Nature and art at Chollas Creekside Park.

Nature’s beauty and fine public art can be enjoyed at Chollas Creekside Park, located in southeast San Diego’s Chollas View neighborhood. The curved linear park, which preserves important natural habitat in an urban setting, can be found near the northwest corner of Market Street and Euclid Avenue.

A couple weekends ago I visited this beautiful community park for the first time and, by using the pedestrian bridge over Chollas Creek, walked the pathways along both sides of the dry creek bed.

I saw spring flowers. I saw new green leaves. I saw many birds.

I also paused to admire the Chollas Realm Gateways at either end of the park. The public artwork was created by local artist Roman de Salvo and installed in the summer of 2019.

At the center of Chollas Creekside Park, I circled Visualize Biodiversity. The 10-foot Corten sculpture is shaped like a barrel cactus. Patterns of butterflies and insects around its circumference light up at night. Created by artist Deedee Morrison, it was also installed in 2019.

You’ll see in my photos that I also climbed up to a lookout point above Chollas Creek, where there’s a great view of the entire park. With a little imagination one can visualize the surrounding area as it was before the city sprang up and streets and buildings covered the landscape.

Chollas Creek and Chollas View take their name from the Cholla cactus. Cholla were numerous here, once upon a time.

Chollas Realm Gateway, by artist Roman de Salvo, 2019.
Birds of Chollas Creek include California gnatcatcher, red-tailed hawk, Bell’s vireo, and cactus wren.
Visualize Biodiversity, by artist Deedee Morrison, 2019.
Plants of Chollas Creek include California buckwheat, California sunflower, lemonadeberry, and California sycamore.
Mammals of Chollas Creek include coyote, gray fox, desert cottontail, and big brown bat.
Benefits of creek restoration include cleaner water, reduced flooding and preservation of wildlife habitat along a riparian corridor.

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!

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How to create a wildlife-friendly backyard!

I saw this great information on how to create a wildlife-friendly backyard and thought I’d share it! These four ideas were posted in a trailhead kiosk at Mission Trail Regional Park.

  1. Grow plants that provide wildlife with a natural food source such as nuts, berries or nectar, or add backyard feeders.
  2. Provide water for wildlife with a birdbath, small pond or shallow dish.
  3. Offer protective cover for wildlife by providing ground cover, a hollow log or rock piles, dense shrubs or a roosting box.
  4. Provide places for wildlife to raise their young, such as a water garden, pond or nesting box.

If you’d like to watch the birds and animals without them being spooked, or perhaps take close-up photographs, consider building a blind from which you can watch your wild visitors!

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!

Sea lion at Chase Bank in Pacific Beach.

A sea lion likes to hang out in front of Chase Bank in Pacific Beach. Perhaps you’ve seen it near the corner of Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive!

I don’t know how I missed this bronze sculpture the day I walked around the bank building to photograph its mosaics back in late January. To see the extraordinary mosaics, which depict figures from San Diego history, click here.

Does anyone out there know the story of this sea lion sculpture? Do you have any memories?

It’s standing on soil covered with wood bark in what might have once been a fountain or pool of water, but I can’t tell. When I walked past the fun sculpture on Saturday, I could find no indication of when it was created or by whom.

Please leave a comment if you happen to know anything!

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!

Art fills up El Cajon gas station!

If you ever driven through the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and West Washington Avenue in El Cajon, you’ve probably noticed panda bears. And exotic birds and colorful flowers and other painted scenes from nature.

That’s because murals can be found everywhere around this 76 gas station, and inside it, too!

The super nice clerk allowed me to take photographs of the ceiling inside the gas station’s convenience store. Artwork covers the walls, doors–everywhere you look!

An enthusiastic customer who seemed knowledgeable said it all was painted about nine years ago. I couldn’t find an artist signature. (Could the artist be Henry Goods, who is responsible for other gas station murals around San Diego? For example, here.)

If anybody knows more about this artwork, please leave a comment!

Next time you need gas in El Cajon, swing by this friendly 76 station and fill up with lots of beautiful art!

