Balboa Park’s quiet paradise at Inspiration Point.

Walking through a pleasant arbor in Balboa Park's little-visited Administrative Courtyard on Inspiration Point.
Walking through a pleasant arbor in Balboa Park’s little-visited Administrative Courtyard on Inspiration Point.

I had to revisit one of my favorite corners of Balboa Park. I aimed my feet toward Inspiration Point, then walked slowly into the quiet paradise behind the park’s handsome Administration Building.

I blogged about the Balboa Park Administrative Courtyard when I first stumbled upon it several years ago here. And a mysterious fountain at the center of a nearby pool of water here.

So tranquil. So beautiful. I should have brought a book. I did sit down on a bench for a while, and felt the sun on my face. It’s a corner of heaven in Balboa Park that very few visit.

Gazing up from the lush courtyard toward the top of the nearby Balboa Park Administration Building.
Gazing up from the lush courtyard toward the top of the nearby Balboa Park Administration Building.
As I walk through the arbor, I see one of the cheerful tile roofed gazebos ahead.
As I walk through the arbor, I see one of the cheerful tile roofed gazebos ahead.
One of two old Navy Hospital fountains in the Administrative Courtyard. Years ago this area was part of a huge Navy Hospital campus off of Park Boulevard.
One of two old Navy Hospital fountains in the Administrative Courtyard. Years ago this area was part of a huge Navy Hospital campus off of Park Boulevard.
A peaceful fountain with bubbling water. Special events like weddings can be booked here, but the public seldom visits.
A peaceful fountain with bubbling water. Special events like weddings can be booked here, but the public seldom visits.
Looking across the green lawn at a gazebo.
Looking across the green lawn at a gazebo.
Down some steps south of the courtyard is a small pool with a cherub-like fountain at its center.
Down some steps south of the courtyard is a small pool with a cherub-like fountain at its center.
Several benches are near the water. Nobody comes here. This, too, was once part of the old Navy hospital.
Several benches are near the water. Nobody comes here. This, too, was once part of the old Navy hospital.
Back in the courtyard, where palm trees cast interesting spidery shadows.
Back in the courtyard, where palm trees cast interesting spidery shadows.
One more look up at some colorful, eye-pleasing architecture. Balboa Park contains wonders that few visitors see.
One more look up at some colorful, eye-pleasing architecture. Balboa Park contains wonders that few visitors see.

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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Another picture perfect day in Balboa Park!

Another picture perfect day in Balboa Park's colorful Spanish Village Art Center.
Another picture perfect day in Balboa Park’s colorful Spanish Village Art Center.

Any day is a good day in Balboa Park. Bring a camera, and your day is certain to be picture perfect!

I took almost all of these photos today during a long walk through the beautiful park. I took the photograph of folks singing and playing music in the House of Ireland on another wonderful Sunday a few months ago.

