Public musical instruments in North Park!

Want to make some music? Head to North Park’s newly opened mini park located south of University Avenue behind the Observatory Theater!

The North Park Mini Park had its grand opening last weekend. It was all over the San Diego news. I hadn’t walked around that neighborhood in a long while, so yesterday morning I decided to check things out.

Look what I found!

The North Park Mini Park is not only a fine new community gathering place, but it’s full of musical instruments that people can freely play!

I saw xylophones and chimes and drums and a sign explaining the many health benefits of playing percussion instruments. (Perhaps it’s just plain fun, too.)

Young and old alike can reach out their hands at any time to create music.

How cool is this?

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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Mural at Escondido Boys and Girls Clubs building.

Does anybody know the history of this old mural in Escondido? It decorates the east side of the Conrad Prebys Escondido Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego.

During a walk through Escondido last weekend, I photographed this colorful mural from the distant sidewalk. It appears to be a mosaic made of small tiles. Youth are depicted reading, playing basketball, and engaged in other activity. The artwork is dated 1976. Tiles spell out two clear signatures: A. Dluhos and T. Pardue.

After some internet searching, I believe the first artist is Andre Dluhos, and the second is Terry Pardue. I’m pretty sure about the second name, because I read this article.

Andre Dluhos was born in 1940 in eastern Czechoslovakia and moved to the United States in 1969.

If anyone out there knows anything about this nearly half century old mural, please leave a comment.

It would be fascinating to learn more about it, and the artists, too!

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!

New Year’s Day photos from the Embarcadero.

Today is New Year’s Day. The sun was shining in San Diego.

Many people were out strolling beside San Diego Bay.

For some reason, walking along the Embarcadero is a thing I do almost every year on January 1. Maybe it’s the glittering water, cool breeze, sailboats, and a sense of renewal. Whatever it is, that’s what I did today.

And I took these photographs.

(The next photo is strange! I think he was playing for a special group about to board a harbor cruise.)

Happy New Year!

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!

Rose Creek Bikeway near Mission Bay.

Have you ever wondered what the Rose Creek Bikeway is like just north of Mission Bay?

I did, so I walked along the bike and pedestrian path a few weekends ago. I started at a point near the In-N-Out Burger at Damon Avenue (just east of Mission Bay Drive) and headed south under Garnet and Grand Avenue to North Mission Bay Drive. I then walked west over the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge spanning the Rose Creek Inlet to the entrance of Campland on the Bay.

As you’ll see in the upcoming photographs, the path along Rose Creek features natural beauty but can be trashy in places. It cuts behind businesses, passes the ends of residential streets, and winds along the edge of several sporting facilities. I also saw evidence that homeless people use the path and camp near it.

The Rose Creek Bikeway is part of the much longer 44 mile Coastal Rail Trail which, when completed, will connect downtown San Diego with Oceanside, California. (Had I walked north up the path instead, I would have followed Interstate 5 toward La Jolla and Sorrento Valley, next to the tracks of the soon-to-open Mid-Coast Trolley extension.)

Looking north for a moment as I get started south.
About to pass under Mission Bay Drive.
Approaching Garnet Avenue.
Approaching Grand Avenue.
A couple walks dog under Grand Avenue.
It appears someone lives under the bridge.
Passing a basketball court.
Walking between Rose Creek and the Mission Bay Youth Baseball field.
Someone practices pitching.
To the right beyond the fence is the San Diego Mission Bay Boat and Ski Club.
Passing the Mission Bay Golf Course and Practice Center.
Turning for a moment to look back north. Sign at North Mission Bay Drive, just east of the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge, reads: Welcome To… The Rose Creek Bike Path.
Now walking west, near a plaque at the east end of the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge.
Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge. October 4, 1947 – May 18, 2008. In memory of Mike’s commitment to creating the people’s playground, not just for today, but all generations to come. Dedicated April 20, 2012.
Looking south toward Mission Bay. I see Fiesta Island in the distance.
Passing behind Mission Bay High School’s sports fields.
Approaching Pacific Beach Drive, where the dedicated bike and pedestrian path ends.
Bicyclists start east along the path, near the entrance to Campland on the Bay.

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!

An educational nature hike at Chollas Lake Park.

A wide variety of community programs are offered at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego’s Oak Park neighborhood. There are ranger-led wildlife “Meet the Neighbors” hikes around the small lake, Kumeyaay ethnobotany walks, youth fishing, fitness classes, crafts, an oral history project, archery and even a book club with its own scenic hangout!

