Two colorful, fun benches in Pepper Park!

Here are photos of two colorful, super fun benches in National City’s Pepper Park!

Both painted concrete benches were created in 2006 by Doug Snider, member of the San Diego Potters’ Guild. He produces all sorts of amazing art at his Studio 15 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. Step into his studio and you’ll feel as if you’ve entered a fantasy world full of whimsy and imagination!

I believe Doug has created four of these fantastic benches. In the past I photographed one of two that are located in Coronado. The one I saw is in Tidelands Park, and you can see it here!

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A short, easy walk along Paradise Creek Trail.

Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.
Paradise Trail marker PT10 rises near the National City Depot museum.

This morning I enjoyed an easy walk down a segment of the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

I believe this urban trail is brand new. I find almost nothing about it on the internet. Several people I spoke to who work right next to the trail never heard of it. I had never seen the Paradise Trail markers during walks in past years.

The trail, from what I can gather, roughly follows Paradise Creek. My walk started just west of Interstate 5, on Bay Marina Drive, where I spotted markers for the Paradise Trail by the National City Depot museum and the National City Historic Railcar Plaza. I saw more markers as I walked south down Marina Way, just west of Paradise Marsh.

Paradise Creek eventually empties into the Sweetwater River. I believe the sidewalk trail ends at Pepper Park, but I spotted no markers after I passed the Pier 32 Marina and the nearby entrance to the Bayshore Bikeway. Perhaps I wasn’t looking carefully enough.

Want to see more? Years ago I visited an overlook of Paradise Marsh and photographed some informative signs. I also got a little closer to nature by walking down a short dirt trail. You can revisit that old blog post by clicking here.

In the past I also blogged about the National City Depot museum and its cool old streetcars here, the National City Historic Railcar Plaza here, and the Le Bateau Ivre sculpture here.

After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
After I crossed Bay Marina Drive, I spotted an iconic El Camino Real bell near the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I'm now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
I’m now walking south down Marina Way, looking back at the National City Historic Railcar Plaza.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Old railroad tracks run along the west edge of Paradise Marsh.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Sunlight illuminates some natural beauty beside the sidewalk trail.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Looking back north along the Paradise Creek Trail, between Paradise Marsh and the National City Cement Terminal.
Here's another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
Here’s another marker for the Paradise Trail, which I spotted as I headed down Marina Way.
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
A banner on a street lamp says that in National City, Together We Can!
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
As I turned onto West 32nd Street, a big group of bicyclists rode onto the Bayshore Bikeway.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, at the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park. The National City Marine Terminal has many such platforms.
I spotted this high osprey nesting platform as I walked down Goesno Place, approaching Pepper Park.

Immediately to the west, right on San Diego Bay, the enormous imported car parking lot at the National City Marine Terminal has many of these platforms. I learned during a Port of San Diego harbor tour that ospreys provide effective pigeon control!

A sign describe ospreys, which can often be seen around San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
A sign describes ospreys, which can often be seen flying above San Diego Bay and our coastal estuaries.
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its nest!
Looks like an osprey has collected all sort of odd materials for its huge nest!

And now I’ve turned around, and I’m heading back north along the trail on Marina Way, just west of the marsh… Guess what I saw?

An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
An osprey flies high above Paradise Marsh on a beautiful late December day.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.
Looking past prickly pear at Paradise Marsh from the Paradise Creek Trail in National City.

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Under Wraps at the National City Marine Terminal!

A van wrapped with many colors stands at one corner of the National City Marine Terminal on San Diego Bay!
A van wrapped with many colors stands at one corner of the National City Marine Terminal on San Diego Bay!

You don’t see this every day!

Under Wraps is unusual public artwork that now stands at one corner of the National City Marine Terminal. It’s best seen by walking out onto the small Pepper Park fishing pier.

Under Wraps is a sculptural intervention on an old work van, which has been wrapped about with colorful nautical fiber. This unique artwork was created by Randy Walker, who also used nautical fiber in his “Sweet Contents” at San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. I recently blogged about that here.

The National City Marine Terminal in San Diego Bay is where up to 400,000 imported cars arrive by immense roll-on/roll-off car carrying ships every year. The 180-acre facility is operated by Pasha Automotive Services.

