Robert Arends

5 to Try for Big Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego's Big Bay
San Diego's Big Bay

Pick your adventure on San Diego’s Big Bay

Spring is here and there’s no better time to make a splash on San Diego Bay – also called the “Big Bay” –  with its treasure trove of attractions, tours, events and cool points of interest.

Following are my top 5 to Try:

1. The Port of San Diego’s Annual Day at the Docks

Kids fishing at the docks

Spend a day with the kids fishing.

The Port of San Diego’s Day at the Docks celebration in April is the West Coast’s largest public sportfishing celebration – and the official start of Southern California’s popular spring saltwater fishing season. Festivities at American’s Cup Harbor include over 200 maritime exhibits, live entertainment, a casting competition, captains’ dunk tank, free fishing and kids art areas. It’s fun and free!

2. The San Salvador

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Did you know: in 1542 European explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed aboard his ship, the San Salvador, and reached “a very good enclosed port” naming it “San Miguel.” Today we call it San Diego Bay and visitors can step back in time to check out the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s building of a full-sized, fully functional, historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s flagship, the San Salvador. The framing is nearly complete and it’s easy to imagine the ship that she will become. Ahoy!

3. The Living Coast Discovery Center

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

The South Bay city of Chula Vista is home to one of my favorite attractions for up-close animal encounters: the Living Coast Discovery Center. You can see endangered green sea turtles (tip: go during feeding time!), leopard sharks, friendly stingrays (minus the stingers so you can pet them!) and magnificent birds like falcons and burrowing owls. The observation tower and hiking trails afford picturesque views of the surrounding wetlands and bay.

4. Seeing the Big Bay…While on the Big Bay

Flagship Patriot Jet Boat Tour

Speed across San Diego’s Big Bay aboard a jet powered boat like Flagship’s Patriot

Water activities abound on the bay, from the affordable Coronado Ferry ride, to narrated harbor tours (on Flagship and Hornblower), SEAL Tours, whale watching excursions, kayak tours (including San Diego’s only urban kayak adventure), Jetpack America rides (you too can fly like a superhero!) and two new thrilling, turbo-charged boat rides (the Sea Rocket and Flagship Patriot). Let’s make some waves!

5. Headquarters at Seaport District

The Headquarters at Seaport District. on San Diego's Big Bay

The stylish new Headquarters at Seaport District

Foodies and shoppers are in for a treat at the new Headquarters at Seaport District, located in San Diego’s former Spanish-style police headquarters (pose for pix in an actual jail cell). Nosh on gourmet tacos at Puesto or grab a slice at Pizzeria Mozza, Chef Mario Batali’s first foray into San Diego’s dining scene. Shop-portunties include local surf photographer Aaron Chang’s Ocean Art Gallery and Kitson, a celebrity hot spot and go-to fashion boutique dedicated to pop culture.

Pick your own adventure and discover the many wonders of San Diego’s Big Bay this spring! 🙂

Robert Arends

Surprising 2013 Summer Finds in San Diego’s East County!

There’s no place as diverse and full of surprises as San Diego’s expansive East County. Visitors to this region, ranging from rolling foothills to alpine mountains and pristine deserts, can find some of the most incredible sights, especially this summer.

Following are 5 to Try, as you hit the open road this May and June:

1. Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Julian Apple Pies in San Diego's East County

Julian – home of apple pies and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival!

The charming historic Gold Rush mining town of Julian, famous for its apple pies, hosts the 2nd Annual Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival this weekend. The theme: “A Climate of Change,” featuring 44 inspiring films! While you’re there, explore the town, enjoy a slice of pie and take in the beauty of East County’s most famous mountain town.

Where: Various Julian Locations
When: May 17-19, 2013
Cost: $5-$60
> Find out more about the Julian Wild & Scenic Film Festival

2. Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House

Find your muse at the Hubbell Open House & Studio Tour!

Find your muse at the Hubbell Open House & Studio Tour!

