Balboa Park’s ornamental pear trees in bloom!

It’s late January. Balboa Park’s ornamental pear trees are in full bloom!

Like a dream, or an Impressionist painting, clouds of white flowers now fill El Prado. The ornamental pears in both Plaza de Panama and Plaza de Balboa are putting on their winter show!

Delicate blossoms fluttering down from the trees appeared to me like gently falling snowflakes…

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Korean Heritage Celebration at San Diego Library!

A super fun event was held today at San Diego’s downtown Central Library. Lunar New Year was kicked off with the Korean American Heritage Celebration!

The library’s Neil Morgan Auditorium was filled with a large audience as several organizations provided the free cultural entertainment.

It’s the Year of the Rabbit, and energetic, traditional Korean dancing and drumming had everyone hopping with happiness! Loads of kids were in attendance, and they got to come up on the stage and drum, too!

Beautiful, colorful fan dances brought oohs and aahs, and the drumming was like an exuberant heartbeat beating with the joy of living. A crazy cool drum performance that received loud applause was to the tune of Gangnam Style!

Performers included the San Diego Korean American Folk Dance Association and the San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute. The program was organized by the San Diego Library and the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles.

I just happened to be walking through the library before the program began, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it!

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I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Oil painted beauty at Torrey Pines.

During my walk through Torrey Pines State Reserve today, it occurred to me that my photographs of trees, sandstone bluffs and the distant ocean might be the foundation for beautiful oil paintings. Simulated oil paintings, that is!

As I do occasionally, I’ve used graphic editor GIMP’s artistic Oilify filter to transform my photos into something mysteriously different . . .

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I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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Stones, water and light at Torrey Pines.

Our recent winter storms in San Diego thrust small stones high up onto the beach in places. At Torrey Pines State Beach, smooth stones covered much of the pedestrian pathway that runs down to and under the bridge near the north parking lot.

The stones, combined with a high tide and descending sun, made for some silvery photographs this afternoon! Bands of reflected light approached the shore with every crashing wave. Newly wetted stones gleamed like magic.

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A visit to the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.

The San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a very special place.

Inside the Nature Center visitors can learn all about the nearby wetland and its wildlife. Outside, the building’s organic, curving lines seem to flow through the natural environment around it.

At every chance, I’ll poke my nose into any nature center. When I walked through San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and saw this beautiful structure, I was eager to walk all around it and explore inside.

The 5,600 square foot, multi-award winning building, completed in 2009, was designed by Zagrodnic + Thomas Architects. It is light-filled, spacious and visually stimulating.

The construction is environmentally friendly. The building is made out of recycled materials and has irrigated roof plants, solar panels and recycled water.

A big observation deck allows visitors to look out over the lagoon. Excited kids were exploring easy trails winding near its front entrance.

Approaching the Nature Center from the parking lot.

Board near front door announces Arrivals and Landings of resident and visiting birds.

Many informative exhibits greet visitors inside the Nature Center.

Coyote stands atop map of the watershed. Pollutants including trash threaten wildlife that depends on this habitat.

An explanation of San Elijo Lagoon’s biodiversity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Silvery Legless Lizard.

Piece of sandstone from Annie’s Canyon Trail in San Elijo Lagoon.

Outside light from the sunlit world touches the light of learning.

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A walk through San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Several weeks ago I enjoyed a fine, very easy nature walk.

I proceeded from the murals at Harbaugh Seaside Trails (near Highway 101 at the north end of Solana Beach) down the main dirt trail. The trail turned, passed through a tunnel under the railroad tracks, and entered San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

I then proceeded north up the Pole Trail (which runs parallel to the train tracks), crossed a couple of bridges, and ended at the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center at the south end of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Come along with me as we look at these protected wetlands and watch for birds and other native wildlife…

Sign at Harbaugh Seaside Trails at start of my walk.

These trails were made possible by Nature Collective.

Beautiful words a short distance from the Harbaugh Seaside Trails murals. Annie’s Bench.

Nearby overlook with views of the Pacific Ocean off to the west.

Beginning our walk in earnest.

Here’s the railroad tunnel.

Artwork at the tunnel entrance depicts birds.

We are looking across San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

San Elijo Lagoon in the winter.

Pools of water support much life.

Heading north we encounter a fenced area and sign.

Map of the reserve. To the east there are additional trails to be explored.

A big mound of soil behind this fence.

Sign explains the sandy habitat restoration. The elevated sand dune attracts endangered birds, like the California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover.

Continuing north.

