A visit to the Air and Space Museum Annex!

Lots of cool sights await visitors to the free San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex!
Lots of cool sights await visitors to the free San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex!

One of the coolest free attractions in San Diego is located in East County at Gillespie Field. That’s where you’ll find the annex of Balboa Park’s famous Air and Space Museum!

Yesterday morning I ventured east to El Cajon to visit the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex for the very first time. I’d read that they have a collection of old aircraft, but I really didn’t know what to expect.

I was absolutely blown away!

The annex is a treasure trove of restored and unrestored aircraft, plus old exhibits once housed by the museum in Balboa Park. Volunteers at the Gillespie Field Annex are happy to show families around. Excited kids can sit inside commercial airline cockpits, and adults can marvel at the development of aviation technology over the years.

There are so many amazing displays in the hangar and outside, it’s hard to describe. So I offer you these photos with informative captions!

If you happen to be in San Diego, go check it out for yourself! While admission to the annex is free, they’d appreciate a few bucks in their donation box!

An imposing Atlas missile stands in one corner of the annex's parking lot!
An imposing Atlas missile stands in one corner of the annex’s parking lot!
Cockpit exhibits and aircraft in various stages of restoration stand outside the museum annex hangar.
Cockpit exhibits and aircraft in various stages of restoration stand outside the museum annex hangar.
Inside the hangar there's a ton of cool stuff, including many old exhibits from the main San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park.
Inside the hangar there’s a ton of cool stuff, including many old exhibits from the main San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park.
Replica of the Smithsonian's original Vin Fiz Flyer dangles from the ceiling. This one-of-a-kind Wright Brothers airplane was the first aircraft to fly coast-to-coast. The journey took almost three months!
Replica of the Smithsonian’s original Vin Fiz Flyer dangles from the ceiling. This one-of-a-kind Wright Brothers airplane was the first aircraft to fly coast-to-coast. The journey took almost three months!
Ryan X-13 experimental vertical take-off jet (VTOL) created by the Ryan Aeronautical Company of San Diego. This aircraft was test flown in 1955 at Edwards Air Force Base.
Ryan X-13 experimental vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jet created by the Ryan Aeronautical Company of San Diego. This particular aircraft was test flown in 1955 at Edwards Air Force Base.
Looking past the Ryan X-13 Vertijet at other exhibits in the annex hangar, including a yellow Ryan Recruit military trainer.
Looking past the Ryan X-13 Vertijet at other exhibits in the annex hangar, including a yellow Ryan Recruit military trainer.
This particular Ryan X-13 was the result of a contract with the U.S. Air Force.
This particular Ryan X-13 was the result of a contract with the U.S. Air Force, as you can see by the markings.
Ryan ST-3KR (PT-22) Recruit, an aircraft used to train thousands of pilots during World War II.
Ryan ST-3KR (PT-22) Recruit, an aircraft used to train thousands of pilots during World War II.
In a glass display case nearby is a small model of a Ryan B-5 Brougham.
In a glass display case nearby is a small model of a Ryan B-5 Brougham. (You might recall that Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis, first plane to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo nonstop, was built in San Diego by Ryan.)
Numerous aircraft engines on display at the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex.
Numerous aircraft engines on display at the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex.
Wright R-3350-B Duplex-Cyclone 1939 aircraft power plant, at the time the most powerful radial engine in the world at 2000 HP.
Wright R-3350-B Duplex-Cyclone 1939 aircraft power plant, at the time the most powerful radial engine in the world at 2000 HP.
Pratt and Whitney 1830-17 Twin Wasp, used in several World War II aircraft.
Pratt and Whitney 1830-17 Twin Wasp, used in several World War II aircraft.
Wright J65 turbojet engine, 1954. This engine powered many military aircraft in the mid 20th century, including the very successful A-4 Skyhawk.
Wright J65 turbojet engine, 1954. This engine powered many military aircraft in the mid 20th century, including the very successful A-4 Skyhawk.
Marquardt RJ43-MA-9 ramjet engine used on Boeing CIM-10 Bomarc interceptor missiles during the 1960s. The ramjet produced speeds up to Mach 2.7, or about 1780 miles per hour.
Marquardt RJ43-MA-9 ramjet engine used on Boeing CIM-10 Bomarc interceptor missiles during the 1960s. The ramjet produced speeds up to Mach 2.7, or about 1780 miles per hour.
Rolls Royce Pegasus F402-RR-401 vectoring turbofan that powers the AV-8A Harrier short take-off and vertical landing aircraft.
Rolls Royce Pegasus F402-RR-401 vectoring turbofan that powers the AV-8A Harrier short take-off and vertical landing aircraft.
A long mural in the annex's hangar shows a variety of modern aircraft.
A long mural in the annex’s hangar shows a variety of modern aircraft.
Bleriot XI dangles from the ceiling. The revolutionary 1908 aircraft had a new Anzani engine that could run for one whole hour, allowing it to fly across the English Channel.
Bleriot XI dangles from the ceiling. The revolutionary 1908 aircraft had a new Anzani engine that could run for one whole hour, allowing it to fly across the English Channel.
Sopwith Pup Craftsmen of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, a volunteer aircraft building project back in 2000-2003.
Sopwith Pup Craftsmen of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, a volunteer aircraft building project back in 2000-2003.
Rearwin Cloudster 8135, once displayed on the museum floor in Balboa Park.
Rearwin Cloudster 8135, once displayed on the museum floor in Balboa Park.
One more look inside the hangar before I head outside to see lots more cool stuff.
One more look inside the hangar before I head outside to see lots more cool stuff.
The aircraft in the foreground is a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15. Mounted beyond it is a Ryan Model 147 Lightning Bug jet-powered reconnaissance drone.
The aircraft in the foreground is a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15. Mounted beyond it is a Ryan Model 147 Lightning Bug jet-powered reconnaissance drone.
Outside the hangar doors is the nose of an old Northwest Stratocruiser that once flew to Honolulu.
Outside the hangar doors is the nose of an old Northwest Stratocruiser that once flew to Honolulu.
Hundreds of switches and gauges inside the amazing cockpit of a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. One can sit in the pilot's seat and pretend to fly across the Pacific Ocean!
Hundreds of switches, dials and gauges inside the amazing cockpit of a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. One can sit in the pilot’s seat and pretend to fly across the Pacific Ocean!
Someone created this silly flying car named the Spirit of San Diego!
Someone created this silly flying car named the Spirit of San Diego! I kind of doubt they ever got this contraption off the ground.
Looking beyond a General Dynamics F-16N at a line of military aircraft displayed outside.
Looking beyond a General Dynamics F-16N at a line of military aircraft displayed outside.
North American F-86F Sabre from the Korean War period.
North American F-86F Sabre from the Korean War period.
Convair F-102A Delta Dagger built in San Diego 1956-1957.
Convair F-102A Delta Dagger built in San Diego 1956-1957.
An old Neptune Aviation Services P2V-7 aerial firefighting plane--Tanker 43.
An old Neptune Aviation Services P2V-7 aerial firefighting plane–Tanker 43.
I learned there are several restoration projects now underway at the museum annex at Gillespie Field. I believe this is an old Piasecki H-21 helicopter.
I learned there are several restoration projects now underway at the museum annex at Gillespie Field. I believe this is an old Piasecki H-21 helicopter. Looks like it needs some work.
Next to the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex parking lot stands a tall Atlas Missile 2-E! This missile was used for a static firing at Sycamore Test Facility.
Next to the San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex parking lot stands a tall Atlas Missile 2-E! This missile was used for a static firing at Sycamore Canyon Test Facility east of MCAS Miramar. It used to stand at the entrance to Missile Park, beside the old General Dynamics complex in Kearny Mesa.
National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark Atlas Space Booster Family - San Diego, California - 1957. Developed by General Dynamics Convair and the U.S. Air Force.
National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark Atlas Space Booster Family – San Diego, California – 1957. Developed by General Dynamics Convair and the U.S. Air Force.
Visit the free San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex and you'll learn much about aviation history!
Visit the free San Diego Air and Space Museum’s Gillespie Field Annex and you’ll learn a whole lot about aviation history!

