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.

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!

Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin in Balboa Park!

The Children's Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin sings at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on a Sunday afternoon.
The Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin sings at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on a Sunday afternoon.

The award-winning Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin performed this afternoon in Balboa Park at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. They took the stage after a performance by the San Diego Children’s Choir, and then, at the program’s conclusion, the two youthful choirs joined together as one.

Accompanied by Martin Green playing the Spreckels Organ, the Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin, which is on a tour of the West Coast, impressed the large audience with their excellent voices. The music included Halleluja (from Messiah) and a mixture of folk and traditional pieces.

At Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, fantastic music can be heard every weekend. Merely take a seat at 2:00 on a Sunday afternoon!

Someone arriving for the concert is carrying colorful flowers.
Someone arriving for the concert is carrying colorful flowers.
A large crowd gathered on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion's benches to hear the famed German children's choir.
A large crowd gathered on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion’s benches to hear the famed German children’s choir.
All ears at attention.
All ears at attention.
The Children's Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin performs on stage in front of the large Spreckels Organ pipes.
The Children’s Chorus of Staatsoper Berlin performs on stage in front of the large Spreckels Organ pipes.
Piano accompanied the organ for a few songs. Guest organist Martin Green played this Sunday, while the Spreckels Organ Society searches for a new Civic Organist.
Piano accompanied the organ for a few songs. Guest organist Martin Green played this Sunday, while the Spreckels Organ Society searches for a new San Diego Civic Organist.
Near the conclusion of the program, the San Diego Children's Choir gets ready to head up onto the stage.
Near the conclusion of the program, the San Diego Children’s Choir gets ready to head up onto the stage.
Dozens of young voices join together to create beautiful music!
Dozens of young voices join together to create beautiful music!

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!

Fun photos of Balboa Park Halloween Family Day!

A dog that resembles a lion with a wild mane is a crowd pleaser during Balboa Park's very popular Halloween Family Day.
A dog that resembles a lion with a shaggy mane gets a lot of attention during Balboa Park’s popular Halloween Family Day.

Please enjoy these fun photos that I took this afternoon during Balboa Park Halloween Family Day!

As you can see, thousands of people turned out, and I spotted a variety of colorful costumes. There was plenty to see and do throughout the park. Trick-or-treating and having a good time at the annual Halloween celebration in Balboa Park has become a family tradition for many!

A young Princess Leia walks past a sign announcing the Halloween Costume Contest in Balboa Park.
A young Princess Leia walks past a sign announcing the Halloween Costume Contest in Balboa Park.
Two trick-or-treaters check out one of the many attractions on Balboa Park's El Prado. The third does a candy inventory.
Two trick-or-treaters look at one of the attractions along Balboa Park’s El Prado. The third does a candy inventory.
A fun Halloween crafts booth in Balboa Park's Spanish Village Art Center.
A fun Halloween crafts booth in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.
Kids in Spanish Village decorate trick-or-treating bags with Halloween designs and their name.
Kids in Spanish Village decorate trick-or-treating bags with Halloween designs and their name.
The artists of Spanish Village also had a colorful Halloween display on El Prado.
The artists of Spanish Village also had a colorful Halloween display on El Prado.
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum created a tiny but spooky train layout.
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum created a tiny but spooky train layout.
The San Diego Natural History Museum had a paper-bat-making table that appeared to be quite busy.
The San Diego Natural History Museum had a paper-bat-making table that appeared to be quite busy.
A bone-tired skeleton and his four-legged pal rest for a bit during Balboa Park's annual Halloween celebration.
A bone-tired skeleton and his four-legged pal rest for a bit during Balboa Park’s annual Halloween celebration.
Beauty queens with hula hoops hang out beside Frankenstein's monster.
Beauty queens with hula hoops hang out beside Frankenstein’s monster.
Every year a huge crowd enjoys the family friendly Halloween activities in Balboa Park.
Every year a huge crowd enjoys the family friendly Halloween activities in Balboa Park.
The San Diego Zoo had a slithery snake on display. These kids were fearless!
The San Diego Zoo had a slithery snake on display. These kids were fearless!
Families had a safe trick-or-treat experience among the International Cottages, where goodies were plentiful.
Families had a safe trick-or-treat experience among the International Cottages, where goodies were plentiful.
Kids could snag Halloween surprises with a fishing pole in front of the House of Sweden.
Kids could snag Halloween surprises with a fishing pole in front of the House of Sweden.
Not sure why a drummer is sitting alone on the grass. Perhaps the witch is a singer, and the band is resting during intermission.
Not sure why a drummer is sitting alone on the grass for Halloween. Perhaps the witch is a singer, and the band is resting during intermission.
A spontaneous Dia de los Muertos smile. Just some of the fun caught by my camera during Balboa Park Halloween Family Day.
A spontaneous Dia de los Muertos smile. Just some of the fun caught by my camera during Balboa Park Halloween Family Day.

