Fans celebrate local sports teams in San Diego!

Fans of local sports teams pose with favorite mascots during the big Celebrate San Diego event at Petco Park!
Fans of local sports teams pose with favorite mascots during the big Celebrate San Diego event at Petco Park!

Check out these fun photos! This morning I headed down to Petco Park to enjoy Celebrate San Diego, a big event today that thanks and promotes local sports teams, both professional and college. I believe the special event was designed to give a boost to local teams, now that the NFL Chargers have left San Diego. A great idea!

We’ve got lots of exciting sports action in San Diego, from baseball to hockey to soccer to college football and basketball . . . you name it! Teams strutting their stuff at the big event today included the San Diego Padres, the San Diego Gulls, the San Diego Sockers, and the athletic programs of local colleges SDSU, UCSD, USD, Point Loma Nazarene University, and California State University San Marcos.  I hope I didn’t forget anybody!

The event was so cool and uplifting, why not do this every year?

Now, I suppose I need to go watch some of these teams play!

UPDATE!  Wow!  I just now saw that a summer Padres Blood Drive was announced during the event after I left!  (Maybe somebody read my earlier blog post concerning the idea, or the Padres employee I spoke to while waiting for the gate to open relayed the idea.  In any event–hooray!  Lives will be saved!)

Heading toward Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play. An event today promoted many local pro and college teams, now that the NFL Chargers have left.
Heading toward Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play major league baseball. An event today promoted many local pro and college teams, now that the NFL Chargers have left our city.
A big crowd waits to enter the gates at Petco Park.
A big crowd waits to enter the gates at Petco Park.
Thousands came out today to Celebrate San Diego! We have some awesome sports teams!
Thousands came out today to Celebrate San Diego! We have some awesome sports teams!
Many tents were set up in Petco's Park at the Park by local radio stations and broadcasters. Lots of free stuff was given out. I got a cool MLB Padres cap!
Many tents were set up in Petco’s Park at the Park by local radio stations and broadcasters. Lots of free stuff was given out. I got a cool MLB Padres cap!
Lots of photos and selfies were being taken!
Lots of photos and selfies were being taken!
The event had barely begun and already the Park at the Park was getting packed!
The event had barely begun and already the Park at the Park was getting packed!
I liked this fun balloon guy on stilts. It was hard to miss him!
I liked this fun balloon guy on stilts. It was hard to miss him!
A table promoted the second round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which takes place March 14 - 19 at Petco Park in San Diego.
A table promoted the second round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, which takes place March 14 – 19 at Petco Park in San Diego.
The ball field is seriously messed up with mounds of dirt and bulldozers. Oh--now I remember--Monster Jam is coming next weekend to Petco Park.
The ball field is seriously messed up with mounds of dirt and bulldozers. Oh–now I remember–Monster Jam is coming next weekend to Petco Park.
The San Diego Padres happy mascot, the Swinging Friar, greets visitors to the big local sports teams event.
The San Diego Padres happy mascot, the Swinging Friar, greets visitors to the popular local sports teams event.
A city firetruck had a Padres flag flying from their ladder behind the Tony Gwynn statue.
A city firetruck had a Padres flag flying from their ladder behind the Tony Gwynn statue.
Kids were enjoying various sport-related activities at Park at the Park, including shooting hoops.
Kids were enjoying various sport-related activities at Park at the Park, including shooting hoops.
A player from the legendary San Diego Sockers indoor soccer team defends a tiny goal as a young man prepares to shoot.
A player from the legendary San Diego Sockers indoor soccer team defends a tiny goal as a young man prepares to shoot.
Local colleges had tents up promoting their teams and schools. All sorts of games were scattered around the grass including table football.
Local colleges had tents up promoting their teams and schools. All sorts of games were scattered around the grass including table football.
The small baseball diamond at Park at the Park was alive with excitement. This young fan smashed a line drive.
The small baseball diamond at Park at the Park was alive with excitement. This young fan smashed a line drive.
Running the bases wearing an old Chargers team shirt. Now that those guys have bolted, let us support other local teams!
Running the bases wearing an old Chargers team shirt. Now that those guys have “bolted” we can boost our support for other local teams!
Posing for photos with Gulliver, the San Diego Gulls hockey mascot, and Sunny the Socker, the new mascot of the San Diego Sockers!
Posing for photos with Gulliver, the San Diego Gulls hockey mascot, and Sunny the Socker, the new mascot of the San Diego Sockers!
According to a countdown clock on the Western Metal Supply Co. building, there are 55 days until baseball's Opening Day!
According to a countdown clock on the Western Metal Supply Co. building, there are 55 days until baseball’s Opening Day!
A family descends stairs near a thank you to Padres members.
A family descends stairs near a thank you to Padres members.
Diego Torero, mascot for the University of San Diego, hangs out with the crowd at Celebrate San Diego!
Diego Torero, mascot for the University of San Diego, hangs out with the crowd at Celebrate San Diego!
Cheerleaders get the crowd pumped as free swag is thrown from the stage to the gathered sports fans!
Cheerleaders get the crowd pumped as free swag is thrown from the stage to the gathered sports fans!
Cheer squads performed from UCSD, SDSU, USD, Point Loma Nazarene University and California State University San Marcos. I hope I didn't forget anybody!
Cheer squads performed from UCSD, SDSU, USD, Point Loma Nazarene University and California State University San Marcos. I hope I didn’t forget anybody!
King Triton, mascot of University of California San Diego, gives me a hearty greeting!
King Triton, mascot of University of California San Diego, gives me a hearty greeting!
Just fun.
Just good fun. The way sports is supposed to be.
These kids seems a bit unimpressed by the Aztec Warrior, mascot of San Diego State University.
These kids seems a bit unimpressed by the Aztec Warrior, mascot of San Diego State University.
UCSD cheerleaders start an energetic routine!
UCSD cheerleaders start an energetic routine!
What a perfect day. It's a fine city with lots of great sports fans.
What a perfect day. It’s a fine city with lots of great sports fans.
San Diego came out today to celebrate and root on their local sports teams!
San Diego came out today to celebrate and root on their local sports teams!