Down the road in Santa Ysabel, on June 16 (Father’s Day) visitors can get an exclusive peek at the art-filled compound of James Hubbell, “San Diego’s Gaudi.” A beautiful new headquarters and amphitheater, featuring fantastical colorful mosaics, plaster of Paris reliefs, stained glass and iron work, debuts at this year’s Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House. Get your tickets now before they sell out!

Where: 930 Orchard Lane, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
When: June 16, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $30-$75. Kids 12 and under – Free.
> Find out more about the Hubbell/Ilan-Lael Open House

3. A Magnificent Bald Eagle Nest

Bald Eagle and Chick - Wildlife Research Institute - East County

Bald eagle and chick at Ramona Grasslands Preserve.

Soar like an eagle to the Wildlife Research Institute in the Ramona Grasslands Preserve to see firsthand a magnificent bald eagle nest – with a single chick and two proud parents! – located 1 mile from the institute headquarters. Bring your binoculars; the best vantage point is from Rangeland Road. Also visit the institute’s family of wild bison!

Where: 18030 Highland Valley Road, Ramona, CA 92065
> Find out more about the Wildlife Research Institute

4. Wings Over Gillespie Air Show

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High-flying fun can also be had at the big annual Wings Over Gillespie Air Show in El Cajon. Aviation aficionados of all ages will love the displays of dozens of classic aircraft, as well as military re-enactors and mock battles overhead. New this year: Silver Wings Wingwalking!

Where: Gillespie Field – 1960 Joe Crosson Dr, El Cajon, CA 92020
When: June 1-2, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Starting at $8
> Find out more about Wings Over Gillespie Air Show

5. Giant Sloth Sculpture

Yours truly with Giant Sloth at Galleta Meadows, Borrego Springs!

Yours truly with Giant Sloth at Galleta Meadows, Borrego Springs!

In San Diego’s desert oasis of Borrego Springs, a new behemoth sculpture of a Giant Sloth – the last one in a collection of dozens of prehistoric beasts – was recently unveiled at Galleta Meadows. Photo ops abound in this “Land of the Lost” and people from all over the world have searched out these roadside wonders. The best thing: its Free!

> Find out more about Galleta Meadows

> Discover more of San Diego’s East County

Happy (early) summer from East County!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Sparkling East County Holiday Delights!

Skiers at the Viejas Outdoor Skating Rink
Skiers at the Viejas Outdoor Skating Rink in San Diego's East County

SoCal’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at Viejas!

OK, I know it’s only a few days after Halloween and Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but the winter holidays will be here before you know it!

So gather up the family, grab your gift list, Santa hat and mittens (yep, there’s a 55 degree chill her in the air at night – brrrr! 😉 ) and join me on a jolly jaunt to San Diego’s charming East County communities. They really know how to make some merry.

Following are 5 to Try East County Holiday Delights:

1. 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade

Goose Float at the Mother Goose Parade in San Diego's East County

El Cajon’s Mother Goose Parade!

The colorful Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon is San Diego’s traditional holiday kick-off, featuring thousands of spectators, colorful floats, marching bands, equestrians and celebrity appearances – fun for the whole family!

Location: Begin at Magnolia and Main, head down Main St. to N. Second Street, turn North then end at Madison.
Date: November 18, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Parade starts at 10:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade

2. Julian’s Country Christmas Celebration & Tree Lighting

Julian Country Christmas & Tree Lighting.

The historic, Norman Rockwell-esque mountain town of Julian kicks off the holidays with a Country Christmas celebration & Tree Lighting, complete with costumed carolers, Santa Claus and, of course, their famous apple pies and piping hot apple cider!

Location: Julian’s Pioneer Park (map)
Date: November 24, 2012
Time: Starts at 4:00 PM. Lighting around 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Julian’s Country Christmas Celebration & Tree Lighting

3. Santa Train North Pole Limited

Santa on the North Pole Limited

Make tracks for the Santa Train North Pole Limited!

