Orchids in the Park returns to San Diego!

The San Diego County Orchid Society is hosting their summer Orchids in the Park show and sale in Balboa Park this weekend!

I was drawn to Room 101 in the Casa del Prado once I saw a sign pointing to the popular free event.

The show’s many tables were overflowing with orchids in many shapes, sizes and colors. Every flower was like a perfect jewel.

I found so many examples of nature’s beauty (tended by the caring hands of society members), that I had to capture a little bit of it with my camera…

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!

Bones, stones, and ancient history in San Diego.

Did you know humans might have been living in your neighborhood 130,000 years ago?

I was visiting the San Diego Natural History Museum when my eyes fell upon an interesting display concerning the Cerutti Mastodon site.

Thirty years ago, during the expansion of State Route 54 in the South Bay, a team of researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum discovered mastodon bones among cobbles. The bones appeared to have been intentionally broken. It was believed the stones, which had impact marks, had been used by humans to fracture the mastodon bones to extract marrow.

Using radiometric dating, the bones were found to be about 130,000 years old. If, indeed, early humans had worked these bones, that would mean humans were in North America about 100,000 years earlier than previously thought!

Many experts asserted the bones were broken due to the heavy machinery used for freeway construction. Two years ago, however, more evidence was obtained. Bone micro-residues were observed on the cobbles, which seems to confirm that ancient inhabitants of San Diego did indeed hammer at fresh, tasty mastodon bones!

If all of this excites your curiosity, the Wikipedia article concerning San Diego’s scientifically important Cerutti Mastodon site can be found here.

And here’s a detailed article about the discovery written in 2017.

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!

Natural beauty and art at the Bromeliad Show!

Did you know pineapples are bromeliads?

I had no idea until I checked out the Bromeliad Plant Show and Sale in Balboa Park today. It was the second day of a weekend event held at the Casa del Prado.

A friendly gentleman answered all sorts of odd questions that popped into my mind concerning bromeliads. They’re distinguished from other similar-appearing plant types primarily by their flowers. Many bromeliads are found naturally at higher elevations and are pollinated by hummingbirds, that tolerate colder temperatures than bees. And . . . and . . . I already forgot half of what I was told!

I did notice some tiny, beautiful purplish flowers, and all sorts of fun artwork and crafts at several tables.

The San Diego Bromeliad Society, who hosted the show, has many enthusiastic members. Perhaps you’d like to join!

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!

Become a citizen scientist in San Diego!

Would you like to make contributions to science? But you’re not a trained scientist?

You can easily become a citizen scientist!

Opportunities are available for ordinary people who’d like to use their passion or particular talents to help broaden our understanding of the natural world.

I discovered several great ideas while visiting the San Diego Natural History Museum recently. Signs spotted around the exhibition Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science provide details.

Most of the following ideas apply not just to San Diego residents, but to anyone anywhere. Here they are:

Become a member of iNaturalist and post photographs you’ve taken of living things in nature. Scientists will identify what you recorded. Nature lovers around the world can discuss your observations. You’ll contribute to our shared understanding of biodiversity. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count or Great Backyard Bird Count. Critically important data collected during these events is used by scientists to study bird populations across the country. To learn more click here.

Participate in the Celebrate Urban Birds project. Spend ten minutes helping scientists understand how common birds are doing in urban settings. More than a quarter of a million ordinary people have already made observations! To learn more click here. (Balboa Park’s own WorldBeat Center has participated in this project. Read about that here!)

Become a summer camper at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Over the years, people walking around Balboa Park have observed green anole lizards, which aren’t native to San Diego. It was determined by the museum’s young summer campers that the green anoles were the descendants of escapees. These lizards had once been used as food for other animals at the San Diego Zoo! To learn more about attending summer camp at theNAT, click here. (Scholarships are available!)

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 make silly critters at Natural History Museum!

Kids always have lots of fun at the San Diego Natural History Museum! They can check out cool dinosaurs and even living animals. And they can make silly critters out of recycled materials!

The creative activity takes place inside the NAT’s Nature Lab, which is open on Saturdays from 10 to 2. The Nature Lab also hosts school children during field trips to the museum and Balboa Park. It has a natural history library, too!

Have you ever poked your nose into this cool Nature Lab, which is located on the first level of the museum? I did last Saturday!

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!

Giant lizards escape from Natural History Museum?

Did these two giant Flat-tailed Horned Lizards escape from the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park? At first glance, one might think so!

On second glance, it’s apparent this great chalk art, below the steps of the Natural History Museum’s south entrance, is a rather realistic depiction of Phrynosoma mcallii, and is super cool!

I learned that this artwork was created several weeks ago during the big EarthFair event in the park. It has survived quite well so far!

The two immense reptiles, which I spotted by chance today, were the production of @sidewalk_chalk_dad. I’ve seen his great chalk art in Balboa Park during other past events.

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!

Kumeyaay words for native animals, plants.

The rich culture of our region’s Native American Kumeyaay is honored at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Near the corner of Juan Street and Taylor Street, the beautiful Iipay ~ Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok Land of the First People outdoor interpretive area teaches interested visitors a little of the Kumeyaay language. Kumeyaay words for many native animals and plants can be read along the edge of walkways.

During my last visit, I photographed many of the engraved artworks representing wild mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, cacti and trees, and the corresponding Kumeyaay and Spanish words.

