Photos of seals, scenery at Children’s Pool.

Harbor seals lie on sunny Children's Pool Beach in La Jolla. The historic Children's Pool is closed to the public during winter and early spring pupping season.
Harbor seals lie in the sun on Children’s Pool Beach. The Children’s Pool is closed to the public during pupping season.

Every so often I have to walk by the water in La Jolla. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Today I headed to The Children’s Pool to enjoy harbor seals, pelicans in flight, the mighty ocean, the rocky shoreline and blue sky. Pupping season has just begun (December 15 through May 15) and so Children’s Pool Beach is closed to the public.

The Children’s Pool was the gift of local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1931. A concrete seawall was built to make the beach safe for public swimming.

Harbor seals began to use the beach in the 1990’s and over time sand has filled the swimming area. There has been a long running legal battle over the use of the beach.

The Children’s Pool also happens to be a popular destination of scuba divers because of nearby reefs.

Today people flock from far and wide to watch the seals from a safe distance.

Sitting on a bench overlooking The Children's Pool, observing the resident colony of harbor seals.
Sitting on a bench overlooking The Children’s Pool, observing the resident colony of harbor seals.
People look toward Children's Pool from the shady green gazebo.
People look toward Children’s Pool from the shady green gazebo.
People along the wall near the lifeguard station. Many tourists now travel to La Jolla just to see the local colony of harbor seals.
People along the wall near the lifeguard station. Many tourists now travel to La Jolla just to see the local colony of harbor seals.
The Children's Pool breakwater was built in 1931. It was a gift to La Jolla by journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
The Children’s Pool breakwater was built in 1931. It was a gift to La Jolla by journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
A colony of harbor seals suns on the sand near the seawall, which is off limits during pupping season.
A colony of harbor seals suns on the sand near the seawall, which like the beach is off limits during pupping season.
The seals move about from time to time. They turn on their sides, raise their heads and hind flippers, and inch forward on their stomachs.
The seals move about from time to time. They turn on their sides, raise their heads and hind flippers, and inch forward on their stomachs.
A lone seal heads to the water's edge by wriggling awkwardly on its belly.
A lone harbor seal heads across the sand to the water’s edge by wriggling awkwardly on its belly.
It swims out to a nearby rock.
It swims out toward a nearby rock.
With difficulty, the harbor seal inches up onto the rock that lies just off the beach. Sea lions are much better climbers.
With difficulty, a harbor seal inches up onto the large rock that lies just off the beach. (Sea lions, which sometimes share the beach, are much better climbers.)
The perfect place for a peaceful nap!
The perfect place for a peaceful nap!
Looking west from the closed Children's Pool toward the broad Pacific Ocean and gently breaking waves.
Looking west from the closed Children’s Pool toward the broad Pacific Ocean and gently breaking waves.
Pelicans fly north. Scripps Pier and the scenic cliffs just south of Torrey Pines lie in the distance.
Pelicans fly north. Scripps Pier and the scenic cliffs just south of Torrey Pines lie in the distance.
The pelicans fly toward Seal Rock and Shell Beach and the rocky shoreline west of La Jolla Cove.
The pelicans fly toward Seal Rock and Shell Beach, and distant jutting rocks west of La Jolla Cove.
Looking west. Perhaps you can see why I love this place.
Looking west. Perhaps you can see why I love this place.
Looking south toward Wipeout Beach.
Looking south toward Wipeout Beach.
Another photo of the colony of harbor seals at The Children's Pool in La Jolla.
Another photo of the colony of harbor seals at The Children’s Pool in La Jolla.
A young harbor seal enjoys a day on the beach.
A young harbor seal enjoys a fine day on the beach.

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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!

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Late autumn’s beauty at Mission Trails.

Winter arrives in less than one week.

Today I enjoyed a late autumn walk in Mission Trails Regional Park, a large open space preserve located in the City of San Diego.

I moved along the Visitor Center Loop Trail, gazing at mountains and trees and fluttering yellow and brown leaves.

The relatively easy 1.5 mile trail follows the San Diego River for a short distance. Just right for a thoughtful little hike through nature’s infinite beauty.

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!

Fun holiday decorations appear in Old Town!

Many creative holiday wreaths have appeared throughout Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Lots of fun holiday wreaths have appeared throughout Old Town!

A period of rainy weather is coming to San Diego, so I left home this morning earlier than usual, to enjoy a nice, long walk before the first storm arrives.

After I got off the trolley at the Old Town station, crossed Congress Street, and entered Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, my eyes began searching for holiday decorations.

My eyes were not disappointed!