All aboard the Santa Train North Pole Limited, a Christmas vintage train ride through our rustic backcountry, departing from the Campo Depot. The adventure features Santa and his elves, cookies and hot cocoa, plus a reading of the famous holiday story, The Polar Express. Reserve seats now for this sell-out holiday favorite!

Location: State Highway 94 & Forrest Gate Road, Campo, CA (map)
Dates: Fridays and Saturdays, November 23 – December 22
Times: Trains at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM (depending on the date)
Cost: $20-$50, Toddlers under 2 are free
> Find out more about Santa Train North Pole Limited

4. Ice Skating at the Viejas Outlet Center

Ice Skaters at the Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego's East County

There’s plenty of room at the largest outdoor skating rink in Southern California.

The Peanuts Christmas special always comes to mind at the Viejas Outlet Center, home of the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Southern California!

Location: 5005 Willows Rd Suite 229, Alpine, CA 91901 (map)
Dates: November 16 – January 6, 2012
Time: TBD
Cost: TBD
> Find out more about Ice Skating at the Viejas Outlet Center 

5. Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival

Santa Claus at the Alpine Christmas Parade!

The quaint town of Alpine kicks off the season with its Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival, featuring a parade, Santa and his elves, caroling and a big snow mountain for sledding. Snow in San Diego… who knew?!

Location: 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine, CA (map)
Date: December 7, 2012
Time: Starts at 6:30 PM
> Find out more about the Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Festival

A hearty happy (early) “Ho ho ho” from San Diego! 🙂 Know of any other great East County Holiday events? Let us and other’s know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

5 to Try Spook-tacular San Diego Halloween Haunts

Evil Ringmaster - Scream Zone

Sinister welcome to the Scream Zone!

BOO-yah! It’s the most wonderful time of the year… yep, Halloween! San Diego celebrates the season with creepy cool events and fun-filled spots to seriously get freaked out. Word of warning: A few of these are not for the faint of heart. Translation: not for the kiddies (best to take them to LEGOLAND’s Brick-or-Treat instead 😉

1.  The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

Haunted Hayride passenger about to scare an unaware victim at the Scream Zone

Haunted Hayride hijinks in the Scream Zone.

The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds features a Haunted Hayride (creepy clowns, zombies and aliens, oh my!), House of Horror (beware the chainsaw-wielding maniac!) and Chamberlabyrinth (I almost lost my balance in the giant spinning tunnel!) all wrapped into one big scare fest.

2.  The Haunted Hotel

Haunted Hotel Sign

The Haunted Hotel is now open for guests! Photo courtesy of Mike Rollerson.

The Haunted Hotel in the downtown Gaslamp Quarter is where horror movies come to life; as in you WILL meet Freddie Krueger and Jason from Friday the 13th face to face! This is San Diego’s longest-running haunted house and one of the Top 13 haunted houses in the U.S.!

3. Ghosts & Gravestones

Grave Digger - Ghost and Gravestones

There’s a plot…I mean spot waiting for you on the tour.

Take a ride on the dark side on San Diego’s original “frightseeing” tour, Ghosts & Gravestones.  Hop on a trolley of the doomed to discover the El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town (bodies are actually buried under Old Town Ave. – zoinks!), The Whaley House, America’s most haunted house (The Travel Channel) located on a former gallows site (double zoinks!), and the Maritime Museum’s haunted Star of India tallship and Berkeley ferryboat (SciFi’s Ghost Hunters filmed here!).

4. Haunted Trail of Balboa Park

A crashed bus at the Haunted Trail of Balboa Park.

The driver never made it through the Haunted Trail! Photo courtesy of Mike Rollerson.

Fog-shrouded Balboa Park with its gnarled grove of 100-year-old trees towering overhead is the site of the wickedly fun, mile-long Haunted Trail. It’s the great outdoors gone awry – very Blair Witch Project! Also features a manic maze called “The eXperiment.”