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!

Master Gardeners of San Diego in Balboa Park.

An exhibition for garden novices as well as green thumbs at the San Diego Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale.
An exhibition for garden novices as well as green thumbs at the San Diego Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale in Balboa Park.

The Master Gardeners of San Diego held their annual Fall Plant Sale today. The event took place at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park, and included a number of educational displays in one of the building’s two courtyards.

I wandered about, spoke to some participants, and learned a whole lot about gardening in Southern California. Click on the photographs of posters to read them! You’ll find lots of useful information!

The Master Gardener Association of San Diego County had educational displays in the exterior courtyard of Balboa Park's Casa del Prado.
The Master Gardener Association of San Diego County had educational displays in the exterior courtyard of Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado.
Numerous posters provided helpful information about gardening, particularly in Southern California.
Numerous posters provided helpful information about gardening, particularly in Southern California.
The Master Gardener's unique School Garden Program assists teachers in starting and maintaining gardens at San Diego schools.
The Master Gardener’s unique School Garden Program assists teachers in starting and maintaining gardens at San Diego schools.
In San Diego, plants native to Southern California require less water, fertilizer, pesticides and work. They provide wildlife with their natural habitat.
In San Diego, plants native to Southern California require less water, fertilizer, pesticides and work. They provide wildlife with their natural habitat.
People at the Master Gardener's Fall Plant Sale learn how to easily propagate certain plants.
People at the Master Gardener’s Fall Plant Sale learn how to easily propagate certain plants.
Pests in a garden include aphids, hornworms and brown snails. Friends include lady beetles, spiders and green lacewings.
Pests in a garden include aphids, hornworms and brown snails. Friends include lady beetles, spiders and green lacewings.
Butterflies have beautiful wings of wonder. Several types of butterfly can be spotted around San Diego.
Butterflies have beautiful wings of wonder. Several types of butterfly can be spotted around San Diego.
Curious eyes regard a small caterpillar.
Curious eyes regard a small caterpillar.
Artwork produced by young hands at San Diego's Girls' Rehabilitation Facility, where there is a community garden maintained by youth who benefit from a very positive activity.
Artwork produced by young hands at San Diego’s Juvenile Hall.  The Girls’ Rehabilitation Facility has a community garden maintained by youth who benefit from a very positive activity.
Fun, creative birdhouses await a new home at the San Diego Master Gardener's Fall Plant Sale.
Fun, creative birdhouses await a new home at the San Diego Master Gardener’s Fall Plant Sale.
Plants for sale everywhere! So much to see, and to learn!
Plants for sale everywhere! So much to see, and to learn!

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!

Colorful photos of 2016 Garden Party in Balboa Park!

Member of Southern California Plumeria Society hands flower to child during Balboa Park's 2016 Garden Party event!
Member of Southern California Plumeria Society hands flower to child during Balboa Park’s 2016 Garden Party event!

Today I enjoyed the Second Annual Garden Party in beautiful Balboa Park! Last year, during the park’s Centennial Celebration, the original Garden Party of the Century was held. It was such a success, a new yearly tradition has been born!

Here are lots of colorful photos! Enjoy!

