California Native Plant Society in Balboa Park.

People check potted greenery during the California Native Plant Society's Fall Plant Sale in Balboa Park.
People look at potted greenery during the California Native Plant Society’s Fall Plant Sale in Balboa Park.

Yesterday the California Native Plant Society had their Fall Plant Sale in Balboa Park. I stumbled upon the cool event during my random walk through the park.

Lots of people were looking at all sorts of potted plants, perhaps thinking of making a purchase for their yards. Residents of San Diego are encouraged to use native flora for landscaping. San Diego has a cool arid climate, and like the rest of Southern California our growing city has a limited supply of water.

Many plants and flowers native to the San Diego region were for sale in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
Many plants and flowers native to the San Diego region were for sale in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
Balboa Park's iconic California Tower is seen through an archway at the Casa del Prado.
Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower is seen through an archway at the Casa del Prado.
Many packets of seeds were also for sale.
Many packets of seeds were also for sale.
Fred Roberts, a local botanist, artist and author had some of his beautiful bird art for sale at one end of the long table.
Fred Roberts, a local botanist, artist and author had some of his beautiful bird art for sale at one end of the long table.
He also created these flower shirts.
He also created these flower shirts.
One good thing about native plants is they don't require very much water. We live in an arid climate!
One very good thing about native plants is they don’t require much water. San Diego has an arid climate!

If you’d like to see some photos of the House of Spain’s lawn program in Balboa Park yesterday, which included lots of colorful dancing, I posted thoseĀ 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!

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Star Wars lightsaber combat at Maker Faire!

This member of the San Diego Sabers has personally made many lightsabers. Some examples lie on the group's table during Maker Faire in Balboa Park.
This member of the San Diego Sabers has personally made many lightsabers. Some examples lie on the group’s table during Maker Faire in Balboa Park.

The last couple of years at Maker Faire San Diego I’ve watched a group of Star Wars enthusiasts entertain audiences with lightsaber duels. They have engaged in their elaborate play on the main stage, swinging their illuminated lightsabers in mock combat, to rousing music from the Star Wars movies.

This year, as I walked around Maker Faire, I happened upon this group’s cool lightsaber exhibit. These local Star Wars fans call themselves the San Diego Sabers. They are one of many similar groups all around the world that make their own lightsabers and engage in mock combat.

I asked all sort of questions and learned more than I expected. Most of the extremely elaborate lightsabers used by the members produce colored light, illuminating a long clear tube that can be attached, thereby appearing much like the Jedi and Sith weapons made famous in the movies. Most of the mock weapons also generate that distinctive lightsaber sound. I learned that it’s also possible to order a variety of lightsabers from several online vendors.

Regional competitions are often held between groups, and the method of scoring is similar to that used in fencing. The sport is lightning fast, highly athletic and incorporates various styles of martial arts. The San Diego Sabers provide demos free to the public, teach all ages including kids (often using foam lightsabers for safety), and encourage acceptance, respect, and a positive attitude.

And it’s obvious they have a lot of fun!

Many DIY lightsabers are surprisingly elaborate, generating light and sound, while appearing as authentic as any movie prop.
Many DIY lightsabers are surprisingly elaborate, generating light and sound, while appearing as authentic as any movie prop.
The San Diego Sabers provides full contact lightsaber training based on fencing, HEMA, Kendo and Wu-shu. Kids are welcome and it's free!
The San Diego Sabers provides full contact lightsaber training based on fencing, HEMA, Kendo and Wu-shu. Kids are welcome and it’s free!
Someone picks up one of the cool lightsabers on display.
Someone picks up one of the cool lightsabers on display.
Members of the San Diego Sabers demonstrate mock combat using foam attachments. Together they've got enough lightsabers to take on General Grievous!
Members of the San Diego Sabers demonstrate mock combat using foam attachments. Together they’ve got enough lightsabers to take on General Grievous!
A kid checks out one of the cool lightsabers. As you might have noticed, I took these photos on two different days during Maker Faire San Diego.
A kid checks out one of the cool lightsabers. As you might have noticed, I took these photos on two different days during Maker Faire San Diego.
Kids have a lot of fun with the foam lightsabers.
Kids have a lot of fun with the foam lightsabers.
Members of the San Diego Sabers arrive at the Maker Faire main stage in the Plaza de Panama. A combat exhibition is about to begin.
Members of the San Diego Sabers arrive at the Maker Faire main stage in the Plaza de Panama. A combat exhibition is about to begin.
As Star Wars music plays, two members of the San Diego Sabers simulate an epic battle between the Jedi and Sith.
As Star Wars music plays, two members of the San Diego Sabers simulate an epic battle between the Jedi and Sith.

