Robert Arends

Dr. Seuss on the Loose in La Jolla

The_Art_of_Dr_SeussThere’s a tale of a Cat, so cool in a Hat, that…did you hear…was created right here! 🙂

Yep Dr. Seuss, that master smith of rhyming words for kids, lived atop a hill called Mt. Soledad in La Jolla (north of downtown San Diego) where his fantastical world of Cat in the Hat and other memorable characters came to life for readers of all ages.

I’ve always been a big fan of Dr. Seuss whose real name BTW is Theodore (Ted) Seuss Geisel. His widow Audrey still lives in lovely seaside La Jolla.

On the heels of Dr. Seuss’ recently released new book, Horton and the Kwuggerbug and more Lost Stories, me thinks with my thinker that a fun way to tinker would be an incredibly fun linker to a few Seussian sights and events in La Jolla:

Wish Dr. Suess at Happy Birthday at UCSD

Dr. Seuss birthday celebration at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

Dr. Seuss birthday celebration at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

Every year in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2, the aptly named Geisel Library at University of California at San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla exhibits selections from their Dr. Seuss Collection of over 10,000 items(!), including his drawings, rough drafts, notebooks and other cool memorabilia. It’s the world’s largest repository of original works by Seuss. Last year Mrs. Geisel substantially added to the collection, donating an additional 1,500 items from his personal archive!

Look for an announcement of next year’s big b-day bash on Geisel Library’s news page after New Year’s.

7 ½ foot Cat in the Hat

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

In the meantime, next time you’re in La Jolla, check out the life-size bronze sculpture of Dr. Seuss and a towering 7 ½ foot Cat in the Hat in front at the library. Seuss selfies are encouraged!

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss at Legends Gallery, La Jolla includes Unorthodox Taxidermy

The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss includes Unorthodox Taxidermy

In the charming Village of La Jolla, the Legends Gallery displays some wonderful imaginings in its “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” exhibit. Visitors can view the sophisticated, technically accomplished and unrestrained side of Seuss’ talent, including lesser-known paintings, illustrations and sculptures from his Unorthodox Taxidermy collection (a fun fav!).

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe

"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" at the Old Globe in Balboa Park

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at the Old Globe in Balboa Park

And though it’s not in La Jolla, I should mention the whimsical annual Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! musical that takes place each holiday season at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. It’s a magical must see for the whole family!

See you in San Diego, Dr. Seuss fans!

Robert Arends

San Diego’s East County is Music to Our Ears!

Taylor Guitar Factory in San Diego's East County

See music in the making on a tour of Taylor Guitars’ factory floor

Bet you didn’t know that three of the world’s most renowned musical instrument companies are headquartered in San Diego’s picturesque East County – in the cities of El Cajon and Spring Valley and small town of Mount Laguna.

Join me for a fine tuned tour of East County to discover where world-class guitars, banjos and harps are made:

Taylor Guitar Company

Rockin'! Taylor Guitars Factory Tour

Rockin’! Taylor Guitars Factory Tour in El Cajon

Our first stop is Taylor Guitar Company in El Cajon, a world-famous designer of top-line acoustic and electric guitars celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Taylor Guitars are played by some of the top musicians in rock and country music, including Neil Young and San Diego’s very own Jason Mraz. Visitors can take a free guided tour of the Taylor factory Monday through Friday at 1:00 PM.

Did you know: Taylor made 130,000 guitars in 2013!

Where: 1980 Gillespie Way, El Cajon, CA 92020
> Find out more about the Taylor Guitar Company Factory

Deering – The Great American Banjo Company

Taylor Swift playing a Deering Banjo

Taylor Swift playing a Deering Banjo

Nearby Spring Valley is home to Deering – The Great American Banjo Company, played by contemporary musicians like Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Mumford & Sons and even Steve Martin (who’s collaborating with Edie Brickell BTW on the world-premiere musical “Bright Star” at  The Old Globe theater in Balboa Park). Deering is the largest banjo manufacturer in the U.S., producing 10,000 of the sweet twanged musical instruments last year. Visitors can take a free Deering factory tour Tuesday through Friday at 1:00 PM. Call/email in advance to schedule a tour date: 1.800.845.7791, carolinabridges@deeringbanjos.com.

