Viewing life from a Balboa Park bench.

Late this afternoon I headed into Balboa Park.

I walked down El Prado, found a quiet bench across from the San Diego Natural History Museum, and sat down to write.

Every so often I felt compelled to look up.

My eyes were drawn to magic.

If you’d like to read a few thoughtful words about life, visit my website Short Stories by Richard.

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International Children’s Day in Balboa Park.

Youth in Mexican costume file across the stage. Children from many nations participated in today's event at the International Cottages.
Youth in Mexican costume file across the stage. Children from many nations participated in today’s event at the International Cottages.

International Children’s Day was celebrated this afternoon at the International Cottages in Balboa Park. The event was hosted by the House of Turkey, the nation that inspired this special day. Kids representing many nations took part.

Prior to a series of youthful performances, I learned during the introductory speech that every year on April 23 Turkey celebrates Children’s Day, a holiday created by modern Turkey’s founder Atatürk. He recognized that children would inherit that newly independent nation’s future. As a reminder, during Children’s Day the Turkish President, Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and provincial governors all turn over their positions to children for that one day.

As this day has become more international, UNICEF now recognizes International Children’s Day.

Guys fill balloons prior to the start of a cultural event hosted in Balboa Park by the House of Turkey.
Guys fill balloons prior to the start of a cultural event hosted in Balboa Park by the House of Turkey.
Getting Turkish food ready, including tasty tantuni.
Getting Turkish food ready, including tasty tantuni.
Lots of smiles as hungry people start to line up.
Lots of smiles as hungry people start to line up.
Kids cross the lawn, almost ready to perform on stage.
Kids cross the lawn, almost ready to perform on stage.
Young performers in Turkish costume on stage during the House of Turkey's lawn program, celebrating International Children's Day.
Young performers in Turkish costume on stage during the House of Turkey’s lawn program, celebrating International Children’s Day.
A clown in the audience provided innocent laughs!
A clown in the audience provided innocent laughs!

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!

Creativity and joy thrive in Spanish Village!

A happy orange face dangles by a studio doorway in Balboa Park's welcoming Spanish Village Art Center.
A happy orange face dangles by a studio doorway in Balboa Park’s welcoming Spanish Village Art Center.

I can’t get enough of Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park. I love to meander through its colorful courtyard patio.

The place is magical. Dreamlike. A refuge. The cares of the world drop instantly away in Spanish Village.

It’s a place where creativity and joy thrive!

A sign tells visitors they've entered a magical world where creativity thrives.
A sign tells visitors they’ve entered a joyful world where creativity thrives.
Walking through Spanish Village, with fanciful architecture inspired by southern Spain, created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.
Walking through Spanish Village, with fanciful architecture inspired by southern Spain, created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.
A bright face peeks out from behind flowers near Studio 13.
A bright face peeks out from behind flowers near Studio 13.
A fun work of art hangs near the entrance to Studio 15, home of Doug Snider Ceramics.
A fun work of art hangs near the entrance to Studio 15, home of Doug Snider Ceramics.
Friendly local artist paints a surfboard on the table outside Studio 10.
Friendly local artist paints a surfboard on the table outside Studio 10.
Forest creatures look up from one of several painted benches in Spanish Village. You can find this fun art in front of the Southwestern Artists Association's Studio 23.
Forest creatures look up from one of several painted benches in Spanish Village. You can find this fun art in front of the Southwestern Artists Association’s Studio 23.
Some amazing art glass displayed outside Studio 19, where glassblowers work as visitors watch.
Some amazing art glass displayed outside Studio 19, where glassblowers create beauty as visitors watch.
More beautiful glass.
More fantastic glass.
Carefree people ride bikes through Spanish Village Art Center.
Carefree people ride bikes through sunny Spanish Village Art Center.
Some artwork on the patio pays tribute to beautiful Balboa Park.
Some artwork on the patio pays tribute to beautiful Balboa Park.
A sunflower painted on door to Studio 28.
A cheerful sunflower painted on door to Studio 28.
Come to Spanish Village and your eyes will be filled with creativity, joy and life wherever they turn.
Come to Spanish Village and your eyes will be filled with surprising creativity, joy and life wherever they turn.
I was graciously allowed to take a photo of the art glass inside Studio 25. A skylight turns many pieces into shining jewels.
I was graciously allowed to take a photo of the art glass inside Studio 25. A skylight transforms many pieces into shining jewels.
Back outside, where I took a photo of a colorful door through glassware.
Back outside, where I took a photo of a colorful door through glassware.
One table on the patio is like an enormous, cheerful yellow flower.
One table on the patio is like an enormous, cheerful yellow flower.
Visitors to Spanish Village Art Center are invited to build a spirit totem.
Visitors to Spanish Village Art Center are invited to build a spirit totem.
A friendly artist of the Studio 36 Sculptors Guild interacts with a potential buyer. Their courtyard is overflowing with imaginative sculptures.
A friendly artist of the Studio 36 Sculptors Guild interacts with a potential buyer. Their courtyard is overflowing with imaginative sculptures.
Amusing sculpted creatures greet visitors to the Studio 36 outdoor courtyard.
Amusing sculpted creatures greet visitors to the Studio 36 outdoor courtyard.
A shining jester.
A shining jester.
A simian in a space rocket.
A simian in a space rocket.
Like a joyful dream world where fantasy and imagination have come to life.
Like a joyful dream world where fantasy and imagination have come to life.
Dreamers...
Dreamers…
Come again. Bring friends.
Come again. Bring friends.

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!

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!

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!

Preparing for the holidays at Balboa Park!

