Nature and art at San Diego River Garden!

There’s a very special garden in San Diego that few people visit. It’s called the San Diego River Garden. It’s situated near the center of Mission Valley, a short distance south of the San Diego River.

Every so often I drive past this native plant garden, but I never see a place to park. The stretch of Camino del Rio North beside it is mostly used by people going to and from nearby office buildings, and no street parking is available.

The gate of the San Diego River Garden’s small dirt parking lot is usually shut. The only other way in is to walk along a dirt path beside the road and pass through an entrance in the fence. Which is what I did this morning!

All was quiet. The early morning summer breeze was pleasantly cool. The few picnic benches were empty. I saw no other people. But I did see many active birds. And bright flowers. And lots of flourishing native plants including some cacti. And modest planters holding more greenery. And many winding trails. And Bigfoot! Yes, you heard me correctly! And–to my additional delight–a whole lot of nature artwork created by young students, including painted tiles scattered here and there on the ground and a cool mural on a shipping container!

According to the San Diego River Park Foundation website: “This site used to be a vacant area reserved for future use by the City of San Diego. But thanks to the City and the many volunteers, sponsors, groups that have come out to garden, the River Park Foundation is caring for this 5 acre area to make it attractive for the community.”

If you or your group would like to volunteer and do a little gardening out in the warm San Diego sunshine, or if you simply want to visit this beautiful kid-friendly park or learn more about it, click 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!

Help others! Join virtual Red Shoe Day online!

The 11th Annual Red Shoe Day is almost here! But this year it will be different. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the gathering of donations for Ronald McDonald House in San Diego will be entirely online!

Instead of plunking your spare change into a big red Ronald McDonald shoe held by a volunteer at a busy intersection, there’s going to be a virtual Red Shoe Day on June 4, 2020 that everyone can safely take part in and share online with others!

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, according to their mission statement: provides a “home-away-from-home” for families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals.

Put yourself in the shoes of a family with a seriously ill child and imagine how important this would be. You could spend much more time with your child as they undergo super scary medical treatment at a big, scary hospital. Read more about what Ronald McDonald House Charities does here.

And here is what you can do!

Click here and join this year’s virtual Red Shoe Day!

Recruit friends, coworkers and family members! Form a winning team!

Look at all the smiling volunteers I photographed in past years, before the coronavirus pandemic…

Click here to join Red Shoe Day and make a huge difference in people’s lives!

You’ll feel good, too!

How to support the museums of Balboa Park.

This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.

Do you love Balboa Park?

One big reason the park is so wonderful is its many diverse museums. World-class museums. Museums that enhance the culture of our city and document the life of this planet. Museums that educate, entertain, highlight beauty and provide inspiration. Museums that bring our community together.

But these nonprofit institutions are always in need of public support. Especially during the present coronavirus pandemic, when Balboa Park is closed to all visitors. Today many of these beloved museums really need your help.

Would you like to make a donation to one or more of the museums of Balboa Park, or perhaps find another way to give them a helping hand?

I’ve visited each museum’s website and created the following list of links. These links will take you to web pages that explain how you can provide each museum with support.

Every little bit helps in this difficult time!

Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Here come the links where you can provide help…

Museum of Photographic Arts

San Diego Art Institute

San Diego Automotive Museum

Fleet Science Center

Japanese Friendship Garden

San Diego Air and Space Museum

Centro Cultural de la Raza

Marston House

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!

WorldBeat Center

Timken Museum of Art

Mingei International Museum

Veterans Museum at Balboa Park

The San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

San Diego History Center

San Diego Museum of Man

San Diego Natural History Museum

Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in Balboa Park.

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!

Redecking famous tall ship HMS Surprise.

Lumber is prepared on the main deck of HMS Surprise during the famous tall ship's re-decking project.
Lumber is prepared on the main deck of HMS Surprise during the famous tall ship’s redecking project.

During my Sunday visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, I noticed good progress has been made redecking HMS Surprise. While nobody was working on that project at the time, I was able to see some of the process that is required to put a beautiful, weather-resistant new deck on the amazing tall ship.

HMS Surprise was used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe, one of the greatest epic films depicting the Age of Sail during the Napoleonic Wars. The ship is a replica of the 18th century Royal Navy frigate HMS Rose, and is just one of several world-famous ships and submarines you can step aboard at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

As you can see in my photo of a sign, the museum welcomes new members, volunteers, docents, donors, and even sail crew! I can tell you that being a member is cool beyond description. I never tire of visiting the museum’s historical exhibits and many beautiful vessels.

An innovative technique used on Star of India is being applied here. It involves multiple epoxy layers, fiberglass layers and planking.
An innovative decking technique that was successful on Star of India is also being used for HMS Surprise. It involves multiple epoxy layers, fiberglass layers and planking.
The main deck of HMS Surprise is full of lumber, saws and other woodworking tools!
The main deck of HMS Surprise is full of lumber, saws and other woodworking tools!
In this photo you can see how some of the layered decking work is done.
In this photo you can see how some of the layered decking work is done.
Another photo of the redecking in progress.
Another photo of the redecking in progress.
Some of the hand tools.
Some of the hand tools.
The finished decking on HMS Surprise's quarterdeck is very beautiful and should last many years.
The finished decking on HMS Surprise’s quarterdeck is very beautiful and should endure sun, weather and the feet of curious visitors for many years.
There's always more work to be done at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! Your help is welcomed!
Volunteers head out to the museum’s barge with some lumber. There’s always more work to be done at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Your help is appreciated!