Did you know: Deering produces more than 80 banjo models, including their basic Goodtime banjo that sells for $499.

Where: 3733 Kenora Dr., Spring Valley, CA 91977
> Find out more about Deering – The Great American Banjo Company

Janet, Greg and Jamie Deering, founders of Deering Banjo Company

Janet, Greg and Jamie Deering, owners of Deering Banjo Company

(American Profile magazine recently featured Deering in their March issue.)

Robinson’s Harp Shop

Tucked away, high atop East County’s Mount Laguna – popular for hiking, camping and frolicking in the snow during the winter – is a world-renowned music marvel most San Diegans don’t know about: Robinson’s Harp Shop. Since 1967 this harp string manufacturer, housed in a cabin near the town’s general store, has been sending custom-made strings to loyal customers around the world. There aren’t any visitor tours, as it’s a low-profile, five-person operation that makes the most of its time to produce 150,000 handmade harp strings per year. But Laguna is lovely to visit any time of year…Check out my camping blog, featuring Laguna’s pristine alpine wilderness.

Did you know: Robinson’s is one of only four such harp shops in the U.S., and three of those are related to each other!

> Find out more about Robinson’s Harp Shop

See you in East County where wonders like these never cease!

Candice

Top Things to Do in San Diego: Nov. 12 – 17, 2013

dr. seuss how the grinch stole christmas old globe theater san diego

Enjoy a children’s classic come to life, take a private wine tour, or shop for some vintage wares this week in San Diego.

Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas Opens at the Old Globe

dr. seuss how the grinch stole christmas old globe theater san diego

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! opens at the Old Globe Theatre this weekend.

The Old Globe Theatre kicks off its holiday season on Saturday, November 16th, with a top notch stage production of Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  In San Diego, we take our Dr. Seuss seriously – which is why this whimsical musical has been dazzling local school children and families for nearly 16 years.  Suitable for ages 5+.

Where: 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Nov 16, 2013 – Dec 28, 2013
Time: Various (11:00 am matinees open to all ages)
Cost: $27-57
>Find out more about Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe.

San Diego Wine Country Chauffeured Tours

San Diego winery tours

Experience San Diego’s beautiful vineyards up close on a personalized tour.

Take a six-hour guided tour of local wineries with San Diego Beer & Wine Tours, starting with pick-up and drop off right at your door (home or hotel). The guided tour includes visiting three family-owned wineries and indulging in more than 18 tastes from off the beaten path wineries. Meals include a fruit and cheese platter at the first winery and a dinner with spectacular vineyard views at the final destination.

Where: Door to door service
When:  Friday, Saturday or Sunday, November 15-17
Time: 11:00 a.m. pick up – 6:00 p.m. drop off
Cost: $154 (tour guide gratuity not included)
>Find out more about San Diego Beer & Wine Tours 

High Tide Breakfast Buffet at the Marine Room

The delectable breakfast offerings include banana chocolate brioche French toast, poached eggs Florentine and hickory smoked Pacific salmon (just to name a few items), but what makes this breakfast truly special is watching the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash up against the Marine Room’s giant picture windows.

Where: 2000 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037
When:  Saturday and Sunday, November 16 and 17
Time: 7:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Cost: $34 per person
>Find out more about High Tide Breakfast at the Marine Room

TNT (Thursday Night Thing) at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

MIHO Gastrotruck at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego TNT

Grab a bite from MIHO Gastrotruck at TNT at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Part cocktail party, part concert and part art exhibition, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego‘s TNT after-hours series proves that museums don’t have to be boring. Stop by the museum’s downtown location for tours, art-making activities, live music from Family Wagon, tasty cocktails, and delicious bites from MIHO Gastrotruck.