Fun chalk art on a board outside Prado Perk. A hungry Pilgrim chases a Thanksgiving turkey that has been accelerated with coffee!
Fun chalk art on a board outside Prado Perk. A hungry Pilgrim chases a Thanksgiving turkey that has been accelerated with coffee!

Three days until Thanksgiving!

During my walk yesterday through Balboa Park, I saw signs everywhere of the coming holiday season. It seems everyone in the park is getting ready!

I even saw Santa Claus! Perhaps he dropped on by to see whether people were being naughty or nice!

These small snowmen at the Homemade Craft Sale in the Casa del Prado each contain a chocolate kiss.
These small snowmen at the Homemade Craft Sale in the Casa del Prado each contain a chocolate kiss.
The Old Globe's cheerful Christmas Tree is set up in Copley Plaza. The Grinch does not approve.
The Old Globe’s cheerful Christmas Tree is set up in Copley Plaza. The Grinch does not approve.
Good old Santa and his reindeer are back in Balboa Park, taking off between the Plaza de Panama and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Good old Santa and his reindeer are back in Balboa Park, taking off between the Plaza de Panama and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Almost ready for the holidays at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The 4th Annual Children's Coalition Christmas on the Prado will take place this coming Saturday. December Nights this year will be on December 1 and 2.
Almost ready for the holidays at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The 4th Annual Children’s Coalition Christmas on the Prado will take place this coming Saturday. December Nights this year will be on December 1 and 2.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, people gather inside the House of Sweden at the International Cottages to sing Christmas carols in Swedish.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, people gather inside the House of Sweden at the International Cottages to sing Christmas carols in Swedish.
Banners outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center wish everyone Happy Holidays and Peace.
Banners outside the Balboa Park Visitors Center wish everyone Happy Holidays and Peace.
The Nutcracker will be presented in December by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.
The Nutcracker will be presented in December by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.
Christmas cards for sale at the weekend's Homemade Craft Sale.
Christmas cards for sale at the weekend’s Homemade Craft Sale.
These festive Christmas tree ornaments are made of colorful pipe cleaners!
These festive Christmas tree ornaments are made of colorful pipe cleaners!
Santa might have swung by to pick up a new hat!
Santa might have swung by to pick up a new hat!

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!

Images of summer’s magic in Balboa Park.

Visitors to beautiful Balboa Park gaze down from atop the California Tower.
Visitors to beautiful Balboa Park gaze down from atop the California Tower.

I have the day off from work today. So I took a long walk through Balboa Park.

Summer is a special time in the park. So many happy people and lively, sunlit scenes; so much beauty and unexpected wonder. I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

These bright summer days shimmer with magic.

Time to hang banners for the Old Globe Theatre's summer season!
Time to hang banners for the Old Globe Theatre’s summer season!
Pink begonias in splashes of sunlight.
Pink begonias in splashes of sunlight.
A vivid reflection in a rear window of the San Diego Museum of Art.
A vivid reflection in a rear window of the San Diego Museum of Art.
A white dandelion puff almost ready to launch!
A white dandelion puff almost ready to launch!
Folks head to and from the Plaza de Panama on a magical summer's day.
Folks head to and from the Plaza de Panama on a magical summer’s day.
Photo taken near the Timken Museum.
Photo taken near the Timken Museum of Art.
Original staff plaster grotesque mask, from the 1914 Varied Industries Building. One piece of historical Balboa Park decorative art now located in the Casa del Prado's Panama-California Sculpture Court.
Original staff plaster grotesque mask, from the 1914 Varied Industries Building. Art now located in the Casa del Prado’s Panama-California Sculpture Court.
Photo of Fleet Science Center building from grass near Park Boulevard.
Photo of Fleet Science Center building from grass near Park Boulevard.
Someone plays sax under a shady tree, by the parking lot beside the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Someone plays sax under a shady tree, by the parking lot beside the San Diego Natural History Museum.
I just happened to see this small miracle as I walked along in the park.
I just happened to see this small miracle as I walked along in the park.
Getting ready to start the Balboa Park Carousel.
Getting ready to start the Balboa Park Carousel.
Face painted on patio tile in Spanish Village Art Center.
Face painted on patio tile in Spanish Village Art Center.
A beautiful arrangement of flowers inside one of the small artist studios.
A beautiful arrangement of flowers inside one of the small artist studios.
A fun bench in Spanish Village shows a painter in action.
A fun bench in Spanish Village shows a painter in action.
Lunchtime at the Village Grill.
Lunchtime at the Village Grill.
Colorful sign near an entrance to the House of Hospitality shows what Prado Perk offers today--in addition to sunshine and happiness.
Colorful sign near an entrance to the House of Hospitality shows what Prado Perk offers today–in addition to sunshine and happiness.
Arches and bougainvillea.
Looking up at arches and bougainvillea.
As I departed the Plaza de Panama, I swung my camera quickly around for a quick pic.
As I departed the Plaza de Panama, I swung my camera around for a quick pic.
Detail of one of several wedding kimonos on display at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Detail of one of several wedding kimonos on display at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Detail of another very beautiful wedding kimono.
Detail of another very beautiful wedding kimono.
Gardener at work in Balboa Park's serene Japanese Friendship Garden.
Gardener at work in Balboa Park’s serene Japanese Friendship Garden.
Close look in the garden at a magnolia's exquisite beauty.
Close look in the garden at a magnolia’s exquisite beauty.
Lively art near the entrance to the Centro Cultural de la Raza.
Lively art near the entrance to the Centro Cultural de la Raza.
A winged face takes flight across the colorful WorldBeat Cultural Center mural.
A winged face takes flight across the colorful WorldBeat Cultural Center mural.

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!