Help students learn about San Diego history!

Help our students discover the past.
Help our students discover the past.

Do you love San Diego? Your help is needed!

The Old Town San Diego Foundation is raising funds so that Fourth Grade students across San Diego County can continue taking educational field trips to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. The San Diego History Program helps kids learn about San Diego’s unique, culturally diverse early history. But financial assistance is urgently needed!

I found out about this program today while walking about Old Town’s Founders Day event. I learned thousands of students have been fortunate to enjoy these field trips in past years. Fourth graders visit Old Town’s interactive museums and enjoy special docent led tours.

The nice folks of the Old Town San Diego Foundation explained that without this program, many young people would probably never visit the birthplace of San Diego and California.

Often kids who participate are so amazed by what they discover, they bring their families back to Old Town! How cool is that?

But funds are now needed to continue this program.

Please visit the Old Town San Diego Foundation website here to learn more.

And please visit the “4th Graders Need Your Help” GoFundMe page here to make your contribution! Donations are 100% tax deductible.

(I know that some educators follow this blog. Spread the word!)

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!

Balboa Park’s fantastic Toy Train Gallery!

One of my favorite attractions in Balboa Park is the absolutely huge, incredible San Diego Model Railroad Museum. And my favorite room in the museum is the fantastic Toy Train Gallery!

Check out these quick photos of the gallery’s super fun toy train layout operated by the San Diego 3-Railers Club!

The colorful layout features O-Scale Lionel-type trains running through a world full of sound and movement. Signs and billboards light up. Cars pull in and out of driveways. People move back and forth. Ghostbusters contend with a rampaging Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

A Choo-Choo Cam lets visitors experience an engineer’s perspective as one model train passes through tunnels, over bridges, and past nostalgic, often humorous scenery. The view is sure to delight children . . . and the child that hopefully remains within each of us!

If you or your family would like to visit the very cool San Diego Model Railroad Museum and their fantastic Toy Train Gallery, you can learn more 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!

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!

Great writing, reading celebrated at TwainFest!

Giant puppets representing Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe roam Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2019 TwainFest!
Giant puppets representing Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe roam Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2019 TwainFest!

Today I enjoyed one of my very favorite San Diego events. I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for a celebration of great writing and reading at 2019 TwainFest!

Literature is the focus of this annual festival–the most famous 19th century literature and writers in particular. Produced by Write Out Loud, TwainFest features live readings, performances, period music and costumes, games, and a variety of fun activities for the entire family.

Kids not only develop an appreciation for classic books, but they experience the joy of creativity!

Here comes a tall Mark Twain puppet walking through Old Town San Diego!
Here comes a tall Mark Twain puppet walking through Old Town San Diego!
A noon parade circles the Old Town plaza during 2019 TwainFest, where great writers and reading are celebrated!
A noon parade circles the Old Town plaza during 2019 TwainFest, where great writers and reading are celebrated!
Many characters in 19th century period costume could be spotted at the annual event.
Many characters in 19th century period costume could be spotted at the annual event.
Musical entertainment on the main stage. Fiesta de Reyes presents TwainFest by Write Out Loud. Laughter, Levity and Literature.
Musical entertainment on the main stage. Fiesta de Reyes presents TwainFest by Write Out Loud. Laughter, Levity and Literature.
This sea captain might have been an acquaintance of Herman Melville. He has been joined by Lewis Carroll's Red Queen.
This salty Captain Swordfish might have been an acquaintance of Moby Dick author Herman Melville. He has been joined by Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen.
I met Walt Whitman, who told me this is his first time at TwainFest.
I met poet Walt Whitman, who told me this is his first time at TwainFest.
One of many fun games at TwainFest. Spinning the Wheel of Fiction, in order to solve a literary clue.
One of many fun games at TwainFest. Spinning the Wheel of Fiction, in order to solve a literary clue.
Characters and scenes from Mark Twain's stories could be colored, like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Characters and scenes from Mark Twain’s stories could be colored, like The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Anyone could walk up, grab a marker, and help write several Never Ending Stories.
Anyone could walk up, grab a marker, and help write several Never Ending Stories.
A performance of a magical folk tale in the Japanese Kamishibai tradition.
A performance of a magical folk tale in the Japanese Kamishibai tradition.
Lively music from 19th century San Diego adds life to the cultural event.
Lively music from 19th century San Diego adds life to the cultural event.
Some fun musical accompaniment nearby.
Some fun musical accompaniment nearby.
Kids were learning how to play drums and the fife.
Kids were learning how to play drums and the fife.
The young and the young at heart could play Victorian era games on the grass, including wheelbarrow races, sack races, egg races and the game of graces.
The young and the young at heart could play Victorian era games on the grass, including wheelbarrow races, sack races, egg races and the game of graces.
A crazy wheelbarrow race is underway. It's hard not to fall out when you turn!
A crazy wheelbarrow race is underway. It’s hard not to fall out when your driver abruptly turns!
Visitors to TwainFest could learn how to make simple books by folding paper and applying fancy cover designs with a glue stick.
Visitors to TwainFest could learn how to make simple books by folding paper and applying fancy cover designs with a glue stick.
Of course, a literature themed event must include lots of classic books.
Of course, a literature themed event must include lots of classic books.
Shelves full of books!
Shelves full of books!
Some history reenactors had set up a Civil War era field encampment.
Some history reenactors had set up a Civil War era field encampment.
Union soldiers in uniform appear at attention.
Union soldiers in uniform appear at attention.
The nearby Headquarters Post Office contained more costumed participants.
The nearby Headquarters Post Office contained more costumed participants.
A working telegraph was on display.
A working telegraph was on display.
While walking about, I noticed many smiling volunteers handing out TwainFest programs.
While walking about, I noticed many smiling people handing out TwainFest programs. (I’m sure Write Out Loud always welcomes new volunteers.)
Stories were being told at the Casa de Estudillo about immigrants, the descendants of early California, and the road to women's suffrage.
Stories were being told at the Casa de Estudillo about immigrants, the descendants of early California, and the road to women’s suffrage.
At the Old Town Courthouse Museum, people could take a literacy test to see whether they could vote in the election of 1872.
At the Old Town Courthouse Museum, people could take a literacy test to see whether they could vote in the election of 1872.
Political illustrations and cartoons from print over a century ago.
Political illustrations and cartoons from print over a century ago.
Young people were enjoying a Mad Hatter tea party, with Alice and other Wonderland characters!
Young people were enjoying a Mad Hatter tea party, with Alice and other Wonderland characters!
It appeared that some people had already painted Tom Sawyer's fence with whitewash!
It appeared that some people had already painted Tom Sawyer’s fence with whitewash!
Is that the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts? I get them confused.
Is that the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts? I get them confused.
Don't be an idiom. (You probably don't want to be an oxymoron either.)
Don’t be an idiom. (You probably don’t want to be an oxymoron either.)
More dramatic words were being read inside Old Town's one room Mason Street Schoolhouse. I recognized funny passages from Tom Sawyer.
More dramatic words were being read inside Old Town’s one room Mason Street Schoolhouse. I recognized those funny wart-cure passages from Tom Sawyer.
A puppet show delights kids in Old Town's plaza.
A puppet show delights kids in Old Town’s plaza.
The smiles go on and on during TwainFest...
The smiles and good times live on and on during TwainFest…
...thanks in part to this amiable if somewhat satirical fellow.
…thanks in part to this amiable if somewhat satirical fellow.