Where: 1100 & 1001 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When:  Thursday, November 14
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Cost: Free for museum members, $8 for students, $10 for non-members
>Find out more about TNT at the Museum of Conteporary Art San Diego

Del Mar Antique Show & Sale

Del Mar Antique Show and Sale San Diego 2013

Antiques of all sorts can be found at the Del Mar Antique Show & Sale

Celebrating its 53rd year at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, this three-day event for antique lovers features everything from furniture to fine art and vintage clothing and jewelry. The weekend also features a Costume Walkabout: this year’s theme is “A Day in the Fabled Land of Bollywood.”

Where: 1100 & 1001 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When:  Friday – Sunday, November 15 – 17
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Friday & Saturday), 11:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $8 for adults for all three days, free for children
>Find out more about the Del Mar Antique Show & Sale

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the Event Calendar

What will you be doing in San Diego this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Candice

Fall Theater in San Diego: Conjoined Twins, Travesties and Much Ado

Side Show La Jolla Playhouse San Diego

Fall in San Diego is pretty great. The weather is warm, the beaches are free of the summer crowds, and there are lots of wonderful fairs and festivals happening nearly every weekend. With so many reasons to stay outdoors, sitting inside a theater may not be at the top of you fall to-do list, but a variety of spectacular offerings from San Diego’s award-winning theaters will surely convince you to stray off the beach for a few hours.

Side Show at the La Jolla Playhouse

Side Show La Jolla Playhouse San Diego

Don’t miss Side Show at the La Jolla Playhouse this fall

It may look like your average musical, but Side Show offers a surprising twist on burlesque theater. Inspired by a true story, sisters Violet and Daisy just want to live and love like any other women would. The problem? The two are conjoined twins making a living as performs in a side-show. Together, the two guide the audience through an honest and enthralling look inside their lives.

Where: La Jolla Playhouse  – 2910 La Jolla Village Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
Run Dates: November 5 – December 15, 2013
Tickets: Start at $15
>Find out more about Side Show at the La Jolla Playhouse

What a Travesty! at Cygnet Theatre

Travesties - Cygnet Theatre - Fall Theater in San Diego

Travesties is on stage now at the Cygnet Theatre

Take one part Wilde, a touch of Lenin, a dash of Dada, a pinch of Joyce and you’ve got Tom Stoppard’s Tony award-winning Travesties. The playwright behind Arcadia and Shakespeare in Love, Stoppard weaves a medley of literature, philosophy, politics, and history in this humorous play at the Cygnet Theatre in Old Town San Diego.

Where: 4040 Twiggs St, San Diego, CA 92110
Show Dates: Now through October 27, 2013
Tickets: $29-$54
> Find out more about Travesties at the Cygnet Theatre

Much Ado About the Old Globe

Much Ado about Nothing Old Globe Theatre San Diego

The Old Globe offers a Shakespearian classic this fall

Did you catch Joss Whedon’s contemporary adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing in the movie theater last year? Whether you want to compare the old with the new or simply can’t get enough of the timeless Shakespeare classic, theater goers young and old will love seeing the Bard’s wit and humor come to life on The Old Globe‘s state-of-the-art stage.

Where: 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
Run Dates: November 9-17, 2013
Tickets: Start at $16
> Get tickets to Much Ado About Nothing at The Old Globe

> Discover more Fall Theater in San Diego

Are you excited for fall theater in San Diego? Let us know which shows you’ll be seeing in the comments below.

Maren

A Murderous March in San Diego Theatre

Assassins, Aristocrats and Archbishops take center stage this month for what is gearing up to be quite a murderous March in San Diego’s theatre scene. But do not fear! In addition to an exciting evening of black humor or musical madness, a night out at the theater means taking in some of San Diego’s most iconic neighborhoods such as historic Old Town, beautiful Balboa Park, and energetic Downtown.

