The gigantic bronze leaves of Kit Carson Park.

Five enormous eucalyptus leaves seem to have fallen beside a walking path in Escondido’s lush, beautiful Kit Carson Park. You can find them near the adult softball fields, just above Tree Lake.

The huge leaves are cast in bronze. One is gently curved to form a bench. Two stand on their stems to form a graceful arch. One edgewise on the grass seems to be blowing in the wind. The end of one seems to have become pressed into the walking path by passing feet.

These five timeless leaves were created by artist Christine Oatman in 1991. Together they are titled Eucalyptus Leaf Court.

Late this morning I sat on the leaf bench and time stopped. I was very small. As if in a dream, the trees around me were gigantic.

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Art and history around the Chula Vista Library.

Photo from 4th Avenue beside the Chula Vista Public Library Civic Center Branch.
Photo from 4th Avenue beside the Chula Vista Public Library Civic Center Branch.

Yesterday I walked around the Chula Vista Library’s big Civic Center Branch. I took a look at a beautiful sculpture outside, saw an El Camino Real bell and bronze bust in nearby Friendship Park, then entered the building’s front entrance to check out more art and local history. I particularly enjoyed looking about the library’s unique Chula Vista Heritage Museum.

Come along with me and please read these photo captions…

Pleasant Tree, 2003, by artist Jorge Blanco. An abstract sculpture stands near the Chula Vista Library.
Pleasant Tree, 2003, by artist Jorge Blanco. An abstract sculpture stands near the Chula Vista Library.
Art should always be available to us, to surround us and uplift us.
Art should always be available to us, to surround us and uplift us.
Pleasant Tree from another angle, with eucalyptus and palm trees behind.
Pleasant Tree from another angle, with eucalyptus and palm trees behind.
North of the library, at the west edge of Friendship Park stands an El Camino Real bell, donated by the City of Chula Vista, County of San Diego, and California Federation of Women's Clubs.
North of the library, at the west edge of Friendship Park stands an El Camino Real bell, donated by the City of Chula Vista, County of San Diego, and California Federation of Women’s Clubs.
Green grass and shady trees fill the Will T. Hyde Friendship Park, north of the Chula Vista Library.
Green grass and shady trees fill the Will T. Hyde Friendship Park, north of the Chula Vista Library.
A bronze bust near the center of Chula Vista Friendship Park.
A bronze bust near the center of Chula Vista Friendship Park.
The bronze likeness of Will T. Hyde, who helped create Friendship Park. By sculptors T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
The bronze likeness of Will T. Hyde, who helped create Friendship Park. By sculptors T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.
Plaque shows that Will T. Hyde was Mayor of Chula Vista from 1977 to 1981.
Plaque shows that Will T. Hyde was Mayor of Chula Vista from 1977 to 1981.
Will T. Hyde seems to gaze across the beautiful park.
Will T. Hyde seems to gaze across the beautiful park.
The front of the Chula Vista Public Library, seen from the parking lot entrance.
The front of the Chula Vista Public Library, seen from the parking lot entrance.
A large wall inside the front entrance of the Chula Vista Library contains many historical photos of the community.
A large wall inside the front entrance of the Chula Vista Library contains many historical photos of the community.
A photo mosaic on the library's entrance wall shows Chula Vista Heritage.
A photo mosaic on the library’s entrance wall shows Chula Vista Heritage.
In one corner of the quiet library the public can visit the Chula Vista Heritage Museum.
In one corner of the quiet library the public can freely visit the Chula Vista Heritage Museum.
A photographic timeline wall around the perimeter of the museum's space shows notable events from Chula Vista history.
A photographic timeline wall around the perimeter of the museum’s space shows notable events from Chula Vista history.
Chula Vista history in the 2000s includes Park View Little League becoming World Champions in 2009.
Chula Vista history in the 2000s includes Park View Little League becoming World Champions in 2009.
Historical artifacts fill display cases. This plastic replica was cast from a Chula Vista walrus - Valenictus chulavistensis. The fossil was found in 1989 at Otay Ranch Village.
Historical artifacts fill display cases. This plastic replica was cast from a Chula Vista walrus – Valenictus chulavistensis. The fossil was found in 1989 at Otay Ranch Village.
The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge includes 1068 acres of diked salt evaporation ponds. Migratory birds are carefully protected.
The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge includes 1068 acres of diked salt evaporation ponds. Migratory birds are carefully protected.
Historical 1919 letter from Hercules Powder Company, which produced potash and acetone from harvested ocean kelp at Gunpowder Point. They supplied the British with munitions during World War I.
Historical 1919 letter from Hercules Powder Company, which produced potash and acetone from harvested ocean kelp at Gunpowder Point. They helped to supply the British with munitions during World War I.
Photos of an osprey and feeding white pelicans in the museum's current exhibition, Natural History and the Indigenous People of the South Bay.
Photos of an osprey and feeding white pelicans in the museum’s current exhibition: Natural History and the Indigenous People of the South Bay.
Large sculpted medallion in a wall near the entrance to the Chula Vista Public Library. Scenes depicted include Rohr Aircraft Company, the San Diego Country Club, home of golf legend Billy Casper.
Large sculpted medallion in a wall near the entrance to the Chula Vista Public Library. Scenes depicted include the original Rohr Aircraft Company, and the San Diego Country Club, home of golf legend Billy Casper.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

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Freedom Bell at Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum.

