Photos of Shakespeare celebration in Balboa Park!

Today I headed into Balboa Park to enjoy a special event celebrating Shakespeare’s 455th birthday!

Many activities were centered in sunny Copley Plaza, the hub of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. There was an outdoor performance of Shakespeare in Exile by Grossmont College Theatre Arts students. There was instrumental musical entertainment, a sonnet writing contest, and even an Elizabethan ruff-making station. Inside the lobby of The Old Globe, costumes from some of their past Shakespearean productions were on display.

A bit after noon high school students from all around San Diego gathered on the steps of the Timken Museum of Art. After a welcome speech, a fantastic parade featuring many Elizabethan costumes began along El Prado. Several students were presented with achievement awards at the foot of the Lily Pond as their classmates shouted approval, then the youth fanned out to perform scenes from Shakespeare and other famous plays on several stages along El Prado.

Here are photos that provide a flavor of this truly awesome annual event!

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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Swords of Chivalry knights battle in Balboa Park!

In my opinion, the most exciting part of the House of England’s lawn program in Balboa Park yesterday was the historical sword fighting. A local group called Swords of Chivalry provided a fine demonstration of realistic combat between armored knights during the Middle Ages.

According to their website, the Swords of Chivalry Program is one of only 16 schools in the world that have been selected to the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association. The program is led by “San Diego’s own Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) expert and medieval history guru, Scott Farrell.”

As knights and their squires performed heroic feats upon the green grass of the International Cottages, I and everyone watching were drawn back in time to the fantastic Age of Chivalry.

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!

English knights, cute Corgis, Harry Potter and more!

Knights in shining armor mock battle in Balboa Park during the House of England lawn program!
Knights in armor engage in mock battle during the House of England’s lawn program.

The House of England in Balboa Park hosted a really great lawn program today!

As I lingered on the grass at the center of the International Cottages, I saw historical costumes, several mock knight battles, a Beatles tribute band, and even a parade of Welsh Corgis! I also stepped into the House of England’s cottage to check out a bunch of cultural displays!

These photos show what I experienced…

The wonderful House of England lawn program drew a good crowd to the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
The annual House of England lawn program drew a good crowd to the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A member of the group Swords of Chivalry removes her steel helmet after some mock medieval combat.
A member of the group Swords of Chivalry removes her steel helmet after some mock medieval combat.
Other members of Swords of Chivalry have donned historical armor during the lawn program.
Other members of Swords of Chivalry have donned historical armor during the House of England’s lawn program.
Kids had fun learning about the Age of Chivalry, a time long ago that seems like pure fantasy in our modern age.
Kids had fun learning about the Age of Chivalry, a time long ago that now seems like pure fantasy.
Ron, Hermione and Harry welcome visitors to the House of England's cottage. Join us for a cup of tea.
Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter welcome visitors to the House of England’s cottage. Join us for a cup of tea.
The House of England's cottage is jam packed with all sorts of interesting photos, artwork and cultural displays.
The House of England’s small cottage is full of interesting photos, artwork and cultural displays.
One wall features the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. A nearby poster traces The Royal Lineage.
One wall features the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. A nearby poster traces The Royal Lineage.
A Briton's Creed, Big Ben,Winston Churchill and more!
A Briton’s Creed, Big Ben,Winston Churchill and more!
I soon spotted a bunch of Harry Potter stuff. It's the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts!
I soon spotted a bunch of Harry Potter stuff. It’s the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts!
One chart shows how the name Luna has become increasingly popular due to the Harry Potter books and films.
One chart shows how the name Luna has become increasingly popular due to the Harry Potter books and films.
It's all of the Doctors from the Doctor Who series!
It’s all of the Doctors from the popular Doctor Who series!
A large display in the cottage is devoted to the British royal family, and Princess Diana in particular.
A large display in the cottage is devoted to the British royal family, and Princess Diana in particular.
An article about keeping Diana's legacy alive by eliminating landmines around the world.
An article about striving to keep Diana’s legacy alive by eliminating landmines around the world. (Click image to enlarge for easy reading.)
Look at all the fun, unique teapots!
Look at all the fun, unique teapots!
Back outside, the House of England had a food tent up. Delectable treats for sale included Hagrid's Dragon Eggs!
Back outside, the House of England had a food tent up. Delectable treats for sale included Hagrid’s Dragon Eggs!
All sorts of tents on the lawn. Many contained displays concerning English culture and history.
All sorts of tents along the grass. Many contained information about English culture and history.
Some attending the cool event wore historical costumes.
Some attending the cool event wore historical costumes.
A parade featuring dozens of cute Corgis caught everyone's attention.
A parade featuring dozens of cute Corgis caught everyone’s attention.
Some guys rode penny-farthings to Balboa Park's fun House of England lawn program.
Some guys rode penny-farthings to Balboa Park’s wonderful House of England event.
Four gentlemen and their high wheels.
Four gentlemen and their high wheels.
This elegant lady had a table that concerned the show Victoria on PBS.
This elegant lady had a table that concerned the show Victoria on PBS.
Images from 19th century England.
Images from 19th century England.
Claudia Previn Stasny, daughter of André Previn, sings The Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen to begin the main program of entertainment.
Claudia Previn Stasny, daughter of André Previn, sang The Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen to begin the program of afternoon entertainment.
A happy group of Welsh Corgis hangs out by the stage.
A happy group of Welsh Corgis hangs out by the stage.
The Baja Bugs, a great Beatles tribute band, rocks the House of England's lawn program.
The Baja Bugs, a great Beatles tribute band, rocks the House of England’s lawn program.
I think I see Ringo at the drums!
I think I see Ringo at the drums!
Knights entertain an outdoor audience at the House of England's lawn program in Balboa Park.
Battling knights entertain an outdoor audience at the House of England’s lawn program in Balboa Park!