Now we’ve stepped inside the door and are gazing up at the incredible ceiling!

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!

Yellow bison on Golden Hill rooftop!

Why is there a big yellow bison standing on the roof of an apartment building in Golden Hill?

You can see this very odd sight on the southeast corner of Broadway and 21st Street.

I spoke to some folks walking across the street. They’ve lived in the neighborhood for ten years. They told me the big yellow bison has been standing up on that rooftop for at least a decade. They guess the building owner must really like bison!

Seems as good an explanation as any!

Does anyone out there know anything about this peculiar sculpture? Leave a comment!

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!

Nesting cormorants above La Jolla Cove!

It must be breeding season already, because hundreds of Brandt’s cormorants are showing their blue throat patches and building nests on the cliffs above La Jolla Cove!

Today I stood and watched peculiar bird behaviors from the roadside above the cliffs. I saw amorous flirtations and angry squabbles and seaweed tug-of-wars. Cormorants in nests would occasionally angle their heads and wings way back, staring straight up. I’m not sure if that’s a natural behavior, or if they were merely gaping at all the tourists above them!

I tried to select my best photographs. In some the cormorants appear very beautiful; in others a bit strange and primitive–almost monstrous.

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Bronze wildlife sculptures at Viejas outlet mall.

Many realistic bronze sculptures representing regional wildlife can be found all around the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine, California. This unique shopping mall, filled with beautiful artwork inspired by Native American Kumeyaay life and culture, is operated by the Viejas Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians of the Viejas Reservation.

The wildlife sculptures are found throughout the mall, among trees, on pedestrian walkways, even lurking atop artificial rocks and waterfalls. Families turning corners might encounter a bear, mule deer, mountain lions, a rattlesnake, coyote, river otter, Canada geese, and even desert bighorn sheep. Adult animals are often accompanied by their young. The bronze sculptures depict the animals interacting with each other naturally in their small realistic settings.

The wildlife sculptures were created by award-winning El Cajon artist Robert G. Berry, who began as a taxidermist before turning animal sculptor. His work can also be enjoyed at the San Diego Zoo, Cypress Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor and Interpretive Center, which is also in San Diego. To see a few examples of his half dozen bronze sculptures at Mission Trails, click here!

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Imperial Beach water mural depicts sea life.

People driving west down Palm Avenue through Imperial Beach will probably spot several murals depicting local sea life. One fantastic mural painted this year can be found on the side of the California American Water building.

This beautiful public art features a sea turtle, several rays, leopard sharks and a sea lion swimming inside a watery kelp forest. It was painted by San Diego artist Carly Ealey.

Does that leopard shark coming straight toward you seem familiar? It’s on the San Diego Zoo kids website here!

You can enjoy photographs of a similar mural in Imperial Beach by the same artist here.

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Powerful mural honors Kumeyaay people.

I recently came across an article about a newly painted mural in Chicano Park. So I headed to Barrio Logan today to see it up close.

The colorful, symbolic mural celebrates the Native American Kumeyaay story of Creation. It was designed by artist Carmen Linares Kalo. The painting was completed with the help of many artists. (You can see their names in some of the following photos.)

All of the murals inside Chicano Park are bold and vibrant, but I must say the imagery in this one is exceptionally powerful.

The Kumeyaay people lived on this land thousands of years before the existence of a United States or a Mexico or a Spain, and their spiritual connection to nature is beautifully conveyed. Different native animals represent different people in the story of Creation.

Sadly, one person in this world that we all share, when I approached the mural, was buried among painted flowers, homeless.

If you want to learn more about this mural, and its special dedication event a couple months ago, check out the article here.

If you’d like to read Kumeyaay stories concerning their world, its ancient creation and unending life, visit the web page Kumeyaay Religions and Legends and follow the links!

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Three chickens escape from the Pie Shop!

Three clever birds have managed to escape from the famous San Diego Chicken Pie Shop restaurant!

I saw them by the sidewalk huddled in a small group, keeping an eye in three directions to avoid recapture!

This cool street art in North Park is the work of Kelly Hutchison in 2020.

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!