Beautiful new ocean mural at PB Water Store.

In October many artists came together in Pacific Beach to paint a beautiful new mural on the long north wall of the PB Water Store. The large mural depicts life under the ocean’s surface.

Images include a jellyfish, a mysterious underwater siren, a seahorse beside delicate coral, a grumpy-looking turtle, many hammerhead sharks, several colorful fish, an oyster with pearl, and a couple of crabs. According to names I observed on the wall, the artists involved in this amazing project included Beth Emmerich, Gloria Muriel, Diana DeAugustine, Erin Yoshi, Kara “KJ” Ashley and Justin Pelletier.

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Sea life mosaics at Solana Beach bus station!

Small sea creatures made of ceramic swim about a tile mosaic bench at a bus station in Solana Beach.
Small sea creatures made of ceramic swim about a tile mosaic bench at a bus station in Solana Beach.

Check out these colorful benches at a Solana Beach bus station on Pacific Coast Highway!

Passengers waiting for a North County Transit BREEZE bus at this station are surrounded by all sorts of sea creatures in the form of ceramic tiles. You can find the public art just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive, on the west side of the Solana Beach train station. Bicyclists heading down Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail can also pause to enjoy the artwork.

The fun mosaics, decorating 11 concrete benches, were created by artist Michelle Griffoul.

Here are photos from several benches that you might enjoy!

Two of eleven concrete benches decorated with images of marine life on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive.
Two of eleven concrete benches decorated with images of marine life on Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Lomas Santa Fe Drive.
A colorful fish, shell and seahorse among small blue tiles.
A colorful fish, shell and seahorse among small blue tiles.
Sit here and you can ride a dolphin that is swimming among abundant sea life.
Sit here and you can ride a dolphin that is swimming among abundant sea life.
More fun public artwork at a Solana Beach bus station.
More fun public artwork at a Solana Beach bus station.
Butterflies! It appears that not all of the images concern aquatic life.
Butterflies! It appears that not all of the images concern aquatic life.
More fish in their watery element.
More fish in their watery element.
More beautiful artwork at the bus station.
More beautiful artwork at the bus station.
A bike rider rolls past public art. This station is part of the Coastal Rail Trail in San Diego's North County.
A bike rider rolls past public art. This station is part of the Coastal Rail Trail in San Diego’s North County.
So much sea life it seems we're somewhere out in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
So much sea life it seems we’re somewhere out in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
A small school of beautiful fish swimming in blue tiles.
A small school of beautiful fish swimming in blue tiles.
Enjoy The Path.
Enjoy The Path.
The sun is shining atop this bench.
The sun is shining atop this bench.
I've spotted a whale!
I’ve spotted a whale!

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

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Visit a world-class map museum in La Jolla!

World Map (Ptolemy), Johann Schnitzer, 1482 or 1486.
World Map (Ptolemy), Johann Schnitzer, 1482 or 1486.

I was surprised to learn recently that a world-class map museum is located in San Diego. The Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla is considered to be one of the best dedicated map museums in the entire world!

Out of curiosity, I swung by the small museum yesterday and lingered for at least an hour. I could have spent the entire day looking at the amazing collection of historical maps that fill several themed galleries.

Many of the rare maps are antique, dating from centuries ago when the world’s outlines were unknown, and sea monsters inhabited the watery margins. Every map in the collection is original and authentic, including the first map ever printed!

As I stepped through the door I was greeted by Richard, the friendly director of the museum. I learned that this free museum was founded by Michael Stone, a local businessman and collector with a love for maps. In his youth he collected baseball cards, stamps and coins, before maps and cartography became his passion. At any given time, about ten percent of his vast collection is on display. I was told that Michael is one of the top half dozen map collectors in the world.

There are antique maps showing Earth as the center of Creation, maps from the Age of Exploration, maps from the Revolutionary War, Victorian maps, tourist maps, even maps showing early San Diego. There’s a woodcut map that was created by Benjamin Franklin! There are artistic maps, humorous maps, playing card maps, practically every variety of map or atlas ever conceived by the human mind. There are also historical instruments used by the old explorers and map makers.

For history lovers, the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla is a jaw-dropping delight! Visitors might feel they’ve stepped into the vaults of the Smithsonian or National Archives. The collection is that extraordinary!

Richard wandered about the museum during my visit, greeting people and providing tidbits of fascinating information. He informed me many students come by the museum, where they can study history, cartography, design and art.

The museum contains such an abundance of cool stuff, I don’t know where to possibly begin. To provide an idea of what you will see, I offer a sampling of photos. I’ve roughly arranged these maps in chronological order. Read the captions!

In my opinion, this little-known attraction in San Diego is an absolute must see! You can find it in the lower courtyard level of the office building at 7825 Fay Avenue in La Jolla. Check out their website for hours and more info, including special exhibitions.

