Two from Safari Park

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Flamingo island
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Mama warthog
The San Diego Zoo has a sister park, about 30 miles north, called Safari Park. It is where the zoo conducts conservation programs. Safari Park also offers several ways to experience its grounds. You can just walk around the park or take the tram, and see the animals as you would in a traditional zoo. Or you can take a truck ride into the main space and see some of the animals up close and personal. Or you can stay overnight in tents within the park and enjoy your evening meals while listening to animal specialists. All of these experiences are to help educate people about the animals and the importance of conservation, especially of endangered species.

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The San Diego Zoo is lush and tropical
One of the perks of becoming a member of the San Diego Zoo is that you automatically are a member of the Safari Park, too. I enjoy visiting both.

The Zoo feels more like a tropical place with lush landscapes, lots of trees, and winding paths.

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The Safari Park is hot and dry
The Park feels like a dry African desert. Getting to the Park is harder because it’s located in a more remote part of San Diego county in order to accommodate the huge open savanna-like area in the back of the park. That is where several animal species live together as they would in Africa or Asia. And several other smaller animal exhibits dot the rest of the park.

Both places are great for exploring. And I must say, the San Diego Zoo/Safari Park has done a great job in creating more natural spaces for animals over the years. Gone are the small, boring, plastered enclosures. Thank goodness! For the animals and the visitors.

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USS Midway Museum

black and white photo of the USS Midway aircraft carrier up close

Yes, it’s a ship and a museum. The USS Midway Museum in San Diego’s harbor is a must-see. The aircraft carrier, USS Midway has a rich history. According to Wikipedia, it’s “America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, from 1945 to 1992.”

black and white photo of the aircraft carrier, USS Midway. Viewed from the side.

Even if you are not a history or aircraft buff, it’s pretty amazing to tour the inside of the carrier and imagine being a sailor during the Cold War. Or a sailor serving our country today, as so many are.

black and white photo of a plane on the deck of the USS Midway. The plane has folding wings.

The museum also houses over two dozen restored aircraft that you can see up close.

These photos were taken awhile back. The weather has been so unusually hot and humid that being outdoors is too uncomfortable. So I’ve been organizing my photos and came across these.

Taking A Closer Look (photo gallery)

I had lunch with a friend in Balboa Park a couple of days ago. Afterward, I challenged myself to take photos of the park that were different from the typical photos I’ve taken before.

I tried to shoot things that most people would easily miss on their first visit. Little building details, hidden corners, and unusual views. Here are a few of those shots.

What surprised me most was finding the bare-breasted ladies underneath the eaves of the Museum of Photographic Arts. I’ve gone there many times and never noticed these figures. You have to look up to see them. There were more than three, but I liked the symmetry of having just three.

Standing tall

Close-up photo of man stinging in bell tower at Balboa Park
California Tower at Balboa Park

San Diego’s Balboa Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. One of the fun things that you can do now is climb the California Tower of the Museum of Man.

Be forewarned: 1) You need to make reservations beforehand. You can do it in person or online. 2) You can only purchase the Tower Tour with a Museum of Man entrance fee. I tried to get in myself and that’s what I I found out. 3) Only attempt if you like to climb a lot of stairs. 4) Only the first viewing level is open. The other two are not. 5) The tour is 40 minutes long and you must be there 15 minutes early.

I think I’ll go when summer is over. Here is the link if you plan to go there or want to see the view:

http://www.museumofman.org/california-tower/

Midday at the cove

Black and white photo of man standing near edge of beach cliff
Curious man on edge of beach cliff
Black and white photo of two boys standing waist-high in the ocean water waiting for a wave
Two boys waiting for a big wave

Yesterday, I went to La Jolla Cove hoping that the gray overcast would break and I could finally shoot something. It did finally break at noon, but the light was a bit harsh. Out of a bunch of shots, these two were the only ones I liked.

These are cropped images from larger shots, so they are a bit grainy. But the compositions are much better than the originals. For instance, the man on the cliff was standing with a lot of other people to the left of him, but standing alone, he makes this composition work. And the picture with the two boys actually had three boys, but the composition didn’t work with how the third boy was positioned, so I cropped him out.

With the June Gloom creeping into July, there isn’t much sunlight around. So I’m thinking about playing with indoor photography, photographic collages, or photo composites. Maybe I ‘ll have better results. Stay tuned.

The Succulent Cafe (Photo Gallery)

Many thanks to a good friend of mine. She said I needed to stop by the Succulent Cafe in Oceanside, a seaside town forty-five minutes north of San Diego. And she was right.

It’s a cozy, quiet cafe tucked in an alleyway. And when you enter it, a beautiful haven of succulent plants greets you. The owner had decorated every wall with differing colors and sizes of them. Dappled light skips across pottery and sculptures nestled in greenery. The arrangements are inspiring. It’s the perfect place to grab a soothing latte and unburden an overwhelmed mind.

Brooklyn Girl Eatery

Brooklyn Girl Eatery
Inside the Brooklyn Girl Eatery. This used to be the bakery section. They’ve recently converted this area to an oyster bar.

The Brooklyn Girl Eatery is a trendy gathering place in the area of Mission Hills. The retro decor and cheeky humor reflect the New York borough. And notice the wooden school chairs with “PS16” sprayed on the backs.

I took this photo awhile back. Unfortunately, you won’t see the bakery section there anymore. They’ve converted it to an oyster bar, which looks different. Fortunately for me, I like oyster bars, too.