National Carousel Day in Balboa Park!

Everyone got a free ride on the Balboa Park Carousel today! That’s because it’s National Carousel Day!

Lots of excited kids and families were waiting for their ride on the historic carousel when I walked by. Every year on National Carousel Day people head to Balboa Park just for the special occasion!

The wonderful old carousel was built in 1910 by Herschell-Spillman Co. in North Tonawanda, New York. It ran for a few years in Luna Park, Los Angeles, then was moved to Coronado’s Tent City in 1913. In 1922 it was transported to Balboa Park where the Fleet Science Center is today. Finally it was moved to its present location near the San Diego Zoo in 1968.

Whenever I pause by the whirling carousel, I enjoy looking at the amazing carved animals, the carnival-like lights and mirrors, and the nostalgic art painted on passing panels. And I love listening to stirring music from the original band organ. I also gaze into a display case that contains historical information and artifacts concerning this special merry-go-round!

I’ve included two photos of the carousel being built back in 1910. Creating the carved animals required true artistry.

When beloved author Ray Bradbury turned a carousel into a time machine, I think he was onto something. Because whenever I ride one, I find that I’m a young boy again.

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!

Read books this summer, win free prizes!

Do you love to read? This summer you can win all sorts of free prizes simply for reading!

The San Diego Public Library’s 2021 Virtual Summer Reading Program is underway! Children, teens and adults can sign up! By reading or completing a variety of fun activities, you earn badges, which can be redeemed for prizes!

Prizes include passes for the San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and The New Children’s Museum. Or yummy food at Panda Express. Or a book full of crossword puzzles, sudokus and word finds. Or a bonus bundle of comic books!

You’ll also be entered into a Grand Prize raffle drawing! (I don’t know what the Grand Prize is, but I’m sure it’s awesome!)

I was walking through Chicano Park this morning, waiting for the big Danza event to begin, when I met these smiling ladies representing the library. They told me about the summer literacy program, which is called Reading Colors Your World.

If you or someone you know might like to participate, better sign up now, because the program ends on August 31, 2021.

Visit the City of San Diego web page concerning this Summer Reading Program by clicking here!

Big community celebration coming to Balboa Park!

There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.

An exciting community celebration will be held in Balboa Park at the end of July!

Everyone is invited to gather at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on the evening of Saturday, July 31, 2021 to enjoy this amazing free event, featuring notable performers from all around San Diego.

Participating in the celebration will be Opera4Kids, San Diego Civic Dance Arts, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Grupo Folklórico Sabor de México, San Diego Master Chorale accompanied by San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, and the fun Organ Pavilion Rock Band! The entertainment starts at 5:30 pm!

What is this big community celebration all about?

The reopening of San Diego after the pandemic!

Learn more by clicking here!

Inspiration at Timken Museum’s Creation Station!

A small but wonderful Creation Station can be enjoyed in front of the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park this summer!

While the world-class art museum undergoes its renovation, people walking along the construction fence in the Plaza de Panama can linger at the Creation Station and be inspired!

This afternoon I paused for a bit to watch Erick Toussaint (@sidewalk_chalk_dad) work on amazing chalk art that recreates a piece in the Timken’s collection. Then I looked at the fun chalk drawings by kids and families that passed by earlier this beautiful Sunday!

Erick will be recreating some of the fine art museum’s great masterpieces every other weekend through August. Check out the museum’s page concerning the Creation Station here. On the other weekends, family’s will help design a huge outdoor mural!

Today Erick was working on reproducing Nicolas de Largillière’s elegant Portrait of Marguerite de Sève, Wife of Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil, 1729. His work on the gold frame alone is stunning! As you can see, I took photos at various stages of progress during the afternoon.

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!

Photos of Scripps Ranch 4th of July Parade!

Today’s Independence Day parade in Scripps Ranch was a colorful example of good old-fashioned Americana!

Neighbors came out for a patriotic community parade that wound along several residential streets.

Families sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk or under canopies on front lawns. Small flags were waved by many hands. As each parade entry passed by, rousing cheers erupted!

Politicians waved as they passed the crowd. Guys drove their red, white and blue decorated vintage cars by, wearing Uncle Sam hats. High school cheerleaders performed their routine for the parade judges. Local youth sport teams walked by holding up trophies. Little Leaguers pitched candy to the crowd. Scouts ambled by, some shy, others hamming it up. A church had a mobile pastor dunking booth. A waving, smiling group celebrated diversity. A local fitness group dropped down periodically to perform pushups on the street.

