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Explore San Diego with a New App

Digital docent! Three San Diegans created a simpler way to navigate the city’s cultural hotspots.


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Balboa Park can be a doozy. Trails, museums, theaters, restaurants, lawn bowling, cactus gardens, an archery range—how to tackle it all? That’s where Guru steps in. The San Diego–based tech company has created user-friendly apps and content for Balboa Park, the USS Iowa in L.A., and most recently, the San Diego Museum of Art. With the free Official Balboa Park Mobile App, users can find attractions and events, create must-see checklists, follow self-guided tours, and even locate ATMs and restrooms. (The “Find My Car” tool, which drops a virtual pin in your spot, is a savior for the short-term-memory impaired.)

Co-founders Paul Burke, Paul Shockley, and Hilary Srole began hatching the idea for Guru late last year after recognizing the need for a more tech-savvy way to explore museums, parks, and other cultural institutions. “Everyone huddled around a wall tag at an art museum doesn’t make sense to me,” says Burke, who noticed the problem while traveling in Rome with his millennial-age niece and nephew. “We want to bridge the gap between young people and museums.”

With The San Diego Museum of Art App for iOS and Android, which has a free, limited-access version and a $5 option for full access, Guru placed sensors in the museum that alert users to the specific gallery and works of art, and generates a video from the curator, who explains the history of the pieces. “It’s the everyman’s VIP tour,” Burke says. Coming soon to the SDMA app are treasure and scavenger hunts, as well as discounts on museum store purchases.

“This puts everything at your fingertips,” Srole says.

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