A most wonderful place.

Smiling dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of India lawn program.
Smiling dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of India lawn program.

The older I get, the more in love I become with Balboa Park. It’s a most wonderful place.

I took a long, random walk around the park today.

Here are a few photos…

A lone gentlemen sits at a cafe table outside the House of Italy in Balboa Park.
A lone gentlemen sits at a cafe table outside the House of Italy in Balboa Park.
Many enjoy sitting in sunshine at the San Diego Museum of Art's May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden.
Many enjoy sitting in sunshine at the San Diego Museum of Art’s May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden.
Elegantly dressed visitors to Balboa Park pose for a photo by a fountain.
Elegantly dressed visitors to Balboa Park pose for a photo by a fountain.
A street performer on El Prado wraps a gentle snake over the shoulders of a delighted man.
A street performer on El Prado wraps a snake over the shoulders of a delighted man.
A friendly psychic is ready to assist anyone passing by.
A friendly psychic is ready to assist anyone passing by.
Another beautiful San Diego day along El Prado.
Another beautiful San Diego day along El Prado.
Ranger Kim provides a Sunday tour. A large group has paused to learn about the history of nearby buildings.
Ranger Kim provides a Sunday tour. A large group has paused to learn about the history of nearby buildings.
People have collected near the south end of the picturesque Lily Pond.
People have collected near the south end of the picturesque reflecting pool, or Lily Pond.
There are always lots of treats to choose from in Balboa Park!
There are always lots of treats to choose from in Balboa Park!
A most wonderful place.
A most wonderful place.
Two bicyclists pass each other in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. It's winter, not yet spring.
Two bicyclists pass each other in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. It’s winter, not yet spring.
Looking from the Desert Garden across Florida Canyon toward Morley Field.
Looking from the Desert Garden across Florida Canyon toward Morley Field.
Kids play near Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
Kids play near Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
A Bob Marley banner has been hung on the colorful side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
A Bob Marley banner has been hung on the colorful side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
The flag atop the Balboa Park Administration Building is at half staff. The world is troubled. Balboa Park is a refuge, filled with peace and happiness.
The flag atop the Balboa Park Administration Building is at half staff. The world is troubled. Balboa Park is a refuge, filled with peace and happiness.
Beauty and sunshine are abundant in Balboa Park.
Beauty and sunshine are abundant in Balboa Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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Lone cherry tree has early blossoms!

A small handful of early cherry blossoms have appeared at the Japanese Friendship Garden!
A few early cherry blossoms have appeared at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

NEWS FLASH!

A solitary cherry tree at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park has made history! It appears to be the very first in the garden to display blossoms this year!

Many more blossoms in the beautiful grove of Japanese cherry trees should be appearing soon!

This branch of one Japanese cherry tree has a few newly opened blossoms in mid-February.
This branch of one Japanese cherry tree has a few newly opened blossoms in mid-February.
All of the many cherry trees in the Lower Garden seem bare--except one lone tree that I found...
All of the many cherry trees in the Lower Garden seem bare–except one lone tree that I found…
Spring must be coming!
Spring must be coming!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Murals by young artivist on United Nations Building.

One of four murals by young artist Caymin Ellspermann on the United Nations Building in Balboa Park.
One of four murals by young “artivist” Caymin Ellspermann on the United Nations Building in Balboa Park.

Four new murals were hung on the exterior of the United Nations Building in Balboa Park a couple days ago. I spotted them yesterday as I walked through the International Cottages.

The murals were all painted by Caymin Ellspermann, who is a talented sixteen-year-old Peace Paint Ambassador with the global UNA USA San Diego’s Art Miles Mural Project. Themes expressed in these artivist murals range from feeding the hungry to protecting wildlife.

Caymin is available for art commissions. To reach him, read the information on the sign containing his biography. (You can click the following photo to enlarge it.)