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!

College sailing: Women’s National race on San Diego Bay!

ICSA Women's Semifinals on San Diego Bay. Competing sailboats approach downtown's Cruise Ship Terminal.
ICSA Women’s Semifinals on San Diego Bay. Competing sailboats approach downtown’s Cruise Ship Terminal.

Check out these cool photos!

I was walking along the Embarcadero early this evening when I saw dozens of tiny sailboats out racing on silvery San Diego Bay. I noticed the sails featured the letters SDYC, which stands for San Diego Yacht Club.

When I got home, an internet search revealed that I had been observing the first day of ICSA Women’s Semifinals action. San Diego is the location of the 2016 College Sailing / Sperry Women’s Nationals. The 36 sailboats that I watched represent top universities from all around the United States, which are competing through Friday right here on our beautiful bay! Winner takes home the coveted Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association’s Gerald C. Miller Trophy!

Small sailboats float on a sheet of silver, beneath dramatic clouds.
Small sailboats float on rippled silver, beneath dramatic clouds.
Shining sails dance in the wind, as paired sailors from 36 colleges around the country compete in the Women's Nationals.
Shining sails dance in the wind, as paired sailors from 36 colleges around the country compete in the Women’s Nationals.
A zoomed photo of the sailboats dancing across San Diego Bay.
A zoomed photo of the sailboats dancing across San Diego Bay.
The San Diego Yacht Club sailboats approach the Embarcadero, having just passed the finish line.
The San Diego Yacht Club sailboats approach the Embarcadero, having just passed the finish line.
These sailors were among the leaders. The top 18 semifinalist teams will move on to the finals.
These sailors were among the leaders. The top 18 semifinalist teams will move on to the finals.
A very cool sight during a random walk along the water before sunset!
A very cool sight during a random walk along the water before sunset!
The leading sailboats approach San Diego's Cruise Ship Terminal, as gleaming skyscrapers rise in the background.
The leading sailboats approach San Diego’s Cruise Ship Terminal.  Gleaming skyscrapers rise in the background.
The leaders from this race lined up in finishing order. Fascinated, I watched from the Broadway Pier.
The leaders from this race appeared to line up in finishing order. Fascinated, I watched from the Broadway Pier.
And then a few minutes later they are off again! A seagull watches the sails dip and tack over the water like white wings.
And then a few minutes later they were off again! A gull watches sails dip and tack in the sea breeze, like fluttering white wings.
A team that competed in College Sailing's ICSA Women's Semifinals starts back across San Diego Bay before night falls.
A team that competed in College Sailing’s ICSA Women’s Semifinals starts back across San Diego Bay before night falls.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Take a San Diego Eco Tour . . . and benefit local students!