Assassins at Cygnet Theatre

Assassins - Cygnet Theatre

Bold, original, thought-provoking and alarmingly funny, Assassins lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated (or attempted to) the President of the United States, including the infamous John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, in wry musical form. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, Directed by Sean Murry.

Location: Cygnet Theatre – 4040 Twiggs Street, San Diego, CA 92110
Dates: March 14 – April 28, 2013
Cost: $34-$59 (Low-priced previews available March 14-March 22)
Box Office: 619.337.1525
> Get Your Tickets to Assassins at Cygnet Theatre

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the Old Globe

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - The Old Globe

Will Monty Navarro become 1st in line to inherit his dukedom?

When Monty Navarro finds out he is ninth in line to inherit a dukedom, he decides to eliminate the other eight heirs (all played by one incredible actor!) standing in his way in this World Premiere musical of merriment and murder. This witty music hall comedy explores just how low we’ll go to make it to the top!

Location: The Old Globe – 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
Dates: March 8 – April 14, 2013
Cost: Tickets start at $39
Box Office: 619.234.5623
> Get Your Tickets to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at the Old Globe

Murder in the Cathedral by the San Diego Opera

Murder in the Cathedral with San Diego Opera - Music in San Diego

The West Coast premiere of Murder in the Cathedral with San Diego Opera. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.

The American West Coast Premiere of Murder in the Cathedral comes to the San Diego Opera with a score reminiscent of Puccini and extraordinary choruses perfectly able to paint a complex story of faith, passion, tragedy and hope. Archbishop Thomas Becket, brutally murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170 defending his church against the intrusions of King Henry II, became a Christian martyr and Saint at whose tomb Henry was forced to pay penance. Based on the T. S. Eliot play, the opera, by Ildebrando Pizzetti, covers the last month of Becket’s life as he struggles with politics, religion and temptation.

Location: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
Dates: March 30 – April 7, 2013
Cost: $35-$275
Box Office: 619.533.7000
> Get Your Ticket to Murder in the Cathedral by the San Diego Opera

> Enjoy more San Diego’s Vibrant Theatre Scene

Maren

San Diego Theatre Preview: Winter 2013

Winter San Diego Theatre - San Diego Opera - Daughter of the Regiment

As temperatures cool outdoors, creativity heats up in theatres across San Diego. Check out the grandest form of all theatre with the beautiful and bold productions at the San Diego Opera, or get an intimate view into the theater workshopping process with La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Work Series. Check out the San Diego Theatre Preview below for more Winter 2013 must-see shows.

San Diego Opera – The Daughter of the Regiment

Winter San Diego Theatre - San Diego Opera - Daughter of the Regiment

San Diego Opera kicks off an exhilarating season with Donizetti’s sparkling and hilarious, The Daughter of the Regiment. The story tells of the orphaned French girl, Marie, adopted by a regiment of soldiers in the waning days of World War II. The independent, spunky Mario love Tonio, a peasant, but the Marquise tries to marry her off to a rich Duke. Luckily for Marie, the Marquise is thwarted and Marie is free to marry Tonio. Hear, hear, for opera with a happy ending!

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 3rd Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
When: January 26 – February 3, 2013
Cost: $35 – $275
> Find out more about San Diego Opera’s The Daughter of the Regiment

Old Globe Theatre – Pygmalion

Winter San Diego Theatre - Old Globe Theatre - Pygmalion

Old Globe Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw’s most popular modern masterpiece (which Lerner and Loewe adapted as the musical My Fair Lady), Pygmalion. The poor flower-seller Eliza Doolittle is in the right place at the right time, just as speech professor Henry Higgins makes a friendly wager that he can change her accent and pass her off as the epitome of English society. Pygmalion is a funny, touching, unforgettable battle of wits between two of the theatre’s most iconic characters.

