Major construction projects underway in Balboa Park!

Numerous major construction projects are now underway in Balboa Park!

It appears workers were very busy while the park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today the center of Balboa Park reopened to the public, and as I walked around I was surprised to see all the construction activity!

The above photo and the one that follows shows the long-planned public viewing platform being built around the park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree!

I once blogged more information concerning this project here.

The next three photos show how the Mingei International Museum’s major transformation is well underway! I believe the construction you see on one side of the building is going to be the Mingei’s new theater.

If you want an idea of how things will look when finished, you can visit my blog post concerning the Mingei’s transformation here.

I was really surprised to see that the Palisades area of Balboa Park has begun it’s historic transformation!

Half the old parking lot–the side nearest the San Diego Air and Space Museum–will be turned into a pedestrian plaza featuring lawns and a monumental fountain that will recall the Firestone Singing Color Fountains of the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition!

Finally, I saw a great deal of progress has been made building the five new structures at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages! The new cottages will be the future home of nine nations.

I’ve blogged about this long delayed project on several occasions. You can see a map of the project here, and see photos I took of the groundbreaking ceremony in 2016 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!

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A festival of diverse cultures in Balboa Park!

The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.
The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.

Today many diverse cultures were celebrated in Balboa Park at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. That’s because this Sunday afternoon was the festive HPR Entertainment Sampler!

As I enjoyed San Diego sunshine on the lawn at the International Cottages, I watched different groups dance, sing and play music representing people around the world. Participants in this year’s “HPR Entertainment Sampler” were Queens from the House of Philippines and the House of Peru, plus entertainers belonging to the House of China, the House of Israel, the House of Chamorros and the House of Scotland.

Today’s entertainment was a small sample of the welcoming, colorful culture that anyone can enjoy during a visit to Balboa Park’s International Cottages, which are open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm!

These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.
Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.
The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.
The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.
The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!
The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!
A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.
A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.
Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.
Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.
The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with the assembled bagpipers.
The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with bagpipers.
Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park's unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park’s unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

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!

Lots of big, exciting news in Balboa Park!

New structures are finally rising on the southwest end of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
New structures are finally rising on the southwest end of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

The decade is off to an exciting start in Balboa Park! I discovered lots of big news during my afternoon walk!

After years of delay, new structures on the southwest side of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages are finally rising! Three structures on this side and two on the International Cottage’s northeast side will provide future homes for nine nations or cultural units: Mexico, India, Colombia, Lebanon, Palestine, Peru, Panama, Turkey and the Philippines.

If you want to see photos of the big groundbreaking event that took place over three years ago, click here!

A new Community Christmas Tree was recently planted! It replaced the diseased, old, misshapen tree that Balboa Park stopped decorating many years ago.

I learned from a friendly lady who works for the Balboa Park Conservancy that the new tree was planted around Christmas. It will be allowed to grow and become established before being decked with lights and ornaments. Look for it during future Holiday Seasons!

Balboa Park has a healthy new Community Christmas Tree!
Balboa Park has a healthy new Community Christmas Tree!

Here’s an old photo of that misshapen tree, which was finally removed:

Finally, the scaffolding has been removed from the California Tower! The iconic building’s Seismic Retrofitting Project is almost complete!

I was informed by two Museum of Man employees that the tower will reopen to the public on February 15!

The scaffolding is now off the California Tower. It soon will reopen to the public!
The scaffolding is now off the California Tower. It soon will reopen to the public!

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!

Christmas Around the World at Balboa Park.

Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.
Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.

Christmas on the Prado is being held today in Balboa Park. The event, while not nearly as large as December Nights, is special to many in San Diego because it is primarily religious, celebrating the birth of Christ.

This afternoon I wandered randomly about the International Cottages, seeing what I might see. Most of the cottages were open for the event and many contained Christmas trees and unique decorations.

I photographed a variety of crafts and beautiful displays, which are said to represent Christmas Around the World.

People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.
People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.
Making paper Christmas tree ornaments at the House of Norway.
Making paper Christmas ornaments at the House of Norway.
A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.
A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.
A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.
A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.
Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.
Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.
Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.
Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.
A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.
A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.
Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.
Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.
A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.
A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.
Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.
Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.
Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!
Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!
A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.
A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.
Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Happy needlework at the House of Germany.
Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Joyful needlework at the House of Germany.