If you want to see more of the surrounding area, the Land of the First People opened last year, and soon thereafter I took these photographs.

Incidentally, today there will be a special event held in this corner of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Earth Day will be celebrated! So if you read this in time, and you’re in the area, you might want to come on by!

Milyaapan. Mexican free-tailed bat.
Sha-ii. Turkey vulture.
Meshalyaap. Monarch butterfly.
‘Aahmaa. California quail.
‘Ensnyaaw. Coast live oak.
‘Aashaa kwilaaw. Northern mockingbird.
Hatepull. Nuttall’s woodpecker.
Kekhuu. Northern flicker.
Hallyewii. Alligator lizard.
Iihay halakwal. Salamander.
‘Emallk. Big-eared woodrat.
Perhaaw. Gray fox.
Kwak. Mule deer.
Nyemtaay. Mountain lion.
E’mull. Shaw’s agave.
Ehmaall. Ground squirrel.
‘Ewii. Southern Pacific rattlesnake.
Waipuk. California kingsnake.
Kusii. Jimsonweed.
Hattepaa. Coyote.
Hampachoka Huumpaashuuk. Anna’s hummingbird.
‘Ehpaa. Coast prickly pear.
Ashaa hahpaa. Cactus wren.
Ku’uun. Red-tailed hawk.
Hachehwach. Hooded oriole.
Kupally. Blue elderberry.
Nyemii. Bobcat.
Llyexwiiw. Striped skunk.
Para ak hepeshu. Great blue heron.
Hantak. Treefrog.
Ashaa milshlap. Mallard.

UPDATE!

I took photographs of more words during a later visit…

Hantak sa-ai. California toad.
‘Ehnaally. Western pond turtle.
Mashhaatiit. Dragonfly.
E’pilly. Southern cattail.
Meshalyaap heyull. Western tiger swallowtail.
Para ak nemeshap. Great egret.
Chi ariar tenurr estik. California killifish.
‘U’uu. Great horned owl.
Nemas. Raccoon.
Miskenan. Stink beetle.
Kellyemuy. Bumble bee.
Hiiwaat. Deergrass.
‘Eshpaa ewall nemeshap. Bald eagle.
Kilyaahwii. Mourning dove.
Tellypuu. Greater roadrunner.
Meniish. Scorpion.
‘Aanall. Honey mesquite.
‘Eshpaa. Golden eagle.
Kunyaaw. Black-tailed jackrabbit.
Menniih. Tarantula.
Muu. Bighorn sheep.

The following are animals that are extinct or no longer found in the area around San Diego…

Sha-ii guatay. California condor.
Nyemii guatay yow kwakulsh. Sabertoothed cat.
Nemuuly. Grizzly bear.
Kwa nyilly. Pronghorn.

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 park designed for healing in La Mesa.

Briercrest Park in La Mesa was designed for healing.

The tranquil, beautiful park is located adjacent to the Herrick Community Health Library, and near many medical office buildings in La Mesa, not to mention Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Briercrest Park, at 9001 Wakarusa Street, was purposely designed to be wheelchair friendly. Paths winding beneath shady sycamores and oaks lead to benches that accommodate those in wheelchairs. A special stone alcove, which you can see in my photographs, was specially constructed for this purpose.

It has been demonstrated that being outside in nature promotes healing. I know that, for me, fresh air and sunshine produces a greater sense of well-being.

Nature was an important element in the design of this park. There are flowers, gentle bridges over still water, and ample opportunity for easy exploration or quiet meditation. There is also stunning public artwork at every turn.

A mosaic butterfly at one entrance symbolizes transformation and renewal. It’s placement on the pathway was intentional. The butterfly along with other park mosaics (including a gorgeous labyrinth) were designed by renowned artist James Hubbell, along with his award-winning architect son, Drew.

I learned all of this today as I toured the park during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event. My next blog post will detail what I learned about the amazing mosaics, plus other unique aspects of Briercrest Park.

If I lived nearby, I would walk through this park often. To help soothe my small day-to-day hurts. To feel whole.

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!

Join the San Diego River March in Mission Valley!

A beautiful morning photo of the San Diego River taken from Mission Center Road. This spot often floods and traffic must be diverted.

Would you like to help clean up the San Diego River? There’s a volunteer event coming up that might interest you!

I was in Mission Valley this morning when I saw a poster promoting the First Annual San Diego River March. This coffee, walk and cleanup is being put on by the Ecological Servants Project, a newly formed organization based in El Cajon.

The founder of the Ecological Servants Project writes in a newsletter how his difficult life was transformed, in part by an encounter with nature’s boundless beauty. He came to understand that life itself is beautiful.

I do know the San Diego River could use many helping hands.

The date for the volunteer cleanup is Friday, March 18, 2022.

You can find all of the details at their 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!

Cherry blossoms, like a dream, in Balboa Park!

It’s late February. Many cherry blossoms have already opened in Balboa Park’s beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden!

I walked in the Lower Garden today. I moved slowly down the path that wanders through the grove of Japanese cherry trees, and it was like a dream.

Many souls were wandering among the new blossoms, drinking in nature’s beauty.

JFG’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival is just a couple weekends away, from March 11th to 13th.

Spring with its promise of renewal must be approaching!

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!