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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Students create fun artwork, reinvent Loteria!

A wall inside the San Diego Art Institute features artwork by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School.
A wall inside the San Diego Art Institute features artwork by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School.

Check out some fun artwork at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park!

Inside the museum-like gallery you’ll find a wall splashed with a large grid of images created by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School. The project is called Loteria Reinvented.

Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo. Loteria utilizes a tabla–a random grid of pictures–and matching images that are drawn from a deck of cards. The students were introduced to the game’s history, then made versions of the game unique to San Miguel Elementary School. Each student reinterpreted an original Loteria card, drawing their version on a 17 by 23 inch panel!

The colorful wall can be seen at the San Diego Art Institute until late May. The student artwork will then be displayed at Museo El Trompo in Tijuana.

Each panel is a student's reinterpretation of a Loteria card. Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo.
Each panel is a student’s reinterpretation of a Loteria card. Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo.
Cupcake. Dragon. Face. Glasses. Tree.
Cupcake. Dragon. Face. Glasses. Tree.
Kitten. Fish. Teacup. Boat. Bull.
Kitten. Fish. Teacup. Boat. Bull.
Flag. Bridge. Dream Soccer. Lion. Shooting Star.
Flag. Bridge. Dream Soccer. Lion. Shooting Star.
Flower. Flying Girl.
Flower. Flying Girl.
Visitor at San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park checks out Loteria Reinvented!
Visitor at San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park checks out Loteria Reinvented!

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Art and history at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

One of the sites that I visited this weekend during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017 was the SDSU Downtown Gallery. I’d never stepped into the small art gallery before. Rotating exhibits feature the work of faculty and students at SDSU.

The building in which the gallery is housed, located at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Broadway, served as the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway. The historic railway, which served a large area of early San Diego, was established by John D. Spreckels.

According to a short tour and handout I was given, a circa 1900 building at this location served as an earlier San Diego Electric Railway power house, railcar barn and paint shop. Some enormous doors still exist in the building today where train cars would enter and exit. I also learned the extravagant 1897 Los Banos bathhouse stood at the building’s northwest corner–but there remains no trace of that historic old structure.

In 1921, San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company purchased Station B, and two additions to the building were subsequently made. The additions were designed by famed architect William Templeton Johnson.

Today the original Station B power plant contains powerful works of art, and forms a section of the base of the skyscraping Electra Building, a modern residential development built in 2008.

Please enjoy some photos of the gallery and the historic building.

If you love art and find yourself downtown while the gallery is open, swing on by!

I took this photo at another time. Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this used to be the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this originally was the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
More eye-catching works of art.
More eye-catching works of art.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
A short talk begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE 2017.
A short tour begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery–Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn. Was coal for the power plant unloaded here? I don't know.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn.
Our tour walks along Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Our small tour group walks down the sidewalk along the Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Student posters celebrate United States Constitution.

A young student's very creative poster demonstrates the principal of equal rights for all citizens in the United States Constitution. Equality for all. We the people.
A young student’s colorful poster celebrates equal rights and protections. These are established by the United States Constitution. Equality for all. We the people.

Please enjoy a few photos that I took yesterday as I walked down Broadway past the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse. My eye was attracted by happy, colorful artwork created by children on display in some windows.

These posters were designed by young students last year for 2016 Law Week. They celebrate principles that are enshrined in the United States Constitution.

(I have many blog posts coming up pertaining to this weekend’s San Diego Architectural Foundation OPEN HOUSE 2017 event. A couple of the locations will probably be featured on my Beautiful Balboa Park blog. And it might take me some time to prepare everything. Stay tuned!)

2016 Law Week Poster Contest winners in window of San Diego's downtown Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse. Students from a variety of local schools participated.
2016 Law Week Poster Contest winners in a window of San Diego’s downtown Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse. Students from a variety of local schools participated.
...insure domestic Tranquility... We get along with each other.
…insure domestic Tranquility… We get along with each other.
...in Order to form a more perfect Union... Make things better for all who live here.
…in Order to form a more perfect Union… Make things better for all who live here.
...Secure the Blessings of Liberty... We have freedom.
…Secure the Blessings of Liberty… We have freedom.
We the People of the United States...
We the People of the United States…

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!

Two ways to help vulnerable children worldwide.

Smile Train is a charity that helps local doctors perform cleft surgery for children around the world.
Smile Train is a charity that helps local doctors perform cleft surgery for children around the world.  Each operation transforms a life.

This week, as I walked to and from work, I noticed posters that promote two different charities. Both organizations help vulnerable children around the world.

I figured I’d blog the photos and help out just a teeny tiny bit. If you’d like to read the posters and learn more, and perhaps become involved or provide a donation, click the images and they will enlarge.