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!

A travelling poet and a bagpiper in Balboa Park.

Today I met two cool people during my walk around Balboa Park. One is a travelling poet, the other a Scottish bagpiper.

The poet’s name is DJ Leary. You can find him online @wordsbydj.

Danny was perched in front of an old manual typewriter by the entrance to the Casa Del Prado Theater. Inspired words were pouring (pounding?) out from his fingertips for curious passersby. I peered over his shoulder at sudden lines of truth. We talked just a little. We shared some experiences. I could tell in an instant that Danny loves writing and life’s endless mystery.

I urge you to go here and read some of his poems.

The bagpiper is Frank Hunter. He’s a member of the House of Scotland Pipe Band. I met him while I was walking across the grass at the International Cottages.

Frank kindly introduced me to the bagpipes: their ancient origin, evolution and important role in history. He brought out his instrument, assembled it, tuned it, and performed. He told me about his own heritage and how the Highland Light Infantry is his family regiment. He had much to say, and all of it was immensely fascinating.

I’ve heard Frank playing bagpipes around Balboa Park before, and I urge visitors to the park to listen for their unmistakable voice. You will not be disappointed.

Balboa Park is full of amazing people.

Simply smile and say hello.

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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!

Folk dance and smiles at House of Ukraine!

Balboa Park’s House of Ukraine had their lawn program today at the International Cottages.

I don’t know a whole lot about the culture and history of Ukraine, but I could see one thing very clearly. The Ukrainian love for food, uplifting song, bright colorful costumes and folk dance shows an enduring, passionate love of life.

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

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A place like heaven, and full of surprises.

Balboa Park to me is a place like heaven. A place overflowing with joy and sunshine and smiles and wonder. A carefree place that is full of surprises.

Today I enjoyed a few delightful surprises during my walk–as you’ll see.

The House of Peru hosted a lawn program today at Balboa Park's International Cottages.
A huge crowd had gathered at the International Cottages. The House of Peru hosted a colorful lawn program today.

Peruvian born Mario Torero, internationally famous muralist and activist, greets the audience before receiving an honor.
Peruvian born Mario Torero, internationally famous muralist and activist, greets the audience before receiving an honor.
The brass ring might appear any moment.
The brass ring might appear at any moment.

Balboa Park is one of the most wonderful places on Earth.

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!

House of USA celebrates in Balboa Park!

During my walk through Balboa Park this afternoon, I observed members of the House of USA setting up for their lawn program at the International Cottages. And suddenly I remembered Independence Day is coming up on Thursday!

After walking a little more about the park, I returned to the International Cottages right at two o’clock, just in time for the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The crowd wasn’t very large, but everyone was enjoying a fine occasion. The House of USA was serving up hot dogs, and people were stepping inside their cottage to see all sorts of cultural and historical displays. Outside on the stage, Navy Band Southwest’s outstanding Prevailing Winds Ensemble was playing a mixture of classic and popular tunes. I really enjoyed their great rendition of music from The Incredibles!

I checked out a couple of booths on the lawn. The House of USA princess posed for a cool photo. I met a gentlemen promoting the Civil Air Patrol.

Over the years, Civil Air Patrol volunteers have saved thousands of lives. They’re the ones who often transport emergency supplies after a disaster, spot people trapped on rooftops during catastrophic floods, and locate hikers lost in the mountains. I learned they have a cadet program for youth interesting in aviation, personal growth and community service.

The Civil Air Patrol always needs volunteers! Click here to learn more!

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!

Swords of Chivalry knights battle in Balboa Park!

In my opinion, the most exciting part of the House of England’s lawn program in Balboa Park yesterday was the historical sword fighting. A local group called Swords of Chivalry provided a fine demonstration of realistic combat between armored knights during the Middle Ages.

According to their website, the Swords of Chivalry Program is one of only 16 schools in the world that have been selected to the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association. The program is led by “San Diego’s own Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) expert and medieval history guru, Scott Farrell.”

As knights and their squires performed heroic feats upon the green grass of the International Cottages, I and everyone watching were drawn back in time to the fantastic Age of Chivalry.

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!

English knights, cute Corgis, Harry Potter and more!

