Photos from Port of San Diego’s harbor tour.

We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.
We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a special boat tour of San Diego’s harbor. The free tour was created by the Port of San Diego for Maritime Month, which was actually May. (The earlier tours were so popular, an additional June date was added.) The main intention of these tours was to educate the public about the importance of San Diego Bay, and the waterfront’s many contribution’s to our local economy.

We set out on the Admiral Hornblower and checked out a number of fascinating facilities that are overseen by the Port of San Diego. The Port of San Diego manages San Diego Bay and a strip of surrounding waterfront land. Its five member cities are San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado.

According to their website “The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 20 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of hundreds of tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.”

Well, what exactly did we see and what did we learn?

I took a few notes, which I’ve placed in my photo captions. Let’s head out onto the water on an overcast day and see some fascinating sights!

Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every visiting cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego's harbor.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego’s versatile harbor.
It's Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on the I Street Pier near Seaport Village. It's the place to go if you like fresh fish.
It’s Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on the I Street Pier near Seaport Village. It’s the place to go if you like fresh fish.
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with those big yellow Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
These are windmill tower components.
These are windmill tower components.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards--Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards–Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship--a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship–a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. Ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. New ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
It's an overcast "June Gloom" late morning on San Diego Bay.
It’s an overcast “June Gloom” late morning on San Diego Bay.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
It's the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
It’s the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego--what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego–what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge--where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge–where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy's Retention Excellence Award.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy’s Retention Excellence Award.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from stuff like seagull poop!
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from dirty stuff like seagull poop! Some ospreys have nests atop those high lampposts.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They're headed to San Diego salvage yards.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They’re headed to San Diego salvage yards.
Half of the new cars are then sent to their destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains--120 cars long!
Half of the new cars are sent to their final destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains–120 cars long!
We've turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
We’ve turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht temporarily moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!

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A look inside the Blacksmith Shop in Old Town.

A blacksmith shapes red hot iron at a forge in San Diego's historic Old Town.
A blacksmith shapes red hot iron at a forge in San Diego’s historic Old Town.

Yesterday I lingered for a few minutes at the Blacksmith Shop in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Two forges were operating. I watched as hammers swung, making sparks fly. It was fascinating to learn about blacksmithing and its vital role in San Diego’s history.

I chatted for a bit with one of the friendly gentlemen working in the Blacksmith Shop. These days the shop is used by highly skilled hobbyists to make all sorts of ornamental and useful metal items. They’ve made objects used for display elsewhere in the State Park. They make everything but horseshoes–and that’s because none of them know how to shoe a horse!

I learned that in 19th century San Diego there were several blacksmiths; this shop now in Old Town was probably located a bit to the east, on the outskirts of town (near today’s Presidio Hills Golf Course) because of the fire danger it presented to other buildings. No blacksmith shop back then would have been as large as the one visitors see today. A blacksmith would most likely do their work in the corner of a livery stable, using one modest forge.

Please read the photo captions to learn more!

