Something new at the zoo will be roaring in soon!

Something at the zoo will be roaring in soon...and what it might be is a complete mystery!
Something new at the zoo will be roaring in soon…and what it might be is a complete mystery!

Something new will be “roaring in soon” at the entrance to the world-famous San Diego Zoo! A tall fence surrounds a construction site, and tantalizing banners invite visitors to ponder the mystery.

I asked three zoo guys standing near the fence what exactly will be roaring in, and they said it was a secret. I did manage to find out that whatever it might be will be debuting in mid-March.

So what do you think it will be? Cool new artwork? Perhaps some sort of sculpture? Animatronic lions?

I’ve read that the Jessop’s Clock, which has stood for many years in Horton Plaza, might find a new home at the zoo, but plans to move it hit a snag years ago because of the clock’s status as an historical object. Moving the clock would entail digging a really deep hole for the winding mechanism–12 feet deep to be exact. Now that I think about it, this location would be ideal for the historic street clock.

That is the only logical guess I can come up with!

These San Diego Zoo guys were mum about what's being built inside the fence in front of the zoo's entrance. They did say whatever it is will debut in mid-March.
These San Diego Zoo guys were mum about what’s being built inside the fence in front of the zoo’s entrance. They did say whatever it is will debut in mid-March.
Something new is coming at the entrance to the San Diego Zoo. Your guess is as good as mine!
Something new is coming at the entrance to the San Diego Zoo. And your guess is as good as mine!

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!

Help restore the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley!

Banner along entrance gangway explains the Historic National Landmark 1898 Steam Ferry Berkeley Preservation Project.
Banner along entrance gangway explains the Historic National Landmark 1898 Steam Ferry Berkeley Preservation Project.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic 1898 steam ferry Berkeley is undergoing much-needed restoration. The wooden superstructure, exposed for many years to direct sunlight and weather, is in need of repair, as you can see from a couple of my photographs. The south side of the ship, which receives the most sunlight, is in especially poor condition. Work has already begun there.

The museum has received funding for the restoration in the form of a $200,000 grant from the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. This prestigious grant will match every dollar contributed by the public. Funds are being used to create a watertight, weatherproof, much more durable structure that will last for another generation.

Every contribution you make will be effectively doubled by the matching grant. To make your 100% tax-deductible donation, and learn much more, please visit this page.

To see more photos of this truly amazing vessel and learn about its special place in history, you might want to visit this past blog post. Berkeley was not only the first screw propeller driven steam ferry on the West Coast, but it assisted in the evacuation of a burning San Francisco after the devastating earthquake of 1906. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of that blog post and read the extensive comment by the former museum librarian, who provides more fascinating information concerning the Berkeley!

The beautiful Berkeley is hub of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The vessel houses many exhibits, and hosts special events and education programs.
The beautiful Berkeley is hub of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The vessel houses many exhibits, and hosts special events and education programs.
Damage from the sun, salt, wind and weather is visible in this photo taken shortly before restoration began.
Damage from sun, salt, wind and weather is visible in this photo taken shortly before restoration began.
Guests to the museum are asked to be part of preserving local history. Contributions can be made online. Every dollar will be matched by a Maritime Heritage Grant.
Guests to the museum are asked to be part of preserving local history. Contributions can be made online. Every dollar will be matched by a Maritime Heritage Grant.
Scaffolding along a section of the steam ferryboat Berkeley's south-facing side. Restoration has begun.
Scaffolding along a section of the steam ferryboat Berkeley’s south-facing side. Restoration has begun.

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Waterfront visions and the passage of time.

A mysterious, glittering reflection of the Port Pavilion on San Diego Bay.
A mysterious, glittering reflection of the Port Pavilion on San Diego Bay.

So many new buildings are rising around downtown my head spins whenever I’m out for a walk.

In the past few years a host of gleaming high-rises has materialized near the water, and the Embarcadero has been so dramatically improved I can barely recall the way our waterfront once appeared.

This morning during a walk I captured some dreamlike visions with my camera. And my mind began to ponder the stealthy passage of time. The past can be so difficult to remember…the future can be so difficult to envision…

A gull passes over smooth water one morning, as the Coast Guard station shines in early sunlight.
Another morning. A gull glides over smooth San Diego Bay. A short distance north of downtown, the Coast Guard station shines in the early sunlight.
Reflections of buildings along San Diego's waterfront. Like fragments of dancing light, these visions change as years pass.
Reflections of buildings along San Diego’s waterfront. Like dancing fragments of light, these visions change as the years pass quickly by.
The InterContinental Hotel rising beside San Diego's Embarcadero is beginning to appear complete.
The InterContinental Hotel, under construction at the location of old Lane Field, is beginning to appear complete.
Near the Broadway Pier, early morning light invites people into a new day. The remnants of past days are quietly swept up.
Near the Broadway Pier, morning light invites people into the brand new day. Remnants of past days are quietly swept up.
A crane on a barge. The demolition of Anthony's Fish Grotto on the Embarcadero has begun.
A crane on a barge. The demolition of Anthony’s Fish Grotto on the Embarcadero has begun.
A peek into the past, and into the future.
A peek into the past, and into the future.

