Joan Embery’s My Animal World at Bonita Museum.

Joan Embery appears with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Carol the Elephant paints on a canvas for the national audience.
Joan Embery appears with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Carol the Elephant paints on a canvas for the national television audience.

Who doesn’t know Joan Embery? As a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, as Goodwill Ambassador for the San Diego Zoo, and as an international spokesperson for animal conservation, Joan Embery is loved by people all around the world. She is truly a San Diego legend.

So it’s fitting that the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center is now showing an exhibition about her life and career, titled Joan Embery’s My Animal World.

It was my first visit to this museum, and I was surprised to discover such a fine exhibition. Viewing all the displays gave me a great deal of pleasure. They brought back so many San Diego memories.

These few photographs only provide a small taste of what you will see at the museum. If you’re in San Diego, you really ought to head over to Bonita and check it out. The exhibition runs through December 3, 2016.

The Bonita Museum and Cultural Center is hosting a great exhibition about San Diego legend Joan Embery through December 3, 2016.
The Bonita Museum and Cultural Center is hosting a great exhibition about San Diego legend Joan Embery through December 3, 2016.
An elephant saddle is one of many cool artifacts on display at the Joan Embery's My Animal World exhibition.
An elephant saddle is one of many cool artifacts on display at the Joan Embery’s My Animal World exhibition.
Many photos show Joan Embery through the years--in Bonita, at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, travelling the world, and on the Pillsbury Ranch.
Many photos show Joan Embery through the years–in Bonita, at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, travelling the world, and on the Pillsbury Ranch.
Joan Embery was born in San Diego and was raised by a family who loved animals. As a kid, she never could get enough pets.
Joan Embery was born in San Diego and was raised by a family who loved animals. As a kid, she never could get enough pets.
In Junior High School, Joan Embery took horse riding lessons in Bonita. From an early age she dreamt of having her own horse.
In Junior High School, Joan Embery took horse riding lessons in Bonita. From an early age she dreamt of having her own horse.
Wonderful photos of Joan Embery with Carol the Elephant. The two became good friends when Joan worked at the San Diego Zoo. She would become the zoo's world-famous Goodwill Ambassador.
Wonderful photos of Joan Embery with Carol the Elephant. The two became good friends when Joan worked at the San Diego Zoo. She would become the zoo’s world-famous Goodwill Ambassador.
Display at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center documents a moment in the life and career of Joan Embery.
Display at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center documents a moment in the life and career of Joan Embery.
Ms. Zoofari. While working at the San Diego Zoo, Joan learned about different animal behaviors and about daily zoo tasks.
Ms. Zoofari. While working at the San Diego Zoo, Joan learned about different animal behaviors and about daily zoo tasks.
Today, the 50-acre Pillsbury Ranch is the home of Joan Embery and her husband Duane Pillsbury. Students visiting the ranch learn about the many different exotic animals that live there.
Today, the 50-acre Pillsbury Ranch is the home of Joan Embery and her husband Duane Pillsbury. Students visiting the ranch learn about the many different exotic animals that live there.
Joan Embery's Tack Room with many related photographs can be found at her museum exhibit in Bonita. Above all, she loves riding horses.
Joan Embery’s Tack Room with many related photographs can be found at her museum exhibit in Bonita. Above all, she loves riding horses.
Joan oversees The Embery Institute for Wildlife Conservation. She has been involved with many programs dedicated to animal and habitat conservation.
Joan oversees The Embery Institute for Wildlife Conservation. She has been involved with many programs dedicated to animal and habitat conservation.
Mountain lion head sculpted by Joan Embery's talented artist husband, Duane Pillsbury.
Mountain lion head sculpted by Joan Embery’s talented artist husband, Duane Pillsbury.
Joan Embery participated on a mountain lion tracking team at Rancho Cuyamaca State Park east of San Diego.
Joan Embery participated on a mountain lion tracking team at Rancho Cuyamaca State Park east of San Diego.
Joan Embery is a San Diego legend loved by many around the world. She has appeared on numerous book covers, magazines and television shows.
Joan Embery is a San Diego legend loved by many around the world. She has appeared on numerous book covers, magazines and television shows.

