Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 28 – March 3, 2013

The Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch - Top Things to Do in San Diego

With a forecast of temperatures in the high 70s, this is going to be a great weekend to be in San Diego! Here are our top things to do (when you are not at the beach):

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

The Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch - Top Things to Do in San Diego

A sea of flowers in San Diego’s Carlsbad.

Don’t miss the chance to see more than 50 acres of breathtaking Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers bloom and transform the landscape into a solid expanse of dazzling color. The Flower Fields also offers a host of family friendly activities including an open-air wagon ride through the fields via an antique tractor and a walk through the fragrant sweet pea maze.

Where: 5704 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008 (North County Coastal)
When: March 1 – May 12, 2013
Cost: $6-$11. Children Under 2 – Free
> Find out more about The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Tower After Hours – Ireland

Museum of Man Tower After Hours - Ireland - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Celebrate Ireland with food, drink, dance, music and more! Enrich your cultural knowledge and share in the festive atmosphere with the San Diego Museum of Man as they celebrate the Emerald Isle’s rich cultural heritage. Enjoy traditional music and dance performed by several groups, feast on classic pub fare provided by local restaurants, and, of course, delight in a glass of Guinness!

Where: 1350 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 (Downtown)
When: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: $12-$25
> Find out more about Tower After Hours – Ireland

Friday Night Liberty @ NTC

Enjoy new exhibitions at Pulse Gallery, Women’s Museum of California, and Casa Valencia presents three new female artists from Baja. Also new works at Monique Straub Studio/Gallery and Visions Art Museum with their latest acquisition Playing with a Full Deck – a clever “deck of cards” made of quilts. Don’t miss an exclusive performance from Malashock Dance and live music at the Recreational Music Center.

Where: NTC at Liberty Station – 2801 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, CA 92106
When: Friday, March 1, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Friday Night Liberty @ NTC

Ocean Beach Kiwanis Kite Festival

Ocean Beach Kite Festival

Let’s go fly a kite…at the Ocean Beach Kiwanis Kite Festival!

To celebrate its 65th year, the Kiwanis are making the Ocean Beach Kite Festival bigger and better than ever. In addition to the traditional free kite making for children, this year’s festival will include demonstrations of kite flying and kite stunts by kite professionals and dedicated amateurs; more carnival rides; more food options, and a brand new location.

Where: Dusty Rhodes Park – Corner of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Nimitz Boulevard (Mission Bay and Beaches)
When: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Ocean Beach Kiwanis Kite Festival

House of Pacific Relations’ Lawn Program – House of Mexico

House of Mexico Lawn Program Dancers

Olé! Enjoy Mexican dancing, music and food at the first House of Pacific Relation International Cottages’ Lawn Program of 2013.

Every Sunday starting in March, the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages focus on a country’s cultural heritage with music, dance, traditional costumes, arts, crafts and ethnic foods. This weekend, the fun kicks of with the House of Mexico.

Where: 2191 W Pan American Road, San Diego, CA 92101 (Downtown)
When: Every Sunday – March 3 – October 27, 2013
Time: 2:00 to 3:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the House of Pacific Relations’ Lawn Program

San Diego Bird Festival

Great Blue Heron - Famosa Slough Point Loma - Birding in San Diego

See a Great Blue Heron while Birding in San Diego.

From sea to desert to mountaintop, San Diego County has a lot of birding to offer, with more than 500 species. The birding area encompasses diverse habitats ranging from desert to mountains, shore to coastal wetlands, urban and suburban. We’ll even go birding by bicycle and kayak. Sunday is a free Family Day with activities including a Beginning Bird Art Workshop, the Raptor Rap Workshop, a Puppet Show starring threatened California birds, and It’s a Hoot!, a bird-calling workshop just for kids.

Where: Marina Village Conference Center – 4010 Morena Blvd. Suite #100, San Diego, CA 92117 (Mission Bay and Beaches)
When: February 28 – March 3, 2013
Cost: $0-$130 depending on the event
> Find out more about the San Diego Bird Festival

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.


Birding in San Diego – Some of the Best Places to Birdwatch

Great Blue Heron - Famosa Slough Point Loma - Birding in San Diego
Great Blue Heron - Famosa Slough Point Loma - Birding in San Diego

See a Great Blue Heron while Birding in San Diego.