Where: 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101-1696 (map)
When: January 12 – February 17, 2013
Cost: Tickets start at $29
> Find out more about Old Globe Theatre’s Pygmalion

La Jolla Playhouse – DNA New Work Series

Winter San Diego Theatre - La Jolla Playhouse - DNA New Work Series

La Jolla Playhouse announces a new play development initiative, the DNA New Work Series, which will entail a six-week period of workshop productions and readings of new plays and musicals. First up is Chasing the Song, which follows a group of pop songwriters and the changing sounds of music charts in the early 1960’s before the Beatles emerged and transformed the entire music world.

Where: 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037 (map)
When: January 24 – March 3, 2013
Cost: $0-$20
> Find out more about La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Work Series

Lamb’s Players Theatre – Pete ‘n Keely

Winter San Diego Theatre - Lamb's Players Theatre - Pete 'n Keely

Lamb’s Players Theatre welcomes Pete ‘n Keely to the stage. The year is 1968 and it’s been a thrilling week of rehearsing at the NBC studios for the live telecast of Pete and Keely Reunion Special. This Off-Broadway hit is packed with classic favorites like, “Besame Mucho,” “Secret Love” and “Fever” as well as great new songs.

Where: 1142 Orange Ave, Coronado CA 92118 (map)
When: January 18-March 3, 2013
Cost: $12-$68
> Find out more about Lamb’s Players Theatre’s Pete ‘n Keely

Cygnet Theatre – Gem of the Ocean

Winter San Diego Theatre - Cygnet Theatre - Gem of the Ocean

For a moving and thought-provoking start to 2013, Cygnet Theatre presents Gem of the Ocean. Gem of the Ocean is chronologically the first of ten plays in August Wilson’s acclaimed Century Cycle examining African-American experience in the 20th century. Citizen Barlow sparks a chain of events that drive a community into turmoil and set him on a journey, guided by 285-year-old Aunt Ester, towards personal redemption.

Where: 4040 Twiggs Street, San Diego, CA 92110 (map)
When: January 24 – February 24, 2013
Cost: $15-$34
> Find out more about Cygnet Theatre’s Gem of the Ocean

> Find more San Diego Theatre Shows

Candice

Fall for Theatre in San Diego this 2012 Autumn

Allegiance starring George Takei at the Old Globe Theater

It’s a musical fall in San Diego’s theater lineup, and big names are the big news. From a whimsical Broadway favorite to a melancholy reflection of American history to giant robots and contemporary indie rock music, these productions offer a theatre experience for just about every theatregoer’s taste.

Allegiance – A New American Musical

Allegiance starring George Takei at the Old Globe Theater

Allegiance at the Old Globe Theater stars George Takei.

Running now through Oct. 21, The Old Globe presents Allegiance – A New American Musical. This new production is an epic story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese-American internment of World War II. The star-studded cast includes Lea Solanga, winner of the 1990 Tony AwardÂŽ for her role in Miss Saigon, and George Takei, the veteran actor best known for playing Dr. Sulu on the original Star Trek series.

> Get Allegiance – A New American Musical Tickets Now

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the La Jolla Playhouse

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, based on the album by the Flaming Lips, debuts at the La Jolla Playhouse.

On November 6, the world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse will debut Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a new musical featuring a story by The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff (director of The Who’s Tommy and Jersey Boys). Based on the album of the same name by the indie rock band The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi tells the story of a young Japanese artist facing a battle for her life in a fantastical robot-world. This world-premiere production runs through December 16.

> Get Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Tickets Now

Peter Pan

Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan at Broadway San Diego

A classic childhood tale and Broadway smash hit comes to San Diego as Broadway/San Diego presents Peter Pan, Nov. 13-18. Peter Pan stars Cathy Rigby, the Olympic gymnast turned thespian, in the role that she made famous. Rigby’s high-flying theatrics will have everyone in the audience believing they will never grow up.