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People ride cool “live steam” trains in San Diego!

A "live steam" enthusiast watches folks ride a small train through Rohr Park, in San Diego's South Bay.
A “live steam” enthusiast watches families ride a small train through Rohr Park, in San Diego’s South Bay.

This is beyond cool!

The Chula Vista Live Steamers is a club in San Diego’s South Bay. Members build and operate their own small “live steam” trains that people can actually ride!

These friendly hobbyists utilize an elaborate network of miniature train tracks in a public park; the layout is called the Sweetwater and Rohr Park Railroad. During public run days, which take place in Bonita’s grassy Rohr Park one Saturday and Sunday of each month, anyone can watch or ride the small trains! Or if you’re inclined, join and become a member! If you have kids, visit their website, and you can schedule birthday parties!

Today I spotted one steam and one diesel locomotive (which is actually powered by gasoline). It’s winter, so things are bit slow. On Labor Day, I was told, a gigantic railroading extravaganza takes places, with many different trains running simultaneously! If you’re a kid (or a kid at heart), I can only imagine how utterly fantastic it would be!

Whether you’re a railfan, a model train enthusiast, a maker, a dreamer, or just like to see something really unique and fun, head down to join in the action and you’ll have a great time!

Should you walk down this path through Rohr Park in Bonita, you'll eventually come upon something really cool and amazing.
Should you walk down this path through Rohr Park in Bonita, you’ll eventually come upon something really cool and amazing.
Run days for The Chula Vista Live Steamers are usually the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of each month. On Labor Day there's a huge event with many trains operating.
Run days for The Chula Vista Live Steamers are usually the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of each month. On Labor Day there’s a huge event with many trains operating.
Adults love riding the trains just as much as kids. Hobbyists build and maintain the rail cars and working locomotives, and haul them to the park for some fun.
Adults love riding the trains just as much as kids. Hobbyists build and maintain the rail cars and working locomotives, and haul them to the park for some fun.
Thrilled kids ride behind a small diesel locomotive, which is actually powered by gasoline. The tracks looping through the park provide a fun, scenic ride.
Thrilled kids ride behind a small “diesel locomotive”, which is actually powered by gasoline. The tracks looping through the park provide a fun, scenic ride.
Here comes the same train. The Bonita Golf Course is in the distance, beyond the tracks.
Here comes the same train. The Bonita Golf Course is in the distance, beyond the tracks.
This working steam locomotive is a very cool sight. But it's so small that folks at a nearby picnic table seem to be giants.
This working steam locomotive is a very cool sight. But it’s so small that folks at a nearby picnic table seem to be giants.
This tiny train is part of the National City and Otay Railway!
This tiny train is part of the National City and Otay Railway!
A close-up photo of the live steam locomotive. In every detail, it seems a perfect reproduction of a full-size engine.
A close-up photo of the live steam locomotive. In every detail, it seems a perfect reproduction of a full-size engine.
Dedicated train hobbyists have gathered on the surprisingly large rail yard to watch the steam locomotive.
Dedicated train hobbyists have gathered on the surprisingly large rail yard to enjoy the steam locomotive.
This caboose in the rail yard seems to be occupied by the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
This caboose in the rail yard seems to be occupied by the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
A pair of tracks head for a good quarter mile along the edge of the Bonita Golf Course. You can see railroad crossings and a few small bridges!
A pair of tracks head for a good quarter mile along the edge of the Bonita Golf Course. You can see railroad crossings and a few small bridges!
Occasionally, trains will run down the length of the golf course to another loop.
Occasionally, trains will run down the side of the golf course to another loop.
An actual working railway turntable! This area is where steam locomotives are fired up and build up steam pressure before running. The turntable is very busy on Labor Day!
An actual working railway turntable! This area is where steam locomotives build up steam pressure before running. The turntable is very busy on Labor Day!
Checking out a super cool locomotive operated by a member of the Chula Vista Live Steamers!
Checking out a super cool locomotive operated by a member of the Chula Vista Live Steamers!

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