The sun shines on the California Building's tile dome and the California Tower in Balboa Park. Many architectural styles are combined in this iconic San Diego landmark.
The sun shines on the California Building’s tile dome and the California Tower in Balboa Park. Many architectural styles are combined in this iconic San Diego landmark.
Gazing out from the Botanical Building at people enjoying Balboa Park's reflecting pool.
Gazing out from the Botanical Building at people enjoying Balboa Park’s reflecting pool.
A bee in a flower behind the San Diego Museum of Art.
A bee in a flower behind the San Diego Museum of Art.
Rear view of the Casa del Prado's two towers from the beautiful building's courtyard.
Rear view of the Casa del Prado’s two towers from the beautiful building’s courtyard.
Fantastic ornamentation along the roof of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Fantastic ornamentation along the roof of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
A street artist shows his work near the entrance to Spanish Village.
A street artist shows his spray paint art near the entrance to Spanish Village.
The colorful front entrance of Studio 18, which is serves as the office of Spanish Village Art Center.
The colorful front entrance of Studio 18, which is serves as the office of Spanish Village Art Center.
Ebullience is the operative word at Studio 13 in Spanish Village.
Ebullience is the operative word at Studio 13 in Spanish Village.
Someone riding the historic Balboa Park carousel receives a friendly wave.
Someone riding the historic Balboa Park carousel receives a friendly wave.
A display outside the Balboa Park carousel includes a photo from the historic attraction's 100 year anniversary back in 2010.
A display outside the Balboa Park carousel includes a photo from the historic attraction’s 100 year anniversary back in 2010.
A family visiting Balboa Park learns how to operate the electric wicker cart Electriquettes.
A family visiting Balboa Park learns how to operate the electric wicker cart Electriquettes.
Visitors study a map of enormous Balboa Park at an information kiosk.
Visitors study a map of enormous Balboa Park at an information kiosk.
A sunny day and lots of walking builds up an appetite. Popcorn, lemonade, hot dogs, nachos, ice cream . . . there's so much to choose from!
A sunny day and lots of walking builds up one’s appetite. Popcorn, lemonade, hot dogs, nachos, ice cream . . . there’s so much to choose from!
Part of the facade of the Casa del Prado. Balboa Park made the highly ornate Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture popular.
Part of the facade of the Casa del Prado. Balboa Park made the highly ornate Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture popular.
Lots of life on El Prado. It's wonderful to simply stroll through the park.
Lots of life on El Prado. It’s wonderful to simply stroll through the park.
An athletic street performer wows the crowd with amazing moves in the Plaza de Panama.
An athletic street performer wows the crowd with amazing moves in the Plaza de Panama.
Purple blooms enhance the beauty of Balboa Park's House of Hospitality.
Purple blooms enhance the beauty of Balboa Park’s House of Hospitality.
A lavender flower along the walking path near the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A lavender flower along the walking path near the Japanese Friendship Garden.
People relax and dine on the patio of the Japanese Tea Pavilion.
People relax and dine on the patio of the Japanese Tea Pavilion.
A curious visitor checks out the interior of the House of Ireland at Balboa Park's International Cottages.
A curious visitor checks out the interior of the House of Ireland at Balboa Park’s International Cottages.
Music and song inside the House of Ireland on a typical Sunday.
Music and song inside the House of Ireland on a typical Sunday.
It's another picture perfect day near the Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa.
It’s another picture perfect day near the Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa.

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!

Do you love beautiful things? Visit my photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

A few scenes of life in beautiful Balboa Park.

People relax and enjoy life in San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park.
People relax and enjoy life in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

Every day, Balboa Park presents countless beautiful scenes of life. Life that is thriving, full of love, hope, enjoyment, curiosity, and a sense of freedom. I could post a million photographs. But today I’ll share just a few.

Flowers like bursting fireworks in one of Balboa Park's many gardens.
Flowers like bursting fireworks in one of Balboa Park’s many gardens.
Curious visitors to Balboa Park check out a small fountain near the House of Hospitality.
Curious visitors to Balboa Park check out a small fountain near the House of Hospitality.
A duck and lily pads in the Balboa Park reflecting pool.
A duck and lily pads in the Balboa Park reflecting pool.
Beautiful flowers and palm fronds along El Prado, beside the reflecting pool.
Beautiful flowers and palm fronds along El Prado, beside the reflecting pool.
And even more blooms.
And even more blooms.
My camera gets a friendly wave from the engineer as the fun Balboa Park Miniature Railroad emerges from tunnel!
My camera gets a friendly wave from the engineer as the fun Balboa Park Miniature Railroad emerges from tunnel!
A priest in long black robe ambles past Spanish Colonial Revival Style arches with friends. A perfect day to celebrate life in Balboa Park.
A priest in long black robe ambles past Spanish Colonial Revival Style arches with friends. A perfect day to celebrate life in Balboa Park.
The Japanese Friendship Garden expansion has grown out to become unbelievably lush. When it opened, the canyon still appeared a bit barren.
The Japanese Friendship Garden expansion has grown out to become unbelievably lush. When it opened, the canyon still appeared a bit barren.
Plaque near trunk of the Pan-American Friendship Tree in Balboa Park. It was planted on April 14, 1952.
Plaque near trunk of the Pan-American Friendship Tree in Balboa Park. The tree was planted on April 14, 1952.
And this is the huge Pan-American Friendship Tree today. Life thrives in Balboa Park.
And this is the huge Pan-American Friendship Tree today. Life thrives in Balboa Park.
A family flies a kite on the grass.
A family flies a kite on the grass.
Visitors apply their life's hope to a chalkboard inside the Casa de Balboa. When I Grow Up I Want To Be . . . Me
Visitors apply their life’s hope to a chalkboard inside the Casa de Balboa. When I Grow Up I Want To Be . . . Me