> Get Peter Pan Tickets Now

Don’t miss your chance to enjoy a spectacular show and catch one of these big-name shows before it’s too late!

Brent Bernasconi

Theatre Thursday: Live and Upcoming in San Diego

West Coast Premiere of Moby Dick

You can always count on San Diego for good weather and spectacular beaches. But if you’re looking for something a little different, the San Diego theatre scene does not disappoint. With blockbuster Broadway shows, Operas, and award-winning performance incubators, theaters from downtown San Diego to La Jolla are pushing the boundaries of live and interactive productions.

Below are a highlights of new theater performances coming to San Diego in the next few months. You can find even more live theater and performing arts in the Arts section of SanDiego.org.

West Coast Premiere of Moby Dick

West Coast Premiere of Moby Dick. Photos Courtesy of Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera.

Moby Dick

2/18-2/26
San Diego’s rich maritime history makes it the perfect place for the west coast premiere of Moby Dick by Jake Heggie at the San Diego Opera. The actions of this large and emotionally irresistible work are played out against a multimedia-enriched staging that ranges from striking to near miraculous. This is one opera you don’t want to miss.

Guys and Dolls at the Lamb's Player Theatre

Guys and Dolls at the Lamb's Player Theatre. Photos courtesy of J.T. MacMillan.

Guys & Dolls

2/10-3/25
Walking through downtown Coronado is like going back to a simpler time. Coronado’s Lamb’s Player Theatre presentation of the American classic, Guys & Dolls, will transport you back to the glory days of New York in the 1950s, when fedoras were a must and traveling to Havana was a possibility.

Next Falls at Diversionary Theatre

Next Falls at Diversionary Theatre

Next Fall

2/16-3/25
Diversionary Theatre’s Next Fall, is a gripping tale told of two men and the complex issues of faith, sexuality and family. In 2010, Next Fall received Tony Award nominations for Best Play and Best Director and won the Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award for “Best New American Play.”

The Car Plays: San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse

The Car Plays: San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse. Photos Courtesy of JayPG Photography

The Car Plays: San Diego

2/23-3/4
La Jolla Playhouse is known for their bold and progressive performances. In The Car Plays: San Diego the audience explores five different stories, revealed in a one hour production. Once seated, the car door is closed and the first story begins, unveiling a drama or comedy. Ten minutes later, audiences move on to a next car for a whole new story. This is a great way to experience live theater in a whole new way.

A Room with a View

3/2-4/8
Join the Old Globe Theatre and Lucy Honeychurch in the violet-covered hills of Tuscany as she battles with the decision between two men. Will she yield to Edwardian conventions? Or will she give up everything she knows to be with the free-thinking George Emerson. A Room with a View is a timeless story presented in the perfect setting of historic Balboa Park.

Disney’s Peter Pan

4/27-5/13
Another premiere in San Diego! San Diego Junior Theater’s young actors will bring the epic battle between the evil Captain Hook and the forever youthful Peter Pan and his Lost Boys to life in this pilot of Disney’s newest production, Peter Pan.

Candice

Arts Month San Diego: Balboa Park Can’t Be Beat

The country’s largest urban cultural park, Balboa Park, has been one of my favorite San Diego spots since childhood. I can remember taking class field trips to the many museums, my 8-year-old self awestruck by their enormous grandeur. As an adult, I still love visiting Balboa Park. No matter how many times I wander the park’s vast Spanish Colonial walkways, I always find something new and exciting to explore that awakens my inner 8-year-old spirit.

To celebrate Arts Month San Diego, take your inner child to explore the arts offerings of the nation’s largest cultural park. With 15 major museums and spectacular performing arts venues, art lovers of all walks are sure to find something to marvel at. Here are just a few of the inspired offerings you’ll find this September in Balboa Park:

Legendary designer Zandra Rhodes serves as the honorary chair for this annual exhibition and special event gala at the Timken Museum of Art. Fashion enthusiasts will be bowled over by the extraordinary fashions inspired by 15 artworks from the museum’s collection. Proceeds from tickets to the grand celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24 benefit the Timken’s art education programs, and Art of Fashion programming will continue at the Timken through October.