There were cheers for everybody.

What seemed most remarkable to me was how the many members of a large community can come together as one family.

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 join the circus in City Heights!

Do you know any kids who’d like to join the circus?

Listen up!

Kids between 6 and 17 years old who live in City Heights are invited to join the circus!

The Fern Street Circus is offering a free after-school circus program at their new Outdoor Community Center at 4108 University Avenue!

Those who participate can learn tightwire, juggling, acrobatics and clowning. They’ll gain confidence, make new friends, learn to work as a team and have a ton of fun!

Why spend the summer doing the same old ordinary thing when you can actually join the circus!

How do you learn more about this very cool program? You visit the Fern Street Circus website by clicking 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!

Love of reading on a library bookmobile!

Yesterday I enjoyed a long walk in Poway. As I explored the area near Old Poway Park, I happened upon a San Diego County Library bookmobile. I took these photos.

I love how this bookmobile features painted images of diverse people reading, devouring the written word. Gaining knowledge. Activating limitless human imagination.

My own love of reading has only grown stronger with time. Experience has shown me that books are like windows that can be opened to previously undiscovered truths. They enrich one’s inner life.

When I saw the image of the boy pushing books in a cart, I had to smile. In middle school I worked as a page at a library shelving books. I can still picture that library–each room and each wonderful section.

One cool thing about being a library page was I could determine which books were showcased at the end of the shelves. There were so many fascinating titles, so many beautiful covers.

I could choose from a whole world at my fingertips.

Back when I was a kid pushing carts full of returned library books, I had no idea that one day my own fiction would be read by people everywhere around the world. And that my short story, One Thousand Likes, would be included in a textbook by a major international publisher.

Much like a book, the pages of a life turn and strange surprises await!

To read my stories, click Short Stories by Richard.

Butterflies, art and inspiration in National City!

Yesterday, as I waited for the Memorial Day ceremony to begin in National City, I wandered a short distance down 12th Street from the Veteran’s Wall of Honor. I was surprised to encounter colorful butterflies along the median, and lots of art at a bright building on the north side of Kimball Park. The building, I learned, is home to ARTS, which stands for A Reason To Survive.

ARTS is a special community center where youth are inspired to live positive, hopeful, creative lives free from destructive influences and the violence that might attract their peers.

According to their website, the mission of ARTS is “to heal, inspire, and empower youth facing life challenges through therapeutic arts, formal arts education, and college and career preparation…In 2012, ARTS moved to National City and opened a 20,000-sq. ft. ARTS Center in one of San Diego County’s most health-challenged and economically depressed communities…”

I urge you to visit the above link and read about how the ARTS program has gained national fame, and how you might personally contribute, volunteer or become involved.

Here come photographs of murals and other artwork I happened to see outside the building. Painted words encourage non-violence and provide A Reason To Survive.

The nearby butterflies at intervals along 12th Street represent a transformation into something beautiful.

Each butterfly is unique.

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!

Closed school’s last students create mosaic wall!

Want to see something extraordinary and inspirational?

I had arrived yesterday at the 19th century schoolhouse now utilized by the Encinitas Historical Society, when I noticed a colorful tile mosaic mural wrapped around their dumpster enclosure wall.

When I asked about it, I learned the mosaics had been created by students from nearby Pacific View Elementary in 2003–the year that modern public school shut down. The final class of students produced this amazing artwork!

By looking carefully one can see the initials of students and simple images that record the experiences and desires of youth. You can see a love for art, friends, kindness, the ocean, sunshine, Encinitas and their Pacific View Elementary.

What a fine, enduring way to record important things in life.

Like the historic old schoolhouse that stands near this wall, the work of optimistic people in the past will continue to brighten our future.

If you’re curious about the old schoolhouse, which is headquarters of the Encinitas Historical Society, I’ll be posting lots of photos in the next day or two.

The historic 1883 schoolhouse, now home of the Encinitas Historical Society, can be seen just beyond that dumpster lid. The now closed Pacific View Elementary School can be glimpsed in the distance beyond the umbrellas.

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!

Photos of Mother’s Day in Balboa Park!

If there’s one place in San Diego that seems to be made for Mother’s Day, it’s Balboa Park.

I took these photographs today during my usual Sunday amble through the park.

Spring flowers were everywhere. The warm air seemed to shimmer with music.

Out enjoying their special day were many Moms with loved ones.

Smiles were plentiful.

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!