Yesterday I went on a nature hike where I and a good number of visitors circled the shallow artificial lake while ranger Cary Goldstein identified and talked about the many birds and other animals we saw, some of which are feral.

The walk was level, about a mile long, easy, and very educational. We saw Chinese and African geese and learned how to tell them apart. We saw a turkey vulture circling high above the treetops. We saw blooming marsh fleabane at the water’s edge and California bulrushes where birds nest. We saw turtles swimming underwater and sunning on rocks. We saw mallards and coots and banded pigeons and Canada geese and curious California ground squirrels and a strange-looking Muscovy duck.

We learned so much I couldn’t begin to relate it all. Some very young walkers had hands raised and asked lots of good questions.

I was fascinated to learn Chollas Lake was created in 1901 as a source for drinking water when San Diego was rather small. Later it was used to cool United States Navy radio equipment back when the three largest structures in the city, at 600 feet tall, stood atop a hill above the lake. Those radio transmitter antennas were the first to receive a signal from Hawaii that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. (A blog concerning this will be coming up later.)

Today Chollas Lake Park is a place where nature thrives. It is also a place where people can recreate, relax and learn about this beautiful and interesting world we call home.

Visit the Chollas Lake Park 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!

Photos of Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration!

A wonderful new park officially opened yesterday in the Cherokee Point neighborhood of City Heights. The City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, community organizations and many neighbors and families came together for the Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration!

I swung by the new park during my walk in the late morning to check out some of the fun. I missed the welcome by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria but was able to catch the City Heights Steppers and Mariachi Victoria performing on the event stage. I walked through the extensive Resource Fair and met many people who are helping to enhance the life of this very diverse community.

Kids were enjoying a big outdoor play area across Landis Street and a Day of Play at the new community center, and many other activities could be enjoyed freely by the public, including a softball clinic at the beautiful green ball field and skating demonstrations at the nearby skatepark. The Fern Street Circus would also perform!

The public was invited to tour inside the new Park de la Cruz Community Center. Services offered at the center include Therapeutic Recreation and AgeWell Services. If you’re a senior in San Diego, check out this web page for information on staying fit and meeting new friends! I blogged about the program a couple years ago here.

The Park de la Cruz Grand Opening Celebration was sponsored by the San Diego Parks Foundation.

Enjoy a few photos!

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!

Joy on a Mission Bay bench.

There’s a bench on Mission Bay where one can find joy. It’s located on the mostly quiet pathway of South Shores Park, by a small beach directly south of Fiesta Island.

There is water and sky, sunshine, a pleasant breeze. And a plaque…

IN JOY WITH

JOAN E. HELLER

MAY 29,1936 – SHE’S STILL HERE

SIT DOWN, RELAX & LOOK AT THE VIEW

ENJOY YOURSELF

Sit a while on this bench, resume your journey down the path, and you will still be here.

That joy will remain with you.

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!

Ramona Country Fair’s gateway to adventure!

Today I headed to the annual Ramona Country Fair and stepped through their gateway to adventure!

In addition to lots of friendly people and a fun slice of Americana, what did I find?

At the Ramona Country Fair, which is held each summer in rural San Diego County, there is plenty of adventure! And it’s free!
Young and old were trying to shoot bows and arrows, just as folks did once upon a time.
I was greeted by a smiling medieval archer! I declined to pick up a bow. I’m bound to shoot myself in the foot.
Members of The Sovereign Kingdom of Terre Neuve, a subdivision of The Adrian Empire, had gathered at the Ramona Country Fair. Perhaps they arrived by time machine. But seriously, this friendly group recreates Western European culture between the First Viking Raid on Lindisfarne in 793 to the death of King James I of England in 1625.
Chain mail, steel helmets, swords and other instruments from the Age of Chivalry displayed on one table.
A demonstration of medieval combat fascinates those watching.
Getting a bit more intense…
That was a close call!
Meanwhile, adventurous shoppers had much to explore on the grounds of the Ramona Country Fair.
These super friendly folks from the California Avian Health Education Network were informing the community about prevention, early detection, and rapid containment of foreign animal diseases. They also had to endure a couple of my awful chicken jokes.
Artists had their work for sale at the fair. I spotted a cool Yoda created by Boyd’s Crafts!
These two cool guys represented Triple B Adventures, an organization that takes Veterans, including wounded warriors, on hikes, campouts and other adventures around San Diego County.
It’s the 50th Annual Ramona Country Fair as you can see from their poster! Entries into the fair’s art show were displayed nearby.
Some tape prevented my closer approach, but you can see these are winning art entries!
Talk about a gastronomical adventure! Super Burritos. Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. Decisions, decisions…
The Ramona Chamber of Commerce, who puts the annual fair together, greeted me!
Love Ramona is a bunch of friends and neighbors who do good deeds in the community. They began as a local church group.
And, of course, what is a country fair without a huge Fun Zone! I couldn’t believe all the carnival rides. I was told it really gets active later in the day, and in the evening when the outdoor temperature cools. (It was in the 90’s during my late morning visit!)
Look at all the fun prizes!
This four-legged fair-goer was having more fun than some of the two-legged types.
Folks were bringing in horses for the noontime Cowboy Challenge. I’m afraid I didn’t stay for that. Places to go. Things to do.
A good photo caught by sheer chance.
Folks get the arena ready for cowboy action!

