The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!
People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!

I walked through Middletown yesterday on a mission. I wanted to pay a visit to the locally famous Harper’s Topiary Garden!

What a fantastic, amazing creation! This private front yard on a hillside has been transformed by the residents into a eye-popping landscape of weird animals and delightful designs. I felt as though I’d stepped into a small world touched by magic.

This is one super cool sight that is undeniably extraordinary!

Human imagination coupled with passion can actually turn wildest dreams into reality!

Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I'll bet it's nothing like the Harper's Topiary Garden!
Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I’ll bet it’s nothing like the Harper’s Topiary Garden!
Harper's Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah's Ark and an army of unearthly creatures paralyzed by magic.
Harper’s Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah’s Ark and an army of fantasy creatures paralyzed by magic.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary creatures.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary oddities.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
Harper's Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Harper’s Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Perhaps the garden was inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
Perhaps the garden is inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
A most fantastic topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!
A most amazing topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

How to create 3D printed intertidal organisms!

Sign inside Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument describes the fascinating 3D Cabrillo project.
Sign inside Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument describes the fascinating 3D Cabrillo project.

The Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument has a cool exhibit of 3D printed intertidal organisms. An explanation is provided of how the tide pool animal models were created, and shows how the general public and interested educators can easily access essential resources via a dedicated website!

Student curriculum, simple instructions and the 3D Cabrillo biomodel .STL files library (and a link to raw Autodesk files) are all found here.

For 3D Cabrillo and the particular models seen in this exhibit, free imaging software and an iPad were used to capture images of intertidal organisms preserved by La Jolla’s world-renowned Scripps Institute of Oceanography. After models were edited on a computer using design software, they were sent to a 3D printer at the San Diego Central Library’s Innovation Lab.

This program was adapted from the Scan Our Seas project created by Dr. Andrew D. Thaler.

Do you know of any school students who’d like to learn more about marine biology, the environment and technology? This is definitely a very cool (and fun) project!

Many colorfully painted 3D printed models of intertidal organisms are on display inside the Visitor Center.
Many colorfully painted 3D printed models of intertidal organisms are on display inside the Visitor Center.
3D printed Starburst Sea Anemone.
3D printed Starburst Sea Anemone.
3D printed Dorid Nudibranch.
3D printed Dorid Nudibranch.
A video explains the 3D printing process, including editing the tidepool animals.
A video shows the 3D printing process, including editing the tidepool animals.
3D printed Wavy Turban Snail.
3D printed Wavy Turban Snail.
3D printed Ochre Sea Star.
3D printed Ochre Sea Star.
Students are encouraged to create nature journals. Writing is fun, too!
Students are encouraged to create nature journals. Writing is fun, too!
3D printed Scallop.
3D printed Scallop.
3D printed Garibaldi.
3D printed Garibaldi.

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Remember Me Thursday love in Balboa Park.

A best friend.
A best friend.

Every year, the lives of almost 3 million shelter animals are terminated. It’s a colossal, heartbreaking tragedy that defies understanding–because it needn’t happen. Remember Me Thursday is a global event that shines a light on the plight of shelter animals, and on the positive choice of animal adoption.

Here are a few photos from the special Remember Me Thursday candlelight vigil held this evening in Balboa Park. Those who participated gathered near the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. The annual event was created five years ago by Mike Arms, President and CEO of Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Remember Me Thursday has spread worldwide and now hundreds of animal welfare organizations participate.

This evening in Balboa Park, hearts were lit for innocent animals in San Diego and around the world waiting for adoption. Like you, they simply want to live and be loved.

