth staff as they have a nice celebration for the child before the show begins.

1  Thank Dale O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 17 reviews

Reviewed 24 June 2012

We were at balboa park and trying to find something for the children to enjoy that didn't cost $20+ for a family of 4. We came the to the show, enjoyed and will go back. The prices have changed to $5/person, but is still cheeper then other puppets we've been to. The sound was not done well but the puppets were excellent. We liked that the shows changed weekly!

Thank Gemin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2011

This puppet theater is a must see for all those visiting San Diego with kids as well as those interested in having an old fashioned wholesome puppet Show experience. This theater is a treasure in Balboa Park. It is wonderful to celebrate a birthday. The birthday Child has a special treat in store with a crown and small prize. Essential part of San Diego experience with kids. Tickets available at venue from puppet dog. So much fun!

1  Thank sandiegosunshinemom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 December 2010

The puppet theater in Balboa Park is a treasure. The theater is old and was built for the 1935 Exposition in the park. The Guild that operates the theater has worked very hard to update the sound and the lighting systems. They now have a lot of special effects that enhance the shows. The theater performs shows year round and pretty do a different show every week or every other week. The only times that the theater is closed are Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Presenting that many shows makes it easy to present many different types of shows. They present everything from full stage marionette productions to traditional hand puppet shows. The schedule is great because they denote shows that are built for little preschoolers although all of the shows are for children. Don't expect a slick, expensive production it makes me laugh when people pay $3 for a child and expect "The Salzburg Marionettes" which charge $17 per child. This is a quaint 200 seat indoor theater with shows that are geared toward children. A real delight.

1  Thank SanDiegoBevfitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 March 2010

I recently volunteered at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater in Balboa Park in San Diego as part of the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promotion.

This little gem is just right for families with children of preschool age to perhaps third grade who are visiting Balboa Park. It is tucked away in a building with a pueblo style exterior just beyond a lawn a short walk from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, which itself is a short walk from The Prado restaurant.

The staff and performers are very pleasant. The theater and its facilities are well taken care of. Besides doing usher type work, myself and other volunteers were asked to make sure that the theater was clean and tidy inside and outside and the restrooms were well stocked and sweep. Cleaning and tidying up takes place not just at the beginning of the day, but between performances as well. We found that not much work was needed and it is easy to tell that the theater is lovingly cared for.

The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater and the building which houses it has a long history, which can be viewed on their website. As you walk up to the theater’s box office to purchase tickets, which are sold at a very reasonable cost, you may hear lighthearted music playing outside, including a few Disney tunes. Guests are asked to wait outside until just before show time. To make the wait more enjoyable, sometimes a table is set up outside with a story related craft for children to create before the show, included in the price of admission.

The theater is small and comfortable. Guests are allowed to choose the seats they would like after handing their tickets to the usher as they walk in the door. The usher uses a small basket to collect the tickets from guests as they come through the door. Children seem to enjoy placing their tickets in the basket.

On the day I was there the story was Peter Rabbit. Since I used to do storytelling at a library, I am quite familiar with the book Peter Rabbit. The puppeteers brought life to the book by faithfully telling the story, yet keeping it fresh with their techniques. The performance made the story leap from the pages of a book and become entertaining and occasionally funny. The puppet used for the farmer, Mr. McGregor, was especially well done and the chase between Peter and McGregor was very good. Some recorded background music and lighting was included in the show, which added to the entertainment and storytelling. Voices were well done and believable.

Before the actual story, a puppeteer appears on stage to introduce the story with the help of a fairly large puppet friend. After the performance, which is perhaps about a half an hour, the two puppeteers brought a couple of puppet friends into the audience for children and other guests to get a close up look. Children seemed involved and entertained all during the performance and especially seemed to love this chance to meet with the puppets close up.

The entryway of the theater includes a small shop with displays of puppets for sale – finger puppets, hand puppets, and marionettes. Guests are invited to take a look at them after the show and purchase if interested. There is quite a selection. Several of the children seemed especially intrigued by the marionettes and were allowed to see how they work.

The schedule of performances for the Puppet Theater can be found on their website. Shows are available Wednesday through Sunday during the daytime hours, late mornings and early afternoons.

If interested, allow about 45 min. total for the performance and meet and greet with puppets. Since prices of food within Balboa Park can be somewhat high, a fun thing to do might be to pack a lunch and have a picnic on the lawn near the theater.

Ticket prices as of this date are as follows:

Children are free until their 2nd birthday.
Children two years old and over are $3
Adults are $5
Seniors 65 and over are $4


3  Thank RedlandsRedhead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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