5. Scary Maze at Cottonwood Golf Course

Scary Maze at Cottonwood Golf Course Logo

Cottonwood Golf Course in East County goes into fright mode with its 10,000 sq.-ft. Scary Maze. Truth be told, this one’s more family-friendly. The object: find your way out of the maze while encountering “dead” ends and creatures of the night. There’s also a beer garden, live music, dancing, devilishly-delectable food and scary movie showings outdoors.

Happy (early) Halloween!

Robert Arends

Julian Ripe and Ready for Apple Days!

Visitors and locals alike are gearing up for a San Diego tradition as “American as apple pie:” Julian Apple Days, happening this weekend October 6-7!

Every year the historic Gold Rush mountain town of Julian rolls out the red (apple) carpet, celebrating its big annual harvest with apple picking and mouthwatering apple pies and ciders. The Apple Days fest takes place on the grounds of Menghini Winery (10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday & Sunday), featuring music and dancing, children’s games, gold panning, a wine and beer garden, food, vendors, apple-related contests, the coronation of Mr. and Mrs. Apple Days and, of course, Julian’s famous apple pies.

While in Julian be sure to sample the apple pies!

It’s A LOT of fun for the whole family! Admission is only $5; free for children ages 12 and under. The first 250 guests receive a free souvenir pie server!

While you’re in town, following are my Top 5 to Try Julian activities that’ll have you smiling ear to ear this weekend:

1. Pick a Bushel of Apples at Raven Hill Orchard

Sculpture with a Raven at Raven Hill Orchard

Wild Raven Hill sculptures!

Next door to the Julian Apple Days fest is Raven Hill Orchard where you can pick your own apples among a vast orchard of 8,000 trees! Also check out the fantastical metal sculptures dotting the grounds – great photo opps!

2. Pan for Gold at the Julian Mining Company

Family Panning for Gold - Julian Mining Company

Gold panning in Julian!

New in town is the Julian Mining Company, featuring gold panning, pumpkin picking and even an Early American Farm-Life Tour where you can work a real apple cider press!

3. Take a Llama Trek from Wikiup B&B

Couple with two Llamas from the Wikiup Bed and Breakfast

Lovin’ the Wikiup llama treks!

Gidddyup on one of Wikiup B&B‘s exciting Llama Treks through Julian’s backcountry to the Menghini Winery and famous Eagle Gold Mine, where you can take a tour of one of Julian’s original gold mines!

4. Fresh Apple Pies

Julian Apple Pies

Mmmm…Apple pies!

Sure there’s delectable Dudley’s Famous Bakery, Mom’s Pies and Julian Pie Co… But for the most gourmet apple pie in town, nothing beats the Candied Apple Pastry Company‘s sour creamapple pie. It’s off the charts!

5. Spooky Tour of the Julian Cemetery

Yours truly at spooky Julian Cemetery!

Kids will get a kick out of Julian Historical Society’s classic 1888 one-room school house (2133 Fourth St.), open weekends throughout October. For an insider’s scoop on prospectors and pioneers who settled here, join local resident/historian David Lewis on fun guided walking tours that include the spooky Julian Haven of Rest Cemetery!

Quick sidebar: Our local newspaper, U-T San Diego, did a great story on Julian Apple Days weekend!

See you in Julian!

Maren

Top Things to Do in San Diego: September 21-23, 2012

It’s all about food, beer, Pacific Islands, fast cars and the rise of the undead this weekend in San Diego. Here are our top picks for the weekend:

1. San Diego Restaurant Week

San Diego Restaurant Week Logo

Get ready to grub! San Diego Restaurant Week ends September 21 and you do not want to miss out on the delicious meals and fabulous deals being served up by over 180 local restaurants. Sample the signature cuisine and sophisticated style that makes San Diego’s dining scene one of the region’s top attractions.

2. Annual Pacific Islander Festival

Picture courtesy of yelper Kaliloa O.