Smiles from the Helen Woodward Animal Center during Remember Me Thursday in Balboa Park.
Smiles from the Helen Woodward Animal Center during Remember Me Thursday in Balboa Park.
People gather to remember animals waiting in shelters to be adopted--and those who lost their lives.
People gather to remember animals waiting in shelters to be adopted–and those who have lost their lives.
The deeply touching Remember Me Thursday poem by Mike Arms.
The deeply touching Remember Me Thursday poem by Mike Arms.
A gathering in Balboa Park and an urgent message. Millions of shelter animals around the world simply want to live and be loved.
A gathering in Balboa Park and an urgent message. Millions of shelter animals around the world simply want to live and be loved.
A banner invites messages of hope and love.
A banner invites messages of hope and gratitude.
A wish that pets know the selfless love that they provide us while on Earth.
A wish that pets know the selfless love that they provide us while on Earth.
A few loving words for the best hamster a boy could ever have.
A few powerful words for the best hamster a boy could ever have.
As the sun sets, people wait to watch a moving video and hear the reading of Mike Arms' poem.
As the sun sets, people wait to watch a thought-provoking video and hear the reading of Mike Arms’ poem.
Many candles were then lit.
Many candles were then lit.

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Fun street art found around La Mesa.

Live free like a butterfly. Street art in La Mesa.
Live free like a butterfly. Street art in La Mesa.

I found a lot of fun street art during a random walk around La Mesa. I bounced from color to color like a butterfly, my feet pointed in every direction. I wandered down University Avenue, up La Mesa Boulevard, along Spring Street. Most of the artwork was discovered on sidewalk electrical boxes. These photos are in no particular order.

Butterfly painted on an electrical box.
Butterfly painted on an electrical box.
Street art shows colorful cars.
Street art shows colorful cars.
A lots of mostly happy faces.
A lot of mostly happy faces.
Two giraffes.
Two giraffes.
A panda bear.
A panda bear.
High voltage heart and two roses.
A high voltage heart and two red roses.
The fish tank.
The fish tank. Perhaps it contains an electric eel.
Three fish.
Three fish.
A white goose.
A white goose.
Two owls.
Two owls.
A blue bird.
A blue bird.
Graffiti child on a wall ready to play hopscotch at Coin Haus.
Graffiti child on a wall ready to play hopscotch at Coin Haus.
Exotic mural up high in the alley behind Amethyst Moon.
Exotic mural up high in the alley behind Amethyst Moon.
Koi.
Koi.
An abstract design.
An abstract design.
Butterflies and flowers brighten a La Mesa sidewalk.
More butterflies and flowers brighten a La Mesa sidewalk.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Natural beauty at the West Coast Shell Show!

Colorful snail shells on display at the West Coast Shell Show.
Colorful snail shells on display at the West Coast Shell Show.

On Sunday I peered into Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado and discovered a surprising exhibition open free to the public. It was the San Diego Shell Club’s amazing West Coast Shell Show!

There were so many beautiful shells covering table after table it blew my mind. Every shell, I noted, was unique and interesting, and many that I saw seemed like exquisite works of art. Nature’s abundant beauty was spread throughout the room. It seemed I had blundered into a vast treasure of spilled jewels.

When I walk along a beach, I like to search the sand for bright or colorful objects washed up by the tide. But I honestly know next to nothing about shells from molluscs on land or in the sea. So I learned a few fascinating facts during my short conversations with a friendly hobbyist and a dealer.

Among other things, I learned some shells are highly prized for their rarity and apparent perfection, and that a few can fetch many thousands of dollars. I also learned there are relatively few serious shell collectors worldwide. But those who have a passion for shells have a hobby that promises new discoveries at every turn and inexhaustible wonder.