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

San Diego Dahlia Society beautifies Balboa Park!

Hard-working member of the San Diego County Dahlia Society beautifies Balboa Park!
Hard-working member of the San Diego County Dahlia Society beautifies Balboa Park!

During my walk through Balboa Park yesterday morning, I noticed some folks gardening around the Plaza de Panama fountain. Members of the San Diego County Dahlia Society were planting dahlias! Volunteers from the society have adopted this plot in Balboa Park. I can’t wait to see the flowers blooming!

A bright smile and a small Gloriosa dahlia, which will soon be planted at the Plaza de Panama fountain.
A bright smile and a small Gloriosa dahlia, which will soon be planted at the Plaza de Panama fountain.
The Friends of Balboa Park's Adopt-A-Plot program welcomes gardening volunteers who make the park that much more beautiful.
The Friends of Balboa Park’s Adopt-A-Plot program welcomes gardening volunteers who make this magical place even more beautiful.
The Plaza de Panama fountain plaque, dated 1995.
The Plaza de Panama fountain plaque, dated 1995.
Pots contain young dahlias, ready to be planted around the fountain. I was told by one society member that there are several varieties, that will grow to different sizes.
Pots contain young dahlias, ready to be planted around the fountain. I was told by one society member there are several varieties, that will grow to different sizes.
Unselfishly working to beautify Balboa Park on a sunny Saturday morning in San Diego!
Unselfishly working to beautify Balboa Park on a sunny Saturday morning in San Diego!  Thank you!

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!

Do you love beautiful things? Visit my fun amateur photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Late afternoon light brightens the Alcazar Garden.

Late afternoon light on tower of the Mingei Museum, as seen from the Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park.
Late afternoon light on elegant tower of the Mingei Museum, as seen from the Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park.

I got off work early today, so I walked up into Balboa Park with a couple hours of daylight left. I intended to photograph two special somethings for this blog, but unfortunately was unsuccessful. I’ll try again this weekend…

Fortunately, I did get some beautiful photos of late afternoon light beaming into the Alcazar Garden. Here they are…

Sign in Alcazar Garden details how it was designed in formal Spanish style and was originally called Montezuma Garden during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Sign in Alcazar Garden details how it was designed in formal Spanish style and was originally called Montezuma Garden during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Shadow stretches across beds of spring flowers, and slanting sunlight creates beautiful highlights.
Shadow stretches across beds of spring flowers.  Slanting late sunlight creates a beautiful picture.
Light on the green hedges of the Alcazar Garden invite a photo through the arch on the south side.
Light touching the green hedges of the Alcazar Garden invites a photo through the arch on the south side.
A monumental arch leads to a nearby parking lot and a very large tree. According to a sign it's a Ficus retusa, or Indian Laurel Fig.
A monumental arch leads to a nearby parking lot and a very large tree. According to a sign it’s a Ficus retusa, or Indian Laurel Fig.
Late afternoon sun brightens leaves of the large Ficus retusa just outside Balboa Park's Alcazar Garden.
Late afternoon sun brightens leaves of the immense Ficus retusa just outside Balboa Park’s Alcazar Garden.
One of two unique and beautiful fountains in the Alcazar Garden. Patterned colorful tiles remind park visitors of Moorish Spain.
One of two unique and beautiful fountains in the Alcazar Garden. Patterned, colorful tiles remind park visitors of old Moorish Spain.
Top of the California Tower and Museum of Man's dome as seen from the parking lot between the Alcazar Garden and the entrance to Balboa Park's archery range.
Top of the California Tower and the Museum of Man’s classic dome, as seen from the parking lot between the Alcazar Garden and the entrance to Balboa Park’s archery range.
Beautiful light on a garden sprinkled with flowers.
Beautiful light on a garden sprinkled with flowers.