Caymin Ellspermann is a Peace Paint Ambassador with the global UNA USA San Diego's Art Miles Mural Project. He is an artivist interested in social and environmental issues.
Caymin Ellspermann is a Peace Paint Ambassador with the global UNA USA San Diego’s Art Miles Mural Project. He is an artivist interested in social and environmental issues.
A new mural near the front entrance of the United Nations Building among the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
A new mural near the front entrance of the United Nations Building among the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
A beautiful mural shows a Native American and wildlife.
A beautiful mural shows a Native American and wildlife.
A colorful mural shows people holding hands, with abundant life and food.
A fantastic, colorful mural shows people holding hands, with abundant life and food.
A mural speaks out against hunting protected wild animals in Africa.
A mural speaks out against hunting protected wild animals in Africa.

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Beautiful hearts appear before Valentine’s Day!

A lustrous red ceramic heart, created by Pierre Bounaud of Studio 40 at Spanish Village Art Center.
A lustrous red ceramic heart, created by Pierre Bounaud of Studio 40 at Spanish Village Art Center.

Look at all the beautiful hearts I spotted while walking about Balboa Park this afternoon . . . and scenes containing heart!

Valentine’s Day is only three days away!

Amber and larimar earring hearts for sale at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society and Village Silversmith's store.
Amber and larimar heart-shaped earrings for sale at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society and Village Silversmith’s store.
A fun heart dangles in front of Spanish Village's Studio 13.
A fun heart dangles in front of Spanish Village’s Studio 13.
Old-fashioned lovers sit together in a graphic on the historic Balboa Park Carousel.
Old-fashioned lovers sit together in a graphic on the historic Balboa Park Carousel.
A wrapped heart treat in a display case inside the House of Czech and Slovak Republics.
A wrapped heart treat in a display case inside the House of Czech and Slovak Republics, at the International Cottages.
More hearts on glassware (and a cannon!) inside the House of Sweden.
More hearts on glassware inside the House of Sweden.
A beautiful fabric heart inside the House of Hungry's exhibit inside Balboa Park's Hall of Nations building.
A beautiful fabric heart, part of the House of Hungry’s exhibit inside the Hall of Nations.
Two lovers tango on a book cover in the Helen Edison Gift Shop at the Old Globe Theatre.
A couple tangos on a wall calendar in the Helen Edison Gift Shop at the Old Globe Theatre.
International Dance Festival participants twirl on the sidewalk in front of the Balboa Park Club.
International Dance Festival participants twirl on the sidewalk in front of the Balboa Park Club.
Jewelry boxes shaped like hearts on sale inside the Balboa Park Club during the International Dance Festival.
Jewelry boxes shaped like hearts for sale inside the Balboa Park Club during the International Dance Festival.
I also spotted these red heart-patterned fabrics for sale at the festival.
I also spotted some heart-patterned fabrics for sale at the festival.
Local artist Jean Pierre Marques had these colorful hearts for sale near the International Cottages. Valentine's Day is almost here!
Local artist Jean Pierre Marques had these colorful painted hearts for sale near the International Cottages. Valentine’s Day is almost here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Lots of smiles, fun and beauty in Balboa Park!

Photographer aims at classic fountain in the beautiful Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.
Photographer aims at beautiful fountain in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.

Today I found lots of smiles, fun and beauty as I walked around Balboa Park! But what else is new? Every visit is wonderful!

People walk down El Prado past the amazing Casa del Prado.
People walk down El Prado past the amazing Casa del Prado.
Wedding photography near the Lily Pond in Balboa Park.
Heavenly wedding photography near the Lily Pond in Balboa Park.
Nice ladies with the San Diego Museum of Art were getting art supplies ready for a youth event this evening.
Smiling ladies with the San Diego Museum of Art were getting art supplies ready for a youth event this evening.
More smiles at a table outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center.
More smiles from volunteers at a table outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center.
A coffee mug with hearts for eyes. It must be almost Valentine's Day.
A coffee mug with hearts for eyes outside the House of Hospitality. It must be almost Valentine’s Day.
Bonsai in the exquisite Japanese Friendship Garden.
Bonsai in the always beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden.
For fun, enter the San Diego Air and Space Museum! They've got a new interactive exhibit about speed!
For fun, enter the San Diego Air and Space Museum! They’ve got a new interactive exhibit about Speed!
Beauty seen by few visitors, from the parking lot behind the Casa de Balboa.
Fantastic beauty seen by few visitors, from the parking lot behind the Casa de Balboa.
Almost time to head home. I hopped on the green Balboa Park shuttle.
Almost time to head home. I hopped on the green Balboa Park shuttle at the Plaza de Panama.
As I departed, I got a bonus smile!
And as I departed, I got a bonus smile!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Another day gently ends in Balboa Park.