The West Coast Shell Show was presented in Balboa Park by the San Diego Shell Club.
The West Coast Shell Show was presented in Balboa Park by the San Diego Shell Club.
Beautiful shells of all types could be enjoyed--and purchased--inside the Casa del Prado over the weekend.
Beautiful shells of all types could be enjoyed–and purchased–inside the Casa del Prado over the weekend.
A variety of different colored abalone shells were on display at the show.
A variety of different colored abalone shells were on display at the show.
A wide variety of beautiful cowry shells, a type of sea snail.
A wide variety of beautiful cowries. They almost look like polished agates to me. The cowry is a type of sea snail.
The story of shells appears to have many chapters and subplots.
The Story of Shells appears to have many chapters and pages.
The many shells seemed to me like exotic jewels, no two exactly alike.
The shells seemed like exotic jewelry or small works of art, no two exactly alike.
One display case showed a large variety of fantastic chitons. These almost look like polished wood!
One display case showed a large collection of fantastic chitons. To me these almost look like varnished wood!
Dr. Wesley M. Farmer had a table full of scientific books, plus lots of unique art he'd created concerning nudibranchs, a type of sea slug. They shed their shells after their larval stage.
Dr. Wesley M. Farmer had a table full of scientific books, plus lots of unique art he’d created concerning nudibranchs, a type of sea slug. They shed their shells after their larval stage.
All sorts of fascinating mollusc art created by Wes Farmer, including specimens made with colored oven bake clay.
All sorts of fascinating mollusc art created by Wes Farmer, including specimens made with colored oven bake clay.
The public could enjoy many amazing sights at the West Coast Shell Show!
The public could enjoy many fantastic displays at the West Coast Shell Show!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Cosplay dogs become celebrities at PAWmicon!

Three canine superstars get their photo during PAWmicon. Cosplay goes to the dogs.
Three canine celebrities get their photo taken during PAWmicon. Cosplay goes to the dogs.

The humans can’t have all the fun during Comic-Con!

Check out some photos of dog cosplay at today’s PAWmicon event, which took place at Hazard Center. Helen Woodward Animal Center had adoptable dogs dressed up as superheroes, and friendly pups proceeded to save smiling humans! As the bumper sticker says: Who rescued who?

Dogs brought by those attending the event were also dressed up for a costume contest. I know–a bit silly–but every two-legged and four-legged critter at PAWmicon seemed quite happy!

Helen Woodward Animal Center created PAWmicon to help adoptable dogs find loving homes. Cosplay for a cause.
Helen Woodward Animal Center created PAWmicon to help adoptable dogs find loving homes. Cosplay for a cause.
I spotted Hairy Pawter in the Dogwarts Express.
I spotted Hairy Pawter in the Dogwarts Express.
Bat-dog was keeping an eye on the mayhem.
Bat-dog was keeping an eye on the mayhem.
I see Harley-canine and Super-growl.
I see Harley-canine and Super-growl.
Bat-dog returned to the relative safety of Gotham. San Diego is just too crazy.
Bat-dog returned to the relative safety of Gotham. San Diego is just too crazy.
A cosplay dog is a star of the show.
A cosplay dog is a star of the show.
The furriest critter around wasn't a pooch--it was Chewbacca!
The furriest critter around wasn’t a pooch–it was Chewbacca!
Not sure who this dog is pretending to be. Perhaps Captain Paw-merica.
Not sure what superhero this dog is dressed up to be. Perhaps some sort of Captain Paw-merica.
Here comes Scooby Doo. He ate so many Scooby snacks, he outgrew the Mystery Machine!
Here comes Scooby Doo. He ate so many Scooby snacks, he outgrew the Mystery Machine!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Funny beach street art in Mission Valley!

Breezy bird street art on Mission Center Road depicts funny beach scenes.
Breezy bird street art on Mission Center Road depicts a funny beach scene.

Four months ago I shared some colorful street art that I found on several electrical boxes in Mission Valley. You can revisit that blog post here. As you can see, one of the images was a sketch of a gull at a beach carrying away a bag of chips–a humorous work in progress. Well, that work is now completed, as well as another side of the same box!

Just a note–the colors were light, so I had to increase the contrast in the photos quite a bit.

All that and a bag of chips!
All that and a bag of chips!
A wacky gull, pelican and sea lions add humor to a drive through Mission Valley!
A wacky gull, pelican and sea lions add humor to a drive through Mission Valley!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!