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!

Friday morning at SDCC Causeplayer Community Shrine!

The San Diego Causeplayer Community Shrine is kicking off in the Gaslamp Quarter by the Tin Fish restaurant this morning. What was referred to in 2020 as the Comic-Con Shrine has grown for 2021 into a full-fledged event!

Today through the weekend, the Causeplayer Community Shrine will feature chalk art, cosplay (including afternoon parades up Fifth Avenue), 91X FM dance parties, and, most importantly, a big blood drive by the San Diego Blood Bank! Everyone is invited to swing by and add their own words and Comic-Con memories to the shrine, this second year that San Diego Comic-Con was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I captured these photos this morning as I walked by the shrine!

The SDCC Causeplayer Community Shrine has many memories from past San Diego Comic-Cons.
It’s Dude Vader and Lightning McQueen!
Dude Vader chalk art.
I met my girlfriend at SDCC.
Look at all the Funkos!
Free Funko for every blood donor!
Thor holds up her hammer at the 2021 Causeplayer Community Shrine!

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!

The new International Cottages in Balboa Park are completed!

The brand new International Cottages in Balboa Park are finally finished! The construction site fences are down and the House of Peru is already moving in!

Late today I walked though the two new sections of the now expanded House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five structures have been built for nine nations or cultural units. As you can see from my photographs, the new cottages are beautiful!

Two new structures on the northeast side of the International Cottages will showcase Mexico, Panama and the Philippines; three structures on the southwest side will showcase Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

After years and years of bureaucratic delays and financial struggle, this truly historic project is complete!

I peered through many new cottage windows as I walked around and saw mostly vacant space. But the House of Peru has begun to move in and they’ll have a “soft opening” for the public beginning tomorrow!

If you’d like to see photos of the big festive groundbreaking event almost five years ago, click 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!

Evening music during summer in Balboa Park.

This evening, about an hour before sunset, after the daytime crowd had greatly thinned, I walked through Balboa Park.

In the Plaza de Panama some guys were producing beautiful music. The group is called the Sunshine Brass Quintet. I’ve seen them other days playing in the plaza.

When I finally walked past the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was excited to see the Twilight in Balboa Park concerts are returning for 2021!

The evening concerts will take place Tuesdays through Thursdays during the month of August. They start at 6:30 pm in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Performers include Marine Band San Diego, Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista, the Coronado Concert Band, and many others! Check out the photo I took of the sign below, or visit the concerts page here.

Here are a few more photos of the Sunshine Brass Quintet this evening in the Plaza de Panama…

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!

Hundreds of new trees planted in Balboa Park.

I was walking through Balboa Park on Sunday, making my way toward Park Boulevard, when I noticed a newly planted tree with a shiny plaque beside it.

I veered across the grass to investigate…

The plaque states:

TREE BALBOA PARK

This tree and hundreds of others have been planted throughout the park by the Balboa Park Conservancy, Urban Corps, Tree San Diego, and Parks & Recreation.

Funding for this California Climate Investments grant project has been provided through the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), Urban and Community Forestry program.

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!

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!

Lowriders gather for Chicano Park Vive!

Chicano Park Vive! is a series of festive events taking place this summer in Barrio Logan. Families and neighbors gather in Chicano Park for entertainment, cultural enrichment, food and fun. The community events promote “Healing, Educating and Leading.”

Today the theme was lowriders!

I arrived in the early afternoon and was wowed by all the cool vehicles displayed by several lowrider clubs. Dozens of amazing lowriders lined the street, well beyond Chicano Park.

Another simultaneous event, called the Viva La Frida celebration, was taking place along Logan Avenue, making the entire area feel like one huge party!

Chicano Park Vive! is brought to the community by the Turning Wheel Project, the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, the Chicano Park Steering Committee, and The San Diego Foundation.

I noticed the Turning Wheel Project was featuring their mobile classroom, which I visited a couple years ago in Chula Vista. You can see what I discovered back then by clicking here!

Today I learned that the Director of The Turning Wheel Project, Alberto López Pulido, PhD, Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of San Diego, wrote a book concerning our city’s lowriders! It’s titled San Diego Lowriders: A History of Cars and Cruising. You can find that book here!

I was told by the professor himself that next Sunday about a hundred dancers will be performing at Chicano Park Vive! The theme will be danza. You can bet I’ll be there!

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!

The many colors of Music en la Calle!

Yesterday I headed to City Heights to enjoy a good chunk of the Music en la Calle cultural festival. It was held at the new Fern Street Circus tent, which is set up outdoors at University Avenue and 41st Street.

The colorful event featured a wide variety of music, dance, and even a fun circus performance! Plus tasty food, games and activities for kids!

Like everybody else in the audience, I was wowed by the exceptionally high quality of entertainment. A big thank you is due to Bodhi Tree Concerts, who put on this free show for the City Heights community.

Perhaps you’ve seen the annual “ALL IS CALM: The Christmas Truce of 1914” opera during the holidays in San Diego. That is their production. According to their website, Bodhi Tree Concerts celebrates diversity and inclusion and performs intentional acts of kindness through music.

If you’d like to help them spread joy, visit their donation page here!

Here’s a taste of what I experienced at Music en la Calle.

(A little while ago I also posted photos of the Paloma Flamenco dancers and Naruwan Taiko drummers here and 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!

Maritime Museum’s new exhibit of historical photos!

If you haven’t been to the Maritime Museum of San Diego for a long time, this summer would be a good time to go.

Now that most of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted, the museum is fully open. Fantastic exhibits are plentiful. And a completely new exhibit of historical photographs awaits your eyes inside the Gould Eddy Gallery!

This special exhibition is of The Nancy Dubois Collection of Historic Maritime Photographs. According to one sign: “In 2017 Nancy generously donated some 200 historic and artistic photographs of ships, boats, port scenes, harbors and coastline to the Maritime Museum of San Diego…” Featured are a good many of these vintage photos, which were taken all around the world, many over a century ago.

A few of the photographs have no record of what they depict, and visitors are asked to help the museum curator identify the locale!

If you’re world traveler, a history buff, love photography or have an interest in all things nautical, you really should feast your eyes on this extraordinary exhibit. Then check out the rest of the museum and its collection of world-famous ships!

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!