Mustard brightens a walk in Peñasquitos Canyon.

This morning I took a short hike through the west part of Peñasquitos Canyon. I started at the developed trailhead on Sorrento Valley Boulevard, and walked down the dirt trail to the historic El Cuervo adobe ruin, which I will blog about shortly.

It’s springtime, the air is warming, and the hills all about San Diego are bright yellow with blooming mustard. Many beautiful parts of Peñasquitos Canyon seem to have painted with an artist’s brush.

Even though most of the mustard one sees in San Diego isn’t native, the cheerful appearance of yellow hillsides reminds those who live in our city that summer is just around the bend.

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!

Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Waterfront Park!

Today is the 5th Anniversary of San Diego’s wonderful Waterfront Park!

A special event celebrating the anniversary will be held today on the park’s south side lawn from 3 pm to 10 pm. There will be live music, kids activities, food trucks, and a whole lot of family fun!

Waterfront Park remains one of my favorite spots in San Diego. It’s a sunny place where I can sit on a bench to eat or read a book. Fountains splash, people play on the grass, and sails move gracefully in the distance on San Diego Bay.

Five years ago I attended the big grand opening of Waterfront Park and took loads of photographs. To see them, click here!

UPDATE!

I swung by Waterfront Park this evening to experience a little of the anniversary event!

I checked out a couple of information tables and learned about San Diego County Parks and Recreation, and the supportive non-profit San Diego County Parks Society. Both are looking for volunteers!

I saw food trucks, bounce houses, kids running wild through the huge, awesome Waterfront Park playground, and lots of happy people by the splashing fountains and on the grass. I saw a red-tailed hawk, the Pad Squad and the Swinging Friar, and the 80s pop music cover band FlashPants.

Great fun!

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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!

Natural habitat for birds, wildlife near SeaWorld.

A few people walk down a dirt path near SeaWorld. Native coastal plants provide habitat for migratory birds and local wildlife.
A few people walk down a dirt path next to SeaWorld. Coastal plants provide habitat for birds and wildlife.

There’s a quiet, seldom visited area adjacent to SeaWorld that provides valuable habitat for both local and migratory birds. You can find this narrow strip of land directly northeast of SeaWorld, on the edge of Mission Bay, just west of South Shores Park.

Walk down the dirt path by the water and you’ll discover native plants, beautiful views, a few park benches, and a sense of wonder. This bit of land was set aside as natural coastal habitat with the help of the Audubon Society, SeaWorld San Diego, and a several other organizations who care about protecting the environment.

I walked down the path during the weekend and read a number of interesting signs. Few other people were around. I shared the warm sunshine with birds that took flight over land and water.

Click the photos of signs if you’d like to read them.

One sign displays plants that provide food and shelter for the birds and insects of Mission Bay.
One sign displays plants that provide food and shelter for the birds and insects of Mission Bay.
Heading west down the path, along the south edge of Mission Bay.
Heading west down the rough path, along the south shore of Mission Bay.
Looking north across the water at boats, kayaks and Fiesta Island.
Looking north across the water at boats, kayaks and Fiesta Island.
Audubon's Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program identifies and conserves a network of sites essential for wild bird populations. Mission Bay is one of seven IBAs in San Diego County.
Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program identifies and conserves a network of sites essential for wild bird populations. Mission Bay is one of seven IBAs in San Diego County.
A patch of what I believe is Ceanothus, or California Lilac. A bird perched on some dry sunflowers is a gray blur in this photograph.
A patch of what I believe is Ceanothus, or California Lilac. A bird perched on some dry yellow flowers is a blur in this photograph.
Mission Bay sustains thousands of birds, as many species stop over in San Diego during their migration along the Pacific flyway.
Mission Bay sustains thousands of birds, as many species stop over in San Diego during their migration along the Pacific flyway.
Looks like a heron flying overhead, scanning the water.
Looks like a heron flying overhead, scanning the water.
Sign identifies birds that might be seen here. San Diego is home to nearly 500 bird species.
Sign identifies birds that might be seen here. San Diego is home to nearly 500 bird species.
Some shelter by the water for birds and other small animals.
Some shelter by the water for birds and other small animals.
More natural habitat that contains much hidden life.
More natural habitat that contains much hidden life.
Another sign with more California natives, including plants and birds.
Another sign with more California natives, including plants and birds.
Someone walks on a path that winds near the entrance to this little visited park-like space.
Someone walks on a path that winds near the entrance to this small park-like space.

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!

Local history remembered at Trolley Barn Park.

A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.
A cobblestone post at the entrance to Trolley Barn Park.

In University Heights, sunny Trolley Barn Park is a favorite place for neighbors to gather. Whenever I drive past I notice the grass field and playground are alive with activity.

Last weekend, as I walked through the park, I observed plaques and a winding path that remember the old trolley car barn that once occupied this beautiful spot overlooking Mission Valley.

In 1913 the Adams Avenue Trolley Barn was built near Mission Cliff Gardens. The popular botanical destination north of downtown was created by John D. Spreckels, who also owned the San Diego Electric Railway Company. The trolley barn was built directly adjacent to Harvey Bentley’s Ostrich Farm, where visitors could actually ride the exotic birds.

The large brick trolley barn serviced hundreds of cars until 1949. That’s when the streetcars, overtaken by city buses, finally ceased operation.

Many old cobblestone walls and posts from the days of Mission Cliff Gardens can still be seen around Trolley Barn Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Like the surprising images of ostriches, these cobblestone structures today are a symbol of the very unique history of University Heights.

To learn much more about the history of Trolley Barn Park and University Heights, you can visit a very informative page here.

Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 - ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 - 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.
Plaque at base of post reads: HISTORIC LANDMARK No. 369 – ADAMS AVENUE TROLLEY CARBARN SITE 1913 – 1949 . . . The Old Trolley Barn Park was dedicated on this site April 6, 1991.
What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that remembers when trolleys ran through University Heights.
What appears to be a round table in the park contains an interesting plaque that recalls when trolleys ran through University Heights.
Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.
Map of the old 1917 trolley line from downtown San Diego into University Heights in Old Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park.
Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.
Dedicated to all of the members of the University Heights Community Association who helped make this park a reality.
This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley.
This scenic spot in Trolley Barn Park overlooks Mission Valley, which lies to the north.
People jog along a walkway which features tracks that wind through the park like the old trolley line.
People jog along a shady path. Its “tracks” wind through the park like the old trolley line.
Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.
Along the walkway are the street names once passed by the trolley line.
Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.
Another sunny San Diego day as people recreate on the grass.
An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.
An electrical box at the edge of the park is painted like a cobblestone post, one of the symbols of University Heights.
Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful part of University Heights that honors its colorful history.
Trolley Barn Park is a beautiful gathering place in University Heights that honors the community’s colorful history.

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!

Cool sights along Adams Avenue west of 30th.

A very cool mural spray painted on the wall of The Land Barbershop on Adams Avenue.
A very cool mural spray painted on the wall of The Land Barbershop on Adams Avenue.

During a recent walk along a stretch of Adams Avenue, I was excited to discover some very cool sights!

I photographed several great examples of street art, plus a tranquil park with a beautiful bronze sculpture.

My journey started in North Park, near the intersection of Adams Avenue and 30th Street. I proceeded west along Adams Avenue until I reached the Texas Street bridge, then I continued a couple blocks farther into University Heights.

More colorful artwork on the front of The Land Barbershop in North Park.
More colorful artwork on the front of The Land Barbershop in North Park.
A bold, contented face painted by the entrance to Dia Del Cafe.
A bold, contented face painted by the entrance to Dia Del Cafe.
Faded mural depicting two classic cars, next to a repair bay at Advantec Auto Repair.
Faded mural depicting two classic cars, next to a repair bay at Advantec Auto Repair.
It's HYPNOSIS CAKE TIME at Twiggs Bakery and Coffeehouse!
It’s HYPNOSIS CAKE TIME at Twiggs Bakery and Coffeehouse!
Fun art on the exterior of Mona Lizzy's.
Fun art on the exterior of Mona Lizzy’s.
More fun artwork at Mona Lizzy's.
More fun artwork at Mona Lizzy’s.
Meditation is invited on Adams Avenue at the Sri Chinmoy Peace Garden, maintained by the San Diego Sri Chinmoy Centre.
Meditation is invited on Adams Avenue at the Sri Chinmoy Peace Garden, maintained by the San Diego Sri Chinmoy Centre.
Plaque in a small park dedicated to Sri Chinmoy. STUDENT OF PEACE--CHAMPION OF THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF MANKIND
Plaque in a small park dedicated to Sri Chinmoy. STUDENT OF PEACE–CHAMPION OF THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF MANKIND
A fine bronze statue of Sri Chinmoy.
A fine bronze statue of Sri Chinmoy.
Sign on Adams Avenue marks the west end of Historic Antique Row.
Sign on Adams Avenue marks the west end of Historic Antique Row.
Looking north down into Mission Valley. Photo taken from the Adams Avenue bridge that spans Texas Street, as I walk west from North Park into University Heights.
Looking north into Mission Valley on a spring day. Photo taken from the Adams Avenue bridge over Texas Street, as I walked west from North Park into University Heights.
Some stylish artwork painted on the wall of Grains vegetarian restaurant.
Some stylish artwork painted on the wall of Grains vegetarian restaurant.

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 phone or 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.

Washington Street Skatepark’s 20th Anniversary!

Today is the 20th Anniversary of San Diego’s very cool Washington Street Skatepark! Lots of local skateboarders converged for the “20 Year Birthday Bash” and helped raise funds to maintain this public skate park.

I learned that money raised goes to making repairs, paying for insurance and the nearby porta-potty. If you want to help out and make a donation, visit the Washington Street Skatepark website by clicking here! (You can also learn about the history of this awesome place and the dedicated volunteers who built it.)

Some friendly guys manning tables along the sidewalk smiled for my camera, then I headed up the ramp and into the park to check out some of today’s action!

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!

Honoring victims, heroes of USS Bennington disaster.

Today I walked through the historic Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. It’s my first visit to the grove of live oaks since December of 2017, when I observed Boy Scouts and volunteers working to improve the living memorial.

During my walk today, not only was I pleased to see the quiet oak grove was as peaceful and beautiful as ever, but I noted some information has been posted in the kiosk. I took a photograph so you might read it. Click my photo of the sign and the image will expand for easy reading. (Unfortunately, you’ll note the clear plastic protecting the sign was broken by vandals. But thankfully I saw absolutely no litter, graffiti or other signs of disturbance.)

You might notice the sign also features a QR code that opens a dedicated memorial website. To learn much, much more about the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, please visit BenningtonMemorial.com.

The memorial website honors the lives of the 66 U.S. Navy sailors who tragically died when the USS Bennington’s boiler exploded in San Diego Bay on July 21, 1905. A separate page of the website is dedicated to each victim. You’ll also learn about the 11 courageous men who each earned a Medal of Honor for their heroism that day.

To see inspirational photos from a year and a half ago, when Boy Scouts and crew members of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were working to improve the Bennington Memorial, click here and here. For many of those photos, I am grateful to the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and historian Kathleen Winchester in particular.

Now please enjoy the following pics taken today by the kiosk, and along the shady footpath that winds through the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Sign at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy's worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.
Sign in kiosk at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy’s worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted in Balboa Park to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.

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!