With most of California’s wetlands gone and developed, birding enthusiasts should know those wetlands remain here in the San Diego County region serve as the last refuge for many of the Western Flyway’s migrating birds on the way in or back from farther south.

That makes San Diego one of the premier destinations for birders from all over the world. As many as 480 bird species have been identified in San Diego County. In addition to this hot spot for birding, the Colorado River and the Salton Sea to the east also are prime bird-watching areas and within a day trip of San Diego.

From the shoreline along the coast to the mountains and into the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, birding areas are becoming more and more popular. In addition to the migratory route, our local mountains have become nesting areas for bald eagles, golden eagles and many other raptors. A bald eagle’s nest along Route 79 near Lake Henshaw a few years back attracted thousands of visitors who pulled off to get glimpses of the eaglets in the nest.

At Lake Miramar, a great horned owl’s nest also drew birders daily to see the progress of the owl chicks.

Each year in February the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge hosts the San Diego Bird Festival that features field trips to the three coastal San Diego National Wildlife Refuges. This is a great opportunity to join hundreds of other birders on guided trips to areas that hold rare birds like pied-billed grebes and black-vented shearwaters.

Birding Near Downtown

San Diego’s Mile of Birds

The San Diego flood channel, often called “San Diego’s Mile Of Birds,” attracts blue-winged teal, ruddy ducks, osprey, gulls, terns, black brant, and cormorants. The flood channel has plenty of access for hiking or biking.

Fomosa Slough

In Point Loma, at West Point Loma Boulevard and Famosa Boulevard, the Fomosa Slough is a small tidal marsh that has walking trails, benches and very good birding for waterfowl, shorebirds and other migrating species.

Cabrillo National Monument

Also in Point Loma (1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive), the 144-acre Cabrillo National Monument features an interpretive center, lighthouse and great views of San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The area’s tidepools and protected sage scrub habitat are home to many birds such as the wrentit, western scrub jay, California towhee and many more. Pelicans can be seen soaring above the shoreline. Seagulls and other shore birds dot the sand and rocks.

Shelter Island

Shelter Island is another great place to observe some of the rare species that frequent the area in the winter. Loons, grebes and ducks will raft in some areas of North San Diego Bay. At the western end, surf scooters, bufflehead, auklets and murres often can be spotted.

Northern Wildlife Preserve and Kendall Frost Marsh

At the Northern Wildlife Preserve and Kendall Frost Marsh in Mission Bay (Crown Point Shores Drive at Lamont), check for skimmers, clapper rails, brant and even the large-billed savannah sparrow. There’s 16 acres of salt marshes and open water that is home to two endangered species, the light-footed clapper rail and Belding’s savannah sparrow. In addition to those birds, there often are swallows, grebes, pelicans and herons. There’s an observation platform to set up for better birding.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Farther up the coast off La Jolla (Coast Boulevard off of Prospect Street), the area’s rocky shoreline north of La Jolla cove holds shorebirds like gulls and terns. And the Torrey Pines State Reserve is a great place to visit to see the ancient Torrey pine. Look for peregrine falcons, osprey, swifts, thrashers, woodpeckers and wrentits.

Birding in San Diego’s South Bay

Tijuana Estuary and South Bay Refuge

At Imperial Beach (Fifth Street and Iris), the Tijuana Estuary and South Bay Refuge, maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, features an interpretive center and 2,500 acres of coastal wetlands. Over 370 species of birds have been documented here, and 320 of them are migratory. In addition to the rare Belding’s savannah sparrow there are the American peregrine falcon, white pelicans, egrets, plovers, sandpipers, jaegers, ospreys, short-eared owls, clapper rails and blue herons.

Dairy Mart Ponds Ecological Reserve

The Dairy Mart Ponds Ecological Reserve (take Interstate 5 South to Dairy Mart Road south) has freshwater ponds that were left by an old salt mining plant. Scan this area for the blue grosbeak, the common moorhen, white pelicans and common yellowthroats.

Birding in San Diego’s East County

If you don’t mind traveling farther inland, the Mission Trails Regional Park, all of the inland lakes like Lake Murray, Miramar, Lower and Upper Otay, Jennings, El Capitan and others offer great hiking and bird-watching.

If you visit Julian, be sure and stop by the Birdwatcher store in town. The store has lots of great birding information, feeders, gifts and books.