More colorful wreaths with a little bit of Mexican culture added, at the entrance to Fiesta de Reyes.
More wreaths, made colorful with bits of Mexican culture, at the entrance to Fiesta de Reyes.
A simple but delightful little Christmas tree near the entrance of Seeley Stable.
A simple but delightful little Christmas tree near the entrance of Seeley Stable.
I discovered green and red wreaths at every turn as I walked about Old Town.
I discovered traditional green and red wreaths at every turn as I walked about Old Town.
Looks like three Christmas carolers up on the balcony of La Paloma!
Looks like three Christmas carolers up on the balcony of La Paloma!
Old Town Trolley Tours wishes everyone Joy with their bright banners.
Old Town Trolley Tours wishes everyone Joy with their bright banners.
Looks like Frosty the Snowman has a friend outside the Specialty Shops of Old Town Market.
Looks like Frosty the Snowman is hanging out with a happy friend at the Specialty Shops of Old Town Market.
Poinsettias on an old-fashioned cart, and a window wreath decorate one corner of Toby's Candle and Soap Shop.
Poinsettias on an old-fashioned cart, and a window decorated with a wreath. A beautiful holiday display at Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop.
The annual Christmas tree has appeared near the flagpole at the center of Old Town's historic plaza.
The annual Christmas tree has appeared near the flagpole at the center of Old Town’s historic plaza.
Celebrating the holiday season with a little Mexican flavor in Old Town!
Celebrating the holiday season with a little Mexican flavor in Old Town!

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 inside a World War II bunker on Point Loma.

Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument enter the restored Base End Station and Battery Commander's bunker north of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Battery Ashburn can be seen in the distance.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument enter the restored Base End Station and Battery Commander’s bunker, north of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Battery Ashburn can be seen in the distance.

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 caused many to fear that the Imperial Japanese Navy might attack the mainland United States.

Coastal defenses were rapidly built up at strategic points along the West Coast, including Point Loma, the peninsula that overlooks the narrow entrance to San Diego Bay. Many of the United States Navy’s remaining ships were homeported in San Diego and had to be protected at all costs.

During World War II, Point Loma’s Fort Rosecrans was the home of the U. S. Army 19th Coast Artillery Regiment. Soldiers manned steel-reinforced concrete bunkers containing Base End Stations, and scanned the horizon for enemy vessels. Should the enemy be sighted, they relayed their information to a Battery Commander, who precisely calculated the enemy’s position, then issued orders to various gun batteries that guarded the approach to San Diego.

Today, almost a century later, the general public can enter one of those old bunkers overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

During my recent Saturday visit to Cabrillo National Monument, I was excited to see that the park’s restored bunker, designated Battery E Control Station, was open. I descended the steep steps into a small underground world, and experienced what life was like for those who stood watch over the wide ocean day and night during the war.

I then checked out a small museum near the bunker to learn a little more about San Diego’s coastal defenses during World War II.

Here are photographs that I took. Read the captions for more fascinating information. Click the signs and they will enlarge.