From September 22-23, head down to Ski Beach in Mission Bay between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM to enjoy this FREE event showcasing the cultures, food, crafts and customs of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

3. Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival

From September 22-23, enjoy the thrill of fast-paced auto racing and exhibitions at one of the most distinctive race track locations – Naval Air Station North Island, the birthplace of Naval Aviation.  San Diego Fleet Week’s marquee event will be held from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, or until the last race, and allows the general public a rare glimpse of the daily activities happening at the base as well as racing excitement.

4. Festival of Beer

On September 21, join your beer-loving brethren in downtown San Diego at the 18thannual San Diego Festival of Beer. Seventy-five local and regional brewers will be in attendance, providing samples and tastings of their signature and award-winning beers along with music, vendors, food booths and more.

5. The Haunted Hotel

Let the haunting begin! Starting on September 21, San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter welcomes The Haunted Hotel back for another season of terror. Get ready to scream as you weave your way through Hollywood’s favorite horror films.

> Discover More Great Things to Do with San Diego’s Event Calendar

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Stempunk Buggy by David Farish - San Diego Automotive Museum

I don’t know what sounds like more fun for the kids…Steampunk – The Exhibit or Grossology: The Impolite Science of the Human Body. Maybe we will just have to check them both out. Which of these 5 to Try sounds like fun? Or leave a recommendation of your own!

Stempunk Buggy by David Farish - San Diego Automotive Museum

See David Farish's Steampunk Buggy at the San Diego Automotive Museum

1. Steampunk – The Exhibit

The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park opens its latest exhibit, Steampunk – The Exhibit on Friday, June 1. For the first time ever, the museum is incorporating clothing, gadgets, and gizmos that are not directly related to the automobile. The focus of the exhibit is innovation, and non-traditional vehicles will be presented with classic examples of early automotive engineering and design. Anyone wearing Steampunk clothing and accessories will be admitted for just $5 during the entire run of the exhibit.

Fiesta del Sol - Solana Beach

Concerts and More at the Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach. Photo courtesy of Daniel Knighton

2. 33rd Annual Fiesta del Sol

Head up north to Solana Beach on Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3 for an annual family and community event featuring stellar live music, an arts & crafts fair, children’s activities, an international food court, and a beer & wine garden. Be sure to visit the Fiesta del Sol Kid’s area with rides, games and hands-on activities. Favorite destinations include the hair salon and the face painter. Entrance into the festival is free.

Where the Wild Things Are Food & Wine Classic - Living Coast Discovery Center

3. Where the Wild Things Are: Food and Wine Classic

This four-hour event on Saturday, June 2 from 3:00 – 7:00 pm will feature fine culinary delights and wines to sample, live cooking demonstrations, music, and animal encounters in the gorgeous surroundings of the Nature Center and Wildlife Refuge. This event will benefit the Nature Center’s animals, exhibits, and programs, including the development of a new Outdoor Living Classroom and Discovery Park on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Guests will also be able to participate in a unique silent auction featuring amazing dinner packages, collector’s wines, and vacation experiences!

Rock and Roll Marathon

4. San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon 2012

Rock out at the annual Rock N Roll Marathon. The 15th annual Rock n’ Roll marathon sprints into San Diego on June 2nd. This 26.2 mile marathon features live music lining the streets, cheer squads, and a huge post-marathon concert to end the race with a bang. The race route will span more than 9 miles along San Diego’s scenic waterfront, including a stretch through PETCO Park. With more than 20,000 runners and 100,000 enthusiastic spectators, this popular event is not to be missed!

Art Around Adams 2012 Banner

5. Art Around Adams

This free, family friendly event on Saturday, June 2nd, will showcase an array of local artists, musicians, outrageous street performers, and interactive installations. More than 75 businesses will transform themselves into art galleries and performance arenas for the day. Free “Comedy Trolleys” will shuttle guests up and down Adams Avenue, while entertaining them with the best comedians San Diego has to offer.