According to a sign on the pier, Under Wraps will be on view through February 2019. So if you plan to be in San Diego’s South Bay, go check it out while you have the chance!

Under Wraps, an artwork by Randy Walker, is best seen from the Pepper Park pier. A work van is wrapped in colorful nautical fiber at the National City Marine Terminal!
Under Wraps, an artwork by Randy Walker, is best seen from the Pepper Park pier. A work van is wrapped with colorful nautical fiber at the National City Marine Terminal!
Fishing from the Pepper Park pier near public artwork commissioned by the Port of San Diego.
Fishing from the Pepper Park pier near public artwork that was commissioned by the Port of San Diego.
A kid got super excited when these guys caught a mackerel from the pier!
A kid got super excited when these guys caught a mackerel from the pier!
Now that's something you don't see every day! Under Wraps is colorful public art that adds character to National City.
Now that’s something you don’t see every day! Under Wraps is colorful public art that adds a splash of character to the National City Marine Terminal.

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Peace and Arrows public art in National City.

Arrows, by Brenda and Flojo, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.
Arrows, by Brenda and Flojo, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.

Some very cool public art adds color to a sidewalk near the 24th Street trolley station in National City. You can find it at the east edge of the trolley station’s parking lot, next to Wilson Avenue.

Two small but colorful sculptures have been created by Youth Artists. One, titled Peace, is by Michelle. The other, titled Arrows, is by Brenda and Flojo.

I’ve done some searching on the internet and can find nothing about these public sculptures. I don’t recall seeing them during past visits to the South Bay, so I believe they are relatively new.

All I know for certain is that this artwork is really cool!

Peace, by Michelle, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.
Peace, by Michelle, public art near the 24th Street trolley station in National City.
Photo of two cool sculptures in National City. A lavender peace sign is framed by two red arrows!
Photo of two cool sculptures in National City. A lavender peace sign is framed by two red arrows!

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Photos from Port of San Diego’s harbor tour.

We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.
We pull away from the Embarcadero aboard the Admiral Hornblower, on a special harbor tour provided by the Port of San Diego.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a special boat tour of San Diego’s harbor. The free tour was created by the Port of San Diego for Maritime Month, which was actually May. (The earlier tours were so popular, an additional June date was added.) The main intention of these tours was to educate the public about the importance of San Diego Bay, and the waterfront’s many contribution’s to our local economy.

We set out on the Admiral Hornblower and checked out a number of fascinating facilities that are overseen by the Port of San Diego. The Port of San Diego manages San Diego Bay and a strip of surrounding waterfront land. Its five member cities are San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado.

According to their website “The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 20 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of hundreds of tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.”

Well, what exactly did we see and what did we learn?

I took a few notes, which I’ve placed in my photo captions. Let’s head out onto the water on an overcast day and see some fascinating sights!

Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Looking back toward the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. This facility can host special events or welcome cruise ships. Every visiting cruise ship adds 2 million dollars to the San Diego economy.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego's harbor.
Someone enjoys recreating on San Diego Bay as we pass Tuna Harbor. Tourism and commercial fishing rely on San Diego’s versatile harbor.
It's Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on the I Street Pier near Seaport Village. It's the place to go if you like fresh fish.
It’s Saturday morning, so the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market is open on Fish Harbor Pier near Seaport Village. It’s the place to go if you like fresh seafood.
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
Now we are approaching the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Most people associate it with those big yellow Dole ships that bring in about 185 million bananas and other fruit each month!
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal is to undergo modernization. Some transit sheds will be removed, to create more flexible laydown space.
These are windmill tower components.
These are windmill tower components.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This part of the facility is used for transferring cement between ship and shore.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
This 1,800-ton-per-hour bulk loader handles soda ash, bauxite and fertilizer exports.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Docked south of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, beside the Cesar Chavez Park pier, are the vessels of Pacific Tugboat Service.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards--Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Near the east end of the San Diego–Coronado Bridge is the first of three big shipyards–Continental Maritime of San Diego.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
Navy ships are undergoing repairs and modernization. The white plastic wrap prevents paint particles from entering the environment.
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
The next shipyard as we head south is BAE Systems. They also provide repair and modernization services. This huge ship in one of two dry docks is completely concealed!
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship--a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
This is a new type of stealth Navy ship–a guided missile Zumwalt-class destroyer. DDG-1000 is the first of its class. Its radar image is similar to that of a fishing boat.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Another vessel is being worked on at the BAE Systems San Diego shipyard. You can see floating oil spill containment booms in many of these photos.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. Ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
Finally we are nearing the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. New ships are built here. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast.
It's an overcast "June Gloom" late morning on San Diego Bay.
It’s an overcast “June Gloom” late morning on San Diego Bay.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
As we continue into the South Bay, we see a large ship is being moved away from the shore by tugboat.
It's the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
It’s the Palmetto State, a fuel-efficient ECO Class tanker that was built at the NASSCO shipyard.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego--what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.
Now we are beginning to pass Naval Base San Diego–what some refer to as 32nd Street Naval Station. It is the principal homeport of the U. S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
This is the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
San Diego is home to these three Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge--where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The unusual white vessel is a barracks barge–where a crew lives while their Navy ship is undergoing major repairs.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy's Retention Excellence Award.
The USS Makin Island (LHD 8) returned from deployment recently. The gold anchors indicate this ship has earned the Navy’s Retention Excellence Award.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
Now we are past the Naval base and approaching the National City Marine Terminal.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
I see lots of cars. If you own an automobile imported from Japan or South Korea, there a good chance it arrived here.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Vehicles of all type arrive here by huge roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships, including trucks and tractors.
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from stuff like seagull poop!
Longshoremen drive hundreds of new vehicles off the ships. Warehouses nearby are used to install accessories. White wraps on cars protect them from dirty stuff like seagull poop! Some ospreys have nests atop those high lampposts.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They're headed to San Diego salvage yards.
These totaled cars arrived from Hawaii! They’re headed to San Diego salvage yards.
Half of the new cars are then sent to their destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains--120 cars long!
Half of the new cars are sent to their final destination by train, the other half by truck. This facility accommodates super long freight trains–120 cars long!
We've turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
We’ve turned about and have headed back to the North Embarcadero. Before we dock, we check out a superyacht temporarily moored in the middle of San Diego Bay.
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!
This is the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis R. Washington, 76th wealthiest person in the United States! The Port of San Diego accommodates all sorts of ships!

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Two cool sculptures at a National City marina!

This old rusty steel skeleton of a ship is actually one of two cool sculptures near the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
This old rusty steel skeleton of a ship is actually one of two cool sculptures near the Pier 32 Marina in National City.

Check out these two very cool sculptures! I spotted them as I walked from a National City trolley station to Pepper Park yesterday, on my way to the big International Mariachi Festival.

Both of these sculptures are located at the Pier 32 Marina. And both are a lot of fun!

This huge metal sculpture by the marina flags is called Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, 2008.
This huge metal sculpture by the marina flags is called Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, 2008.
Close look at a work of very cool nautical art!
More detailed photo of this work of awesome nautical art! Looks like a ghost ship!
The second sculpture, just down a pathway, is School of Blue Bottle Noses, by artist David Boyer, 2008. It was part of an Urban Trees exhibition on San Diego's Embarcadero.
The second sculpture, just down a pathway, is School of Blue Bottle Noses, by artist David Boyer, 2008. It was part of an Urban Trees exhibition on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Those blue Bottlenoses are actually bottles! Like a pod of turning dolphins, they shift direction in the wind!
Those blue Bottlenoses are actually bottles! Like a pod of turning dolphins, they shift direction in the wind!

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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Dance, music, fun at International Mariachi Festival!

People watch the 5th Annual International Mariachi Festival in National City's Pepper Park.
People watch the 5th Annual International Mariachi Festival in National City’s Pepper Park.

I took a bunch of colorful photos today at one of San Diego’s most wonderful festivals! The 5th Annual International Mariachi Festival was held today at Pepper Park in National City. (Actually, as I post this blog, the event still has about an hour to go.)

So what does one see at a Mariachi Festival? Read the captions!