Sign details happenings during the Garden Party. There was a Floral Wagon Parade, lectures, ranger led tours, folk music, painters, butterfly releases and more!
Sign details happenings during the Garden Party. There was a Floral Wagon Parade, lectures, ranger led tours, folk music, painters, butterfly releases and more!
Beautiful spring flowers near the reflecting pool. Balboa Park's Botanical Building stands in the background.
Beautiful spring flowers near the reflecting pool. Balboa Park’s Botanical Building stands in the background.
The many gardens of Balboa Park certainly merit a party!
The many gardens of Balboa Park certainly merit a party!
People check out dahlias on display at one table along El Prado.
People check out dahlias on display at one table along El Prado.
The San Diego County Iris Society and San Diego Epiphyllum Society also had exhibits at the big Garden Party!
The San Diego County Iris Society and San Diego Epiphyllum Society also had exhibits at the big Garden Party!
Kids check out a bunch of carnivorous plants in Balboa Park!
Kids check out a bunch of carnivorous plants in Balboa Park!
Posters illustrate and classify California native flowers.
Posters illustrate and classify California native flowers.
Folks in Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama relax as the Second Annual Garden Party gets underway with some speeches.
Folks in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama relax as the Second Annual Garden Party gets underway with some speeches.
Balboa Park's Ranger Kim greets Garden Party visitors and introduces several notable speakers.
Balboa Park’s Ranger Kim greets Garden Party visitors and introduces several notable speakers.
A fun Kids Floral Wagon Parade began the party, heading down El Prado. The beautifully decorated wagons were parked in Plaza de Panama for all to admire.
A fun Kids Floral Wagon Parade began the party, heading down El Prado. The beautifully decorated wagons were then parked in Plaza de Panama for all to admire.
A cart full of potted plants and flowers stops near the podium. Ranger Kim is ready for a delivery.
A cart full of potted plants and flowers stops near the podium. Ranger Kim is ready for a delivery.
Young ladies near the plaza's fountain draw flowers.
Young ladies near the plaza’s fountain draw flowers.
This guy on a bike riding down El Prado purchased some Plumeria stems.
This guy on a bike riding down El Prado purchased some Plumeria stems.
Another display concerned Coastal Sage gardening.
Another display concerned Coastal Sage gardening.
A stunning orchid display inside Balboa Park's Botanical Building.
A stunning orchid display inside Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.
Gorgeous orchid blooms.
Gorgeous orchid blooms.
Looking across the Balboa Park reflecting pool on a cloudy spring day in San Diego.
Looking across the Balboa Park reflecting pool on a cloudy spring day in San Diego.
Plein air painting by artist Michelle Gonzalez in Spanish Village. She works in Studio 6.
Plein air painting by artist Michelle Gonzalez in Spanish Village. She works in Studio 6.
Dancers were performing ballet on El Prado during the wonderful Balboa Park Garden Party.
Dancers were performing ballet on El Prado during the wonderful Balboa Park Garden Party.
A large crowd gathered to watch a graceful ballet performance by talented youth.
A large crowd gathered to watch a graceful ballet performance by talented youth.
The Zoro Butterfly Garden was a gathering place for families during the event.
The Zoro Butterfly Garden was a gathering place for families during the event.
A display in the Zoro Garden shows some Balboa Park botanical history.
A display in the Zoro Garden shows some Balboa Park botanical history.
Old photo of Kate Sessions, often called the Mother of Balboa Park. She planted many of the park's original trees that visitors enjoy today
Old photo of Kate Sessions, often called the Mother of Balboa Park. She planted many of the park’s original trees that visitors enjoy today.
The Garden Party included lots of art, creativity, plus an inspiring, hourly butterfly release in the Zoro Garden!
The Garden Party included lots of art, creativity, plus an inspiring, hourly butterfly release in the Zoro Garden!
Flowers and chalk art drawn by kids. The Zoro Garden has come alive.
Flowers and chalk art drawn by kids. The Zoro Garden has come alive.
A butterfly in Balboa Park's Zoro Garden. Perhaps this one was released today!
A butterfly in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden. Perhaps this one was released today!
Visitors to beautiful Balboa Park walk through the Alcazar Garden during the 2016 Garden Party event!
Visitors to beautiful Balboa Park walk through the Alcazar Garden during the 2016 Garden Party event!

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!