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!

Kids Entrepreneur Fair coming to Kearny Mesa!

I just learned a cool kids entrepreneur fair will be held on Saturday, January 19 in Kearny Mesa! Enterprising youth who’d like to participate, and families and community members who’d like to support them are all invited!

The Kids Entrepreneur Fair is hosted by Girl Scout Troop 4207 and will take place from 10 am to 2 pm in the Go-Staff parking lot at 8798 Complex Drive.

To learn more about the event, and how you can participate click here!

Optimistic kids who dream and move forward with a positive outlook shape our world’s future!

Best wishes to those who have bright shining dreams!

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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!

Happy memories, and the decline of Seaport Village.

I have many happy memories of Seaport Village.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young and Seaport Village was new, my family would occasionally head downtown to enjoy the place. We’d stroll around the meandering pathways, poke our noses inside the specialty shops, browse the shelves of the cool bookstore, and enjoy lunch at one of several restaurants.

I was always intrigued by the big selection of magic tricks in the magic shop. At the candy store I’d shovel dozens of different sweets into a small bag, then eat them during the rest of our walk. We’d watch kites soaring in the blue San Diego sky at the nearby grassy park, and sailboats out on the bay. We always tried to catch Kazoo, the Seaport Village mime, performing.

On Sunday I walked through Seaport Village and was saddened to see many of the old shops are now vacant. The east half of Seaport Village almost resembles a ghost town.

Yes, there are plans to redevelop this valuable part of downtown’s bayfront, to make it more attractive and dynamic. Seaport San Diego will feature an observation tower, hotels, even an aquarium. But I’ve been told that future is somewhat uncertain and is still years away.

I’ve also been told that with this uncertain future and a recent change to the Seaport Village management, many shop owners have chosen not to renew their leases.

And yet today I saw hundreds of families happily walking about Seaport Village, visiting those shops and eateries that remain open. Such is the place’s reputation.

Over the decades Seaport Village has been the source of pleasure for millions of people.

But time and progress march on…

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!

Window Stories at Salvation Army Family Store.