You can go kayaking on a cool Eco Tour and try to spot green sea turtles in San Diego's South Bay! Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Harry Orgovan.
You can go kayaking on a cool Eco Tour and try to spot green sea turtles in San Diego’s South Bay! Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Harry Orgovan.

If you’d like to take a cool San Diego Eco Tour, check this out!

At last weekend’s Earth Day on the Bay, I learned about some awesome Eco Tours on San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Experienced guides take you by kayak around the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge to search for green sea turtles, or by bicycle around San Diego Bay to view all sorts of migratory birds, or by boat off our coast to spot gray whales and other marine life! These tours are provided by Ocean Connectors.

Why am I blogging about this? What makes these tours so amazingly cool? Ocean Connectors uses the money they make from their San Diego Eco Tours to directly benefit local students! Every year, Ocean Connectors introduces hundreds of kids in the National City School District to the beautiful natural world along San Diego’s coast, educating them about migratory wildlife and stewardship of the environment–all at no cost!

That’s right! Thousands of students in Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grades have had an experience of a lifetime thanks to Ocean Connectors. In their formative years, these young people, many from low-income situations, have ventured out from the city and have experienced profound wonders they otherwise might have missed. They are taken on fun and inspiring educational field trips that are sometimes described as the best day of their lives!

Thanks to Ocean Connectors, local school students can learn about marine wildlife during a whale watching tour off the San Diego coast. Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Ralph Pace.
Thanks to Ocean Connectors, local school students can learn about marine wildlife during a whale watching tour off the San Diego coast. Image courtesy of Ocean Connectors. Photograph by Ralph Pace.

Seeing green sea turtles, wild birds taking flight, and majestic gray whales out on the wide blue water deeply affects a young person’s view of the world, teaches one about the web of life, helps one to grow into a thoughtful, responsible adult. I know this is true. Because I had a similar experience when I was growing up.

Back in junior high school, I went on a sea adventure with some classmates along Alaska’s Inland Passage. I saw breaching humpback whales, bald eagles, even an orca. That memory is still vivid in my mind. That unforgettable experience broadened my horizons, made me appreciate the wonders of nature, gave me a sense of belonging to a larger world, a world that should be carefully preserved. I’ve been an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors during my adult life, and I have no doubt my own personal adventure those many years ago is one big reason why.

So . . . have you been considering having your own unforgettable adventure in ecotourism? Would you like to possibly spot one of the 60 green sea turtles that spend part of their lives feeding on eel grass in San Diego’s South Bay? Would you like to bike around the Bayshore Bikeway and see hundreds, even thousands of wild birds? (And some are quite rare!) Would you like to head out onto the ocean with trained, knowledgeable naturalists, and see gray whales, dolphins, and a huge variety of other sea mammals and coastal wildlife?

Ocean Connectors’ mission is to educate, inspire and connect people to the outdoors. And one of those people could be YOU!

Click here to have your own unique Eco Tour in San Diego. Book a tour, and you’ll benefit kids in San Diego’s South Bay! It’s a win-win!

Someone learns about the amazing Eco Tours and the educational programs provided by Ocean Connectors during Earth Bay on the Bay at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Someone learns about the amazing Eco Tours and the educational programs provided by Ocean Connectors during Earth Bay on the Bay at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

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Casa de Aguirre Museum in Old Town San Diego.

Fascinating exhibits inside the Casa de Aguirre Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Fascinating exhibits inside the Casa de Aguirre Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Many visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park might think the Casa de Aguirre is just a shop brimming with colorful crafts and wares. But a closer look reveals that a small museum is located inside.

Here are some photos which provide a glimpse of what you’ll discover should you step into the museum. Read the captions, and you’ll learn how Casa de Aguirre is one of the most important sites in Old Town, and how its occupants shaped San Diego’s early history.