Not only did I miss the Cowboy Challenge, but I was disappointed that the Irish Dancing in the fairground’s pavilion had been cancelled for Sunday. Oh, well. I guess that means a future adventure awaits!

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!

Quiet beauty at Maxton Brown Park in Carlsbad.

A small but very beautiful public park can be enjoyed in Carlsbad at the corner of Laguna Drive and State Street.

Maxton Brown Park is a quiet place. One can sit on a bench to read a book or gaze out at Buena Vista Lagoon.

During my recent walk in Carlsbad I rested on one bench that had a view of the lagoon. It was very peaceful.

I then briefly explored the park and found several memorial plaques that honor loved ones.

Here are a few photos…

The above plaque overlooking the lagoon reads:

LT. MAXTON BROWN PARK

515th SQDN

MARCH 5, 1915 – JULY 8, 1943

BUENA VISTA LAGOON CONSERVATOR

AMERICAN LEGION POST 146 MARCH 5, 1976

I did a little searching on the internet and learned that during World War II, on July 8, 1943, 2nd Lieutenant Maxton Brown of Carlsbad was downed over Sicily. He flew with the 515th Bomb Squadron.

The Buena Vista Lagoon is home of the Maxton Brown Bird Sanctuary. According to this page of the Carlsbad Historical Society, prior to the war Maxton “spent many hours at the lagoon sighting and recording over 150 species of birds.”

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!

A hike near the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center.

A beautiful, very easy nature hike can be enjoyed at the south end of Oceanside near the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center. The quarter mile hike follows a quiet looping trail with views of the Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Yesterday I walked the trail and took these photographs.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society runs the Nature Center, which is located at 2202 South Coast Highway. The trail begins and ends a few steps from the building’s front entrance, directly across the driveway.

The Buena Vista Audubon Society engages the community and local students by offering nature education and various birding opportunities. They are also active in working to protect and restore wetlands and other environmentally sensitive land. You can learn more about their mission at this web page.

The Nature Center was closed when I happened by, but the trail was wide open and inviting on a sunny July day.

Here and there through dense bulrushes, or at viewing platforms, one can see the placid lagoon, and birds floating in the water or taking flight. Not only does local wildlife depend on this important natural habitat, but Buena Vista Lagoon is used by thousands of migrating birds that follow the Pacific Flyway.

One section of the hike was on a wood plank boardwalk over shallow water, then the trail turned toward dry land where I saw majestic trees, including sycamores, cottonwoods, and even a few Torrey pines.

During my walk I happened to meet Buena Vista Audubon Society’s Executive Director Natalie Shapiro. Before I began my hike, I observed her picking up trash along the Coast Highway, where it crosses the lagoon. Then I saw her again on the trail! She asked if I’d like to volunteer! Volunteers are always greatly appreciated!

She was super friendly and explained to me the difference between bulrushes and cattails, which I tend to confuse. At the margins of the lagoon, the plant community includes both of these, not to mention pickleweed and saltgrass.

Since the 1940s, Buena Vista Lagoon has been sealed off from natural tidal fluctations, and it has consequently become a stagnant fresh-water system. But there are now plans to open the lagoon to the ocean, creating a more healthy wetland.

If you’d like to enjoy this very easy, educational nature hike, head to Oceanside. And plan to visit when the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center is open! I need to do that, too!

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!