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!

Natural beauty on a Balboa Park walk.

Starting west across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.
Starting across Cabrillo Bridge, looking south toward downtown San Diego.

On Sunday I walked slowly through Balboa Park. I began at the Cabrillo Bridge and headed east along El Prado. My wandering feet finally took me down into Florida Canyon.

I discovered many scenes of natural beauty: green canyons, bright trees, yellow hillsides, spring flowers, newly opened roses and even cacti.

Come along…

Near the center of Cabrillo Bridge. Trees in sunlight on the median of State Route 163, also known as Cabrillo Freeway.
Near the center of the bridge. Sunlit trees line the median of scenic State Route 163, also known as the Cabrillo Freeway.
Looking back west along Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Looking back along historic Cabrillo Bridge toward the West Mesa of Balboa Park.
Near the east end of Cabrillo Bridge, looking down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Near the east end of the bridge, gazing down at the Rube Powell Archery Range.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Passing through the California Quadrangle. Palm trees cast shadows on the California Tower.
Gazing back toward the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Turning back to photograph the California Tower from the Alcazar Garden.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Twisty trunks and shadows near the Timken Museum of Art.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of the Botanical Building.
Staghorn ferns on one wall of Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
Orchids inside the Botanical Building.
More beauty inside the wonderful Botanical Building.
More natural beauty inside the Botanical Building.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. It's the annual spring sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
A small yellow flower greets me inside the Casa del Prado. I stumbled upon a sale by the Southern California Plumeria Society.
Perfect beauty somewhere along El Prado.
A bloom along El Prado near the Casa de Balboa.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Walking along El Prado, just above the Zoro Garden.
Like orange flames on El Prado.
Like orange flames.
Looking back west as I approach the Plaza de Balboa at the east end of El Prado.
Looking backward as I finally approach the east end of El Prado.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, gazing back toward the Fleet Science Center.
About to cross over Park Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge, pausing for a moment to look south toward the Fleet Science Center.
Walking among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
Strolling among early spring blooms in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
In the rose garden, aiming my camera toward the fountain.
Another rose.
Another rose.
Another miracle.
Another.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
Gazing east across Florida Canyon. A rainy winter has brought forth lush spring greenery.
I now move north, into the Desert Garden.
Now I am moving north, into the Desert Garden.
Strange cactus beauty.
Strange cactus beauty.
More surprising beauty.
More beauty.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
About to head down a winding path into Florida Canyon.
A hillside bright with cacti and native sunflowers.
A hillside bright with cacti and spring flowers.
More abundant natural beauty.
Nature has painted the hillside.
Slanting cacti.
Slanting cacti.
The beauty of Balboa Park never ends.
The natural beauty in Balboa Park never ends.

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, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Honoring victims, heroes of USS Bennington disaster.

Today I walked through the historic Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. It’s my first visit to the grove of live oaks since December of 2017, when I observed Boy Scouts and volunteers working to improve the living memorial.

During my walk today, not only was I pleased to see the quiet oak grove was as peaceful and beautiful as ever, but I noted some information has been posted in the kiosk. I took a photograph so you might read it. Click my photo of the sign and the image will expand for easy reading. (Unfortunately, you’ll note the clear plastic protecting the sign was broken by vandals. But thankfully I saw absolutely no litter, graffiti or other signs of disturbance.)

You might notice the sign also features a QR code that opens a dedicated memorial website. To learn much, much more about the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, please visit BenningtonMemorial.com.

The memorial website honors the lives of the 66 U.S. Navy sailors who tragically died when the USS Bennington’s boiler exploded in San Diego Bay on July 21, 1905. A separate page of the website is dedicated to each victim. You’ll also learn about the 11 courageous men who each earned a Medal of Honor for their heroism that day.

To see inspirational photos from a year and a half ago, when Boy Scouts and crew members of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were working to improve the Bennington Memorial, click here and here. For many of those photos, I am grateful to the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and historian Kathleen Winchester in particular.

Now please enjoy the following pics taken today by the kiosk, and along the shady footpath that winds through the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Sign at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy's worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.
Sign in kiosk at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy’s worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted in Balboa Park to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.

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!

Mingei’s museum gift shop at Liberty Station.

The Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion. Once completed, this world-class folk art, craft and design museum will be more amazing than ever!

You might recall a blog post from last year that featured the Mingei’s planned transformation. To see architectural renderings of what the Mingei will eventually look like, click here!

While construction is underway, Mingei’s gift shop and cafe are temporarily located at Liberty Station, in the historic Dick Laub NTC Command Center building. Step through the front entrance and you can’t miss it.

Today I meandered about Liberty Station with no definite destination in mind. I was pleased to happen upon the Mingei’s shop and meet the smiling lady behind the counter. She told me that Niki de Saint Phalle’s fun, kid-friendly Nikigator sculpture, which used to stand in front of the museum in Balboa Park, might be moved out from storage and placed right in front of the Command Center. How cool would that be?

Here are a few photos. The lobby of the Command Center not only features Cafe Mingei, but a collection of great art created by Liberty Station artists!

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!

Bright cherry blossoms, after the festival.

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park drew huge crowds! I enjoyed stopping by on the weekend and was pleased to see so many people.

The festival is now over.

Late this afternoon I entered the garden again to experience the cherry blossoms in a more tranquil setting. Sunlight slanted through the pink and white flowers, making them shine.

If you love beautiful gardens but dislike crowds, now is the time to go!

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!

I wrote a very short story about people and cherry blossoms a couple years ago. It’s titled A Short Bloom. You can read it here.