America's Freedom Bell.
America’s Freedom Bell.

A powerful symbol of human liberty has found a home in San Diego!

America’s Freedom Bell, a project of The Spirit of Liberty Foundation, will now be displayed inside The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park when it’s not travelling around the nation. The bell arrived several days ago, and can now be seen by the public!

America’s Freedom Bell was cast in 2013 on the 69th Anniversary of D-Day. It’s made from 330 pounds of bronze, and 10 pounds of steel from the World Trade Center towers that fell during the September 11 attack in New York. The bell features the emblem of each branch of the United States Armed Forces and is inscribed with the words: HONORING OUR ARMED FORCES PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

Since the Freedom Bell’s creation, over 5 million Americans have rung it to honor a loved one who has served to protect our precious freedom.

Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.
Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.
America's Freedom Bell has found a new home inside San Diego's beautiful Veterans Museum, which used to be the San Diego Naval Hospital Chapel.
America’s Freedom Bell has found a new home inside San Diego’s beautiful Veterans Museum, which years ago was the San Diego Naval Hospital’s chapel.
The Freedom Bell honors America's heroes from all branches of the military. The bell was cast from metal from the Twin Towers that fell on 9/11.
The Freedom Bell honors America’s heroes from all branches of the military. The bell was cast from metal from the Twin Towers that fell on 9/11.
A mural on one wall in the Veterans Museum shows The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A mural on one wall in the Veterans Museum shows The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A nearby bronze sculpture by Don Schloat, made from his personal experience in World War II. Palawan: U.S. POW Martyr.
A bronze sculpture in the museum by Don Schloat, made from his personal experience in World War II. Palawan: U.S. POW Martyr.
First U.S. Flag to Fall in the Philippines. Baguio, 1942. A symbol of freedom.
First U.S. Flag to Fall in the Philippines. Baguio, 1942. A symbol of freedom.
The worn boot of one who fought for liberty.
The worn boot of one who fought for liberty is displayed in the museum, not far from the bell.
HONORING OUR ARMED FORCES PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
HONORING OUR ARMED FORCES PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

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!

That big bronze pelican in Pacific Beach!

That big bronze pelican standing by the Pacific Beach Lifeguard Station is one cool bird! His name is Pelican Brown.

Legend has it Pelican Brown was observed dancing at the ballroom that used to be located at the end of Crystal Pier. Dressed up in his best velvet vest, he danced the PB Tango!

This fun public art was created in 2004 for the City of San Diego by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. A nearby plaque on the lifeguard station contains the poem The Ballad of P.B., which was written by Jan Phillips.

The amusing poem begins:

Pelican Brown was in search of a home
where he could have fun and relax.
He looked for a beach that was pretty
and a sea that was swimming with snacks.

He flew up and down the long coastline
looking both far and quite near.
Then, one day he knew he had found it
when his eyes saw the great Crystal Pier.

What happens next? Does the story have a happy ending?

Read the entire poem and learn more about the artists at the Project Pelican Brown web page, which you can visit by clicking here!

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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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300 year old Kannon statue in Balboa Park!

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden!

Several days ago an astonishing 5750 pound bronze statue, created in 1735 by Takumi Obata, was installed by crane at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

I must apologize, because up until now I have been referring to the new statue as a Great Buddha. After seeing the magnificent sculpture firsthand today, and reading more about it, I’ve learned that it’s actually a kannon statue, representing Kannon Bosatsu, a Buddhist goddess of mercy that is popular in Japan. The deity is called Guanyin in other parts of Asia, and has its origin in India in the 1st or 2nd century.

The amazing, nearly 300 year old cast bronze statue sits beside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new stream in the Lower Garden, among peaceful trees that invite meditation.

Originally this Kannon Bosatsu was located at the Middlegate Japanese Garden in Pass Christian, Mississippi. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed that garden, the damaged statue was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Gabrych, who later donated it to San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

A second statue that was donated to JFG also was installed several days ago. The large guardian deity stands in the Upper Garden, opposite the bonsai collection. I’m told that less is known about the exact history of this particular sculpture. I believe it represents Kongorikishi, one of the two Nio guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.

Enjoy these photos, then head over to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park for the full experience!

Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Kannon Bosatsu sits tranquilly in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden near the source of a new stream.
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
Nearby sign describes Kannon Bosatsu, created in 1735 by Japanese sculptor Takumi Obata, an accomplished iron smith during to Tokugawa period. (Click photo to enlarge image.)
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
The large bronze Kannon Bosatsu represents the Japanese goddess of mercy.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A closer photo of the serene Kannon Bosatsu.
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity
A leaf has turned and fallen into the lap of a merciful deity.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
Gazing from the statue down the new stream toward a new bare wood observation platform.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A simple, elegant wooden platform straddles the new stream in the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Nature's elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Nature’s elements will make this structure more beautiful over time.
Gazing down at the second half of the new stream to where it joins the Lower Garden's main river.
Gazing from the platform down at the second half of the new stream, to where it joins the Lower Garden’s main river.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
The new stream is already very beautiful.
It's now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
It’s now winter in the Japanese Friendship Garden, and great beauty is everywhere.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
The guardian deity statue that now stands opposite the bonsai collection in the Upper Garden.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
I believe this statue represents Kongorikishi, one of the guardians of Buddha who stand at the entrance of many Buddhist temples.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a place to find peace, wisdom and healing.
An historic addition to an already very special place.
An historic addition to an already very special place.

To see photos that I took as the stream and observation platform were under construction, click 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!

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!

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at UCSD.

Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children's author resided much of his life.
Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children’s author resided much of his life.

In 2004, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Seuss, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial made its debut outside the Geisel Library at UC San Diego. The famous children’s book author and illustrator spent the second half of his life living in La Jolla, in a home not far from the university. The University of California San Diego’s main library, the Geisel Library, is now home of the Dr. Seuss Collection.

The inspiring sculpture on the plaza outside the library is by Lark Grey Dimond-Cates. The Cat in the Hat stands at Dr. Seuss’ shoulder holding an umbrella.

The original casting of this whimsical sculpture and many others like it can also be found at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museums’ Quadrangle in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Plaque describes the Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial at UC San Diego, home of the Dr. Seuss Collection. The memorial, by sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, was dedicated on 2 March 2004.
Plaque describes the Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial at UC San Diego, home of the Dr. Seuss Collection. The memorial, by sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, was dedicated on 2 March 2004.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial stands on the outdoor Forum Level of the Geisel Library at UCSD.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial stands on the outdoor Forum Level of the Geisel Library at UCSD.
A bronze Cat in the Hat stands at the shoulder of Dr. Seuss.
A tall bronze The Cat in the Hat stands with an umbrella at the shoulder of Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss relaxes for a bit with a foot up on his work table.
Dr. Seuss relaxes and reflects for a moment with a foot up on his work table.
A thoughtful, pleasant moment as a famous children's book author and illustrator takes a break to dream.
A thoughtful, pleasant moment as a famous children’s book author and illustrator takes a break to dream.
Looking over the bronze shoulder of Dr. Seuss on a sunny day in La Jolla.
Looking over the bronze shoulder of Dr. Seuss on a sunny day in La Jolla.
The iconic children's character Cat in the Hat cast in bronze.
An immortal children’s character from The Cat in the Hat cast in bronze.
The friendly, wise face of Theodor Seuss Geisel.
The friendly, wise face of beloved author Theodor Seuss Geisel.
The work table of a world-famous children's author and artist.
The work table of a world-famous children’s author and artist.
The inspiring bronze Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial can be found outside the southwest corner of the Geisel Library at UC San Diego.
The inspiring bronze Theodor Seuss Geisel Memorial can be found outside the southwest corner of the Geisel Library at UC 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!

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Photos of Little Italy’s new Piazza Giannini.

The new Piazza Giannini, at the corner of India and Cedar Street in downtown San Diego.
The new Piazza Giannini, at the corner of India and Cedar Street in downtown San Diego.

A new public space opened last month in downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood. Piazza Giannini, located at the corner of India Street and West Cedar Street, is a community gathering place that pays tribute to a famous Italian American who invented many of the conveniences of modern banking.

Born in San Jose, A.P. Giannini was a big believer in California. He started the Bank of Italy in San Francisco, and dedicated it to ordinary middle class Americans and hardworking immigrants that other banks wouldn’t serve. Believing in equal access to all, the Bank of Italy opened hundreds of branches throughout the state. Eventually it became Bank of America.

A sign at Piazza Giannini explains how donors can purchase plaques in this new public space.
A sign at Piazza Giannini explains how donors can purchase plaques in this new public space.
Amadeo P. Giannini was born in San Jose to Italian immigrants. He believed California and its citizens could lead the country to prosperity.
Amadeo P. Giannini was born in San Jose to Italian immigrants. He believed California and its citizens could lead the country to prosperity.
. . . we should bend increasing efforts to demonstrate the equality that underlies the American philosophy.
. . . we should bend increasing efforts to demonstrate the equality that underlies the American philosophy.
. . . No man actually ever owns fortune--it owns him.
. . . No man actually ever owns fortune–it owns him.
Serving the needs of others is the only legitimate business today.
Serving the needs of others is the only legitimate business today.
A streetlamp banner in San Diego's Little Italy pays tribute to Amadeo Giannini, father of modern banking.
A streetlamp banner in San Diego’s Little Italy pays tribute to Amadeo Giannini, father of modern banking.
A banker should consider himself a servant of the people, a servant of the community.
A banker should consider himself a servant of the people, a servant of the community.
The bronze bust of Amadeo Pietro Giannini at Piazza Giannini in Little Italy.
The bronze bust of Amadeo Pietro Giannini at Piazza Giannini in Little Italy.

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!