Outrageous fashions take center stage at both the Timken Museum of Art and The Old Globe

Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show at The Old Globe

Fashion certainly plays an important role in this ground-breaking show that launched a cult phenomenon. The Old Globe’s stage production features all the outrageous music and characters created by Richard O’Brien, who wrote the original book, music, and lyrics for The Rocky Horror Show. Do the time warp back to Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter’s castle as it was meant to be seen – live onstage. The show runs through Nov. 6.

See the Spanish masters at the San Diego Museum of Art

From El Greco to DalĂ­ : Spanish Masters from the PĂŠrez SimĂłn Collection at the San Diego Museum of Art

On view through Nov. 6, this momentous exhibition spanning five centuries showcases 64 masterful pieces from Spain’s most celebrated artists, including Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. In addition to the big names, visitors will discover works by artists little-known in the U.S., such as the Romantic Manuel Barrón y Carrillo, or the Modernist Romero de Torres.

Innovative photography captivates at the Museum of Photographic Arts

Works from the Bank of America Collection at the Museum of Photographic Arts

From the Spanish masters to masters of photography, Balboa Park’s art museums are some of the best in the country. Be sure not to miss Imagine That! at the Museum of Photographic Arts, now through Oct. 9. Expect to see the unexpected in this exhibition that highlights unique perspectives, unknown realms and phenomena inaccessible to the naked eye and immediate senses.

Enjoy a free concernt at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion

Free Sunday concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion

Donated to the City of San Diego by John D. and Adolph Spreckels in 1914, the Spreckels Organ is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, containing 4,530 pipes that range in length from the size of a pencil to 32 feet. Since 1917, San Diego has had a civic organist, who performs free weekly Sunday concerts.

Want to experience all the Balboa Park has to offer for free? Leave a comment on this blog post  to be entered to win two Passport to Balboa Park certificates. Each Passport includes a one-time admission coupon to each of 14 museums, and the coupon booklet is valid for seven consecutive days. A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, Sept. 28, so be sure to post before 10:00 am on Wednesday!

Suzzanne

5 to Try this Weekend

Maritime Museum

1. Festival of Sail: The 2011 Festival of Sail, hosted by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, will transform the North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park. More than twenty tall ships and other fascinating vessels from around the world will visit San Diego, September 2-5. The festival kicks off with a majestic parade of tall ships on San Diego Bay, Thursday, September 1. Parade begins at 11:00 am and can be seen from the Embarcadero, Harbor Island, Shelter Island and Coronado.

2. ART SAN DIEGO Contemporary Art Fair: More than 60 leading galleries from the US, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia will be taking part in showing works by more than 500 artists. In addition t the gallery booths, special features include contemporary furniture design, solo-artist exhibitions, viedo-based works, performances, art in public spaces, and a lounge inspired by noted Architect Jennifer Luce. Fair runs from September 1-5 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.

3. Julian Grape Stomp Festa: On September 3rd, Menghini Winery in Julian will celebrate the harvest of its grapes with a real, Old World-style grape stomp and festa. Three tons of grapes will be distributed between two giant barrels, one for adults and one for kids. There will also be live music, food vendors and beer and wine samples.

4. San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo: Here’s your last chance to catch the animals during the Zoo’s extended hours. The extended hours give guests more time to visit the more than 4,500 rare and endangered animals at the Zoo. Nighttime Zoo is open from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm through September 5.

Tempest, Old Globe Theatre 5. The Old Globe Theatre’s Summer Shakespeare Festival: Go back in time and see the dynamic Shakespeare productions performed nightly in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Playing this weekend are Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Amadeus.