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park's Blacksmith Shop and Wood Shop at the site of the Blackhawk Livery Stables, circa 1850-1871.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s Blacksmith Shop and Wood Shop at the site of the Blackhawk Livery Stables, circa 1850-1871.
Visitors to Old Town learn a little about life in San Diego during the mid 1800s. Blacksmiths created assorted metal objects, made repairs and shoed horses.
Visitors to Old Town learn a little about life in San Diego during the mid 1800s. Blacksmiths created assorted metal objects, made repairs and shoed horses.
This friendly blacksmith provided lots of fascinating information. Visitors watch with interest as he works to create a pot holder.
This friendly blacksmith provided lots of fascinating information. Visitors watch with interest as he works to create a pot holder.
I learned that in early San Diego blacksmiths typically burned charcoal in their forge, as coal was usually of poor quality and difficult to obtain in Southern California.
I learned that in early San Diego blacksmiths typically burned charcoal in their forge, as coal was usually of poor quality and difficult to obtain in Southern California.
A huge bellows provides oxygen for this furnace. A good working temperature is about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
A huge bellows provides oxygen for this brick furnace. A good working temperature is about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Products that were fashioned include grills, traps, candle holders, fish roasters, knives, shovels, chains, hinges, nails, cooking ladles and horseshoes.
Products that were fashioned include iron grills, traps, candle holders, fish roasters, knives, shovels, chains, hinges, nails, cooking ladles and horseshoes.
Hammers, bars, wrenches and various blacksmithing tools hang from the rear wall, in addition to harnesses and other items one might find in a livery stable.
Hammers, bars, wrenches and various blacksmithing tools hang from the rear wall, in addition to harnesses and other items one might find in a livery stable.
The gentleman showed me some devices used to suspend pots over a fire. Everything on this wall was made by local members of blacksmithing clubs and organizations.
The gentleman showed me some devices used to suspend pots over a fire. Everything on this wall was made by local members of blacksmithing clubs and organizations.
A shiny anvil.
A shiny anvil.
This wide grassy area behind nearby Seeley Stable was once used for anvil shoots. Gunpowder was placed in a hollow indentation between two anvils and ignited, sending one anvil high into the air with a loud bang! Anvils that did not shatter were considered sound.
This wide grassy area behind nearby Seeley Stable was once used for anvil shoots. Gunpowder was placed in a hollow indentation between two anvils and ignited, sending one anvil high into the air with a loud bang! Anvils that did not shatter were considered sound.
Old Town visitor tries on a Spanish conquistador helmet made in the Blacksmith Shop.
Old Town visitor tries on a Spanish conquistador helmet made in the Blacksmith Shop.
A heavy anchor chain is shown. The welds must be as strong as the iron links.
A heavy anchor chain is shown. The welds must be as strong as the iron links themselves.
A look back at history. Skilled artisans used muscle, fire and sweat to make everyday life easier for the early residents of San Diego.
A photo of living history. Skilled artisans used muscle, fire, metal and sweat to make everyday life easier for the early residents of San Diego.

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Wildlife paintings at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.

Common Buckeye. Anna Le and Clarisa Cuevas.
Common Buckeye. Anna Le and Clarisa Cuevas.

On a fence behind the Nature Center at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park one can find many colorful paintings of native wildlife. The fence follows a dirt road that leads to a hiking trail through Tecolote Canyon.

The paintings of spiders, butterflies, beetles and other insects were recently completed by students at University City High School. I believe the paintings of mammals, reptiles and birds have been on the fence for some time.

Colorful paintings of insects and other wildlife on a fence behind the Nature Center at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.
Colorful paintings of insects and other wildlife on a fence behind the Nature Center at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.
California Root Borer Beetle. Lucero Rayos.
California Root Borer Beetle. Lucero Rayos.
Black and Yellow Garden Spider. Nour Barbakh.
Black and Yellow Garden Spider. Nour Barbakh.
Anise Swallowtail. Lawdyka Solano.
Anise Swallowtail. Lawdyka Solano.
Spotted Cucumber Beetle. Kayla Kenney.
Spotted Cucumber Beetle. Kayla Kenney.
Tarantula Hawk. Andrea Angeles and Christian Covarrubias.
Tarantula Hawk. Andrea Angeles and Christian Covarrubias.
Western Tiger Swallowtail. Tyler Coehrane and Lauren Ferrer.
Western Tiger Swallowtail. Tyler Coehrane and Lauren Ferrer.
Darkling Stink Beetle. Morgan Boland.
Darkling Stink Beetle. Morgan Boland.
Roseate Skimmer. Issac Felcher.
Roseate Skimmer. Issac Felcher.
Silver Argiope. Zaynab Albaghdadi.
Silver Argiope. Zaynab Albaghdadi.
American Lady. Aurora Godinez Quevedo.
American Lady. Aurora Godinez Quevedo.
Green Lynx Spider. Jamison Legaspi.
Green Lynx Spider. Jamison Legaspi.
Harlequin Shield Bug. Jakob De La Cruz.
Harlequin Shield Bug. Jakob De La Cruz.
Datura Weevil. Jacob Stoermer.
Datura Weevil. Jacob Stoermer.
Green Fruit Beetle. Makayla Srioudom.
Green Fruit Beetle. Makayla Srioudom.
Vivid Dancer Damselfly. Miyoko Seldon and Andrew Bayot.
Vivid Dancer Damselfly. Miyoko Seldon and Andrew Bayot.
Pruinose Squash Bee. Quincy Stone.
Pruinose Squash Bee. Quincy Stone.
California Sister Butterfly. Steffany Shapow.
California Sister Butterfly. Steffany Shapow.
Coyote.
Coyote.
California King Snake.
California King Snake.
Great Blue Heron.
Great Blue Heron.
Striped Skunk.
Striped Skunk.
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake.
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake.
Western Scrub Jay.
Western Scrub Jay.
Raccoon.
Raccoon.
Red Tailed Hawk.
Red Tailed Hawk.
Southern Alligator Lizard.
Southern Alligator Lizard.
Anna's Hummingbird.
Anna’s Hummingbird.
Bobcat.
Bobcat.
Pacific Gopher Snake.
Pacific Gopher Snake.
Gray Fox.
Gray Fox.
Western Fence Lizard.
Western Fence Lizard.
Great Horned Owl.
Great Horned Owl.
Spotted Towhee.
Spotted Towhee.