A cat waits in a window near the uniform of a service member.
A cat waits in a window near the uniform of a service member.

Four stories are being told on the south wall of the The Salvation Army Boutique Family Store in East Village. These Window Stories concern the lives of ordinary, everyday people.

Come walk with me down the sidewalk and let’s sneak a peek through the windows. Maybe we’ll see a little bit of ourselves…

Window Stories was designed by POP/ARCH and created by Urban Interventions.
Window Stories is public art designed by POP/ARCH and created by Urban Interventions.
Standing beside the south wall of The Salvation Army Boutique Family Store at the corner of Park Boulevard and E Street.
Standing beside the south wall of The Salvation Army Boutique Family Store at the corner of Park Boulevard and E Street.
A bright red bird visits a lone person sitting at one window.
A bright red bird visits a lone person sitting at one window.
A child in the arms of a loving adult in another window.
A child in the arms of a loving adult in another window.
A couple enjoys a romantic dinner in another window.
A couple enjoys a romantic dinner in another window.

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!

Photos of North Park’s Day of the Dead festival!

The 2nd Annual Day of the Dead North Park Festival had a couple blocks of Ray Street overflowing with color and life!
The 2nd Annual Day of the Dead North Park Festival had a couple blocks of Ray Street overflowing with color and life!

Today I checked out the Day of the Dead festival in North Park!

The annual festival, which is only in its second year, was held on two blocks of Ray Street just south of University Avenue. I couldn’t believe the size of the crowd enjoying this relatively modest event celebrating Día de los Muertos!

All of the cherished Day of the Dead traditions could be found, including a large, beautiful altar and lots of face painting, and, of course, some elegantly dressed Catrinas strolling about. There was also abundant Mexican music, themed artwork and yummy food!

This is definitely a festival that should grow in popularity!

Many costumes celebrating Día de los Muertos (and also Halloween) could be seen about the fun North Park festival.
Many costumes celebrating Día de los Muertos (and also Halloween) could be seen about the fun North Park festival.
Boy poses for photo as a Day of the Dead skeleton with top hat.
Boy poses for photo as a Day of the Dead skeleton with top hat.
A traditional Día de los Muertos altar remembers loved ones who've passed from this life.
A traditional Día de los Muertos altar remembers loved ones who’ve passed from this life.
Kids and adults could color a calavera, or decorative skull.
Kids and adults could color a calavera, or decorative skull.
Lots of Day of the Dead themed merchandise could be found at various vendor booths about the festival.
Lots of Day of the Dead merchandise could be found at various vendor tables about the festival.
Some Día de los Muertos items for sale included Catrina dolls, orange marigolds and colorful calaveras.
Some Día de los Muertos items for sale included Catrina dolls, orange marigolds and colorful calaveras.
Many faces at the festival had been painted to resemble sugar skulls.
Many faces at the festival had been painted to resemble sugar skulls.
All sorts of characters from the popular culture have been transformed into Day of the Dead refrigerator magnets.
Characters from the popular culture have been transformed into these Day of the Dead refrigerator magnets!
I see a shirt with a Mexican lucha libre wrestling mask. Seems appropriate in this photo!
I see a hanging shirt printed with the image of a Mexican lucha libre mask. Seems appropriate in this photo!
Another small altar (or ofrenda) included photos of deceased loved ones, papel picado, and pan de muerto.
Another small altar (or ofrenda) includes photos of deceased loved ones, papel picado, and pan de muerto.
Mariachis performed joyful music for the crowd at one end of the city block.
Mariachis performed joyful music for the crowd at one end of the city block.
Día de los Muertos is celebrated in North Park. It's a new local tradition that promises to grow ever more popular!
Día de los Muertos is celebrated in North Park. It’s a new local tradition that promises to grow even more popular!

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!

Remembering loved ones on Day of the Dead.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, returns this coming Wednesday, October 31. Many in San Diego will observe the Mexican holiday, a festive span of three days that coincides with All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Day of the Dead is woven with long-lived traditions respecting human love and loss. Families build small altars, create powerful images. It is a time when loved ones who have passed on are prayed for, remembered and blessed.

Over the years, I’ve experienced several memorable Day of the Dead events in San Diego.

Here are three Day of the Dead blog posts from past years. Click the links to enjoy a variety of colorful photographs…

Love and memory: Old Town’s Dia de los Muertos.

Alive in memory: one Dia de los Muertos altar.

Day of the Dead celebration at the Old Globe.

Day of the Dead will be celebrated again this year in Old Town. If you’d like to experience this amazing event, please refer to the following flyer:

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How to assist the families of Navy SEALs.

The Seal Family Foundation, taking care of their families while they protect ours.
The SEAL Family Foundation, taking care of their families while they protect ours.

If you’re inclined to help military families, who face challenges that we civilians will never know, I’ve learned about an organization that is worth your consideration. The SEAL Family Foundation provides assistance to families of U.S. Navy SEALs.

Navy SEALs see frequent deployments, operating in places that are extremely dangerous. That means Naval Special Warfare (NSW) families can face a range of difficulties.

To learn more, and possibly provide a donation, visit the SEAL Family Foundation website here.