If you’d like to time travel on this blog, here are some links concerning past construction along the Embarcadero, in chronological order.

I myself hadn’t visited some of these old posts for years. Memories were rekindled…

San Diego’s Embarcadero made more beautiful.

San Diego’s big new waterfront park opens!

Improvements on North Embarcadero celebrated!

Timeline shows history of San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Grass grows again at historic Lane Field!

Bay Cafe makes way for new observation platform.

Fun sculptures debut at San Diego waterfront park!

Workers install engraved name pavers at Broadway Pier.

Last chance to enjoy Anthony’s at the waterfront.

Buildings rise and fall along San Diego’s waterfront.

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!

Getting the Starlight Bowl ready for action!

Guys work on an interactive kiosk that will be at the entrance to the renovated Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park!
Guys work on an interactive kiosk that will be at the entrance to the renovated Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park!

I was pleasantly surprised during my walk through Balboa Park today to see progress is being made in renovating the Starlight Bowl!

A couple of super cool guys from Save Starlight were installing an interactive kiosk at the outdoor amphitheater’s entrance. I learned that some events for the outdoor venue are already planned for early this year! How awesome is that?

If you are like me, you might have watched musicals performed in the Starlight Bowl under twinkling stars, before the San Diego Civic Light Opera went bankrupt in 2011. My memories from years ago are still vivid in my mind’s eye. I remember laughing as a young man at the humor of Kiss Me, Kate and The Pirates of Penzance.

I’ve blogged about the effort to save the Starlight Bowl on several occasions, and took a couple of photographs after a new paint job and clean up early last year. I posted those photos on my Beautiful Balboa Park blog here.

If you want to learn more about the Starlight Bowl’s history, challenges, rehabilitation and eventual reopening, visit this website. You can make a donation to help with the effort, or perhaps volunteer!

A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.
A performance in the Ford Bowl–now the Starlight Bowl–during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. (This no known copyright restrictions image is from Flickr.)
Save Starlight is making great progress bringing the famous and beloved Starlight Bowl back to life!
Save Starlight is making great progress bringing the famous and beloved Starlight Bowl back to life!

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!

Pacific Soul by Jaume Plensa rises in San Diego!

Workers install Jaume Plensa's new sculpture Pacific Soul in the public plaza by the Pacific Gate condominium tower in San Diego.
Workers install Jaume Plensa’s new sculpture Pacific Soul in the public plaza by the Pacific Gate condominium tower in San Diego.

This evening, after dark, I walked past the nearly completed Pacific Gate by Bosa condo tower and noticed an elaborate sculpture is being installed in the building’s public plaza near the corner of West Broadway and Pacific Highway.

I asked one of the workers about the artist and learned this new public art installation is the work of Jaume Plensa, the renowned Spanish artist whose monumental sculptures can be found in major cities and museums around the world. He designed the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

This new sculpture, which is titled Pacific Soul, looks intriguingly complex. According to one article I found, it’s inspired by the tangled roots of rainforest trees and is composed of stylized characters from diverse alphabets. When finished it will be about 25-feet tall and appear like a seated person gazing west toward the Pacific Ocean.

I think it’s going to be amazing! I can’t wait to see the finished work!

Pacific Soul by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, when completed, will be about 25-feet tall and appear like a seated person gazing west toward the ocean.
Pacific Soul by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, when completed, will be about 25-feet tall and appear like a seated person gazing west toward the ocean.

UPDATE!

I walked down Broadway to see what progress had been made on Friday morning–about two days later. Workers were getting ready to assemble large sections of the monumental sculpture. Here are some photos…

Sign explains that you are viewing the installation of Pacific Soul by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. (Click image to enlarge the sign for easy reading.)
Sign explains that you are viewing the installation of Pacific Soul by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. (Click image to enlarge the sign for easy reading.)
Worker installs Pacific Soul in a public plaza by the new Pacific Gate high-rise condos in San Diego.
Worker installs Pacific Soul in the public plaza by the new Pacific Gate high-rise condos in San Diego.

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ANOTHER UPDATE!

On Saturday the several sections of Pacific Soul had been pieced together. I was told the sculpture will be lit at night from below, and that people will be able to walk through it!

More photos…

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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!

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!

Local history excavated, displayed at Petco Park.

A cool exhibit in Petco Park shows the History of the Ballpark Neighborhood, San Diego, California.
An exhibit in Petco Park shows the History of the Ballpark Neighborhood, San Diego, California.

There’s a small but very cool exhibit at Petco Park that depicts the early history of East Village and nearby blocks in downtown San Diego. During the baseball stadium’s construction, a number of fascinating artifacts were recovered by archaeologists. Each object was carefully recorded in order to preserve aspects of our city’s diverse history.

Here are some of the old photographs and artifacts that are on public display. You can find this exhibit near the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame, just to the right of the north entrance to the Padres Team Store. I learned this exhibit used to be on the third floor of the Western Metal Supply building, at the top of the escalators. But the area was rather dark and so it was moved to its present location.

Please read the captions to learn more about what was unearthed during the grading of the ballpark, and what everyday life was like in San Diego over a century ago.

Photo taken during construction of Petco Park baseball stadium in East Village. Archaeologists excavate a feature discovered during grading activities at the ballpark.
Photo taken during construction of Petco Park baseball stadium in East Village. Archaeologists excavate a feature discovered during grading activities at the ballpark.
The grading of the future ballpark was researched and environmentally monitored. Artifacts recovered reveal everyday life in San Diego's past.
After researching the immediate area’s history, the grading of the future ballpark was environmentally monitored. Artifacts that were recovered reveal everyday life in San Diego’s past.
Excavated objects include jars, bottles, glass stoppers and a bone toothbrush handle. Names of medical remedies include Hamlin's Wizard Oil and Dr. J.H. McLean's Volcanic Oil.
Excavated objects include jars, bottles, glass stoppers and a bone toothbrush handle. Names of medical remedies on bottles include Hamlin’s Wizard Oil and Dr. J.H. McLean’s Volcanic Oil.
1906 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map depicting Blocks 136 and 137, part of the footprint of today's Petco Park.
1906 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map depicting Blocks 136 and 137, part of the footprint of today’s Petco Park, home of the baseball Padres.
From the late 1800s to the 1930s, most residents of East Village appear to have been of moderate to lower economic status, employed at blue collar jobs downtown.
From the late 1800s to the 1930s, most residents of East Village appear to have been of moderate to lower economic status, employed at blue collar jobs downtown.
Other artifacts recovered during Petco Park's construction include dolls, toys, marbles and keys.
Other artifacts recovered during Petco Park’s construction include dolls, toys, marbles and keys.
Old photo shows East Village as it was in 1914, looking west from the 10th Street terminal.
Old photograph shows East Village as it was in 1914, looking west from the 10th Street terminal.
Looking south down 5th Street (now Fifth Avenue) from the roof of the 1st National Bank, circa 1910. The area is heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Looking south down 5th Street (now Fifth Avenue) from the roof of the 1st National Bank, circa 1910. The area is heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Two historical photos. To the left, Pacific Coast Steamship warehouse, circa 1913. To the right, looking north up 5th Street circa 1910.
Two historical photos. To the left: Pacific Coast Steamship warehouse, circa 1913. To the right: looking north up 5th Street circa 1910.
Old photo of Western Metal Supply building and foundry sometime prior to 1919. The preserved brick building is now a unique part Petco Park's structure.
Old photo of Western Metal Supply building and foundry sometime prior to 1919. The preserved brick building is now a unique part Petco Park’s structure.
Fragments of earthenware jars and Chinese and Japanese ceramic tableware show Asian culture that thrived in the neighborhood's past.
Fragments of earthenware jars and Chinese and Japanese ceramic tableware show Asian culture thrived in the neighborhood’s past.

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Grand entrance of downtown Army-Navy YMCA.

Front of the 1924 Army-Navy YMCA building in downtown San Diego, designed by architects Lincoln Rogers and Frank W. Stevenson.
Front of the 1924 Army-Navy YMCA building in downtown San Diego, designed by architects Lincoln Rogers and Frank W. Stevenson.

The grand entrance of the historic Army-Navy YMCA building in downtown San Diego is presently shuttered from view. That’s because the structure, built in 1924 for the recreational activities of San Diego’s many enlisted military men, is being converted into an elegant new hotel on Broadway. The Guild San Diego will open in spring 2018 and promises to offer a variety of unique features, including a ballroom inside what was once the old YMCA basketball court.

Before the present construction began, I took some photos of the columns and artwork around the building’s amazing front entrance. These images have been sitting idle in my computer. Here they are for your enjoyment.

When I took this photo, the 500 West Hotel had closed. Today a new luxury hotel, The Guild Hotel, is under construction. Much of the historic building will be preserved.
When I took this photo, the 500 West Hotel had closed. Today a new luxury destination, The Guild Hotel, is under construction. Much of the historic building will be preserved.
Some beautiful sculptural work around the front entrance.
Some beautiful sculptural work around the elegant front entrance.
I believe this represents Cabrillo's ship San Salvador, which entered San Diego Bay in 1542.
I believe this represents Cabrillo’s ship San Salvador, which entered San Diego Bay in 1542.
Part of the ornate front entrance to the landmark Army-Navy YMCA building in San Diego.
Part of the very ornate front entrance to the Army-Navy YMCA building in 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!

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!