The Alcazar Garden, like a dream.

Even when I don’t wander into the Alcazar Garden, I like to peer at it through a series of arches along El Prado. I like to watch visitors moving through the maze-like green hedges that border beautiful plants and beds of flowers.

The way the slanting sunlight touches the garden, the place always seems like a living dream. A magical sunlit dream.

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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Natural beauty in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

Here are many photos of natural beauty in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden. This rugged garden, which was created in 1976, contains a huge variety of fascinating cacti and succulents, a few winding paths, and a wide view of Florida Canyon below.

You can find all this beauty just east of Park Boulevard, across the pedestrian bridge near the Plaza de Balboa. The Desert Garden is directly north of the award-winning Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.

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.

First Responders at San Diego Automotive Museum.

1972 Harley-Davidson police Servi-Car, a unique vehicle once used by law enforcement, exhibited at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
1972 Harley-Davidson police Servi-Car, a unique vehicle once used by law enforcement, exhibited at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park has a great exhibition called First Responders that will be ending soon. Visitors to the museum can check out a range of vehicles, from fire engines to motorcycles, that have been used by San Diego’s first responders.

Car and motorcycle enthusiasts who’ve never been to the museum are really missing out. The San Diego Automotive Museum is jammed with beautiful, historic vehicles, including some that are literally one-of-a-kind.

In addition to their permanent collection, other exhibits now in the museum include a Harley-Davidson Collection, Evel Knievel’s motorcycle from Viva Knievel, Fonzie’s motorcycle and jacket from the television show Happy Days, and Louie Mattar’s Fabulous Car (which is arguably the most amazing car ever made).

First Responders will come to a close on May 29, 2017.

San Diego Lifeguard Service vehicle. One can also see these on the beach!
San Diego Lifeguard Service vehicle. One can also see these on the beach!
A variety of old photos show vehicles used by first responders in the past.
A variety of historical photos show vehicles used by first responders in the past.
An iconic 1926 Buick police paddy wagon.
An iconic 1926 Buick police paddy wagon.
Mannequins lie inside a M997 HMMWV Maxi-Ambulance used by the military.
Mannequins lie inside a M997 HMMWV Maxi-Ambulance used by the military.
Fire fighting vehicles on exhibit include a Brush Fire HMMWV and a 1966 Dodge D-500 fire truck.
Fire fighting vehicles on exhibit include a Brush Fire HMMWV and a 1966 Dodge D-500 fire truck.

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!

Lamp and lantern exhibit at Model Railroad Museum!

Old photo and advertisement show an electric Sport-Lite lantern.
Old photo and advertisement show an electric Sport-Lite lantern.

Personally, I love the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. The massive train layouts and their realistic landscapes, tiny scale buildings, streets and fun details make me feel like a kid again.

During a recent visit, I was excited to see the museum had a fine exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns.

I took a few photos for you to enjoy and I added descriptive captions, but I suggest a visit in person. There’s so much to absorb, so much history and sheer fun!

You can see photos of the museum’s gigantic model train layouts here!

Exhibit inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, located near the N-Scale layout, shows old railroad lamps and lanterns, and recalls their history.
Exhibit inside the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, located near the N-Scale layout, shows old railroad lamps and lanterns and recalls their history.
Railroad lanterns were held by hand, and manual signals were used for night communication. Railroad lamps are mounted on train cars and railroad tracks.
Railroad lanterns were held by hand, and manual signals were used for night communication. Railroad lamps were mounted on train cars and railroad tracks.
Two examples of switch lamps. They were mounted to a railroad track switch and indicated the current position of the switch.
Two examples of switch lamps. They were mounted to a railroad track switch and indicated the current position of the switch.
Old diagram of an Adlake No. 1221 marker lamp.
Old diagram of an Adlake No. 1221 marker lamp.
Three models of old conductor's lanterns. Buck's Pattern, Daisy, and The Boss.
Three models of conductor’s lanterns: Buck’s Pattern, Daisy, and The Boss.
Three lantern hand signals: the train has departed, proceed, and apply the air brakes.
Three lantern hand signals: the train has departed, proceed, and apply the air brakes.
Three additional lantern hand signals: back up, stop, and release the air brakes.
Three additional lantern hand signals: back up, stop, and release the air brakes.
Over time signals and colors used for railroad communication became standardized. This sign describes what different color lights indicate.
Over the years signals and colors used for railroad communication became standardized. This sign describes what different colored lights indicate.
Fixed globe railroad lanterns began to be used in the 1840s. At night they allowed railroad workers to communicate.
Fixed globe railroad lanterns began to be used in the 1840s. At night they allowed railroad workers to communicate.
Marker lamps were hung on the train's caboose to identify the train and show where it ended.
Marker lamps were hung on the train’s caboose to identify the train and show where it ended.
A fascinating exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns is now on display in Balboa Park's unique San Diego Model Railroad Museum!
A fascinating exhibit concerning the history of railroad lamps and lanterns is now on display in Balboa Park’s amazing San Diego Model Railroad Museum!