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!

Balboa Park’s forgotten stone fountain grotto.

Stony steps lead down into the historic 1907 Golden Hill Fountain Grotto in the southeast corner of Balboa Park.
Stony steps lead down into the historic 1907 Golden Hill Fountain Grotto in the southeast corner of Balboa Park.

Several months ago I walked through a small section of Balboa Park called Golden Hill Park.

Few tourists ever see this tranquil southeast corner of Balboa Park, but many who live on Golden Hill east of downtown San Diego enjoy recreating here. They play and exercise on the grass, eat at picnic benches, and gaze at vistas of the downtown skyline, Florida Canyon and the nearby Balboa Park Golf Course. They explore short hiking trails, enjoy palm trees and the shade of sprawling Moreton Bay fig trees, and jog or walk dogs around the small traffic loop.

The development of this part of Balboa Park began years before the Panama California Exposition of 1915. Probably the most notable sight, now a forgotten, seldom-visited ruin, is a unique “fountain grotto” at the edge of a small canyon. The Golden Hill Fountain Grotto–which long ago featured an actual working fountain–was designed in 1907 by Henry Lord Gay, who also designed the famous Western Metal Supply Building which is now a part of Petco Park. The rustic stone grotto was built in the Arts and Crafts architectural style.

One can still walk down the sweeping stone stairs to the old fountain at the center, and imagine the inhabitants of San Diego visiting the grotto over a century ago. Today, the ruin is visited by very few: the curious, local walkers, the homeless, and those who happen to drift on by.

The long-forgotten fountain grotto can be found just off the traffic loop in Golden Hill Park.
The long-forgotten fountain grotto can be found just off the traffic loop in Golden Hill Park.
Heading down the decaying stone steps toward the center and a small, broken fountain.
Heading down the decaying stone steps toward the center and a small, broken fountain.
The rustic fountain grotto was built in 1907 in the Art and Crafts architectural style.
The rustic fountain grotto was built in 1907 in the Art and Crafts architectural style.
The fountain no longer functions. When I took these photos, it had been fenced off due to disrepair. Sometimes the homeless gather around it.
The fountain no longer functions. When I took these photos, it had been fenced off due to disrepair. Sometimes the homeless gather around it.
Rocks mark vague dirt walking trails around the fountain grotto site.
Rocks mark vague dirt walking trails around the fountain grotto site.
A hiking trail descends nearby into a narrow canyon.
A hiking trail descends nearby into a narrow canyon.
This canyon hiking trail in Golden Hill Park contains hidden beauty. As several piles of unfortunate trash attest, many homeless venture here.
This canyon hiking trail in Golden Hill Park contains hidden beauty. As several piles of unfortunate trash attest, many homeless venture here.
A beautiful vista from the edge of Golden Hill Park of downtown San Diego's skyline.
A beautiful vista from the edge of Golden Hill Park of downtown San Diego’s skyline.
An airplane overhead descending over Balboa Park toward Lindbergh Field.
An airplane overhead descending over Balboa Park toward Lindbergh Field.
A scenic view from Golden Hill Park of the Balboa Park Golf Course to the north.
A scenic view from Golden Hill Park of the Balboa Park Golf Course to the north.
Someone who lives in the neighborhood enjoys a beautiful day in peaceful Golden Hill Park.
Someone who lives in the neighborhood enjoys a beautiful day in peaceful Golden Hill 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!

Artistic ceramic tiles and a free treasure hunt!

Tile in a unique sign made out of ceramic, which welcomes visitors to Spanish Village Art Center in beautiful Balboa Park.
Tiles in a large ceramic sign, which welcomes visitors to Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park.