Visitors look at an amazing collection of historic maps at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla.
Visitors look at an amazing collection of historic maps at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla.
I was shown the museum's work room, containing a library containing many books that the public can access. A variety of projects like the scanning of historic documents is also done here.
I was shown the museum’s work room, containing a library of books that the public can access. A variety of museum projects like the scanning of maps and historical documents is also done here.

The following is a tiny sample of the many original, rare maps you’ll see when you visit the museum:

The world's first printed map of a certain date, 1472. This woodcut T-O shaped world map is from Isidorus Hispalensis (Isidore of Seville).
The world’s first printed map of a certain date, 1472. This woodcut T-O shaped world map is from Isidorus Hispalensis (Isidore of Seville).
World Map, anonymous, 1491. This map was often hung in medieval monasteries or palaces. It first appeared in the Rudimentum Novitiorum of 1475.
World Map, anonymous, 1491. This map was often hung in medieval monasteries or palaces. It first appeared in the Rudimentum Novitiorum of 1475.
World Map (Ptolemy), Martin Waldseemuller, 1513. Even after the discovery of America, Ptolemaic maps devoid of a Western Hemisphere were still printed.
World Map (Ptolemy), Martin Waldseemuller, 1513. Even after the discovery of America, Ptolemaic maps devoid of a Western Hemisphere were still printed.
North Atlantic, Jacob Ziegler, 1532. Information for this map was obtained from two Archbishops in Rome. Newfoundland is Terra Bacallaos, or land of codfish.
North Atlantic, Jacob Ziegler, 1532. Information for this map was obtained from two Archbishops in Rome. Newfoundland is Terra Bacallaos, or land of codfish.
America, Sebastian Munster, Basle, 1540. This depiction of North America came from reports by explorer Giovanni da Verrazano.
America, Sebastian Munster, Basle, 1540. This depiction of North America came from reports by explorer Giovanni da Verrazano.
Eastern North America, Girolamo Ruscelli, 1561. Little was known about the inland geography.
Eastern North America, Girolamo Ruscelli, 1561. Little was known about the inland geography.
North America, Paolo Forlani, 1565. A map that shows America and Asia separated with a strait.
North America, Paolo Forlani, 1565. A map that shows America and Asia separated with a strait.
China, Japan and Korea, Jodocus Hondius, 1606. Copperplate engraving from the Mercator Atlas.
China, Japan and Korea, Jodocus Hondius, 1606. Copperplate engraving from the Mercator Atlas.
View of Macao, Theodore de Bry, 1607. A stylized map, the first published image of Macao.
View of Macao, Theodore de Bry, 1607. A stylized map, the first published image of Macao.
The Low Countries in the Form of a Lion, Petrus Kaerius, 1617. A map of the Netherlands and Belgium.
The Low Countries in the Form of a Lion, Petrus Kaerius, 1617. A map of the Netherlands and Belgium.
Northeast North America, Jan Jansson and Nicholas Visscher, 1655.
Northeast North America, Jan Jansson and Nicholas Visscher, 1655.
Second Hemisphere with the Christianized firmament, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The twelve apostles supplanted the old zodiacal constellations in this map.
Second Hemisphere with the Christianized firmament, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The twelve apostles supplanted the old zodiacal constellations in this map.
The Sizes of the Celestial Bodies, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The heavenly bodies compared with Earth, according to Ptolemy.
The Sizes of the Celestial Bodies, Andreas Cellarius, 1660. The heavenly bodies compared with Earth, according to Ptolemy.
English colonies, Richard Daniel, ca. 1679. The first printed map of the colonies depicting roads.
English colonies, Richard Daniel, ca. 1679. The first printed map of the colonies depicting roads.
California on early maps was depicted as an island.
California on early maps was depicted as an island.
Southern and Southeast Asia, Frederick de Wit, ca. 1680. A standard Dutch published map.
Southern and Southeast Asia, Frederick de Wit, ca. 1680. A standard Dutch published map.
Eastern North America, Hermann Moll, 1715. Beautiful illustration on what is commonly called the beaver map, which was copied from an earlier 1698 map by Nicolas de Fer.
Eastern North America, Hermann Moll, 1715. Beautiful illustration on what is commonly called the beaver map, which was copied from an earlier 1698 map by Nicolas de Fer.
Nova Orbis Terraquei Tabula Accuratissime Delineata, Pieter Van Der Aa, 1713. I love the extensive Latin name given to this highly ornate copper-plate engraving Dutch map!
Nova Orbis Terraquei Tabula Accuratissime Delineata, Pieter Van Der Aa, 1713. I love the extensive Latin name given to this highly ornate copper-plate engraving Dutch map!
A display case at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla includes geographic playing cards from the early 18th century.
A display case at the Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla includes geographic playing cards from the early 18th century.
Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Benjamin Franklin, 1733. Franklin likely cut the woodblock himself. The map shows the newly delineated boundaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Benjamin Franklin, 1733. Franklin likely cut the woodblock himself. The map shows the newly delineated boundaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Battle of Long Island, Samuel Holland, 1776. A section of a map that shows the plan of the first major battle in the American Revolution.
Battle of Long Island, Samuel Holland, 1776. A section of a map that shows the plan of the first major battle in the American Revolution.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, William Faden, 1777. Plan of the Operations of General Washington, against the King's Troops in New Jersey.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, William Faden, 1777. Plan of the Operations of General Washington, against the King’s Troops in New Jersey.
Philadelphia, William Faden, 1777. Lower half of the map includes copy of the earliest known printed image of Independence Hall.
Philadelphia, William Faden, 1777. Lower half of the map includes copy of the earliest known printed image of Independence Hall.
The Wonderground Map of London Town, MacDonald Gill, 1915. This small section shows some of the delightful retail map's humor.
The Wonderground Map of London Town, MacDonald Gill, 1915. This small section shows some of the delightful retail map’s humor.
Mission Beach, San Diego, 1915. Map of the projected development of Mission Beach.
Mission Beach, San Diego, 1915. Map of the projected development of Mission Beach.
San Diego, Joseph Jacinto Mora, 1928. Corner of a map containing historic illustrations and important places, like the pictured Union Station (now Santa Fe Depot), Horton House (where the U.S. Grant Hotel stands today), Army and Navy YMCA, and Casa de Estudillo in Old Town, which was then called Ramona's Marriage Place.
San Diego, Joseph Jacinto Mora, 1928. Corner of a map containing illustrations of local history and important places, like the pictured Union Station (now Santa Fe Depot), Horton House (where the U.S. Grant Hotel stands today), Army and Navy YMCA, and Casa de Estudillo in Old Town, which was then called Ramona’s Marriage Place.
Another section of the same map showing areas around San Diego Bay including downtown, National CIty, Coronado and Point Loma.
Another section of the same map showing areas around San Diego Bay including downtown, National City, Coronado and Point Loma.
A Map of Ceylon showing her Tea and Other Industries, MacDonald Gill, ca. 1934.
A Map of Ceylon showing her Tea and Other Industries, MacDonald Gill, ca. 1934.
Mail Steamship Routes, MacDonald Gill, 1937.
Mail Steamship Routes, MacDonald Gill, 1937.
The Time and Tide Map of the United Nations, MacDonald Gill, 1948.
The Time and Tide Map of the United Nations, MacDonald Gill, 1948.
Southern California, Roads To Romance, a tourist map ca. 1958.
Southern California, Roads To Romance, a tourist map ca. 1958.
Thomas Jeffery's brass theodolite, part of the museum's collection. Jeffery was geographer to King George III. The antique theodolite is pictured in the book The Cartographical Collection of Michael R. Stone.
Thomas Jefferys’ brass theodolite, part of the museum’s collection. Jefferys was geographer to King George III. The antique theodolite is pictured in the extraordinary book The Cartographical Collection of Michael R. Stone.
The Location of the Earth, Encircled by the Celestial Circles, Andreas Cellarius, 1660.
The Location of the Earth, Encircled by the Celestial Circles, Andreas Cellarius, 1660.

