In a nook of Balboa Park’s Spanish Village, right next to the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building, you’ll find this interesting contraption. Is it an antique device once used to navigate a ship? Is it a microscope? What is it?
It’s a kaleidoscope mounted above a revolving bowl of flowers! Instead of turning the kaleidoscope tube, you whirl the bowl of blooms and watch different colorful patterns form through the lens. Several mirrors in the tube create the complex symmetry.
Once I figured out what the contraption was, I tried putting my camera right up to the eyepiece. I got a bunch of interesting photos!
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If you’re walking around Balboa Park and feeling adventurous, you can sneak into a portion of the San Diego Museum of Art and enjoy a stunning indoor mural. Just enter the unlocked door near the Sculpture Garden’s outdoor cafe! Like the sculpture garden, this area of the museum is free to the public!
The 70 foot mural is named En Busca de las Delicias de la Tierra/In Search of Earthly Delights. Created by Writerz Blok, an innovative graffiti mural organization, it was painted by young artists Sake, Daze, Izze and Krown. Pieces from the museum’s collection of Mexican modern art were used for reference and inspiration.
San Diego’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held this morning. It ran along Fifth and Sixth Avenue, on Bankers Hill just west of Balboa Park.
I captured a whole bunch of fun pics just prior to the parade’s start. There’s no shortage of the color green! All sorts of people and pets were gathering and preparing and positioning themselves for the exciting event!
Whenever I walk past the Sixth Avenue playground, located among pine trees in the northwest corner of Balboa Park, I wish I were a child again. To romp, climb and swing through this crazy colorful jumble would be a ton of fun!
Folks heading up Park Boulevard beside Balboa Park often turn their heads as they pass the amazing, enormous mural painted on the side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
The WorldBeat Cultural Center, based in a former water tower, is a multi-cultural arts organization that promotes and preserves the African and indigenous cultures of the world through music, art, dance, education and technology. The center is also used as a venue for concerts and other special events.
Last Saturday I walked around the structure and took some pics of the huge, colorful mural. It completely spans the outside wall of the cylindrical building.
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This morning I headed out to enjoy a special event in Balboa Park: the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Unfortunately, lots and lots of people were in line at the front entrance, and my feet didn’t want to stop. So I kept moseying along, pointing my nose toward the park’s Gymnasium, where I believed the big annual Rummage Sale was being held. This massive fundraiser is put on every year by the Thursday Club, and attracts thousands of eager bargain-seekers. Well, what do you know? The only thing going on in the Gymnasium was a basketball game. Strike Two. Okay, I thought to myself, I’ll just keep on going and have a leisurely walk…
Wham! Suddenly in front of my eyeballs loomed a gigantic banner–the Rummage Sale was being held this year across Park Boulevard, in Balboa Park’s Activity Center, a building I’d never visited. In fact, I’ve seldom walked about the park’s Inspiration Point area, except to visit the Veteran’s Museum. My restless feet were once again redirected…
The handsome Spanish Colonial Revival style Balboa Park Administration Building (which originally was headquarters for San Diego’s Naval Hospital, built in the early 1920s) lured me forward into uncharted territory. Several people leaving the Rummage Sale were heading down the stairs. So up the stairs I went, around the quiet building and…WOW!
I’d stumbled upon a corner of heaven.
After a bit of research, I learned this beautiful and seldom-visited area is called the Balboa Park Administrative Courtyard. One website calls it a San Diego hidden gem, and I must concur. The place was stunningly beautiful–and completely empty. Nobody was present. Not a soul. On this warm Saturday, the rest of Balboa Park was crowded with people.
The park-like courtyard and three nearby buildings–the old Navy chapel (now the Veteran’s Museum), the administration building, and an old medical library and auditorium building–used to be part of a sprawling Navy Hospital campus. Today the modern hospital is located just east of the courtyard, down in Florida Canyon. You can see a small part of it in the first photo. Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) is also known as Bob Wilson Naval Hospital or Balboa Hospital.
I’m glad I randomly walked in a new direction! Adventures and discoveries await in unexpected places!
I revisited this beautiful place in late 2014…
Two more pics from September 2015. Still as beautiful and peaceful as ever!
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