Casa de Aguirre in Old Town was built around 1853. The adobe mansion was one of the first houses in San Diego, owned by Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, a prosperous merchant and rancher.
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town was originally built around 1853. The adobe mansion was one of the first houses in San Diego, owned by Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, a prosperous merchant and rancher. The present building is a reproduction.
Bronze bust of Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, near entrance to Casa de Aguirre. Born in Spain, he owned several ships and warehouses and imported goods from Peru and China to trade for cowhides and tallow.
Bronze bust of Don Jose Antonio Aguirre, near entrance to Casa de Aguirre. Born in Spain, he owned several ships and warehouses and imported goods from Peru and China to trade for cowhides and tallow.
Don Jose Antonio Aguirre was known for his charity and funded many projects in early San Diego. His wife and many children are considered to be one of the city's founding families.
Don Jose Antonio Aguirre was known for his charity and funded many projects in early San Diego. He, his wife and children are considered to be one of our city’s founding families.
Bust of Father Antonio Ubach, Last of the Padres, 1835-1907. Antonio Dominic Ubach ran St. Anthony's Indian School on this site from 1886 to 1891.
Bust of Father Antonio Ubach, Last of the Padres, 1835-1907. Antonio Dominic Ubach ran St. Anthony’s Indian School on this site from 1886 to 1891.
Plaque describes how Father Ubach advocated for California's Native Americans and lobbied government to protect the Indians and their lands. He was loved by many. His last words were: "Have charity."
Plaque describes how Father Ubach advocated for California’s Native Americans and lobbied government to protect the Indians and their lands. He was loved by many. His last words were: “Have charity.”
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town San Diego today contains a shop visited by many tourists and a small museum in back.
Casa de Aguirre in Old Town San Diego today contains a shop visited by many tourists and a small museum in back.
One side of El Museo Casa de Aguirre. Excavated artifacts are on display, recalling what life was like here in the mid to late 19th century.
One side of El Museo Casa de Aguirre. Excavated artifacts are on display, recalling what life was like here in the mid to late 19th century.
Visitor to the small museum watches a video which includes information about archaeological discoveries, the history of the casa and the lives of those who were sheltered here.
Visitor to the small museum watches a video which includes information about archaeological discoveries, the history of the casa and the lives of those who were sheltered here.
St. Anthony's Indian School Artifacts Tell a Story. Many objects on display include porcelain cups, goblets, bottles, a saltshaker and beer mug.
St. Anthony’s Indian School Artifacts Tell a Story. Many objects on display include porcelain cups, goblets, bottles, a saltshaker and beer mug.
Sign describes additional historical finds, including buttons, toys, harmonicas, slate board and pencils, lice combs, toothbrush handles, shoe parts, medal rosary and religious medallions.
Sign describes additional historical finds, including buttons, toys, harmonicas, slate board and pencils, lice combs, toothbrush handles, shoe parts, medal rosary and religious medallions.
Marbles, doll parts and tiny children's tea sets, recovered from San Diego's past.
Marbles, doll parts and tiny children’s tea sets, recovered from San Diego’s past.
Dozens of buttons on display. They were fastened by many fingers, now long gone.
Dozens of buttons on display. They were fastened by living fingers, now long gone.
Two old pipes.
Two old pipes.
Numerous bottles and jars are exhibited in the Casa de Aguirre Museum. They were used for medicine, mustard, chemicals, perfume, whiskey, beer, sarsaparilla...
Numerous bottles and jars are exhibited in the Casa de Aguirre Museum. They were used for medicine, mustard, chemicals, perfume, whiskey, beer, sarsaparilla…
People interested in collecting antique bottles would be mesmerized by the large assortment on display.
People interested in collecting antique bottles would be mesmerized by the large assortment on display.
Don Antonio and Rosario Aguirre in Old Town History. The museum is located in what was once the bedroom and servants quarters in the Casa de Aguirre. The present-day adobe is a reproduction.
Don Antonio and Rosario Aguirre in Old Town History. The museum is located in what was once the bedroom and servants quarters in the Casa de Aguirre. The present-day adobe is a reproduction.
Don Antonio Aguirre, 1799-1860, was one of San Diego's most important figures back when our burgeoning Southern California city was just a very small town.
Don Antonio Aguirre, 1799-1860, was one of San Diego’s most important figures back when our burgeoning Southern California city was just a very, very small town.
A model of how the Casa de Aguirre appeared a century and a half ago.
A model of how the Casa de Aguirre appeared a century and a half ago.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! 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 fascinating photos for you to enjoy!

How to make fun, simple science stuff for kids!

A mad scientist at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering shows a kid how to have some fun with magnets!
A mad scientist at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering shows a kid how to have some fun with magnets!

Here are 14 different simple science and engineering projects that kids are sure to love! I’ve included lots of instructions and photographs–courtesy of many exhibitors at this year’s San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo, held yesterday at Petco Park. I also blogged about the event last year.

Check out this fun stuff! Feel free to share! First up . . . how to make slime!