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Cool environmental mural on Commercial Street.

Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.
Cool artwork painted by Dolan Stearns for the PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project in 2016 depicts the harmful presence of non-biodegradable plastic trash in the oceans.

I got off the Orange Line trolley the other day to capture photos of some cool street art on Commercial Street just east of 20th Street.

Like many other PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans artwork that one can spot around San Diego, this one has an environmental message about taking care of the ocean. The mural, which illustrates the harmful effects of plastic pollution on marine life, was painted in 2016 by Dolan Stearns.

The left side of the mural shows an ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The left side of the mural shows a big, ugly yellow head spewing pollution into the water.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The right side of the mural features a large pink whale.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic junk.
The three-eyed whale has a mouthful of plastic bags, bottles, cups and junk.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting trash into the blue ocean.
The yellow human head, topped by city buildings and a smokestack, vomits disgusting waste into the blue ocean.

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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Natural beauty at the West Coast Shell Show!

Colorful snail shells on display at the West Coast Shell Show.
Colorful snail shells on display at the West Coast Shell Show.

On Sunday I peered into Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado and discovered a surprising exhibition open free to the public. It was the San Diego Shell Club’s amazing West Coast Shell Show!

There were so many beautiful shells covering table after table it blew my mind. Every shell, I noted, was unique and interesting, and many that I saw seemed like exquisite works of art. Nature’s abundant beauty was spread throughout the room. It seemed I had blundered into a vast treasure of spilled jewels.

