An educational visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center!

Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.
Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.

Before my hike through Sweetwater Marsh, I enjoyed a visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center, which is located inside the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Exhibits inside the center and clusters of wildlife tanks and enclosures outside allow visitors to see and learn about the animals that make this refuge their home. The place is just right for families, with kid-size educational displays, short, easy paths, and even some picnic tables. If I were a young kid, having a birthday party here would be really cool!

After checking out the exhibits at the Living Coast Discovery Center, I ventured over to an adjacent building that is the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters. Some great displays outside provide more information about the unique and beautiful wetland that stretches in all directions. Not far from this building, one can easily find a hiking trail that leads across the marsh to San Diego Bay.

The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There's even a mouse house popular with kids.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There’s even a mouse house popular with kids.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auk!
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auks!
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
A red-tailed hawk.
A red-tailed hawk.
Beautiful artwork on one building's side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Beautiful artwork on one building’s side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
This amazing art showing marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
This amazing art depicting marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low march and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and varied species to thrive.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low marsh and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and variously adapted species to thrive.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego Bay!
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego Bay!

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!

Guide dogs for the blind in San Diego!

Loving, intelligent guide dogs and their trainers attend a special event in San Diego.
Loving, intelligent guide dogs and their trainers attend a special event in San Diego.

During my walk today I came across a special event taking place at Embarcadero Marina Park North. A local group representing Guide Dogs for the Blind was having a gathering by San Diego Bay!

I was impressed at how loving and intelligent the guide dogs all were. I asked where people could go to learn more about possibly raising a guide dog, and was told to check out this website!

According to a handout I received, Guide Dogs for the Blind was created in 1942 to aid servicemen blinded in World War II. I also learned their services are offered free to people throughout the United States and Canada.

If you know someone who is blind or visually impaired, tell them about Guide Dogs for the Blind! Or check out their puppy raising program!

Guide Dogs for the Blind had a special gathering today at Embarcadero Marina Park North.
Guide Dogs for the Blind had a special gathering today at Embarcadero Marina Park North.
You see a puppy, a person who is blind sees the world.
You see a puppy, a person who is blind sees the world.
This best friend can make a difficult life much better.
This best friend can make a difficult life much better.
Guide Dogs for the Blind. Raise a puppy. Change a life.
Guide Dogs for the Blind. Raise a puppy. Change a life.

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Adopt a furry friend in San Diego!

Adopt Leticia! She's a silly Chihuahua and Rat Terrier mix who loves fluffy beds and meeting new people!
Adopt Leticia! She’s a silly Chihuahua and Rat Terrier mix who loves fluffy beds and meeting new people!

Lots of potential furry friends are awaiting adoption at the San Diego Humane Society. They’d like to meet you!

I spotted some fun flyers while walking near Balboa Park yesterday evening. They feature some friendly four-legged folk who are waiting to be adopted. Visit the San Diego Humane Society website to find out more!

Adopt Ellie and Bob! These special kitties are best friends who seek a compassionate human who understands the nature of shy cats.
Adopt Ellie and Bob! These special kitties are best friends who seek a compassionate human who understands the nature of shy cats.
Adopt Lacey! She is a calm, loving girl who is smart and loving.
Adopt Lacey! She is a calm, loving girl who is really smart.
Hey there, I'm Regal! This social gentleman is ready for a home of his own! He loves belly rubs and tennis balls and being with his people!
Hey there, I’m Regal! This social gentleman is ready for a home of his own! He loves belly rubs and tennis balls and being with his people!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Weird, bizarre animal discovered at old warehouse!

A bizarre, extremely rare animal was discovered yesterday at the old dilapidated Jerome's warehouse in San Diego's East Village.
A bizarre, extremely rare animal was discovered yesterday at the old Jerome’s warehouse in San Diego’s East Village.

Look what I discovered! I was walking down the sidewalk near the old, dilapidated Jerome’s warehouse in East Village when something caught my astonished eye! A weird, bizarre animal jumped at me from the crumbling building!

This particular weird creature was not found in the Coliseum. I know the Colosseum in Rome is filled with feral cats.
This particular weird creature did not jump out of the Coliseum. I know the Colosseum in Rome is filled with feral cats.
Look on the old Jerome's warehouse wall! It's a bizarre rat-like animal that farts green gas! Artist Adam Hathorn is Honkey Kong!
Look!  On the Jerome’s warehouse wall! It’s a bizarre rat-like animal that farts green gas! Artist Adam Hathorn is Honkey Kong!

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

Joan Embery’s My Animal World at Bonita Museum.

Joan Embery appears with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Carol the Elephant paints on a canvas for the national audience.
Joan Embery appears with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Carol the Elephant paints on a canvas for the national television audience.

Who doesn’t know Joan Embery? As a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, as Goodwill Ambassador for the San Diego Zoo, and as an international spokesperson for animal conservation, Joan Embery is loved by people all around the world. She is truly a San Diego legend.