Knights in shining armor mock battle in Balboa Park during the House of England lawn program!
Knights in armor engage in mock battle during the House of England’s lawn program.

The House of England in Balboa Park hosted a really great lawn program today!

As I lingered on the grass at the center of the International Cottages, I saw historical costumes, several mock knight battles, a Beatles tribute band, and even a parade of Welsh Corgis! I also stepped into the House of England’s cottage to check out a bunch of cultural displays!

These photos show what I experienced…

The wonderful House of England lawn program drew a good crowd to the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
The annual House of England lawn program drew a good crowd to the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A member of the group Swords of Chivalry removes her steel helmet after some mock medieval combat.
A member of the group Swords of Chivalry removes her steel helmet after some mock medieval combat.
Other members of Swords of Chivalry have donned historical armor during the lawn program.
Other members of Swords of Chivalry have donned historical armor during the House of England’s lawn program.
Kids had fun learning about the Age of Chivalry, a time long ago that seems like pure fantasy in our modern age.
Kids had fun learning about the Age of Chivalry, a time long ago that now seems like pure fantasy.
Ron, Hermione and Harry welcome visitors to the House of England's cottage. Join us for a cup of tea.
Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter welcome visitors to the House of England’s cottage. Join us for a cup of tea.
The House of England's cottage is jam packed with all sorts of interesting photos, artwork and cultural displays.
The House of England’s small cottage is full of interesting photos, artwork and cultural displays.
One wall features the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. A nearby poster traces The Royal Lineage.
One wall features the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. A nearby poster traces The Royal Lineage.
A Briton's Creed, Big Ben,Winston Churchill and more!
A Briton’s Creed, Big Ben,Winston Churchill and more!
I soon spotted a bunch of Harry Potter stuff. It's the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts!
I soon spotted a bunch of Harry Potter stuff. It’s the Sorting Hat from Hogwarts!
One chart shows how the name Luna has become increasingly popular due to the Harry Potter books and films.
One chart shows how the name Luna has become increasingly popular due to the Harry Potter books and films.
It's all of the Doctors from the Doctor Who series!
It’s all of the Doctors from the popular Doctor Who series!
A large display in the cottage is devoted to the British royal family, and Princess Diana in particular.
A large display in the cottage is devoted to the British royal family, and Princess Diana in particular.
An article about keeping Diana's legacy alive by eliminating landmines around the world.
An article about striving to keep Diana’s legacy alive by eliminating landmines around the world. (Click image to enlarge for easy reading.)
Look at all the fun, unique teapots!
Look at all the fun, unique teapots!
Back outside, the House of England had a food tent up. Delectable treats for sale included Hagrid's Dragon Eggs!
Back outside, the House of England had a food tent up. Delectable treats for sale included Hagrid’s Dragon Eggs!
All sorts of tents on the lawn. Many contained displays concerning English culture and history.
All sorts of tents along the grass. Many contained information about English culture and history.
Some attending the cool event wore historical costumes.
Some attending the cool event wore historical costumes.
A parade featuring dozens of cute Corgis caught everyone's attention.
A parade featuring dozens of cute Corgis caught everyone’s attention.
Some guys rode penny-farthings to Balboa Park's fun House of England lawn program.
Some guys rode penny-farthings to Balboa Park’s wonderful House of England event.
Four gentlemen and their high wheels.
Four gentlemen and their high wheels.
This elegant lady had a table that concerned the show Victoria on PBS.
This elegant lady had a table that concerned the show Victoria on PBS.
Images from 19th century England.
Images from 19th century England.
Claudia Previn Stasny, daughter of André Previn, sings The Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen to begin the main program of entertainment.
Claudia Previn Stasny, daughter of André Previn, sang The Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen to begin the program of afternoon entertainment.
A happy group of Welsh Corgis hangs out by the stage.
A happy group of Welsh Corgis hangs out by the stage.
The Baja Bugs, a great Beatles tribute band, rocks the House of England's lawn program.
The Baja Bugs, a great Beatles tribute band, rocks the House of England’s lawn program.
I think I see Ringo at the drums!
I think I see Ringo at the drums!
Knights entertain an outdoor audience at the House of England's lawn program in Balboa Park.
Battling knights entertain an outdoor audience at the House of England’s lawn program in Balboa Park!

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!