When I walk along a beach, I like to search the sand for bright or colorful objects washed up by the tide. But I honestly know next to nothing about shells from molluscs on land or in the sea. So I learned a few fascinating facts during my short conversations with a friendly hobbyist and a dealer.

Among other things, I learned some shells are highly prized for their rarity and apparent perfection, and that a few can fetch many thousands of dollars. I also learned there are relatively few serious shell collectors worldwide. But those who have a passion for shells have a hobby that promises new discoveries at every turn and inexhaustible wonder.

The West Coast Shell Show was presented in Balboa Park by the San Diego Shell Club.
The West Coast Shell Show was presented in Balboa Park by the San Diego Shell Club.
Beautiful shells of all types could be enjoyed--and purchased--inside the Casa del Prado over the weekend.
Beautiful shells of all types could be enjoyed–and purchased–inside the Casa del Prado over the weekend.
A variety of different colored abalone shells were on display at the show.
A variety of different colored abalone shells were on display at the show.
A wide variety of beautiful cowry shells, a type of sea snail.
A wide variety of beautiful cowries. They almost look like polished agates to me. The cowry is a type of sea snail.
The story of shells appears to have many chapters and subplots.
The Story of Shells appears to have many chapters and pages.
The many shells seemed to me like exotic jewels, no two exactly alike.
The shells seemed like exotic jewelry or small works of art, no two exactly alike.
One display case showed a large variety of fantastic chitons. These almost look like polished wood!
One display case showed a large collection of fantastic chitons. To me these almost look like varnished wood!
Dr. Wesley M. Farmer had a table full of scientific books, plus lots of unique art he'd created concerning nudibranchs, a type of sea slug. They shed their shells after their larval stage.
Dr. Wesley M. Farmer had a table full of scientific books, plus lots of unique art he’d created concerning nudibranchs, a type of sea slug. They shed their shells after their larval stage.
All sorts of fascinating mollusc art created by Wes Farmer, including specimens made with colored oven bake clay.
All sorts of fascinating mollusc art created by Wes Farmer, including specimens made with colored oven bake clay.
The public could enjoy many amazing sights at the West Coast Shell Show!
The public could enjoy many fantastic displays at the West Coast Shell Show!

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Balboa Park artist paints life size Breeders’ Cup horse!

Artist in Balboa Park's Spanish Village tells visitors about her very unique work of art.
Artist in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village tells visitors about her very unique work of art.

I discovered something very cool during my walk through Balboa Park this evening. Bonnie Chance, an artist in Spanish Village Art Center, was applying paint to a life size fiberglass racehorse!

This artfully painted horse will be displayed prominently in San Diego with various others during the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. The project is called Art of the Horse. The painted and decorated horses will be part of a dinner and auction prior to the Breeders’ Cup. Money raised will assist various local charities.

I believe the artist said her creation’s name is Biscuit.

Spanish Village Art Center is hosting two life size race horses being painted for the 2017 Breeders Cup at Del Mar.
Spanish Village Art Center is hosting two life size race horses being painted for the 2017 Breeders Cup at Del Mar.
This impressive, lifelike horse sculpture is painted with images of underwater ocean life.
This impressive, lifelike horse sculpture is painted with images of underwater ocean life.
A large seahorse on a horse named Sea Biscuit. The famous Sea Biscuit ran a legendary race at Del Mar in 1938.
A large seahorse on a horse named Biscuit. The legendary Sea Biscuit won a famous race at Del Mar in 1938.

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A beautiful environmental Sea Wall in Hillcrest.

A beautiful mural in Hillcrest behind Artist and Craftsman Supply depicts flowers and sea life.
A beautiful mural in Hillcrest behind Artist and Craftsman Supply depicts flowers and sea life.

Walk around to the rear parking lot at Artist and Craftsman Supply on Fourth Avenue in Hillcrest and you’ll discover a very colorful mural. It was painted in 2016 by Jet Martinez during the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans festival in San Diego, an environmental street art project organized by the PangeaSeed Foundation.

This beautiful spray paint mural concerns the impact of floriculture on ocean ecosystems. Many flowers are grown in San Diego’s North County. In floriculture, pesticide runoff into the ocean can be a problem. Fertilizer runoff into the ocean can also cause harmful effects, including massive algae blooms and hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas.

Colorful street art painted by Jet Martinez during the 2016 Sea Wall Murals for Oceans festival.
Environmental street art created by Jet Martinez during the 2016 Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans festival.
The left part of the mural. Like an underwater garden.
The left part of the mural. Like an underwater garden.
A fish in the ocean needs a clean environment to live.
A fish in the ocean needs clean water to live.
A bright orange fish swims past jewel-like flowers.
A bright orange fish swims past jewel-like flowers.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!