Child Fund International helps deprived and vulnerable children worldwide to be healthy and receive an education.
Child Fund International fights poverty.  They help deprived and vulnerable children worldwide to be healthy and receive an education.

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Fun fungus fair! A mushroom show in Balboa Park!

A mushroom fair was held this weekend in Balboa Park inside the Casa del Prado. The event was put on by the San Diego Mycological Society.
A mushroom fair was held this weekend in Balboa Park inside the Casa del Prado. The event was put on by the San Diego Mycological Society.

There’s a fungus among us! I’m not kidding!  (Groan.)

All sorts of mushrooms were on display inside Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado today during a special show by the San Diego Mycological Society.

I wandered through this cool “mushroom fair” and took a good look around. And I learned quite a lot!

Check out a few fun photos and some informative captions…

Mushroom enthusiasts check out all sorts of displays at the mushroom show. Mushroom facts, art, and food products like jerky were plentiful.
Mushroom enthusiasts check out all sorts of displays at the mushroom show. Mushroom facts, art, and food products like jerky were plentiful.
Several tables exhibited different types of mushrooms one might encounter in nature. The San Diego Mycological Society puts the fun in fungus!
Several tables exhibited different types of mushrooms one might encounter in nature. The San Diego Mycological Society puts the fun in fungus!
These mushrooms are all edible. Some are said to taste better than others.
These mushrooms are all edible. Some are said to taste better than others.
A basket full of Bolbitius vitellinus. Labelled edible but mediocre. According to Wikipedia, it's inedible. I'm no expert.
A basket full of Bolbitius vitellinus. Labelled edible but mediocre. According to Wikipedia, it’s inedible. I’m no expert, so don’t ask me.
Cooking with Wild Mushrooms. (Click image to enlarge the sign for easy reading.)
Cooking with Wild Mushrooms. (Click image to enlarge the sign for easy reading.)
Okay, these are definitely poisonous! Children were advised not to touch. I steered well clear!
Okay, these are definitely poisonous! Children were advised not to touch. I steered well clear!
Here's a monster yeast fungus so villainous that Captain Marvel had a tough time coping with it.
Here’s a monster yeast fungus so villainous that Captain Marvel had a tough time coping with it.
I do know that much of the art displayed at the mushroom show was quite tasty!
I do know that much of the art displayed at the mushroom show was tasty!
Check out this fascinating poster and the following photo. Spore prints show how spores are ejected from the mushroom gills.
Check out this fascinating poster and the following photo. Spore prints show how spores are ejected from the mushroom gills.
These spore prints strangely remind me of human thumbprints.
These spore prints strangely remind me of human thumbprints.
An artist created some spore print cards, hand made from mushrooms found in San Diego! Cool!
An inventive artist created some spore print cards, hand made from mushrooms found in San Diego! Cool!
Volunteers from the San Diego Mycological Society are collecting mushroom specimens found throughout the county. Tiny tissue samples will be barcoded for species identification.
Volunteers from the San Diego Mycological Society are collecting mushroom specimens found throughout the county. Tiny tissue samples will be scientifically barcoded for species identification.
All sorts of arts and crafts, books and fascinating stuff was for sale at the mushroom fair.
All sorts of arts and crafts, books and fascinating stuff was for sale at the mushroom fair.
Colorful mushroom ornaments!
Colorful mushroom ornaments!

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 fun photos for you to enjoy!

Drum and dance at Super Sonic Samba School!

These folks were drumming their hearts out as I neared. Unfortunately, the performance ended a few moments later.
These folks were drumming their hearts out as I neared. Unfortunately, I arrived too late.  Their musical performance ended a few moments later.

Okay, I was just walking along through Balboa Park this afternoon when I stumbled upon something really cool. Members of the Super Sonic Samba School were drumming like crazy in Pepper Grove!

I didn’t bother these folks, but their sign on the grass is probably seen by relatively few people–so I thought I might help and post a photo!

Read the sign to learn more about the Super Sonic Samba School. If you want to dance or drum in San Diego, this looks like great fun! And you can’t beat creating music outdoors on soft green grass, in fresh air and sunshine. And in beautiful Balboa Park!

The Super Sonic Samba School welcomes dancers and drummers at the World Beat Center and Pepper Grove in Balboa Park.
The Super Sonic Samba School welcomes dancers and drummers at the World Beat Center and Pepper Grove in Balboa Park.
If you drum in Pepper Grove, you get to create music near some cool art. This huge mural is on the Centro Cultural de la Raza.
If you drum in Pepper Grove, you get to create music near some cool art. This huge mural is on the Centro Cultural de la Raza.
Another Sunday session of the Super Sonic Samba School wraps up. Looks like fun!
Another Sunday drumming session of the Super Sonic Samba School wraps up. Looks like a whole lot of fun!

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!