The Battery E Control Station can be entered on many weekend days. Tours are provided by volunteer docents who are members of the San Diego Military History Association.
The Battery E Control Station can be entered on many weekend days. Tours are provided by volunteer docents who are members of the San Diego Military History Association.
Walking down steps into the two-level, steel-reinforced concrete bunker is like stepping back in time. The 19th Coast Artillery Regiment manned multiple Point Loma bunkers during World War II.
Walking down steps into the two-level, steel-reinforced concrete bunker is like stepping back in time. The 19th Coast Artillery Regiment manned multiple Point Loma bunkers during World War II.
A docent in a World War II era uniform demonstrates the use of an azimuth scope, used to scan the ocean for enemy vessels during the war. These spotting scopes gave accurate readings of target positions.
A docent in a World War II era uniform demonstrates the use of an azimuth scope. These spotting scopes gave accurate readings of target positions.
A photograph inside the top level of the bunker, which served as the Battery Commander Station for nearby Battery Ashburn.
A photograph inside the top level of the bunker, which served as the Battery Commander Station for nearby Battery Ashburn.
Objects displayed include a map, helmet, canteen and pin-up girl on the wall. A WWII veteran who served at Fort Rosecrans helped to make the bunker's interior appear historically accurate.
Objects displayed include a map, helmet, canteen and pin-up girl on the wall. A WWII veteran who served at Fort Rosecrans helped to make the bunker’s interior appear historically accurate.
Diagram on wall identified the silhouettes of Japanese Naval Vessels during World War II.
Diagram on a wall identified Japanese Naval Vessels during World War II.
Marks show the direction and distance to South and North Coronado Islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico.
Marks show the direction and distance to South and North Coronado Islands, which lie in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico.
Phones on the wall beside a small Duty Roster chalkboard. The Battery Commander would communicate information to nearby Battery Ashburn.
Phones on the wall beside a small Duty Roster chalkboard. The Battery Commander would calculate and communicate accurate information to nearby Battery Ashburn.
Metal rungs descend into the lower level of the bunker, where visitors can see the small bunkroom and a typical Base End Station.
Metal rungs descend into the lower level of the bunker, where visitors can see the small bunkroom and a typical Base End Station.
A friendly docent shows me the bunkroom, where those who manned the bunker took turns sleeping.
A friendly docent shows me the bunkroom, where those who manned the bunker took turns sleeping.
Objects in the bunkroom include toiletries, U. S. Army rations, cigarettes, magazines and pin-ups on the wall.
Objects in the bunkroom include toiletries, U. S. Army rations, cigarettes, magazines and pin-ups on the wall.
Next to the bunkroom is a Base End Station, where soldiers continuously scanned the ocean horizon. It is one of five Base End Stations that were assigned to the Battery Commander Station directly above.
Next to the bunkroom is a Base End Station, where soldiers continuously scanned the ocean horizon. It is one of five Base End Stations that were assigned to the Battery Commander Station directly above.
Old photos above two phones show the operation of azimuth scopes in a Base End Station.
Old photos above two phones show the operation of azimuth scopes in a Base End Station.
A pair of Base End Stations would track an enemy ship's position, course and speed. Distance to an enemy vessel was determined through triangulation.
A sign describes Fire Control Rooms. A pair of Base End Stations would track an enemy ship’s position, course and speed. Distance to an enemy vessel was determined through triangulation.
Sign shows the different battery positions on Point Loma during World War II. Battery Ashburn's two 16 inch naval guns had a range of 26 miles.
Sign shows the different battery positions on Point Loma during World War II. Battery Ashburn’s two 16 inch naval guns had a range of 26 miles.
Old photos include Battery Ashburn in 1943 and Battery Point Loma in 1941.
Old photos include Battery Ashburn in 1943 and Battery Point Loma in 1941.
A sign in the nearby museum shows the ranges of Point Loma's many defensive gun batteries.
A sign in the nearby museum shows the ranges of Point Loma’s many defensive gun batteries.
During World War II, Fort Rosecrans on Point Loma was garrisoned by the 19th Coast Artillery Regiment. Troops assigned to Fort Rosecrans in San Diego thought it a good duty station, with pleasant weather.
During World War II, Fort Rosecrans on Point Loma was garrisoned by the 19th Coast Artillery Regiment. Troops assigned to Fort Rosecrans in San Diego thought it a good duty station, with pleasant weather.
Binoculars at the ready. Enter a coastal defense bunker at Cabrillo National Monument to experience a bit of what it was like during World War II in San Diego.
Binoculars at the ready. Enter a coastal defense bunker at Cabrillo National Monument to experience a bit of what it was like during World War II in San Diego.

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A visit to the Cabrillo National Monument tidepools.

Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument investigate the tidepools.
Visitors to Cabrillo National Monument investigate the tidepools.

Cabrillo National Monument at the end of San Diego’s Point Loma peninsula is a place of many wonders.

Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of San Diego, its big, beautiful bay, Coronado’s North Island and the Pacific Ocean. They can enter the Old Point Loma Lighthouse which was built in 1855 to guide ships into San Diego’s harbor. They can see the iconic statue dedicated to Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the explorer who discovered San Diego Bay in 1542 on behalf of Spain. They can watch the migration of gray whales, move through native flora on the Bayside Trail, and check out bunkers that were erected as a coastal defense during World War II.

And by heading a little off the beaten track, visitors can also explore amazing tidepools!

Where are they?

Shortly after passing the park’s Entrance Station, turn right on Cabrillo Road and drive down the hill to the Point Loma Tide Pools.

Make sure to arrive around the time of low tide. Wear sturdy shoes with good traction. Then carefully walk from the parking lot down a short path to the sandstone cliffs and slippery intertidal zone rocks. That’s where you’ll find abundant sea life.

It’s easy to spot all sorts of diverse marine animals, invertebrates and plants at the ocean’s edge. One can find surf grass, sea lettuce, dead man’s fingers, sea hares, lined shore crabs, bat stars, aggregating anemones, sea urchins, limpets, chitons, periwinkle snails, California mussels, lobsters and even small octopuses!