The first performance featured the colorful Azteca Dancers - Danza Mexi'cayotl.
The first performance featured the colorful Azteca Dancers – Danza Mexi’cayotl.
The Azteca Dancers file onto the stage to the beat of drums.
The Azteca Dancers file onto the stage to the beat of drums.
The audience watches the dancers perform on the Main Stage of the National City International Mariachi Festival.
The audience watches the dancers perform on the Main Stage of the National City International Mariachi Festival.
Dancers of all ages participate in several ancient Aztec dances, including a Rain Dance.
Dancers of all ages participate in several ancient Aztec dances, including a Rain Dance.
Energy and joy are expressed as cultural traditions live on.
Energy and joy are expressed as cultural traditions live on.
The first of many wonderful performances at the Mariachi Festival!
The first of many wonderful performances at the Mariachi Festival!
Now here comes Danza Folklorica Las Florecitas!
Now here comes Danza Folklorica Las Florecitas!
Another amazing dance begins!
Another amazing dance begins!
Smiles and brightly colorful dresses are both big parts of Mexican culture.
Smiles and brightly colorful dresses are both big parts of Mexican culture.
Dizzily spinning color and pure joy.
Dizzily spinning color and pure joy.
Life as it should be.
Life as it should be.
The happy, rhythmic music had lots of people in the audience clapping along.
The happy, rhythmic music had lots of people in the audience clapping along.
Here come some youthful musicians! I believe these are Mariachi Maya de Southwest Middle School.
Here come some youthful musicians! I believe this is Mariachi Maya de Southwest Middle School. You wouldn’t believe the lung power and vocal range of that gifted young singer!
Watching from the side of the Main Stage.
Watching from the side of the Main Stage.
Meanwhile lots of other fun stuff was going on at the festival, including this guy creating cool spray paint art.
Meanwhile lots of other fun stuff was going on at the festival, including this guy creating cool spray paint art.
Vendors had all sorts of stuff for sale, including colorful Mexican dresses and fun lucha libre masks.
Vendors had all sorts of stuff for sale, including colorful Mexican dresses and fierce lucha libre masks.
Speaking of lucha libre, there was some of that as well. (The blindfolded guy somehow won!)
Speaking of lucha libre, there was some of that as well. (The blindfolded guy somehow won!)
Wrestlers entertain a small crowd at the International Mariachi Festival.
Wrestlers entertain a small crowd at the International Mariachi Festival.
My favorite photo of the family event!
My favorite photo of the family event!
And the event this year was very big! People kept arriving right into the afternoon.
And the event this year was very big! More people kept on arriving right into the afternoon.
The excellent entertainment continued non-stop at the Main Stage.
The excellent entertainment continued non-stop at the Main Stage.
Many great mariachi groups would perform from around San Diego, Southern California and Mexico.
Many great mariachi groups would perform from around San Diego, Southern California and Mexico. Many middle school and high school groups participated.
At the opposite end of Pepper Park, on the Port Stage, kids of all ages performed.
At the opposite end of Pepper Park, on the Port Stage, kids of all ages performed.
On the grass off to the side of the Port Stage a bunch of young performers awaited their turn in the spotlight.
On the grass off to the side of the Port Stage a bunch of young performers awaited their turn in the spotlight.
Now I'm back at the Main Stage one last time. The crowd has grown!
Now I’m back at the Main Stage one last time. The crowd has grown!
Rousing, emotional, much-loved mariachi music brought loud applause throughout the event.
Rousing, emotional, much-loved mariachi music brought loud applause throughout the event.
This young man sang several songs, and finished with an exciting mariachi version of Sinatra's New York, New York!
This young man sang several songs, and finished with an exciting mariachi version of Sinatra’s New York, New York!
Here come some young couples dancing! I'm not sure who these performers are.
Here come some young couples dancing! I’m not sure who these performers are.
A dance filled with life.
A dance filled with life.
Youthful energy at the Mariachi Festival in National City.
Youthful energy at the Mariachi Festival in National City.
And now--I believe--Danza Folklorico Nanahuatzin.
And now–I believe–Danza Folklorico Nanahuatzin.
Colorful skirts whirling like kaleidoscopes.
Colorful skirts whirling like kaleidoscopes.
A traditional Mexican folk dance delighting both eyes and ears.
A traditional Mexican folk dance delighting both eyes and ears.
Pure joy.
Pure joy.
Many wonderful performances could be enjoyed at the 5th Annual International Mariachi Festival!
Many wonderful performances could be enjoyed at the 5th Annual International Mariachi Festival!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.