Another day nears its end in beautiful Balboa Park.
Another day nears its end in beautiful Balboa Park.

I got off work a couple hours early today. To enjoy the remaining daylight, I headed over to Balboa Park.

A late January weekday was gently drawing to a close.

Late light on the Casa del Prado's colonnade.
Late light on the Casa del Prado’s colonnade.
A bit of daylight remains. People meditate on some grass in Balboa Park.
A bit of daylight remains. People meditate on some grass in Balboa Park.
A quiet late January evening at the Plaza de Balboa and Bea Evenson Fountain. The San Diego Natural History Museum shines in the last rays of sunlight.
A quiet late January afternoon at the Plaza de Balboa and Bea Evenson Fountain. The San Diego Natural History Museum shines in the last rays of sunlight.
Joggers pass through the Plaza de Panama as the sun falls behind the House of Charm.
Joggers pass through the Plaza de Panama as the sun falls behind the House of Charm.
Sunlight illuminates the rear of buildings along El Prado, as seen from the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Sunlight illuminates the rear of buildings lining El Prado, as seen from the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A group of smiling mariachis walks near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
A group of smiling mariachis walks near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
The Tea Pavilion has closed for the day. Time to sweep leaves from the patio.
The Tea Pavilion has closed for the day. Time to sweep leaves from the patio.
People enjoy the remaining daylight near Joan Miro's sculpture Solar Bird, near the entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art.
People enjoy the remaining daylight near Joan Miro’s sculpted Solar Bird, near the entrance of the San Diego Museum of Art.
The sun is almost ready to set. Clouds become luminous behind the California Tower.
The sun is getting ready to set. Clouds become luminous behind the California Tower.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Paintings in Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room.

Botanical Building, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Botanical Building, Leigh Cohn, 2014.

Last year I went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the House of Hospitality that included a look inside the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room. There was a whole lot to see, and only a few minutes to snap photos.

I did manage to frame with my camera several paintings in the boardroom. They were painted by Leigh Cohn in 2014 for the Balboa Park Centennial. My quick photos provide an imperfect glimpse of the colorful artwork.

I’m not sure what the decorative object is on the small wooden table. I can find nothing about it on the internet. My hunch is it was used atop the old Balboa Park Community Christmas Tree, before the tree became too old and fragile to support ornaments. Just my guess–probably wrong! Please leave a comment if you know something!

If you ever have the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour through the House of Hospitality, I definitely recommend it! There are a variety of beautiful rooms in the building that are usually inaccessible to the public. For those interested in Balboa Park’s history, the tour is a must!

Visitors to Balboa Park enjoy a tour of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room in the House of Hospitality.
Visitors to Balboa Park enjoy a tour of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room in the House of Hospitality.
David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, provides a special tour of the board room, in the House of Hospitality.
David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, provides a special tour of their boardroom in the House of Hospitality.
Artwork in the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room includes the fascinating piece on a small wooden table. Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward.
Artwork in the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room includes a fascinating piece on a small wooden table.
Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward from what appears to be brasswork.
Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward from what appears to be weathered brasswork.
Before the Park Opens, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Before the Park Opens, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Tower, Globe and Fountain, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Tower, Globe and Fountain, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Lily Pond Facing South, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Lily Pond Facing South, Leigh Cohn, 2014.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!