HOW TO MAKE SLIME

Who doesn’t love slime? Slime is fun! And making it is easy! These instructions are courtesy of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, who had a fascinating exhibit at the big STEM education event held at Petco Park.

Just click the image with easy directions to enlarge it! You can enlarge the other images on my blog in the same way, if you want a closer look. Feel free to share these useful how-to photos on Pinterest or with your friends, if you’d like!

How to make slime. You need borax powder, water, white glue and food coloring. Click each image to enlarge instructions.
How to make slime. You need borax powder, water, white glue and food coloring. Click each image to enlarge instructions.

HOW TO MAKE A FUN PAPER ROCKET

Follow the diagram to cut and fold a simple paper rocket with paper clip! These instructions are courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. Kids love the world-class museum. It’s one of the coolest places in San Diego!

How to make a cool paper rocket, using a rectangular piece of paper, scissors and a paper clip.
How to make a cool paper rocket, using a rectangular piece of paper, scissors and a paper clip.

HOW TO FOLD AN ORIGAMI BOAT

Look at these instructions on how to fold your very own origami boat! My friends at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park provided this information! I even once made one! (And if I can succeed, believe me–anyone can do it!)

How to fold an easy origami boat that really floats!
How to fold an easy origami boat that really floats!

HOW TO MAKE MATCHBOX ROCKETS THAT REALLY WORK!

Here’s how you can make a tiny rocket that actually works in much the same way as a real solid-fuel rocket. Wrap a single matchstick in a small strip of tin foil, then crimp one end. Look at my photos to get an idea of what to do. Be careful! You know what they say about playing with matches! Have an adult help out!

Oh, I forgot to mention. This cool experiment is courtesy of the Magnolia Science Academy!

How to make matchbox rockets and why it works. This is for older, supervised kids. Fire can be dangerous.
How to make matchbox rockets and why they work. This is for older, supervised kids. Fire can be dangerous.
Wrap a match in a small strip of aluminum foil.
Wrap a match in a small strip of aluminum foil.
Crimp the match head end of the tube (the rocket's nose) so exhaust pressure doesn't escape in that direction.
Crimp the match head end of the tube (the rocket’s nose) so exhaust pressure doesn’t escape in that direction.
Prepare for lift-off from a clever, fireproof launching platform! Safely apply flame and let fly!
Prepare for lift-off from a clever, fireproof launching platform! Safely apply flame and let fly!

HOW TO MAKE AN “AIRZOOKA” THAT SHOOTS CO2 RINGS!

Here’s another cool project I discovered at the Magnolia Science Academy booth. A student had created a simple “Airzooka” that shoots perfect white cloudy rings of carbon dioxide!

The trashcan with a hole part looks easy. To create the membrane that launches the CO2 rings, you’ll need to use a somewhat flexible material, like a plastic sheet. Once the can is filled with gas, just slap it with your hand and out comes a “smoke ring”!

How to make an "airzooka" using a plastic trashcan with a hole at one end and a pliable membrane on the other. Fill with carbon dioxide and shoot rings by hitting the membrane!
How to make an “airzooka” using a plastic trashcan with a hole at one end and a pliable membrane on the other. Fill with carbon dioxide gas and shoot white rings by hitting the membrane!
The "airzooka" is loaded with carbon dioxide gas, using either dry ice (be careful) or a fog machine.
The “airzooka” is loaded with carbon dioxide gas, using either dry ice (be extremely careful) or a fog machine.

HOW TO CRAFT A FUN PAPER BAG HAT

What can you do with a paper grocery bag? Crumple it up a bit and form a Mad Hatter hat! Use your imagination and maybe a bit of glue!

This crafty idea is provided by the San Diego County Fair. This summer’s fair will have an Alice in Wonderland theme! I can’t wait!

How to make a Mad Hatter hat with crumpled paper bags and lots of fun stuff tied and glued on!
How to make a Mad Hatter hat with crumpled paper bags and lots of fun stuff tied and glued on!
You can apply ribbons, glitter, feathers, playing cards, whatever you like to fashion your crazy Mad Hatter hat! Okay, I don't suppose this really is science, but who cares!
You can apply ribbons, glitter, feathers, playing cards, whatever you like to fashion your crazy Mad Hatter hat! Okay, I don’t suppose this really is science, but who cares!

