Public musical instruments in North Park!

Want to make some music? Head to North Park’s newly opened mini park located south of University Avenue behind the Observatory Theater!

The North Park Mini Park had its grand opening last weekend. It was all over the San Diego news. I hadn’t walked around that neighborhood in a long while, so yesterday morning I decided to check things out.

Look what I found!

The North Park Mini Park is not only a fine new community gathering place, but it’s full of musical instruments that people can freely play!

I saw xylophones and chimes and drums and a sign explaining the many health benefits of playing percussion instruments. (Perhaps it’s just plain fun, too.)

Young and old alike can reach out their hands at any time to create music.

How cool is this?

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Beauty at the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas.

Some of the most beautiful gardens in San Diego County can be found in Encinitas. I visited one of those gardens this weekend.

The Meditation Gardens at Self-Realization Fellowship is a quiet retreat for those who like to walk or sit quietly in a place where the mind can find peace and the spirit, inspiration.

Pathways wind through a lush, carefully tended world. Benches in green nooks invite rest and reflection. There are exotic plants, trees and flowers, ponds filled with bright koi, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Like distant poetry, surfers far below ride the curling rhythmic waves of Swami’s.

The Meditation Gardens recently reopened after a long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors to the garden, as the Self-Realization Fellowship website suggests, might discover “a greater realization of the Divine Presence that lies within.”

The amazing garden is free to the public.

Enjoy a sample of its beauty…

This is the site of the Golden Lotus Temple, built in 1937. Here thousands came to services conducted by Paramahansa Yogananda… In 1942 cliff erosion made the temple unstable and later it had to be dismantled…

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!

Vandalized landscapes at San Diego Museum of Art.

Two galleries at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park feature slashed, defaced and vandalized landscape photographs. The title of the exhibition is Disestablishment.

Galleries 14 and 15, freely accessible to the public from the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court (home of Panama 66), are filled with this disquieting artwork.

San Diego artist John Raymond Mireles took photographs of natural beauty at areas once part of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Southern Utah, then invited people to hammer upon, cut, scratch and pen graffiti on each piece. This intentional damage is said to represent how the land can now be exploited for oil drilling and coal mining.

Like much contemporary art with a political message, these not-so-subtle pieces aim to shock the viewer. Learn more about Disestablishment, on view until January 30, 2022, at the SDMA website here.

Here are a couple more examples…

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!

A holiday celebration in National City!

A big, wonderful holiday celebration is going on right now at Kimball Park in National City!

I walked through the community event just as it was getting underway this afternoon. I saw lots of families enjoying a Ferris Wheel, sledding on a snowy hill, dancing performances, arts and crafts, and even Santa himself!

If you read this blog in time, you might want to head on down to this free event!

A Kimball Holiday will go until 9 pm this evening, with the Christmas tree lighting at 6 pm!

A good crowd enjoys A Kimball Holiday as the festive event gets underway.
I walked by in the late morning and saw workers getting the Christmas tree ready. That’s how I learned about this event! After walking around San Diego’s South Bay for several hours, I returned in the afternoon…
Kids were enjoying the big Ferris Wheel.
How often do you see snow in sunny National City? Looks like fun!
Uh, oh. The Grinch showed up! That elf is trying to cheer the old grouch.
Lots of vendors had seasonal crafts and gifts for sale.
Santa waved! Hi Santa!
Malashock Dance was performing on the event stage in the early afternoon.
I love National City!

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!

Knowledge, Love, Understanding and a Little Free Library!

Knowledge is power.

I spotted this cool Little Free Library “Of The Sea” during my walk around Del Mar yesterday!

This small neighborhood library has three separate boxes. Fun, very colorful artwork painted on different sides includes words of wisdom!

Love wins.
Understanding is a virtue.

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!

Food, fun and smiles at La Mesa Oktoberfest!

Today’s the final day of 2021 La Mesa Oktoberfest. I rode the trolley to the Village of La Mesa as the free street festival opened and quickly found lots of food, smiles and fun!

The Bratwurst was delectable. The garlic fries were yummy. The German oompah music was infectious. Vendors had all sorts of artsy and inventive wares. The Weiner Dog Races were hilarious. (So much fun, in fact, that a separate blog post concerning the races is coming up!) The three beer gardens and big Ferris wheel were attracting huge crowds. There was fun stuff to do and see in every direction.