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Photos of Family Day at Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.

Someone walks toward the Nature Center on Tecolote Family Day.
Someone walks toward the Nature Center on Tecolote Family Day.

Today I headed over to Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. While I frequently drive around this narrow San Diego city park, which serves as a nature preserve inside Tecolote Canyon east of Mission Bay, I’ve never taken a single step inside. When I saw that an event called Family Day would be happening today, I decided to pay a visit!

What did I discover? Read the photo captions to find out!

Sign near entrance of the Nature Center provides info about Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.
A sign near entrance to the Nature Center provides information about Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.
A narrow strip of natural habitat preserved in San Diego. Tecolote Canyon features hiking trails and a refuge for wildlife.
A narrow strip of natural habitat preserved in San Diego. Tecolote Canyon features hiking trails and a refuge for wildlife.
Sign inside the Tecolote Nature Center. The park was originally dedicated in 1977. Houses, yards and streets surround this area where the native environment still survives.
Sign inside the Tecolote Nature Center. The park was originally dedicated in 1977. Houses, yards and streets surround this area where the native environment still survives.
Many interpretive displays can be found in the Nature Center. The coyote is Tecolote Canyon's largest predator.
Many interpretive displays can be found in the Nature Center. The coyote is Tecolote Canyon’s largest predator.
One sign describes San Diego's Coastal Sage Scrub habitat, which is found in a small part of the world, along the coast of Southern California into Mexico.
One sign describes San Diego’s Coastal Sage Scrub habitat, which is found in a small part of the world, along the coast of Southern California into Mexico.
The Brown Towhee is one of many birds one might spot in the canyon.
The Brown Towhee is one of many birds one might spot in the canyon.
Along Tecolote Creek lies the Riparian Woodland habitat. Water attracts animals from the dry hills, and native trees like willows, cottonwoods and sycamores grow on the creek's banks.
Along Tecolote Creek lies the Riparian Woodland habitat. Water attracts animals from the dry hills, and native trees like willows, cottonwoods and sycamores grow near the creek’s banks.
One of the displays shows Lemonadeberry (a common chaparral shrub in San Diego), Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry, and a California Thrasher.
One of the displays shows Lemonadeberry (a common chaparral shrub in San Diego), Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry, and a California Thrasher.
A topographical representation of Tecolote Canyon, which you can see directly below Mission Bay. Up is west, right is north.
A topographical representation of curving Tecolote Canyon, which you can see directly below Mission Bay. Up is west, right is north.
Many of the plants and animals now in Tecolote Canyon are the same as those here 200 years ago. Golden eagles and mountain lions, however, have vanished because this natural space is limited in size.
Many of the plants and animals now in Tecolote Canyon are the same as those here 200 years ago. Golden eagles and mountain lions, however, have vanished because this natural space is too limited in size.
Families enjoy a special day to learn about the environment. It's Tecolote Family Day! There were lots of educational displays and activities at the Nature Center.
Families enjoy a special day and learn about the canyon’s environment. It’s Tecolote Family Day! There were lots of educational displays and activities at the Nature Center.
Special events at Tecolote Family Day included a scavenger hunt for kids, art, music, dance and a silent auction.
Activities at Tecolote Family Day included a scavenger hunt for kids, art, music, dance and a silent auction.
Inside the Nature Center, one table had lots of displays concerning insects! Another one had snakes.
Inside the Nature Center, one table had lots of displays concerning insects! Another one had snakes.
At another table I was shown a coyote skull.
At another table I was shown a coyote skull.
I believe these beautiful poppy paintings were part of the silent auction.
I believe these beautiful poppy paintings were part of the silent auction.
A friendly parrot was at a booth promoting Zovargo, a local company which offers animal summer camps for kids.
A friendly parrot was at a booth promoting Zovargo, a local business that offers animal summer camps for kids.
These kids were dancing to a fun song about pollination!
These kids were dancing to a fun song about pollination!
Nearby I discovered the Tecolote Native Plant Nursery.
Nearby I discovered the Tecolote Native Plant Nursery.
Work is ongoing to take back the native habitat from invading plant species.
Work is ongoing to take back the native habitat from invading plant species.
I saw some signs about the importance of composting. It enhances soil and protects watersheds.
I saw some signs about the importance of composting. It enhances soil and protects watersheds.
Behind the Nature Center, near an amphitheater and native garden, I saw this e'waa, a simple willow branch structure built by the Native American Kumeyaay.
Behind the Nature Center, near an amphitheater and native garden, I saw this example of an e’waa, a simple willow branch structure built by the Native American Kumeyaay.
A sign depicts the Tecolote Watershed. Pollutants can flow down the creek and enter the soil, Mission Bay and eventually the Pacific Ocean.
A sign depicts the Tecolote Watershed. Pollutants can flow down the creek and enter the soil, Mission Bay and eventually the Pacific Ocean.
Several signs can be found around a small native garden. This one, Aromas of the Canyon, depicts Black Sage, White Sage and California Sagebrush.
Several signs can be found around the small native garden. This one, Aromas of the Canyon, depicts Black Sage, White Sage and California Sagebrush.
On the way to the hiking trail that leads into Tecolote Canyon, one might spot this owl!
On the way to the hiking trail that leads into Tecolote Canyon, one might spot this owl!
Hikers read the sign at the Battle Trail trailhead.
Hikers read the sign at the Battle Trail trailhead.
Welcome to the Battle Trail - Nature's haven in the city.
Welcome to the Battle Trail – Nature’s haven in the city.
I start up the easy trail. The vegetation in Tecolote Canyon is still green in late spring, after a very rainy winter.
I start up the easy trail. The vegetation in Tecolote Canyon is still green in late spring, after a very rainy winter.
This lush greenery will soon dry out in the Southern California summer and turn mostly brown.
This lush greenery will soon dry out in the Southern California summer and turn mostly brown.
I am greeted by cheerful yellow sunflowers.
I am greeted by cheerful yellow sunflowers.
I believe this house on a post is for bats. I've seen similar boxes in other open space parks around San Diego.
I believe this house on a post is for bats. I’ve seen similar boxes in other open space parks around San Diego.
A family heads into Tecolote Canyon to explore nature.
A family heads into Tecolote Canyon to explore nature.