Wings Over Gillespie Air Show Banner 2012

5+1. Wings over Gillespie

The 17th Annual Wings Over Gillespie Air Show, June 2-3, will feature the awesome howl of airplane engines such as WWII bombers, F4F Wildcat, the TBF Avenger, the A6M Zero, the SBD Dauntless, and many more “Flying Museums” including the only remaining of their type, the Northrop N9M Flying Wing and the F3F Flying Barrel. The Air Show will also have a KidsZone area with amusements, rides, entertainers, games and prizes, face painters, education displays, and a great variety of food and beverages. There will also be a Beer Festival to add to the festivities of a great summer weekend for all.

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Break out the shades and flip flops, it”s officially summer season in San Diego. Here are our five to try for this 3-day weekend. What will you be doing?

Vista Strawberry Festival

1. Vista Strawberry Festival

The Annual Vista Strawberry Festival takes place in Vista”s historic downtown. Over 200 vendors will line the streets with arts, crafts, food, fun and more. Also, a beer garden will proudly display Vista”s own micro-breweries.

SeaWorld

Manta is coming to SeaWorld San Diego

2. Manta at SeaWorld!

Head over to SeaWorld to experience Manta, which features a double-launch coaster and 100,000-gallon aquarium with rays and hundreds of fishes, opening May 26. Featuring a unique “launch station,” you will start your Manta experience enclosed in a tunnel with larger-than-life images of rays projected on a 270-degree enveloping screen. This stunning introduction to the world of the rays also will visually enhance the physical acceleration as Manta launches down the track. This online casino state-of-the-art projection system will be the first of its kind in the United States.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

3. Grossology

On May 26, the Science Center”s most popular exhibit ever returns to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center! A fun, exciting and educationally stimulating exhibition based on the best-selling book Grossology by science teacher Sylvia Branzei. Designed for children ages 6 to 14, the exhibit features interactive stations which teach the good, the bad and the downright ugly about runny noses, body odor and much more.

Gaslamp Music & Arts Festival

Gaslamp Music & Arts Festival

4. Gaslamp Music and Arts Festival

From smooth beats to funky scats, the Gaslamp Music & Art Festival will celebrate live music this Memorial Day weekend. Various <a title=”San Diego”s Historic Gaslamp Quarter” href=”http://www.sandiego/gaslampquarter” target=”_blank”>Gaslamp Quarter businesses, along with the Gaslamp Quarter Association, are hosting the inaugural festival on Saturday, May 26th, 2012 from 1:00 – 9:00 pm. This electrifying program will feature live entertainment, dining and interactive art demonstrations hosted at more than 25 venues throughout the Gaslamp Quarter.

Spreckels Park, Coronado

5. Promenade Concert in the Park Series

Pack a picnic and bring the family for this free concert series kicking off May 27 and continuing through September 9, every Sunday at 6:00 pm in Spreckles Park. Performances will include Coronado”s Lamb”s Players Theatre and popular bands like the Coronado Community Concert Band, Navy Band Southwest Band and Coronado Big Band.

> Find More Great Memorial Day Weekend Goings-On on the San Diego Event Calendar

Tell us and others in the comments below, what should be #6?

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Roadside Wonders of San Diego’s East County

Cosmic car at Unarius Academy in El Cajon

You might recall my blog awhile back on Quirky Roadside Attractions in San Diego’s East County region. With Memorial Day around the bend, now is the perfect time to map out another adventure to discover some wonderfully fascinating finds in our backcountry. Following are 5 to Try:

Dino-sized greeting at Creation & Earth History Museum

1. Creation and Earth History Museum

Let there be light! The Creation and Earth History Museum in Santee is a showcase of the literal six-day creation of earth, according to the Bible’s book of Genesis. Highlights include stellar displays of planetary development (Day 1), a jungle-like Garden Room with live animal terrariums (Day 6), model of Noah’s Ark (great photo opp), an Ice Age Room and Ancient Civilizations Room with replicas of the Tower of Babel and Rosetta Stone. Admission is free.