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!

More stunning beauty in the Botanical Building.

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park is a garden paradise. I love to walk through it, searching right and left for small scenes of stunning beauty.

This afternoon I managed to capture some good photographs.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Please visit my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Give Love event adds kindness to San Diego!

Be encouraging. Smile. Give hugs.
Be encouraging. Smile. Give hugs.

A group called Give Love New York is in San Diego this weekend during 2017 Maker Faire. You can find them near the Old Globe in Balboa Park, passing out carnations and inviting passersby to dance and converse and smile and sing and play games and write messages containing kindness, positivity and wisdom!

This unique Give Love project is the brainchild of Alive Worldwide. Their mission is to use creativity to encourage and spread human compassion.

Very cool! Events such as this could be held in every corner of the world! It’s very easily done. Why not?

Two smiles and free carnations from Give Love San Diego, at 2017 Maker Faire in Balboa Park!
Two smiles and free carnations from Give Love San Diego, at 2017 Maker Faire in Balboa Park!
With the help of the Old Globe Theatre, spreading kindness worldwide @givelovenewyork
With the help of the Old Globe Theatre, spreading kindness worldwide @givelovenewyork
Giving words of wisdom. Share your thoughts on a written note, then come back later and retrieve new wisdom to take home.
Giving words of wisdom. Share your thoughts on a written note, then come back later and retrieve new wisdom to take home.
Try it!
Try it!
Challenge yourself daily.
Challenge yourself daily.
Freedom is found by sacrifice. Question the unknown.
Freedom is found by sacrifice. Question the unknown.
Love hard. Love strong. Love always.
Love hard. Love strong. Love always.
Give Love San Diego!
Be open. Treat others with understanding. Give Love San Diego!

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Cool robots invade Maker Faire San Diego!

Flames rise from the fingertips of Robot Resurrection at 2017 Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park.
Flames rise from the fingertips of Robot Resurrection at 2017 Maker Faire San Diego in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park has been invaded! Cool robots of every size and description are roving throughout the park during 2017 Maker Faire San Diego!

Maker Faire San Diego seems to grow bigger every year. During this amazing event, eye-popping inventions and marvels of technology take over the heart of Balboa Park and many of its museums.

This morning I walked around feasting my mind on all sorts of creative stuff. Students, inventors, hobbyists and local clubs were proudly showing off their unique ideas and feats of engineering. Examples of 3D printing and robotics were everywhere.

Maker Faire San Diego continues in Balboa Park through Sunday. If you can, check it out for yourself!

Here are a few of the cool robots you might see!