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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Colorful photos from 2017 Fiesta Botanica!

The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and botanical information.
The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and useful botanical information.

Of course I had to go to Fiesta Botanica! I love flowers, plants, sunshine and Balboa Park!

What used to be called Balboa Park’s Garden Party is now Fiesta Botanica, in keeping with the surrounding Spanish-style architecture. And who would want to miss a colorful fiesta!

I’m sorry to say I missed the floral wagon parade this year, because I was privileged to receive a very special morning tour at the San Diego Museum of Art. I’ll probably blog about that tomorrow.

Anyway, I just happily wandered about Fiesta Botanica after leaving the museum and did my best to learn a little about gardening and the miraculous world of nature. There was quite a lot to see!

As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant now-fenced Moreton Bay Fig near the Natural History Museum. A platform would allow visitors to closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant, now-fenced-off Moreton Bay Fig, which stands near the Natural History Museum. A raised platform would allow visitors to more closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of human feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park's landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
Artist Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park’s landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado.
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado. I believe this one was sponsored by Save Starlight.
In Spanish Village I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!
In Spanish Village, I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!

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Amazing youth exhibition at San Diego Museum of Art!

Senna Osawa, Tamayo Watermelon, mixed media, Second Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Senna Osawa, Tamayo Watermelon, mixed media, Second Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.

Look what I discovered!

The San Diego Museum of Art has a free exhibition of art that was created by local school students. It’s called Young Art 2017: Beyond the Ordinary. You can find it in the hallway that leads from the museum’s outdoor sculpture court to the restrooms that are often used by diners at Panama 66.

