A hidden paradise in San Clemente Canyon!

You’d assume a hiking trail beside a freeway wouldn’t be beautiful.

Not when it’s a trail through enormous willows, oaks and sycamores in San Clemente Canyon!

Marian Bear Memorial Park occupies this narrow canyon between North Clairemont and University City–and so does California State Route 52. But when you hike by the creek through the many trees, which conceal the freeway, you quickly tune out the muffled noise of traffic. Your mind is busy with the surrounding beauty.

It’s everywhere.

Today around noontime I started from the Genesee Avenue trailhead and walked east. I passed under a freeway on-ramp, over stones in shallow muddy water, and entered a hidden paradise in the middle of the city.

The trail was easy. There were benches for resting. There was plenty of shade. I saw many birds. High above the trees I glimpsed a red-tailed hawk.

I saw families with smiling kids enjoying a day in nature. Bring water and sturdy shoes!

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!

A most beautiful garden reopens!

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is reopening!

Today was the first day that members could enjoy the garden. Starting on Monday, June 22, this most beautiful garden will be open to the public!

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, face coverings and social distancing will be required.

I got off from work early today, so I headed into Balboa Park and found myself at the entrance to the Japanese Friendship Garden renewing my annual membership. Then I stepped into the garden. And I immediately lost myself in the tranquil beauty.

Sunlight touched green leaves. Water sparkled and splashed. Birds took flight as I moved from shadow to light. My mind calmed. I again understood the true beauty of life and this world.

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!

Major construction projects underway in Balboa Park!

Numerous major construction projects are now underway in Balboa Park!

It appears workers were very busy while the park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today the center of Balboa Park reopened to the public, and as I walked around I was surprised to see all the construction activity!

The above photo and the one that follows shows the long-planned public viewing platform being built around the park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree!

I once blogged more information concerning this project here.

The next three photos show how the Mingei International Museum’s major transformation is well underway! I believe the construction you see on one side of the building is going to be the Mingei’s new theater.

If you want an idea of how things will look when finished, you can visit my blog post concerning the Mingei’s transformation here.

I was really surprised to see that the Palisades area of Balboa Park has begun it’s historic transformation!

Half the old parking lot–the side nearest the San Diego Air and Space Museum–will be turned into a pedestrian plaza featuring lawns and a monumental fountain that will recall the Firestone Singing Color Fountains of the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition!

Finally, I saw a great deal of progress has been made building the five new structures at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages! The new cottages will be the future home of nine nations.

I’ve blogged about this long delayed project on several occasions. You can see a map of the project here, and see photos I took of the groundbreaking ceremony in 2016 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!

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!

A garden’s spring beauty–that none can see.

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is one of San Diego’s most beautiful places. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has closed the garden to the public temporarily.

It’s spring. The world is newly green. Leaves stretch skyward to drink in bright sunlight. Flowers bloom.

Even though our eyes cannot admire the garden at the present moment, there is absolutely no doubt its great beauty persists.

Let’s enjoy some photographs that I took in past springs at the Japanese Friendship Garden…

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 bronze topiary sphere cast from live flora.

An amazing bronze sculpture can be found in downtown San Diego, on Ash Street beside the new Carte Hotel. It’s titled Global Proportion.

Created by artist Beverly Penn in 2019, the bronze “topiary sphere” is described as “a journey and destination created from individual bronze leaves cast from live flora at Balboa Park.”

The diverse leaves seem to represent many beautiful lives, joined together in one organic Earth-like object.

Below the amazing bronze topiary sphere, inlaid plaza tiles represent fallen leaves, scattered by the wind.

Whenever I walk by this very unique sculpture I like to pause for a moment and look up. It’s like a small, perfectly beautiful planet that hovers almost within reach.

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

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Honoring those who make the world more beautiful.

Beauty fills and surrounds the Botanical Building in Balboa Park. As do words that honor those who’ve made our world more beautiful.

Seeds that were planted many years ago live on and on.

Last weekend I saw and read a few plaques.

Alfred D. Robinson, Founding President of the San Diego Floral Association in 1907, originated the use of a "lath house" for displaying plants at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Alfred D. Robinson, Founding President of the San Diego Floral Association in 1907, originated the use of a “lath house” for displaying plants at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Ruth C. Smith, founder of the City Beautiful of San Diego, has left a legacy of beauty for all San Diegans to enjoy for years to come.
Ruth C. Smith, founder of the City Beautiful of San Diego, who worked to plant 10,000 trees in San Diego parks, has left a legacy of beauty for all San Diegans to enjoy for years to come.

In Memory of Miss Daisy O. Tompkins, Teacher. This world is a better place because of her.
In Memory of Miss Daisy O. Tompkins, Teacher. This world is a better place because of her.

Barbara Hart McLean. Artist, Scientist, Mother, Friend. She loved life in all of its diversity and color.
Barbara Hart McLean. Artist, Scientist, Mother, Friend. She loved life in all of its diversity and color.

Honoring a man whose vision of a Botanical Building became reality, adding beauty to the lives of millions.
Honoring a man whose vision of a “Palace of Lath” became reality, adding beauty to the lives of millions of Balboa Park visitors for over a century.

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!

Walk under an enormous, historic tree!

Would you like to walk beneath the branches of one of the most impressive and beloved trees in San Diego?

I remember when I was a boy, people used to walk right up to the trunk of the huge Moreton Bay Fig tree in Balboa Park–that enormous tree just north of the Natural History Museum. Kids would even climb about its limbs. But over the years too many feet compacted the soil above the tree’s root system, threatening to kill it. So the historic tree, planted just before the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, was fenced off to the public.

But there are plans that will allow people to approach this mighty tree once again!

A raised platform is to be built at the base of the Moreton Bay Fig. The structure will not interfere with the tree’s root system, which has been carefully mapped. Once the project is complete, the public will be able to more fully appreciate the beauty and majesty of this amazing 78 feet tall tree.

The Friends of Balboa Park, an organization whose mission is to preserve Balboa Park’s legacy for future generations, is raising money to construct the platform, and they could use a few more donations.

If you’d like to learn more about this cool project, and perhaps help out the Friends of Balboa Park, visit their website here!

Sign in Balboa Park describes Ficus macrophylla, the Moreton Bay Fig.
An old photograph from my blog of a sign in Balboa Park. It describes this particular Ficus macrophylla, or Moreton Bay Fig. The enormous tree is listed as a co-champion with the Santa Barbara Fig in the California Department of Forestry Registry of Big Trees.

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!

Early cherry blossoms promise a new spring.

How the seasons fly.

I saw a few cherry blossoms today during a walk through the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Next month, from March 16 to March 20, my favorite garden in Balboa Park will host 2020 Cherry Blossom Week.

I suppose I’ll be going again.

The few early blossoms are familiar magic.

Spring soon returns.

Another renewal.

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!

The beauty of winter trees by the river.

It’s winter. Many trees along the San Diego River have shed their leaves. Except for a few clinging brown leaves, most of the cottonwoods and sycamores are bare.

I aimed my camera upward this morning in Mission Valley, as I walked down the river path between the Rio Vista trolley station and Mission Center Road. Even in winter, the trees are very beautiful.

(Can you find a tiny moon in one photograph?)

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!

Views of bright buildings from Pantoja Park.

On a clear morning, viewed from Pantoja Park, many of the highest buildings in downtown San Diego shine brightly. Particularly those that rise north and northwest of the park.

These photos that I took today provide a glimpse.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Pantoja Park and its statue of Benito Juarez, a gift from the Mexican government, you can visit one of my earlier blog posts 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!