2017 Maker Faire San Diego features lots of very cool robots, including 28 foot tall Robot Resurrection.
2017 Maker Faire San Diego features lots of very cool robots, including 28 foot tall Robot Resurrection.
A human operator emerges from the chest of the gigantic flame-throwing robot!
A human operator emerges from the chest of the gigantic flame-throwing robot! If this thing could walk it would be a formidable battle robot!
Human and robot fingers meet.
Human and robot fingers meet.
Robot Resurrection has a couple of tiny pals. Here's one.
Robot Resurrection has a couple of tiny pals. Here’s one.
Here's the other!
Here’s the other!
The very cool Electric Giraffe has returned again to Maker Faire San Diego.
The very cool Electric Giraffe has returned to the annual Maker Faire San Diego.
The Electric Giraffe can move about while using an array of sensors in its head. When the neck is raised, this crowd-pleasing robot is 17 feet tall.
The Electric Giraffe can move about while using an array of sensors in its head. When the neck is raised, this crowd-pleasing robot is 17 feet tall!
This cute cow robot is named Milky White. It can move its eyeballs, eyelids, ears, tail and jaws!
This cute cow robot is named Milky White. It can move its eyeballs, eyelids, ears, tail and jaws!
People at San Diego's annual Maker Faire in Balboa Park check out a very creative robot designed by a friendly young man.
People at San Diego’s annual Maker Faire in Balboa Park check out a very creative robot designed by a friendly young man.
Many schools from around San Diego are demonstrating their robot and other engineering projects during Maker Faire.
Many schools from around San Diego demonstrate robots and other engineering projects during Maker Faire.
The Robotics Society of Southern California has a sophisticated humanoid robot that moves realistically.
The Robotics Society of Southern California has a sophisticated humanoid robot that moves realistically.
The Glendale Robotics Academy had their Party Rover on display in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
The Glendale Robotics Academy had their Party Rover on display in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Kids check out another robot in the garden.
Kids check out another robot in the garden.
A performance artist becomes a fun robot. People walking down El Prado posed for photos!
A performance artist becomes a fun robot. People walking down El Prado posed for photos!
This robot named Darth Zamboni was created by the Top Hat Technicians of High Tech High North County. It launches balls!
This robot named Darth Zamboni was created by the Top Hat Technicians of High Tech High North County. It launches balls!
Small autonomous cars on a track inside the San Diego History Center. They were being controlled remotely in order to gather navigational data.
Small autonomous cars on a track inside the San Diego History Center. They were being controlled remotely in order to gather navigational data.
Autonomous car technology being developed today utilizes deep computer learning.
Autonomous car technology being developed today utilizes deep computer learning.
A student participating in the First Robotics Competition demonstrates a small vehicle that they built. Many robots can be seen up close in the San Diego History Center.
A student participating in the First Robotics Competition demonstrates a small vehicle that their team built. Many robots can be seen up close in the San Diego History Center.
This competitive robot corrals balls and then launches them.
This competitive robot corrals balls and then launches them.
Cool robots of every size and description are on display throughout Balboa Park during 2017 Maker Faire San Diego!
Cool robots of every size and description are on display throughout Balboa Park during 2017 Maker Faire San Diego!

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!

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.

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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A plant in Balboa Park now extinct in the wild.

Balboa Park's knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.
Balboa Park’s knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.

I learned something really amazing last Sunday in Balboa Park. I had joined one of Ranger Kim Duclo’s park tours as it was in progress, and I followed the group into the Botanical Building.

Near the center of the Botanical Building, Ranger Kim stopped beside a beautiful green tree and told us it was one of the rarest plants in the entire world!

Deppea splendens was originally discovered in 1973 by botanist Dennis Breedlove. He found it growing in a single spot in Mexico’s southern mountains. Fortunately Dennis gathered some seeds. Because when he returned in 1986, the plants had all been destroyed. The area had been developed into farmland.

Ranger Kim told us that specimens of Deppea splendens now grow in relatively few places–mostly in special havens like Balboa Park. He also said that one day the plant might be reintroduced into the wild, much as the California condor was saved locally from extinction and successfully returned to its natural habitat.

May that day come!

A look at the thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park's lush Botanical Building.
Photo of a thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park’s lush Botanical Building.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. This public domain photograph is from Wikimedia Commons.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. I found this public domain photograph at Wikimedia Commons.
These beautiful green leaves might be reintroduced into the wild one day!
These rare, beautiful leaves might be seen once again in the wild!

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 fascinating photos for you to share and enjoy!