So it’s fitting that the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center is now showing an exhibition about her life and career, titled Joan Embery’s My Animal World.

It was my first visit to this museum, and I was surprised to discover such a fine exhibition. Viewing all the displays gave me a great deal of pleasure. They brought back so many San Diego memories.

These few photographs only provide a small taste of what you will see at the museum. If you’re in San Diego, you really ought to head over to Bonita and check it out. The exhibition runs through December 3, 2016.

The Bonita Museum and Cultural Center is hosting a great exhibition about San Diego legend Joan Embery through December 3, 2016.
The Bonita Museum and Cultural Center is hosting a great exhibition about San Diego legend Joan Embery through December 3, 2016.
An elephant saddle is one of many cool artifacts on display at the Joan Embery's My Animal World exhibition.
An elephant saddle is one of many cool artifacts on display at the Joan Embery’s My Animal World exhibition.
Many photos show Joan Embery through the years--in Bonita, at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, travelling the world, and on the Pillsbury Ranch.
Many photos show Joan Embery through the years–in Bonita, at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, travelling the world, and on the Pillsbury Ranch.
Joan Embery was born in San Diego and was raised by a family who loved animals. As a kid, she never could get enough pets.
Joan Embery was born in San Diego and was raised by a family who loved animals. As a kid, she never could get enough pets.
In Junior High School, Joan Embery took horse riding lessons in Bonita. From an early age she dreamt of having her own horse.
In Junior High School, Joan Embery took horse riding lessons in Bonita. From an early age she dreamt of having her own horse.
Wonderful photos of Joan Embery with Carol the Elephant. The two became good friends when Joan worked at the San Diego Zoo. She would become the zoo's world-famous Goodwill Ambassador.
Wonderful photos of Joan Embery with Carol the Elephant. The two became good friends when Joan worked at the San Diego Zoo. She would become the zoo’s world-famous Goodwill Ambassador.
Display at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center documents a moment in the life and career of Joan Embery.
Display at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center documents a moment in the life and career of Joan Embery.
Ms. Zoofari. While working at the San Diego Zoo, Joan learned about different animal behaviors and about daily zoo tasks.
Ms. Zoofari. While working at the San Diego Zoo, Joan learned about different animal behaviors and about daily zoo tasks.
Today, the 50-acre Pillsbury Ranch is the home of Joan Embery and her husband Duane Pillsbury. Students visiting the ranch learn about the many different exotic animals that live there.
Today, the 50-acre Pillsbury Ranch is the home of Joan Embery and her husband Duane Pillsbury. Students visiting the ranch learn about the many different exotic animals that live there.
Joan Embery's Tack Room with many related photographs can be found at her museum exhibit in Bonita. Above all, she loves riding horses.
Joan Embery’s Tack Room with many related photographs can be found at her museum exhibit in Bonita. Above all, she loves riding horses.
Joan oversees The Embery Institute for Wildlife Conservation. She has been involved with many programs dedicated to animal and habitat conservation.
Joan oversees The Embery Institute for Wildlife Conservation. She has been involved with many programs dedicated to animal and habitat conservation.
Mountain lion head sculpted by Joan Embery's talented artist husband, Duane Pillsbury.
Mountain lion head sculpted by Joan Embery’s talented artist husband, Duane Pillsbury.
Joan Embery participated on a mountain lion tracking team at Rancho Cuyamaca State Park east of San Diego.
Joan Embery participated on a mountain lion tracking team at Rancho Cuyamaca State Park east of San Diego.
Joan Embery is a San Diego legend loved by many around the world. She has appeared on numerous book covers, magazines and television shows.
Joan Embery is a San Diego legend loved by many around the world. She has appeared on numerous book covers, magazines and television shows.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! 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 enjoy!

Tiny surfing dogs ride big waves at Imperial Beach!

Tiny dogs surf mighty waves in Imperial Beach during the 11th Annual Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition!
Tiny dogs surf mighty waves in Imperial Beach during the 11th Annual Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition!

And now for something on the light side. Surfing dogs!

Enjoy these funny photos of tiny dogs riding “huge” ocean waves near the pier at Imperial Beach! This morning I swung by the 11th Annual Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition, just to check out the action. The first 10-minute heat featured smaller breeds. These dogs are some of the most talented surfing athletes you’re likely to ever see! Well . . . maybe. But they definitely appeared to be having fun!

All you non-dog athletes, take note! No aspiration is too lofty! No wave is too large!