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!

Free activities and help for San Diego seniors!

Look what I discovered today!

I was walking around Balboa Park, looking at an arts and crafts sale in the Casa del Prado courtyard, when I discovered some great information. If you’re in San Diego and at least 55 years old (or if you know someone who is) there are lots of activities and services available for seniors, and many are absolutely free!

A friendly gentleman with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department told me all about it. The program is called AgeWell Services. You can visit the AgeWell Services website by clicking here.

AgeWell Services offers art classes, senior art shows, needle crafts, poetry parties, dance lessons, talent shows, craft sales and much more. There’s free tea, coffee, water, bingo and social opportunities in the Balboa Park Senior Lounge, and easy walks around Balboa Park. There are laugh hours and free movies. There are informative talks. There is even free assistance for those 60 years or older with a variety of legal issues such as wills and renter disputes!

There are senior activities at many City of San Diego Recreation Centers!

AgeWell Services also has occasional day trips to interesting places like the J. Paul Getty Museum, Big Bear, Catalina Island and Julian. I noticed these special trips are offered for a very reasonable fee.

If you’d like to see all of these activities and services that are available to San Diego seniors, you should subscribe to a newsletter that comes out every few months called The Scroll. The Scroll is packed with all the latest information, including a Calendar of Events.

To join the mailing list for The Scroll, or to learn more about AgeWell Services, simply call 619-525-8247.

Volunteers are also needed! Call 619-236-6905 if you’d like to volunteer!

Community volunteers beautify City Heights!

Today I headed to City Heights to join a group of community members in a very special event. Today is the Global Day of Caring, and our mission was to pick up litter and cheer on artists as they painted a couple of new street murals!

This inspiring event was organized by Love City Heights and made possible by a very generous donation from Huntington Ingalls Industries, which operates one of the largest shipyards in San Diego.

A diverse group of volunteers came together in the space behind the Treasure Trove antique store for the big clean up. I noticed that many hands were provided by the San Diego Asian Youth Organization!

After scouring the sidewalks near several blocks of University Avenue for trash, we all enjoyed a super tasty lunch served up by Brochachos Tacos and Faith Chapel of Spring Valley.

During the event there was a variety of fun activities. A colorful mural was being painted by Matthew Curtis (@naylorcurtis). And there was face painting, too!

Large permanent murals were also being created by street artists a block away at two separate locations. I’ll blog about those next…

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!

Loving City Heights on the Global Day Of Caring!

Los Angeles muralist Ruben Rojas, co-founder of Beautify Earth, painted LOVE on the side of 7-Eleven in City Heights.
Los Angeles muralist Ruben Rojas, co-founder of Beautify Earth, painted LOVE on the side of 7-Eleven in City Heights.

Today, November 9, 2019, is the Global Day Of Caring. Come join the community of City Heights for their big street cleaning and mural painting event! The hub of activity will be the Treasure Trove antique store at 3538 University Avenue from 10 am to 1 pm.

Love City Heights, a volunteer organization working to enliven and beautify San Diego’s most culturally diverse neighborhood, is behind this effort. They’ve been transforming University Avenue between I-805 and I-15 into a cool outdoor art gallery, featuring dozens of colorful murals!

To see the progress of the #theavenuemuralproject, you can revisit some of my past blog posts. View lots of photos here and here and here and here and here and here and here!

I’ll post an update after the event with new photos!

UPDATE!

I posted the event photos here!

House of USA celebrates in Balboa Park!

During my walk through Balboa Park this afternoon, I observed members of the House of USA setting up for their lawn program at the International Cottages. And suddenly I remembered Independence Day is coming up on Thursday!

After walking a little more about the park, I returned to the International Cottages right at two o’clock, just in time for the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The crowd wasn’t very large, but everyone was enjoying a fine occasion. The House of USA was serving up hot dogs, and people were stepping inside their cottage to see all sorts of cultural and historical displays. Outside on the stage, Navy Band Southwest’s outstanding Prevailing Winds Ensemble was playing a mixture of classic and popular tunes. I really enjoyed their great rendition of music from The Incredibles!

I checked out a couple of booths on the lawn. The House of USA princess posed for a cool photo. I met a gentlemen promoting the Civil Air Patrol.

Over the years, Civil Air Patrol volunteers have saved thousands of lives. They’re the ones who often transport emergency supplies after a disaster, spot people trapped on rooftops during catastrophic floods, and locate hikers lost in the mountains. I learned they have a cadet program for youth interesting in aviation, personal growth and community service.

The Civil Air Patrol always needs volunteers! Click here to learn more!

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!

Fun photos of SDCCU Super Shred Event!

Look at all these smiling faces! My own face is smiling because I got a big box of old documents shredded for free this morning. I drove down to SDCCU Stadium and took part with thousands of others in the enormous Super Shred Event!

Will SDCCU and Shred-It set yet another world record for paper shredding this year? I’m guessing, yes!

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!

Neighbors gather to beautify a city park!

This morning neighbors who live in San Diego’s downtown Cortez Hill community came together to beautify the Tweet Street linear park!

Lots of smiling folks were toiling along Tenth Avenue digging holes, planting new greenery, raking up leaves and spreading mulch . . . and having fun, too!

This special event was organized by the Friends of Tweet Street Park and Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean and Safe program. I was amazed at how quickly a lot of work got done when many volunteers pitch in together!

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!