HOW TO MAKE A TINY PARACHUTE

I remember creating one of these when I was a kid. I made my parachute for a toy action figure! Just look at the picture and go to work! Pretty simple!

This parachute was put together by to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The Fleet, located in Balboa Park, is a super cool place with loads and loads of fun hands-on science exhibits for kids, plus an awesome IMAX theater and planetarium!

How to make a simple small parachute with a Dixie cup or object providing weight, string (or similar material) and coffee filter.
How to make a simple small parachute with a Dixie cup or object providing weight, string (or similar material) and coffee filter.

HOW TO MAKE A SUPER COOL STAR WARS COSTUME!

Okay. No instructions here. Just imagination. That cool costume is actually made of all sorts of Star Wars toys! Incredible. I’m guessing that wicked-looking dude is on the Dark Side.

I believe this guy was part of the STAR WARS Steampunk Recycled Fashion and Engineering Challenge.

Yeah, making a cool costume out of Star Wars toys might take a bit of glue. But all you really need is determination and imagination! (And maybe a credit card.)
Yeah, making a cool costume out of Star Wars toys might take a bit of glue. But all you really need is determination and imagination! (And maybe a credit card.)

HOW TO USE YOUR IMAGINATION TO BUILD ANYTHING!

What are we building here? Absolutely anything! It just takes some imagination!

Just look at some of the common household items one can use to invent cool things. I’ll bet you have some of this stuff in your own home.

I took this pic at a fun table display in the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab tent.

What can a person make with this stuff? Anything!
What can a person make with this stuff? Anything!
Objects you can use creatively include popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, straws, tubes, tape and buttons.
Objects you can use creatively include popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, straws, tubes, tape and buttons.

HOW TO MIX UP SOME SNAIL GOOP

Slime…snail goop…boogers…it’s all the same good stuff. At least it’s the same mixture of borax powder, water and white glue. A truly yucky and wonderful substance. Science rocks!

Thanks (maybe) to the Steam Maker Workshop for this gloppy sight.

Okay, snail goop is pretty much the same stuff as slime. But I like the name!
Okay, snail goop is pretty much the same stuff as slime. But I like the name!
If a snail made that much goop, it would be a monster. Fortunately, that monstrous snail would be slow.
If a snail made that much goop, it would be a monster. Fortunately, that monstrous snail would be slow.
Kids and curious adults were learning all sorts of cool concepts at the 2016 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering at Petco Park.
Kids and curious adults were learning all sorts of cool concepts at the 2016 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering at Petco Park.

HOW TO CREATE A 3-D OPTICAL ILLUSION WITH STRING

Here’s a cool experiment that demonstrates concepts in math and spatial geometry. Perhaps imagine that the string is a ray of light. From the “tower”, stretch the string so that it touches each of the four top corners of your cube, and plot where the string finally reaches your piece of paper. Connect those points with lines the way my photographs show, then look at the image from the end of the string! It looks like some sort of weird optical illusion, but you’ll see the result actually makes sense!

This exhibit was provided by San Diego State University’s InforMath Collaborative.

By using a string attached to this tower, you can plot the projected corners of a cube or other three dimensional object onto a flat two dimensional surface.
By using a string attached to this tower, you can plot the projected corners of a cube or other three dimensional object onto a flat two dimensional surface.
After drawing the cube's base and drawing lines to connect the square with the projected corners, I ended up with this cool figure.
After drawing the cube’s base and drawing lines to connect the square with the projected corners, I ended up with this cool figure.
When I peered at the image through a hole near the end of the string, I saw a perfect cube! Cool!
When I peered at the image through a hole near the end of the string, I saw a perfect cube! Cool!

HOW TO ASSEMBLE A COOL TENSEGRITY CONSTRUCT

Oh, man! I think you could construct most of this cool stuff with Tinkertoys. Look at the diagrams and go wild! You’ll need lots of rubber bands!

Tensegrity is another science concept that was being demonstrated at the STEM education event. A friendly gentleman explained that the sticks are like bones and the rubber bands are like muscles. So human beings and other critters are examples of tensegrity!

Oops. I apologize for not knowing who put on this exhibit.

What the heck is tensegrity? A funny word created by Buckminster Fuller. You can use rubber bands to add tension to popsicle sticks and create cool stuff.
What the heck is tensegrity? A funny word created by Buckminster Fuller. You can use rubber bands to add tension to popsicle sticks and create cool stuff.
Check it out! Tensegrity is also sometimes called tensional integrity or floating compression.
Check it out! Tensegrity is also sometimes called tensional integrity or floating compression.
These guys formed a huge tensegrity thingamajig using pipes and big rubber bands. I suppose one could use bungee cords, too.
These guys formed a huge tensegrity thingamajig using pipes and big rubber bands. I suppose one could use bungee cords, too.
Look at all the tensegrity objects you can make!
Look at all the tensegrity objects you can make!

HOW TO MAKE A VORTEX CANNON

Here’s a pic that has exact instructions on how to build a vortex air cannon. Looks really easy! (As usual, click the image to enlarge it.)

Uh, oh. I don’t know who created this exhibit, either. I forgot to take a picture with their name. My research got a bit sloppy. Sorry about that. Whoever had this table–very cool!

The vortex cannon shoots air in--you guessed it--a vortex.
The vortex cannon shoots air in–you guessed it–a vortex.
To make a vortex cannon, insert a cut water bottle into a plastic Solo cup.
To make a vortex cannon, insert a cut narrow water bottle into a larger plastic Solo cup, just like the photo.
Then cut off the nozzle of a balloon, and stretch the balloon over the open end of the cup.
Then cut off the nozzle of a balloon, and stretch the balloon over the open end of the cup.

HOW TO STIR UP LAVA IN A CUP

Finally, I’ve heard of java in a cup. But lava in a cup? Why not?

Adding salt to the floating oil makes the blob sink. It has become more dense than water. When the salt dissolves, the oil rises again!

Those instructions look super simple!

To make "lava in a cup", use food coloring, vegetable oil and salt! It's easy!
To make “lava in a cup”, use food coloring, vegetable oil and salt! It’s easy!
You can then use that colorful lava in the cup to make some colorful art! Awesome!
You can then use that colorful lava in the cup to make some colorful art! Awesome!

That’s it! You now have a whole bunch of cool and creative science projects to try out! Have a blast!

Hey! Are you a kid? (Or even a boring old adult?) Try starting a blog like Cool San Diego Sights! You can blog about anything in the whole wide world. It’s free and fun! And it’s pretty easy, too!

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Life in 1865 at Old Town’s Mason Street School.

Gentleman in period attire tells visitors at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park about the history of the Mason Street School.
Gentleman in period attire tells visitors at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park about the history of the Mason Street School.

The Mason Street School was San Diego’s very first schoolhouse. It was built in 1865. In 2015, 150 years later, it’s one of the most interesting sights in Old Town San Diego Historic State Park.

The one room schoolhouse museum isn’t always open to the public. So whenever I walk through Old Town, I eagerly wander past to see if the front door is swung wide. If it is, I amble inside and look about, trying to absorb what life was like in the early days of San Diego.

I remember how the Mason Street School used to contain numerous desks. But they’ve been replaced by plain benches, to more accurately portray where a small number of students from Spanish, American and other diverse backgrounds, grade one to eight, sat together and learned how to read, write and do arithmetic.

Back in the early years of San Diego, school was held twelve months a year. Hours were 9 to 4, but many students would skip school to watch bull fights, fiestas and other exciting town doings. Many children were held out of school by their parents to help on a ranch or farm, or to work in a family store.

San Diego in 1865 was a small, isolated, somewhat ramshackle town. Mary Chase Walker, Mason Street School’s first teacher, wrote when she arrived in San Diego by steamship: “I arrived in the bay of San Diego on the morning of July 5, 1865. It was a most desolate looking landscape. The hills were brown and barren; not a tree or green thing was to be seen. Of all the dilapidated, miserable looking places I had ever seen, this was the worst. The buildings were nearly all of adobe, one story in height, with no chimneys. Some of the roofs were covered with tile and some with earth…”

Mary Chase Walker originally traveled from Massachusetts to California, in search of greater opportunity. While in San Francisco, she learned of a teaching opening in San Diego. After less than a year at the Mason Street School, however, she became embroiled in a local controversy. One day she made a kind gesture to a lady who was part African-American, but many early San Diegans had arrived from the Confederate South and voiced their disapproval. A number of students were removed from the small school in anger. To allow the scandal to pass over, Mary quit teaching and married the president of the school board, early San Diego settler and prominent merchant Ephraim Morse.

It’s hard in modern times to imagine the life and culture of San Diego long ago. But one can get a flavor of that fascinating history by stepping inside the old Mason Street School.

The Mason Street School was built in 1865, to provide education for the children of a sparsely populated San Diego.
The Mason Street School was built in 1865, to provide education for the children of a sparsely populated San Diego.
The first schoolhouse in San Diego County, the Mason Street School stands in historic Old Town.
The first schoolhouse in San Diego County, the Mason Street School stands in historic Old Town.

The nearby plaque reads:

MASON STREET SCHOOL

FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOLHOUSE IN THIS COUNTY.
ERECTED AT THIS SITE IN 1865 AND KNOWN AS
“MASON STREET SCHOOL – – DISTRICT NO. 1”
WHEN SAN DIEGO COUNTY COVERED AN AREA
LARGER THAN THREE NEW ENGLAND STATES.
RESTORED BY POPULAR SUBSCRIPTION IN 1955.

STATE REGISTERED LANDMARK NO. 538
MARKER PLACED BY SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF
SUPERVISORS AND THE HISTORICAL MARKERS COMMITTEE
ERECTED 1955

The Mason Street School museum is occasionally open to the public. If you're lucky and it is, make sure to step inside!
The Mason Street School museum is occasionally open to the public. If you’re lucky and it is, make sure to step inside!
Years ago, the museum contained individual student desks. But these benches are a faithful reproduction of actual history. Fancy desks were rare in this remote outpost of civilization!
Years ago, the museum contained individual student desks. But these benches are a more faithful representation of actual history. Fancy desks were rare in this remote outpost of civilization!
Children attending the Mason Street School used slates and chalk, as paper was also scarce and expensive. A wood stove provided heat.
Children attending the Mason Street School used slates and chalk, as paper was also scarce and expensive. A wood stove provided heat.
Some old Primers and Readers on a wooden table. A water bucket and dipper were used for drink.
Some old Primers and Readers on a wooden table. A water bucket and dipper were used for drink.
A ball, broom and doll.
A ball, broom and doll.
Public School Teacher's State Certificate from the mid 19th century. San Diego's first teacher was Mary Chase Walker.
Public School Teacher’s State Certificate from the mid 19th century. San Diego’s first teacher was Mary Chase Walker.
Old map of California from an era when many immigrants arrived by ship.
Old map of California from an era when many immigrants arrived by ship.
Rock used as ballast in a ship that sailed from San Diego to Boston. Stones gathered on Ballast Point in Point Loma paved Boston's cobblestone streets, 3000 miles away!
Rock used as ballast in a ship that sailed from San Diego to Boston. Stones gathered on Ballast Point in Point Loma paved many of Boston’s cobblestone streets, 3000 miles away!
Photographic portrait of President Abraham Lincoln on a primitive wall. Mason Street School was San Diego's first schoolhouse, built in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.
Photographic portrait of President Abraham Lincoln on a primitive wall. Mason Street School was San Diego’s first schoolhouse, built in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.
Water for washing and drinking was brought in from a well near the schoolhouse.
Water for washing and drinking was brought in from a well near the schoolhouse.
The old well in the schoolhouse yard, beside a clump of prickly pear.
The old well in the schoolhouse yard, beside a clump of prickly pear.
The Mason Street School provides visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park a fascinating look at our city's unique past.
The Mason Street School provides visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park a fascinating look at our city’s very unique past.

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Free books for teachers, schools, hospitals and prisons.

San Diego Book Project promotes literacy both locally and worldwide. They were present at TwainFest in Old Town.
San Diego Book Project promotes literacy both locally and worldwide. They were present at TwainFest in Old Town.

The San Diego Book Project promotes literacy both locally and worldwide. It’s an effort I strongly support. So when I happened to see these folks with a table full of books at TwainFest this weekend, I instantly decided to provide a hand with my blog.

The San Diego Book Project has given away nearly a million donated books! They’re sent to teachers, schools, classrooms and students who might not have the resources to buy their own material. Beyond San Diego’s more disadvantaged neighborhoods, schools in South Africa, India, Peru and the Philippines have also received free books. Life-changing books are also sent to hospitals and prisons, and any not-for-profit organization that actively encourages literacy.

Do you need some free books? Would you like to donate or volunteer? Check out their website.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a work of classic literature sure to interest new readers.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a work of classic literature sure to interest new readers.
Good books open minds, promote education. An exciting journey with the written word makes life richer and more meaningful.
Good books open minds, promote education. An exciting journey with the written word makes life richer and more meaningful.

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