My favorite part of Oktoberfest, however, is the smiles.

Of course I’m going to promote a fellow writer. Particularly one who has written an inspirational book full of daily positive messages that are like poetry, and who opened the pages to share words with me concerning October 3. John L. Wagner is the author of Daily Ripples and you can find his book here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Kids free at San Diego museums in October!

It’s October! You know what that means? It means kids get free admission to many museums and other family friendly attractions all around San Diego!

The month-long event is called Kids Free San Diego!

Want to learn more? Click here!

Oh, and by the way, see my photograph above? Yes! Nikigator has made its long-awaited return!

Nikigator stands once again outside the front entrance of the recently reopened, beautifully renovated Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. Wouldn’t it be fun to sit on that!

While I’m mentioning the Mingei, families should definitely head inside. The ground floor is now free to everyone, whatever your age. And one big display case holds all sorts of craft toys from around the world! Another contains carousel horses!

And one more thing. If your kids haven’t been to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park, they are missing out on some of the most incredible, spectacular toy train layouts anywhere in the world! And it’s free in October for kids, too!

Click here for all the museums and attractions that are participating this month in Kids Free 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!

An educational nature hike at Chollas Lake Park.

A wide variety of community programs are offered at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego’s Oak Park neighborhood. There are ranger-led wildlife “Meet the Neighbors” hikes around the small lake, Kumeyaay ethnobotany walks, youth fishing, fitness classes, crafts, an oral history project, archery and even a book club with its own scenic hangout!

Yesterday I went on a nature hike where I and a good number of visitors circled the shallow artificial lake while ranger Cary Goldstein identified and talked about the many birds and other animals we saw, some of which are feral.

The walk was level, about a mile long, easy, and very educational. We saw Chinese and African geese and learned how to tell them apart. We saw a turkey vulture circling high above the treetops. We saw blooming marsh fleabane at the water’s edge and California bulrushes where birds nest. We saw turtles swimming underwater and sunning on rocks. We saw mallards and coots and banded pigeons and Canada geese and curious California ground squirrels and a strange-looking Muscovy duck.

We learned so much I couldn’t begin to relate it all. Some very young walkers had hands raised and asked lots of good questions.

I was fascinated to learn Chollas Lake was created in 1901 as a source for drinking water when San Diego was rather small. Later it was used to cool United States Navy radio equipment back when the three largest structures in the city, at 600 feet tall, stood atop a hill above the lake. Those radio transmitter antennas were the first to receive a signal from Hawaii that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. (A blog concerning this will be coming up later.)

Today Chollas Lake Park is a place where nature thrives. It is also a place where people can recreate, relax and learn about this beautiful and interesting world we call home.

Visit the Chollas Lake Park website here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Listening to a Symphony rehearsal at The Shell.

Wonder.

Elation.

Ecstasy.

What word best describes an extraordinary experience that is free to music lovers in San Diego?

When the San Diego Symphony rehearses at The Shell at Embarcadero Marina Park South, anybody can sit mere feet away from the musicians. Just walk on up and take any seat. And listen. You’ll hear some of the finest music ever composed, played by a world-class symphony orchestra.

Sit close and feel the thunder!

This morning I sat in front of The Shell and felt the power of music wash through me, while I enjoyed the sunshine, the gleaming downtown skyline, and boats of every kind sailing by on San Diego Bay.

UPDATE!

Here come more pics! I took these during another sunny weekend rehearsal…

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!

Scenes from La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW!

This evening I watched a stirring performance. I and many others enjoyed the La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW event at Liberty Station.

What did I see?

I saw soulful singing and dancing that stems from a shared history of suffering and endurance.

I saw joy that rises from the heart–a triumph of the spirit.

I saw how bubbles are like aspects of life–and like life itself. Mysterious, beautiful, soaring . . . short-lived. A beginning and an ending. Like memories.

I, too, wondered why we have an impulse to chase bubbles.

I saw a fable about a giant who wanted power over everything.

Until he saw the beauty of bubbles and learned wisdom.

I saw individuals repeatedly asking “Can I?”

They make one clumsy attempt after another, slowly gaining ability, gaining confidence, until they venture out into this sometimes scary world.

Meeting others, overcoming their fear, the question becomes “Can WE?”

What I observed was life.

You can watch it tomorrow if you’d like, too. Click here to learn about the Sunday performances. It’s free!

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!