Model of UFO spiritual tower at Unarius Academy

2. Unarius Academy of Science

Out of this world! The Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon is a garden-like teaching center featuring cosmic art, a “Power Tower,” Future City Model and Star Center room with murals of Atlantis – illustrating Unariun beliefs in past lives, Tesla technology, lost civilizations and UFOs. The group is known for its 2001 prophecy of spaceships landing in nearby Jamul to form a spiritual tower. Call 619-444-7062 or e-mail uriel@unarius.org to arrange a visit. Did you know: Unarius stands for Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science.

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge in Anza-Borrego Dessert State Park

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

3. Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

Make tracks… to the world’s tallest curved timber railroad trestle, the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge traversing the steep-walled Carrizo Gorge near Jacumba. It spans 200 feet high and 750 feet long! It’s a hearty hike to the vista point, but well worth it. For those who may not have the hiking boots (or stamina) to make the trek, there’s a 10-foot high model at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (the world’s largest operating model railroad museum) in Balboa Park.

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

4 and 5. California’s Two Largest Labyrinths

A-MAZE-ing! Check out California’s two largest labyrinths at Labyrinth in the Oaks, a private riverfront retreat along the San Diego River headwaters in Julian, and Sacred Rocks Reserve in Boulevard. Both claim to have the largest labyrinths in the state, but technically LITO is biggest at 105 feet in diameter. Sacred Rocks’ maze is still an impressive 100 feet, modeled after the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France(!). Cost is $8 for a day pass to explore the grounds of Sacred Rocks. Labyrinth in the Oaks is open to overnight guests only.

Happy exploring! 🙂

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

San Diego Padres at PETCO Park

Spring is here and it’s forecasted to be 70 degrees this weekend in San Diego. What a great time to get outside and enjoy the city! Here are 5 to Try this weekend.

Tell us in the comments below, what will you be doing this weekend?

Seaport Village

Enjoy the Sun at Seaport Village

1. Seaport Village

Every Sunday through June 24, enjoy free musical performances as part of Seaport’s Sunday Concert Series from 1:00 – 4:00 pm in the East Gazebo. This Sunday, April 8th, enjoy the Bayou Brothers, a fantastic mix of bluesy, rockin’ and Zydeco. The Easter Bunny will also be visiting April 4-7. Photos will be available in the West Plaza near the food court from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.

San Diego Padres at PETCO Park

Catch the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park. Photo courtesy of Mark Whitt.

2. Padres Opening Weekend

Catch the San Diego Padres take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, Thursday, April 5th through Sunday, April 8. Thursday’s game includes an opening day T-shirt, schedule cling and San Diego decal. Opening Day starts at 4:05 pm.

San Diego Maritime Museum

San Diego Maritime Museum

3. A Chocolate Affair at the San Diego Maritime Museum

Did you know that chocolate first made its way to America via seafaring vessels? Find out how and more at the Maritime Museum’s chocolate festival Sunday, April 8, 2012. With over 25 vendors showcasing and sampling various types of chocolate, there is something for every palette. Explore the exhibit on how chocolate came here with a scavenger hunt and see if you can get all the questions correct. Essay contests for kids, craft activities and more to delight chocolate lovers of all ages. Free with museum admission.

Grunion Run with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Catch the Grunion Run with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

4. Birch Aquarium Grunion Run

Get ready for a true Southern California experience! Observe hundreds of small silver fish, called grunion ride, the waves onto La Jolla beaches to spawn. Before hitting the beach, see grunion hatch before your eyes during a special presentation about this mysterious fish. Prepare for cool, wet conditions and bring a flashlight. The fun starts April 8 from 10:45 pm – 12:45 am. RSVP required. $10 for members, $12 non-members.

Delphiniums in Balboa Park's Alcazar Garden

Delphiniums in Balboa Park's Alcazar Garden

5. Balboa Park

Interested in seeing the beautiful flowers throughout Balboa Park? Balboa Park’s Offshoot Tours provides free, one-hour tours that highlight the park’s lush botanical offerings. Tours begin at 10:00 am on Saturdays. Must-sees are the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, displaying approximately 2,500 roses of nearly 200 varieties, and the award-winning Alcazar Garden, with a floral design patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain.