An educational visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center!

Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.
Bat ray rises against glass of an outdoor tank at the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.

Before my hike through Sweetwater Marsh, I enjoyed a visit to the Living Coast Discovery Center, which is located inside the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Exhibits inside the center and clusters of wildlife tanks and enclosures outside allow visitors to see and learn about the animals that make this refuge their home. The place is just right for families, with kid-size educational displays, short, easy paths, and even some picnic tables. If I were a young kid, having a birthday party here would be really cool!

After checking out the exhibits at the Living Coast Discovery Center, I ventured over to an adjacent building that is the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters. Some great displays outside provide more information about the unique and beautiful wetland that stretches in all directions. Not far from this building, one can easily find a hiking trail that leads across the marsh to San Diego Bay.

The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
The Living Coast Discovery Center, located in the Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, is where to get Back to Nature.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
A short bus ride takes one from the parking lot near Interstate 5 through the protected Sweetwater Marsh to the kid-friendly education center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
People near the green sea turtle exhibit at the front of the Living Coast Discovery Center.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There's even a mouse house popular with kids.
Many species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish are on display inside the small center. There’s even a mouse house popular with kids.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Outside, visitors can explore exhibits featuring sharks, rays, birds and tortoises. One can also look across the surrounding Sweetwater Marsh.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
Actions on land affect San Diego Bay. Pollution runoff flows via creeks, rivers and storm drains into the marsh then out to the ocean.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
A leopard shark. They are plentiful in the waters off San Diego.
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auk!
This 3-million-year-old fossilized tusked walrus skull was found in the area. 470 different species have been found as fossils here, including sperm whales and now extinct flightless auks!
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
Enclosures in the aviary area contain clapper rails, shorebirds and ducks.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A blue-billed ruddy duck swims in a pool of water at the Living Coast Discovery Center.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
In other parts of the aviary area one can see vultures, hawks, eagles and owls.
A red-tailed hawk.
A red-tailed hawk.
Beautiful artwork on one building's side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Beautiful artwork on one building’s side shows a beach and birds in flight. Swallows have built nests above it near the roof.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Bronze sculpture of a coyote. Many other works of wildlife art can be viewed around the center.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
Sign near an enclosure describes the Sonoran desert tortoise.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
A tortoise take a slow stroll outside the Living Coast Discovery Center.
This amazing art showing marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
This amazing art depicting marshland birds is just outside the entrance to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex headquarters.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
Large signs explain the role of a wildlife refuge.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
National Wildlife Refuges are safe havens for species. The first one, at Pelican Island in Florida, was created in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Map of the extensive San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
The wildlife refuge contains great biodiversity. The animals and plants are all parts of a complex and sensitive ecosystem.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low march and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and varied species to thrive.
Different forms of life can be found in subtidal channels, mudflats, the low marsh and high marsh. The changing tide allows birds to feed and variously adapted species to thrive.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
Wildlife can find it hard to thrive in urban areas. The conserved habitat of this refuge is a critical safe harbor for many native species.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
This place is special. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect its wild residents.
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego Bay!
A green sea turtle, one of those residents of San Diego 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!

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Cool new artwork appears at the Quartyard!

A huge shark has appeared at the Quartyard in East Village!
A huge shark has appeared at the Quartyard in East Village!

Some cool new urban artwork has appeared at the Quartyard since my last visit. Some day I need to grab a bite here, or attend an event! Looks like a really fun place!

New urban artwork in the Quartyard gathering place at the corner of Park Boulevard and Market Street in San Diego.
New urban artwork in the Quartyard gathering place at the corner of Park Boulevard and Market Street in San Diego.
Impermanence is the only permanent in life. So embrace that nothing should be clung to as I, me, or mine.
Impermanence is the only permanent in life. So embrace that nothing should be clung to as I, me, or mine.
Picnic table in the Quartyard reads beer, next to a planter with fun artwork.
Picnic table in the Quartyard reads beer, next to a planter with fun artwork.
Several planters have their sides painted with whimsical faces. These are eating food-like letters and pulling tongues.
Several planters have their sides painted with whimsical faces. These characters are eating food-like letters and pulling tongues.
More happy, silly faces.
More happy, silly faces.
Lots of tongue pulling going on.
Lots of tongue pulling going on.
Tired tongues dangling.
Tired tongues dangling.
Just plain silly.
Just plain silly.
A mural by the Quartyard stage attracts attention.
A mural by the Quartyard stage attracts attention.
Keep going! You got this! Yay!
Keep going! You got this! Yay!

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!

Awesome street art on a little old building.

Elaborate figure's arm embraces a building window. Art by Zio Ziegler.
Elaborate figure’s arm embraces a building window in San Diego. Art by Zio Ziegler.

There’s one little old building in a corner of downtown San Diego that’s very difficult to miss. That’s because it’s loaded with ultra-awesome street art!

These murals are painted on an otherwise unremarkable structure in the East Village neighborhood. The building is occupied by Undisputed Fitness, an establishment where locals train themselves as boxers and MMA fighters. All this artwork is visible near the corner of 16th Street and L Street.

My last blog post concerned a mechanical shark mural. You can see the rear portion of that mural in the final photograph.

Smiling face painted on building wall on 16th Street in East Village.
Smiling face painted on building wall on 16th Street in East Village.
Fantastic composite creature with pink hammerhead cradles a shark.
Fantastic composite creature with wings and pink hammerhead cradles a shark.
Nearby shark art for PangeaSeed's The Great Coast Migration by Rah Akaishi.
Previous pic’s shark art was created for PangeaSeed by Rah Akaishi.
Closet full of clothes opens onto a city sidewalk.
Closet full of clothes opens onto a city sidewalk.
Mr. Padre mural along rooftop honors Tony Gwynn. Art by Wildstyle Technicians.
Mr. Padre mural on rooftop honors baseball legend Tony Gwynn. Art by Wildstyle Technicians.
I Love San Diego cool design is visually complex. Art by Ezra Pirk.
I Love San Diego cool graffiti design is visually complex. Art by Ezra Pirk.
Bold, colorful street art on walls of parking lot behind Undisputed Fitness.
Bold, colorful street art on walls of parking lot behind Undisputed Fitness.

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Cool mechanical shark street mural in East Village!

Cool mechanical shark on parking lot wall behind Undisputed Fitness Center in East Village.
Cool mechanical shark on parking lot wall behind Undisputed Fitness Center in East Village.

A super cool street mural was recently painted in downtown San Diego’s East Village. I checked it out this morning!

Located on a parking lot wall behind Undisputed Fitness, at the corner of 16th Street and L Street, this large work of art really catches your attention and draws you in for a closer examination!

The image of a mechanical shark, operated from the inside by some sinister-looking people, was painted by Sheffield-based muralist Phlegm. I’ve never seen his work before, but apparently he often depicts similarly weird scenes, described as half-childlike, half-menacing. This particular mural was created as an act of “artivism” for PangeaSeed, an international environmental organization whose mission is to help preserve sharks and other marine species, through art and education. Sharks are being maimed and killed in large numbers for their fins, which are cut off the still-living animals and used to make shark fin soup and traditional medical cures in China.

Street artist Phlegm painted this for PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls Murals for Oceans.
Street artist Phlegm painted this unusual shark  for PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans.
Shadowy, mysterious people secretly operate the black and white mechanical shark.
Shadowy, mysterious people secretly operate the black and white mechanical shark.
Phlegm often paints masked figures controlling odd contraptions in this illustrative style.
Phlegm often paints masked figures controlling odd contraptions in this illustrative style.

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Shark spotted at local gas station!

A shark has been spotted next to a gas station's parking lot!
A shark has been spotted next to a gas station’s parking lot!

A gigantic shark was recently spotted swimming in the blue water next to a San Diego gas station’s parking lot! Here’s the photographic proof!

Okay, what you see is actually a very cool mural. And the shark is just a small portion of it. This awesome mural on a long wall by the gas station contains a bunch of surprising, colorful images! Check out the blue gravel path at the foot of the wall, enhancing the underwater effect!

Wondering where this public art can be found? In Little Italy, just north of downtown. Head up First Avenue and look to the left just before Elm Street. You can’t miss it!

This dolphin was also seen next to the gas station.
This dolphin was also spotted next to the gas station!
This seal doesn't mind the nearby shark.
This seal doesn’t seem to mind the nearby shark.