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!

Vikings invade Balboa Park at House of Denmark!

Playing a once-popular medieval northern European game called Hare and Hounds in Balboa Park.
Playing a once-popular medieval northern European game called Hare and Hounds in Balboa Park.

This afternoon’s lawn program at the International Cottages was presented by the House of Denmark. I swung on by about an hour before the music and dance began, but lingered for a bit to check out several exhibits concerning Viking culture and history. I learned a lot!

Read the photo captions for explanations!

People enjoy a sunny San Diego afternoon outside the House of Denmark among the International Cottages.
People enjoy a sunny San Diego afternoon outside the House of Denmark among the International Cottages.
Poster inside the House of Denmark. Royalty in this oldest kingdom in the world has descended in a straight line for a thousand years.
Poster inside the House of Denmark. The royalty of this oldest kingdom in the world has descended in a straight line for a thousand years.
The House of Denmark had its lawn program this Sunday. Inside their cottage, many treats could be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park.
The House of Denmark had its lawn program this Sunday. Inside their cottage, many Scandinavian treats could be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park.
This very friendly gent was showing everybody how woodworking was done by Norse craftsmen. The Vikings controlled a large area of Europe and used local materials. He was using our own native Toyon for wood.
This very friendly gent was showing everybody how woodworking was done by Norse craftsmen. The Vikings controlled a large area of Europe and used local materials. He was using our own native Toyon for wood.  Soaking the wood in water makes it easier to carve.
All sorts of handmade wooden utensils. Good steel was somewhat rare back in the Viking days, so carving tools were prized possessions.
All sorts of handmade wooden utensils. Good steel was somewhat rare back in the Viking days, so carving tools like weapons were prized possessions.
Some Viking helmets on display along with chainmail hauberks!
Some Viking helmets on display along with chainmail hauberks!
A ceremonial drinking horn, axes, and other fascinating objects collected or created by Viking enthusiasts at the event.
A ceremonial drinking horn, axes, swords, and other fascinating objects collected or created by Viking enthusiasts at the event.
The gentleman with the shield told me all about Norse customs, mythology and history. He is a member of the Guardians of Midgard!
The gentleman with the shield told me all about Norse customs, mythology and history. He is a member of the Guardians of Midgard!

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!

March flowers in Balboa Park’s Botanical Building.

Cymbidium orchids. Many can be seen in the Botanical Building in early March.
Cymbidium orchids. Many of these gorgeous flowers can be seen inside the Botanical Building in early March.

It’s the first weekend of March. Even though it is still winter, many flowers are blooming inside Balboa Park’s always lush Botanical Building!

Large displays of Cymbidium orchids are the main attraction. But today I spotted other beautiful flowers, too!

Here are some photos!

Visitors to the Botanical Building in Balboa Park enjoy beautiful displays of early March flowers.
Visitors to the Botanical Building in early March can enjoy beautiful displays of flowers.
Cymbidium orchids.
Cymbidium orchids.
Cymbidium orchids.
Bright yellow Cymbidium orchids.
Rhododendron azalea - Gretel.
Rhododendron azalea “Gretel”.
Nematanthus wettsteinii, also called Goldfish Plant.
Nematanthus wettsteinii, also called Goldfish Plant.
Camellia japonica.
Camellia japonica.
Stamens of Camellia japonica.
Stamens of Camellia japonica.
Tulips.
Tulips.
Tulips.
Elegant, beautiful tulips.

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!

Watch a really great video about Balboa Park!

I love this 30 minute DVD about Balboa Park. It's available exclusively at the San Diego History Center in the park's Casa de Balboa.
I love this 30 minute DVD about Balboa Park. It’s available exclusively at the San Diego History Center in the park’s Casa de Balboa.

A couple weekends ago I watched a really good 30 minute film about Balboa Park in the San Diego History Center’s auditorium. It made me realize just how much I love this amazing place.

The film, which is titled Balboa Park: The Jewel of San Diego, describes the history of the park–from its creation to the present day. It’s loaded with great images and information, and is just plain fun to watch. And the soundtrack is infectious. Not stuffy at all!

When I told a friendly person working at the front desk that the film almost brought me to tears, she said the same emotion was felt when the staff first viewed it. The love for Balboa Park is that deep. Then I learned I could buy the video DVD in their gift shop. Which I did!

I recommend a purchase of this DVD. It’s a fine way to support a really important San Diego institution that works to preserve our city’s history. Originally called the San Diego Historical Society, the nonprofit organization also operates another museum near Old Town–that towering building atop historic Presidio Hill: the Junipero Serra Museum. I wrote about that beautiful and impressive museum here on my main blog Cool San Diego Sights.

I was told the DVD is available exclusively in Balboa Park, at the San Diego History Center gift shop.

You can also watch the film on YouTube here!

Tell a friend!