A treasure hunt is coming up this weekend in Balboa Park! The event takes place on Valentine’s Day (Sunday, February 14) and is courtesy of the artists of Spanish Village!

The free treasure hunt, which is open to absolutely anyone, is called the 2nd Annual Spanish Village Art Abandonment. Between 11am and 4pm, Balboa Park visitors will be able to find (and keep) free works of art hidden all around the park! If you’re lucky enough to discover a unique piece of art, you’ll be able to track where you found it online!

Please follow the WordPress blog of my artist friends at Spanish Village!

https://spanishvillageartinspiration.wordpress.com/

Just for fun, I’ve taken close-up photos of colorful ceramic tiles that beautify locations around Balboa Park. These works of art, while not part of the treasure hunt, can be easily found by anyone! Please read the captions to learn more…

Close-up photo of some tiles along the curving base of a small fountain in the Alcazar Garden.
Close-up photo of some tiles along the curving base of a small fountain in the Alcazar Garden.
Complex symmetric designs, which seem to contain Moorish influence. These tiles adorn one bench near that same fountain.
Complex symmetric designs, which seem to contain Moorish influence. These tiles adorn one bench near that same fountain.
A single weathered tile at the edge of the fountain.
A single weathered tile at the edge of the fountain.
The small, ornate fountain and two of its benches, alive with delightful color.
The small, ornate fountain and two of its benches, alive with delightful color.
These decorative floral tiles are along the base of a second fountain in Balboa Park's very popular Alcazar Garden.
These decorative floral tiles are along the base of a second fountain in Balboa Park’s very popular Alcazar Garden.
Multiple ceramic tiles depict different flowers. You can spot these in the Casa del Prado courtyard in Balboa Park.
Multiple ceramic tiles depict different flowers. You can spot these in the Casa del Prado courtyard in Balboa Park.
A wider view of the cheerful flower tiles.
A wider view of the cheerful flower tiles.
These brightly painted "tiles" form a multicolored patio between the many artist studios in Spanish Village.
These brightly painted “tiles” form the multicolored patio between artist studios in Spanish Village.
A blue bird in a slightly faded ceramic tile near the base of a Spanish Village planter.
A blue bird in a faded ceramic tile, embedded in the base of a Spanish Village patio planter.
Another weathered tile, in the same planter.
Another weathered tile, in the same planter.
This tile in one Spanish Village planter is dedicated to the San Diego Enamel Guild, dated 1989.
This tile in one Spanish Village planter is dedicated to the San Diego Enamel Guild, dated 1989.
Another faded tile remembers a loved one.
Another time-faded tile remembers a loved one.
A fun tile under a bench just outside the door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village. It appears to have been created by an imaginative child.
A fun tile under a bench just outside the door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village. It appears to have been created by an imaginative child.
The fantastic front of Studio 13.
The fantastic front of Studio 13.
These tiles are embedded in an otherwise plain concrete bench on the east side of the Casa del Prado.
These tiles are embedded in an otherwise plain concrete bench on the east side of the Casa del Prado.
Very colorful ceramic tiles are part of a cascading fountain at the end of a walkway between the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Brightly colorful ceramic tiles, part of a cascading fountain at the end of a walkway between the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Unusual designs in the tile border of an information sign, just outside the Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.
Unusual designs in the tile border of an information sign, just outside the Casa del Rey Moro Garden in Balboa Park.
A classic, quiet fountain in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden is surrounded by stylish tiles.
A classic, quiet fountain in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden is surrounded by stylish tiles.
Close-up photo of the colorful ceramic tiles around the recessed fountain.
Close-up photo of the beautiful ceramic tiles around the recessed fountain.
The large fountain at the center of the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park has a band of elegant tilework.
The large fountain at the center of the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park has two bands of very elegant tilework.
More wonderful artistry. Balboa Park contains unexpected beauty at every turn.
More wonderful artistry. Balboa Park contains unexpected beauty at every turn.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk!  You can enjoy many more Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook and Twitter!