I took some photographs about two hours before low tide!

As low tide nears, people look about the rocks and shallow water for signs of sea life.
As low tide nears, people look about the rocks and shallow water for signs of sea life.
Amazing beauty awaits curious eyes.
Amazing beauty awaits curious eyes.
Starting down the path from a parking lot to the Point Loma Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument.
Starting down the path from a parking lot to the Point Loma Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument.
A sign by the path. Exploring the rocky intertidal zones is like peering through a window into the ocean's ecosystem. During low tide, marine animals in shallow pools can be closely observed.
A sign by the path. Exploring the rocky intertidal zones is like peering through a window into the ocean’s ecosystem. During low tide, marine animals in shallow pools can be closely observed.
The closer you look, the more you see. Park rangers periodically identify and count the organisms to monitor the health of each species.
The closer you look, the more you see. Park rangers periodically identify and count the organisms to monitor the health of each species.
As we head down the dirt path, the tide pool overlook comes into view.
As we head down the dirt path, the tide pool overlook comes into view.
The tide pool area is active with curious visitors. Only two hours until low tide this afternoon.
The tide pool area is active with curious visitors. Only two hours until low tide this afternoon.
A funny crab asks visitors to please leave all shells in the tidepools.
A funny crab asks visitors to please leave all shells in the tidepools.
Approaching a pair of information signs atop the overlook. The blue Pacific Ocean waves smoothly curl below.
Approaching a pair of information signs atop the overlook. Pacific Ocean waves curl smoothly below.
The old signs are very weathered, but let's take a look anyway.
These old signs are very faded, but let’s take a look anyway.
You are now standing in the upper limits of the splash zone. The waterline does not come this high, but splash and spray sometimes do. Just below is the high-tide zone.
You are now standing in the upper limits of the splash zone. The waterline does not come this high, but splash and spray sometimes do. Just below is the high-tide zone.
Some organisms pictured are limpets, chitons, sand castle worms, goose-necked barnacles and abalone.
Some organisms pictured are limpets, chitons, sand castle worms, goose-necked barnacles and abalone.
Plant life includes giant kelp, surf grass, coraline algae, rock weed, feather boa kelp and dead man's finger.
Plant life includes giant kelp, surf grass, coraline algae, rock weed, feather boa kelp and dead man’s finger.
Families enjoy the warm sunshine and smell of the ocean. This photo looks north along the sandstone cliffs of Point Loma.
Families enjoy the warm sunshine and smell of the ocean. This photo looks north along the sandstone cliffs of Point Loma.
A few rocks stick out of the surf. Fishing boats lie in the water beyond.
A few rocks stick out of the surf. Fishing boats lie in the water beyond.
A gull stands upon one of the larger rocks.
A gull stands upon one of the larger rocks.
A lone surfer has caught a good wave!
A lone surfer has caught a good wave!
As we head down a short dirt path from the overlook to the tidepool area, we take a closer look at the eroded sandstone cliffs and water-smoothed stones on the narrow beach below.
As we head down a short dirt path from the overlook to the tidepool area, we take a closer look at the eroded sandstone cliffs and water-smoothed stones on the narrow beach below.

A wide flat rock dips dips toward the ocean at one end of the tidepools, making a perfect platform for exploration when the tide goes out.
A wide flat rock dips dips toward the ocean at one end of the tidepools, making a perfect platform for exploration when the tide goes out.
In a couple hours even more tidepools will appear. Low tide is the best time to explore the rocky pools of captured water.
In a couple hours even more tidepools will appear. Low tide is the best time to explore the rocky pools of captured water.
Someone peers down into the shallow water, perhaps looking for an octopus or fish.
Someone peers down into the shallow water, perhaps looking for an octopus or fish.
Someone--a young person most likely--searched for heart-shaped stones on the rocky beach and lined them up for all to see.
Someone–a young person most likely–searched for heart-shaped stones on the rocky beach and lined them up for all to see.
People explore a smooth bowl-like pit in the eroded, layered, uptilted sandstone.
People explore a smooth bowl-like pit in the eroded, layered, tilted sandstone.
So much wild natural beauty. So much to contemplate.
So much wild natural beauty. So much to contemplate.
The rock shelf contains parallel fissures and oddly eroded patterns. Over many years the rock is weathered, strangely changes.
The rock shelf contains parallel fissures and oddly eroded patterns. Over many years the rock is weathered, strangely changes.
I see some of those whitish goose-necked barnacles. Many of the tiny pits are home to troglodyte chitons.
I see some of those whitish goose-necked barnacles. Many of the tiny pits are home to troglodyte chitons.
I found some limpets clinging to the wet rock.
I found some limpets clinging to the wet rock.
Bright green algae grows on the exposed rock's surface.
Bright green algae grows on the exposed intertidal rock’s surface.
Beauty that defies description.
Beauty that defies adequate description.
The patient sea washes against these rocks, doing its slow work over the course of countless lifetimes.
The patient sea washes against these rocks, doing its slow work over the course of countless lifetimes.
Looking south at light on the water and dark, broken rocks.
Looking south at light on the water and dark, broken rocks.
The slowly uplifted then eroded sandstone cliffs also tell a story in their book-page-layers about the passage of time.
The uplifted then eroded sandstone cliffs tell a story in their book-page-layers about the passage of time.
Little piles of sand and stone collect where the cliffs crumble.
Little piles of sand and stone collect where the cliffs crumble.
High above, atop Point Loma, I see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, now a part of human history.
High above, atop Point Loma, I see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, now a part of human history.
Gazing at the sublime work of nature.
Gazing at the sublime work of nature.