Vegetated and shallow channels are home to rare indigenous plant and animal species. Birds include Ridgway’s Rail and Belding’s Savannah Sparrow.

Here comes the first bridge!

A profusion of native sunflowers.

That interesting building up and to the left is the Nature Center.

A plaque along the way memorializes Beloved Friend and Engineer Brian A. Martin.

Another footbridge spans a channel of water.

Plaque describes The Buhr Nature Bridge. Gabriel Buhr’s forward-thinking, planning and vision helped make the restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon possible.

Almost to the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center!

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Beautiful tile murals at Vons in Coronado.

I love these three tile mosaic murals decorating the front of Vons in Coronado! You can spot them as you head down Orange Avenue.

I believe this artwork appeared in conjunction with the recent Vons remodel. The grocery store expanded into the old Cora Mart building space next door.

Several colorful scenes include an abstract Hotel del Coronado and kites in the blue sky, presumably pulling unseen kiteboarders across the ocean.

Who out there knows more about these murals?

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

New trees planted at Bennington Memorial Oak Grove!

Twenty five new oak trees were planted today in a very special place in Balboa Park!

Forever Balboa Park, trained Tree Stewards and dozens of volunteers gathered in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove to revitalize a historically important area of the park that’s a bit off the beaten path.

Perhaps you’ve driven down 26th Street from Golden Hill toward Naval Medical Center San Diego and seen many old oak trees off to your left. Those live oaks were planted in 1905 to memorialize 66 sailors who died in San Diego Bay when the boiler of the USS Bennington exploded.

As these coast live oaks have aged, some have died or approached the end of their life. Planting small new oak trees infuses new life and meaning into this truly special urban forest.

Walking along, camera in hand, I got “volunteered” to help plant three of the twenty five trees! Cool thing is, when I walk this way again, I’ll know that I and others have tangibly touched the future with these living trees. They will be growing more beautiful long after I’m gone.

If you’d like to become a volunteer Garden Steward or Tree Steward in beautiful Balboa Park, click here!

Before the planting of new trees, Kathleen Winchester tells everyone the history of the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Some of the spots where new coast live oaks will be planted.

Everyone learned the proper way to plant a tree so that it thrives.

Here’s a tree my group planted.

Using the shovel to make sure the tree is planted at the correct depth.

The planting of these 25 live oak trees in Balboa Park was the final phase of the 26th Street Trail park improvement project.

Last year members of the California Conservation Corps greatly improved the trail that leads up 26th Street to Golden Hill Park. The path, badly eroded in many places, was replaced with decomposed granite, and three new footbridges were built!

I walked up the trail to take some photos…

Lastly, thanks again to the Boy Scouts and sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt who made their mark improving and beautifying the oak grove five years ago. If you’d like to see what they did, click here!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Winter beauty, a new waterfall and future weddings!

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is always beautiful. Even between winter showers.

As I walked down into the Lower Garden today, I noticed great progress has been made on JFG’s big new waterfall.

I spied other construction, too! A special space is now being built where outdoor weddings can be held among all the natural beauty.

Expert, artistic pruning in the Upper Garden.

Naked branches during winter. Grays among greens.

Today is JFG’s “free entry for residents” third Tuesday. Several folks were setting up on the patio, including the garden’s long-time beekeeper! She showed me this wood home constructed for native bees.

Heading into the Lower Garden a few minutes after the Japanese Friendship Garden opened.

Looking across the canyon, I could see how the big new waterfall appears just about finished.

Walking down one of the garden’s special paths.

I was surprised to see a new area under construction. A worker told me this little plaza will be for outdoor weddings.

This path leading up to the new waterfall is still closed.

A structure near the new waterfall. I was told special events will be held up there.

I can’t wait for the new waterfall to be activated!

These stairs will allow visitors to climb toward the top of the waterfall.

Beauty is abundant down in the Lower Garden.

A rain chain at one corner of the Inamori Pavilion is dripping! After taking this photo, I hurriedly put my camera under my jacket.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Learning to prune roses in Balboa Park!

A small army of rose lovers converged on Balboa Park this morning. The Balboa Park Rose Garden Corps and members of the San Diego Rose Society demonstrated to the public how to prune roses!

As I walked through the award-winning Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, I saw enthusiastic volunteers who are dedicated to gardening and beauty. And I was grateful to them.

A couple of experts told me no other rose garden in San Diego can compare with our treasured one in Balboa Park.

If you want to help maintain Balboa Park’s incomparable rose garden, check out the next photo, or click that first link!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!