2013: A Year of Anniversaries and History in San Diego

The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla and the famous Hotel del Coronado celebrating anniversaries in 2013

San Diego is full of rich history. In fact, the history of California began in San Diego when explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay under the Spanish flag and was the first European to discover California.

Centuries later, on October 14, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson reserved a half-acre of Fort Rosecrans on the tip of Point Loma in where Cabrillo first landed for “The Order of Panama … to construct a heroic statue of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo.” Now encompassing 160 acres, the Cabrillo National Monument celebrates 100 years of history with exhibitors from many of Southern California’s federal, state and local agencies, and non-profit organizations during a three-day celebration weekend from Oct. 12 -14, 2013.

But the Cabrillo National Monument isn’t the only other site in San Diego celebrating an anniversary in 2013. Several of San Diego iconic hotels, museums and attractions mark milestones this year.

Century-Old Historic Hotels

The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla and the famous Hotel del Coronado celebrating anniversaries in 2013

The Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla; the famous Hotel del Coronado

Grande Colonial Hotel

Amidst the pristine beaches and bluffs of San Diego’s beautiful coastal village of La Jolla, the luxurious Grande Colonial Hotel celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2013. Completely modernized, yet faithful to its storied past, this intimate boutique hotel harkens back to a quieter, more dignified era. Throughout 2013, the Grande Colonial marks the 100th anniversary of its grand opening in February 1913 with special packages, old-fashioned cocktails and more.

Hotel Del Coronado

Opened in 1888 and designed to be “the talk of the Western world,” the landmark Hotel del Coronado is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Throughout its rich history, The Del has played host to presidents, royalty and Hollywood’s elite and was the glamorous setting for Billy Wilder’s comedy classic Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The Del celebrates this milestone year with a series of dining and spa specials, guest packages, community events, charitable promotions and the release of a new history book.

Celebrating Science in San Diego

The Salk Institute, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and Air & Space Museum

The Salk Institute, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and Air & Space Museum

Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies

In 1963, Jonas Salk established the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. Adjacent to the University of California, San Diego, the institute is world-renowned for its medical research and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The 26-acre campus, designed by world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn, overlooks the Pacific Ocean on Torrey Pines Mesa and offers free public tours.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

40 years ago, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park opened its doors and brought interactive exhibits and the world’s first IMAX® Dome Theater to San Diego. Today, the Fleet inspires minds and connects individuals to science and technology through more than 100 hands-on exhibits for all ages, IMAX films and planetarium shows in the recently renovated Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

The San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park celebrates its 50th anniversary. The museum first opened its doors in Balboa Park in 1963. When a fire destroyed the museum and its contents in 1978, the San Diego community came together to rebuild, and the museum moved into the historic Ford Building in 1980, where it resides today. The museum is California’s official Air and Space Museum, one of the largest aviation and space museums and home to the third largest aviation archives and library in the country.

Artsy Anniversaries

The Museum of Photographic Arts and the Mingei International Museum

The Museum of Photographic Arts and the Mingei International Museum

Museum of Photographic Arts

The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park celebrates 30 years dedicated to exhibiting photography, film and video. Since its founding in 1983, MOPA has presented dynamic world-class photography exhibitions in San Diego and built a world-class photography collection. The anniversary exhibition 30x: Three Decades highlights one acquisition from each of MOPA’s 30 years and showcases a selection of influential figures in the history of photography, including works by Alexander Rodchenko, Loretta Lux, Thomas Struth, Lee Friedlander, Robert Adams, Marian Drew and many others.

Mingei International Museum

The Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2013 with a broad range of signature exhibitions, events and programs. In May 1978, the Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art opened with the mission to further the understanding of art of the people (mingei) from all cultures of the world. Thirty-five years later, the museum continues to offer unique exhibitions and events highlighting the arts, crafts and traditions of cultures from around the world.

Speaking of anniversaries, let us know if you have ever celebrated one in San Diego in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Geometric Fun at the Fleet

Visitors climb on top of a stack of Stellated Rhombic Dodecahedrons (SRDs), intriguing shapes that pack together with no spaces between them.

Scientists six and up (including me in my late 20s) can enjoy hands-on and educational fun with the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s new exhibition Geometry Playground. The main piece, A Stack of Stars, is a stack of Stellated Rhombic Dodecahedrons (SRDs) that young scientists can climb through. I think of it more as a an indoor geometric jungle gym.

Crawl through twisting tubes made by different ways of rotating a single shape.

While not on the SRDs, the young scientists can climb through rotating shapes, play a mind-bending version of hopscotch, lounge in a chair straight out of modern art installation (you will know it when you see it), and explore geometry with a ton of interactive exhibits. Continue reading


Explore Kid City at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Kid CityThis weekend, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is reopening their Kid City exhibition after two weeks of renovations, and you’re invited to check it out! 

The Kid City experience starts at the “Ball Wall” with its multiple chutes, tracks and moving objects. Nearby, kids can direct an air blower in different directions and make a set of colorful pinwheels rotate round-and-round. The new “Little Learner’s Lab” features an innovative microscope-on-a-rope for up-close exploration of objects of many different shapes, sizes and textures. A new “Fire Truck” is fun for kids as they turn different knobs to create movements and sounds similar to those found on a real fire truck. And for babies still in the crawling stage, the new “Infant Area” offers a safe space for them to move and explore textured objects – all contributing to their developing motor and social skills. 

This Saturday is the Kid City grand opening party and we’re giving away family 4-packs of exhibit gallery passes to four lucky winners; tickets will be available for a one-time use between October 23 and April 23.

If you’re interested in taking the family to the Kid City exhibit, comment on this post for a chance to win.  Comments must be made by 10 a.m. EST on Friday, October 22; please be sure to use your daytime email address.


5 To Try This Weekend

Butterfly Jungle

1.  Saturday kicks-off of the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park’s three-week spring celebration, Butterfly Jungle. Walking through the Park’s Hidden Jungle, a neo-tropical aviary, you’ll find yourself surrounded by thousands of butterflies of every shape, size and color creating a realistic rainforest environment; Butterfly Jungle runs until April 18 and is included in Park admission.

2.  This Saturday, come check-out the largest celebration of science on the West Coast during the San Diego Science Festival’s Expo Day at Petco Park.  Guests of all ages can watch a line-up of entertaining stage performances and explore over 150 hands-on science activities like building an underwater robot, test-driving moon shoes, finger painting with algae and learning the aerodynamics of paper airplanes. Expo Day is a free event that takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3.  The 6th Annual San Diego Indie Music Fest takes the stage on Saturday throughout multiple indoor and outdoor venues on and off University Ave. in North Park.  The event celebrates contemporary independent music with more than 65 musical acts across six stages. Tickets to this all-day event are $25 for general admission, kids eight and younger are free.

4.  This Saturday and Sunday, collegiate, junior and master rowers from the United States. Mexico and Canada will compete in 92 races during the 37th Annual San Diego Crew Classic along Crown Point on Mission Bay. Come cheer on participants from the shore-side and enjoy concession stands, a beer garden, sponsor booths and a jumbotron showcasing the races.  Gates open at 6 a.m.; the event is free but parking costs $10.

5.  This weekend, SeaWorld San Diego welcomes spring with special Spring into Night festivities. While the park stays open until 9 p.m., you can stay late and watch special nighttime shows like Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lions Tonite!, Shamu Rocks and a fantastic nightly firework show.