No human artist could possibly paint this.
No human artist could possibly paint this.

I see a small bit of sea lettuce!
I see a small leaf of sea lettuce!
An aggregating anemone has collected fragments of shell and grains of sand.
An aggregating anemone has collected fragments of shell and grains of sand.
A small boy walked up to me as I photographed this small scene and said that it looks like a volcano. On the surface of Mars, I thought to myself.
A young boy walked up to me as I photographed this small scene and said that it looks like a volcano. On the surface of Mars, I thought to myself.
Like a glittering hidden treasure.
Like a glittering hidden treasure.
A chiton between an anemone and a limpet. Another close look at nature's awesome and infinite beauty.
A chiton between an anemone and a limpet. Another close look at nature’s awesome and infinite beauty.

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.

Happy memories, and the decline of Seaport Village.

I have many happy memories of Seaport Village.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young and Seaport Village was new, my family would occasionally head downtown to enjoy the place. We’d stroll around the meandering pathways, poke our noses inside the specialty shops, browse the shelves of the cool bookstore, and enjoy lunch at one of several restaurants.

I was always intrigued by the big selection of magic tricks in the magic shop. At the candy store I’d shovel dozens of different sweets into a small bag, then eat them during the rest of our walk. We’d watch kites soaring in the blue San Diego sky at the nearby grassy park, and sailboats out on the bay. We always tried to catch Kazoo, the Seaport Village mime, performing.

On Sunday I walked through Seaport Village and was saddened to see many of the old shops are now vacant. The east half of Seaport Village almost resembles a ghost town.

Yes, there are plans to redevelop this valuable part of downtown’s bayfront, to make it more attractive and dynamic. Seaport San Diego will feature an observation tower, hotels, even an aquarium. But I’ve been told that future is somewhat uncertain and is still years away.

I’ve also been told that with this uncertain future and a recent change to the Seaport Village management, many shop owners have chosen not to renew their leases.

And yet today I saw hundreds of families happily walking about Seaport Village, visiting those shops and eateries that remain open. Such is the place’s reputation.

Over the decades Seaport Village has been the source of pleasure for millions of people.

But time and progress march on…

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 paradise of fine art in San Diego!

Jorge Luis Borges wrote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” As someone who loves to read and write, I agree.

But I also love to experience life, contemplate and be inspired in other ways. So paradise, to me, would also be like a museum full of extraordinary artwork.

Anyone who’d like to enter such a paradise in San Diego should visit the San Diego Museum of Art. Every time I go, I feel that I’ve ascended to a blissful place–an elevated place where I become fully alive.

My docent pal Catherine guided another great tour of the museum this weekend, and as I and other guests walked from gallery to gallery, my eyes couldn’t stop jumping from wonder to wonder. And I had to chuckle a couple of times, too. Catherine has been known to spontaneously inject bits of wry humor into her tours. With this simple blog post I would like to thank her for being so generous.

The San Diego Museum of Art never ceases to amaze me. I’m always discovering something new. It contains a truly world-class collection of fine art, including masterpieces by some of history’s most celebrated artists. The museum has also collected many pieces that have a special connection to San Diego.

I’ve always thought it would be amazing if one small gallery were permanently dedicated to San Diego–to San Diego’s most renowned artists, and to timeless works of art inspired by our beautiful and surprisingly diverse city. Just imagine!

Do you love art, too? If you ever find yourself in Balboa Park, please walk over to the San Diego Museum of Art.

Then step through the front door into Paradise.

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!