A crowd gathers on the beach in the morning, as the very popular Surf Dog Competition is almost ready to begin!
A crowd gathers on the beach in the morning, as the very popular Surf Dog Competition is almost ready to begin!
A pooch says Hi while hanging out with a few buddies. It's going to be another great day in San Diego!
A pooch says “Hi” while hanging out with a few buddies. It’s going to be another great day in San Diego!
This thoughtful dog is checking out the perimeter of the surf competition starting area, which is fenced off from interfering human types.
This thoughtful dog is checking out the perimeter of the surf competition starting area, which is fenced off from those often interfering human types.
We're almost ready for the first heat! These small dogs pose atop their surfboards for photos and make the most of their superstar status.
We’re almost ready for the first heat! These small dogs pose atop their surfboards for photos and make the most of their superstar status.
A line of people awaits the start of the Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition's first 10-minute heat of the day!
A line of people awaits the start of the Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition’s first 10-minute heat of the day!
And these small surf dogs are off, making toward the Pacific Ocean with the help of a few human assistants!
And these small surf dogs are off, making toward the Pacific Ocean with the help of a few human assistants!
The excitement has built to a doggone unbelievable level. Which four-legged contestant will catch the best waves and impress the judges?
The excitement has built to a doggone unbelievable level. Which four-legged contestant will catch the best waves and impress the judges?
The crowd watches these talented canine athletes as they take to the thundering waves!
The crowd watches these talented canine athletes as they take to the thundering waves!
Those are awfully big breakers! Only the most talented and fearless dogs will master this tough competition.
Those are awfully big breakers! Only the most skillful and fearless dogs will master this tough surfing competition.
An amazing dog athlete has successfully caught the first wave! Here he comes! Great form!
An amazing dog athlete has successfully caught the first wave! Here he comes! Great form!
A tiny canine contestant receives encouragement as the annual surf dog competition gets underway.
A tiny canine contestant receives encouragement as this year’s surf dog competition in IB gets underway.
This innovative dog--I believe his name is Samson--doesn't adhere to those old surfing traditions. He rides backwards.
This innovative dog–I believe his name is Samson–doesn’t adhere to those old surfing traditions. He rides his surfboard backwards.
Oh my goodness! Three dogs on one wave! Remember this moment, because you'll probably never see it again!
Oh my goodness! Three dogs on one wave! Remember this moment, because you’ll probably never see it again!
Two furry athletes vie for surfing supremacy.
Two furry athletes vie for surfing supremacy!
I'm thinking of submitting this amazing photograph to SURFER Magazine. I wonder if it might make the cover. (Just kidding!)
I’m thinking of submitting this amazing photograph to SURFER Magazine. I wonder if it might make the cover. (Just kidding!)
Samson seems to have finally straightened himself out. Maybe he just wants to leap back onto dry land.
Samson seems to have finally straightened himself out. Maybe he just wants to leap back onto dry land.
These best buddy pals are happy just to walk along the beach. No need to show off surfing skills.
These best buddy pals are happy just to walk along the beach. No need to show off their mad surfing skills.
And these two sneaky dogs want to pretend they're honest-to-goodness surfers. Can't fool me!
And these two sneaky dogs want to pretend they’re honest-to-goodness surfers. Can’t fool me!
Tiny surfing dogs have mastered the mighty waves at Imperial Beach during the Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition. They are superstars, indeed!
Tiny surfing dogs have mastered the mighty waves at Imperial Beach during the Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition. They are superstars, indeed!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego!  Are you curious?  There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Save the Vaquita Day in San Diego!

Help us Save the Vaquita display at the east gazebo of Seaport Village in San Diego. The band Insect Surfers was providing some music!
Help us Save the Vaquita display at the east gazebo of Seaport Village in San Diego. The band Insect Surfers was providing some music!

The Vaquita is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. It is thought that about 60 of the animals exist in the ocean today. This small species of porpoise (Phocoena sinus) lives in the warm waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean–specifically in the northern Gulf of California, in a small region east of Baja California not too distant from San Diego. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Vaquita is classified as Critically Endangered.

International Save the Vaquita Day was observed today in San Diego and many other cities around the world. I swung by Seaport Village to see what efforts are underway to save Mexico’s “Panda of the Sea” and to learn a little about the Vaquita.

I learned that the Vaquita, thankfully, enjoys clean waters. Their big threat is being entangled in the gillnets of fishermen. A major effort is underway to eliminate these nets from the Vaquita’s natural habitat. But some fishermen, seeking to provide a living for themselves, use them anyway.

I learned there’s also an effort to inform consumers that some shrimp and fish that one finds in the grocery store is caught with gillnets. It is hoped enlightened shoppers will seek out and purchase seafood that isn’t caught with this type of net.

I learned that Vaquitas have never been held in aquariums, and has only been known to science since 1958.

If this species goes extinct, it will be gone forever.

These nice ladies are working hard to save the Vaquita. It is hoped many others will join the effort, in any way possible. Time is very limited--perhaps a year or two--before the species might go extinct.
These nice ladies are working hard to save the Vaquita. It is hoped many others will join the effort, in any way possible. Time is very limited–perhaps a year or two–before the species might go extinct.
Kids make art and learn about the critically endangered Vaquita, a marine mammal that clings to a tenuous existence not far from San Diego.
Kids make art and learn about the critically endangered Vaquita, a marine mammal that clings to a tenuous existence not far from San Diego.

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

Are you a blogger? Do you want to make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.