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!

Student posters celebrate Freedom of Speech.

Free Speech, Press and Society.
Free Speech, Press and Society.

I was making my way through downtown this morning when I spotted something important that I’d like to blog.

As I walked past the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse, I noticed a new crop of student posters has appeared in the building’s windows. These posters were submitted by local kids for the San Diego County Bar Association’s 2019 Law Week Poster and Video Contest.

The theme this year is Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.

We the People...
We the People…
Natural Rights. First Amendment.
Natural Rights. First Amendment.
Free As a Bird. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Free As a Bird. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Freedom. Rights. Responsibility.
Freedom. Rights. Responsibility. May all our voices be heard!
Express your opinion. Peacefully protest or assemble.
Express your opinion. Peacefully protest or assemble.
Liberty requires freedom of expression for everybody.
Liberty requires freedom of expression for everybody.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is vitally important to me. I’m a writer.

If you value individual liberty and a free and open society, its protections are fundamental.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Third grade students create self-portrait quilts!

Last Tuesday I headed to Liberty Station to check out a cool exhibition at IDW’s Comic Art Gallery before the start of Comic-Con. I arrived half an hour before the gallery opened, so I moseyed around Liberty Station’s beautiful park-like setting.

I walked by the Visions Art Museum and poked my nose inside.

There I discovered something inspiring! One of the museum’s walls featured a display of small quilts made by third grade students who attend Perkins Elementary School in Barrio Logan. (About a year ago I photographed part of this school’s outdoor mural.)

Their teacher, who was sitting at the Vision Art Museum’s front desk, briefly told me her students, some of whom are homeless, were super excited to create this artwork. They drew the design first, then cut out pieces of colorful fabric, which they assembled into expressive self-portraits!

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 create original Comic-Con book covers!

Today I entered the future Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park to check out PAWmicon! As I walked around, I poked my nose into the gallery where the Cover Story: The Art of Comic-Con 50 exhibit is located, and in one corner I discovered walls full of original art created by kids!

The colorful artwork, often featuring superheroes and pop culture characters, is drawn to resemble the covers of Comic-Con souvenir program books! Some of the designs are super inventive!

These covers that I photographed are just a small fraction of those on display.

Creativity rocks at the Comic-Con Museum!

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!

Talented kids play the Spreckels Organ!

By far, the best part of my day in Balboa Park was the two o’clock Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez introduced four amazing kids, who each proceeded to play complex musical pieces!

These amazing local students range from 9 years old to 11th grade. The audience listened attentively as Aska Enomoto, Blake Bundschuh, Declan Bohley and Stephen Priest made the king of instruments come alive. Each young person explained why they loved playing organ. All received trophies for their outstanding achievements!

Only the most talented musicians are allowed to play the historic Spreckels Organ, the world’s largest outdoor musical instrument!

My blog doesn’t feature sound, unfortunately, so these photos will have to suffice. A picture might not be worth a thousand notes, but perhaps you can hear a majestic note or two coming through your eyes.

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!