Every two years, a new exhibition of Young Art is presented by the museum. All I can say is once you step through the door your jaw will drop! Dozens of outstanding, truly amazing works of art line the walls and fill a few display cases.

Inspired students from Kindergarten to Twelfth Grade, from schools throughout San Diego County, have created all sorts of fantastic still life artwork, including paintings, drawings, mixed media, photography and ceramic sculptures. Some of the students have written a sentence or two explaining their thoughts and creative process.

My quick photos of these few examples barely scratch the surface. I just chose some of the art that I personally like. Funny–perhaps my favorite piece was created by a talented young artist in Kindergarten!

If you visit Balboa Park, you must take a look!

Beyond the Ordinary. Young Art 2017. Amazing, inspired artwork in a free exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park!
Beyond the Ordinary. Young Art 2017. Amazing, inspired artwork in a free exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park!
Catherine Zhao, Message in a Bottle, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Catherine Zhao, Message in a Bottle, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
The Great Fruit Bowl, a drawing by many Christ Church Day School Second Grade student artists.
The Great Fruit Bowl, a drawing by many Christ Church Day School Second Grade student artists.
Fizzah Arshad, Tea, drawing, Ninth Grade, Otay Ranch High School.
Fizzah Arshad, Tea, drawing, Ninth Grade, Otay Ranch High School.
Arissa Diaz-Lelevier, Multi-media Still Life, mixed media, Eighth Grade, Stella Maris Academy.
Arissa Diaz-Lelevier, Multi-media Still Life, mixed media, Eighth Grade, Stella Maris Academy.
Mirabella Komniey, Pitcher, mixed media, Fifth Grade, Vista Grande Elementary.
Mirabella Komniey, Pitcher, mixed media, Fifth Grade, Vista Grande Elementary.
Emma Cecil, Enticement, painting, Twelfth Grade, Torrey Pines High School.
Emma Cecil, Enticement, painting, Twelfth Grade, Torrey Pines High School.
Camryn Melendez, Apricot Sunrise, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Camryn Melendez, Apricot Sunrise, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Eric Pak, Flora and Skull, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Eric Pak, Flora and Skull, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Karina Spinazzola, Lemons and Lilies, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Karina Spinazzola, Lemons and Lilies, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Anh Huynh, Distilled, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Anh Huynh, Distilled, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Caden Glazner, Time for Tea, painting, Third Grade, Del Sur Elementary.
Caden Glazner, Time for Tea, painting, Third Grade, Del Sur Elementary.
Joy Zou, Tea Time, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Joy Zou, Tea Time, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Bella Anderson and Cate Hunsberger, Medieval Lunch, painting, Seventh Grade, Coronado Middle School.
Bella Anderson and Cate Hunsberger, Medieval Lunch, painting, Seventh Grade, Coronado Middle School.
Skylar Britt, O'Keeffe Flower, mixed media, Kindergarten, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Skylar Britt, O’Keeffe Flower, mixed media, Kindergarten, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Jenna Vo, Magritte Floating Still Life, mixed media, Fourth Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Jenna Vo, Magritte Floating Still Life, mixed media, Fourth Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.

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An educational visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center!

Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.
Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.

Before my hike through Sweetwater Marsh, I enjoyed a visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center, which is located inside the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Exhibits inside the center and clusters of wildlife tanks and enclosures outside allow visitors to see and learn about the animals that make this refuge their home. The place is just right for families, with kid-size educational displays, short, easy paths, and even some picnic tables. If I were a young kid, having a birthday party here would be really cool!

After checking out the exhibits at the Living Coast Discovery Center, I ventured over to an adjacent building that is the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters. Some great displays outside provide more information about the unique and beautiful wetland that stretches in all directions. Not far from this building, one can easily find a hiking trail that leads across the marsh to San Diego Bay.

The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There's even a mouse house popular with kids.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There’s even a mouse house popular with kids.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auk!
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auks!
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
A red-tailed hawk.
A red-tailed hawk.
Beautiful artwork on one building's side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Beautiful artwork on one building’s side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
This amazing art showing marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
This amazing art depicting marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low march and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and varied species to thrive.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low marsh and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and variously adapted species to thrive.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego Bay!
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego Bay!

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