Current weather

San Diego, CA
Scattered clouds
73.4 °F

Cosmos' Doggie Blog

It should come as no surprise that San Diego’s illustrious pedigree as a military town is interwoven with Balboa Park’s history as the cultural epicenter of San Diego. In fact, during World War II, the Park proudly served as a base for training and convalescence of service members. Seventy years later, Balboa Park is still home to the Bob Wilson Naval Hospital, a top dog medical facility in the region.

Continuing this rich tradition, seven Balboa Park museums will once again offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families, including Reserves and the National Guard, through Labor Day as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

Presenting a number of special exhibitions in celebration of 2015, the participating museums include

This means any dog tag-wearing service member can bring his or her pack (up to five members) to see such Centennial–worthy exhibitions as 7 Billion Others at the Museum of Photographic Arts, Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008 at The San Diego Museum of Art, Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss at the San Diego History Center, and Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum at the Mingei International Museum … to name a few.

But that’s only half the story. Seven other museums in San Diego County, including the nearby New Children’s Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown are also on the itinerary. For a full list of participating museums in California, sniff around the website of the National Endowment for the Arts, which co-sponsors this program.

Posted in Museums | add a comment

Jack writes: Dear Cosmos, As someone who can chew my way through anything I get my paws on in a matter of minutes, I was wondering if you could recommend any activities in Balboa Park that I can savor for more than just a few hours.

Cosmos: Hey Jack, chew on this: my favorite annual springtime event, the Ethnic Food Fair, hosted by the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages is expanding by an entire day. That means 100% more time to enjoy music and dance performances from around the globe, and 100% more time to sample a tasty assortment of scraps dropped by 100% more visitors who will be attending the now two-day event from May 23 to 24.

By expanding to two full days, the Ethnic Food Fair not only solves the problem of giving guests adequate time to sample delicacies from all 32 cultures represented, it also allows time for seconds!

I’m sure this will give even you, Jack, plenty to chew on so you won’t feel the need to destroy certain non-edible household items from 10am to 5pm on those two days.

So what exactly will you be chewing on at this year’s Ethnic Food Fair, you may ask. For starters (or should I say appetizers?), I highly recommend the Swedish meatballs and pancakes served by, you guessed it, the House of Sweden. That should be followed by the House of Palestine’s chicken shawarma that’s good enough for even the mighty Avengers®.

By the time the lunch hour rolls around, or you roll into the lunch hour, you might try the House of Argentina’s empanadas and flan, topped off by varenyky and kovbasa sandwiches at the House of Ukraine. Your first post-lunch afternoon snack could then consist of Finnish crepes smothered in whipped cream and strawberries. And for your mid-afternoon snack, I suggest going for the House of China’s savory barbeque beef skewers (if you’re careful, the wood skewers provide another item worth chewing).

This would bring you to your pre-dinner appetizer meal. Columbian tamales would be a good way to go. Or you could keep it domestic by grabbing some hot dogs and baked beans at the good ol’ House of USA.

Of course, the above suggestions only account for 8 of the 32 cultures serving food that day. For the rest, you are on your own. Thankfully, that’s only Saturday’s recommended menu.

Posted in Ask Cosmos | add a comment

As a highly trained canine, I have a keen appreciation for any fellow four-legged creature who knows how to put on a good show under the circus big top. Not only does it take practice and skill to perform unimaginable feats night after night, but a deep knowledge of math, physics, and biology.

My bipedal readers can now get an inside look at how both humans and animals are capable of such daring exploits, thanks to science, in a new exhibition at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Circus: Science Under the Big Top.

Across 20 interactive exhibitions, pups of all ages can learn (and practice) how to walk a tightrope, perform aerial acrobatics like a trapeze artist, juggle different kinds of objects without chewing on them, lift heavy weights, become a contortionist, and hit their landing as a human cannonball.

There’s also an important section on communicating with animals so humans can learn how to properly perform with them. To get in the right frame of mind, visitors (both kids and their adult handlers) are invited to dress up as a lion, tiger, or bear.

As an exhibition designed to teach the science behind the circus spectacle, I was especially pleased to hear one exhibit uncovers the illusion behind the sideshow flea circus. The very idea that the most annoying creature on the planet is capable of being a trained circus performer on par with some of my fury friends has always chaffed my hide.

Posted in Museums | add a comment

Some days I just don’t know what I ever did without my iPaw calendar app. As Balboa Park’s resident doggie blogger, I try to give families and their pets the heads up on every worthwhile event in the Park. And this Saturday, May 9, is one of those days that every half-hour on my calendar is programmed to alert me to a different activity.

Much of this has to do with the fact that the Garden Party of the Century already presents a day full of floral festivities, starting with a Kids Wagon Parade at 9:30am, and concluding with a free concert of the Youth Orchestra of the Californias at 4pm in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

I realize of course for some people I may be barking up the wrong tree by highlighting the biggest garden party to hit Balboa Park in the last 100 years. I get it. Flowers, foliage, and food trucks aren’t for everyone. So for them (and as an added reminder to myself), I thought I should mention three other unique events also taking place on May 9:

Puppet Show: Bum, San Diego’s Official Town Dog — Pooch lovers and their pups won’t want to miss this rare chance to see the remarkable story of San Diego’s first canine celebrity in a two-day-only puppet show performance at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. Presented in honor of the Balboa Park Centennial, the show is based on the book A Dog Called Bum scribed by Marie Hitchcock herself.

Don Quixote in the Park Day — In case you haven’t noticed, Balboa Park has a lot of Spanish connections (the architecture being a big giveaway). That’s why a year of Centennial celebrations wouldn’t be complete without a festival honoring Miguel de Cervantes, the favorite son of the Park’s sister city, Alcalá de Henares. The day-long Lawn Program-style event, presented by the House of Spain at the International Cottages, promises plenty of paella for everyone!

Art Glass Guild Show & Sale — It may surprise some people that the Spanish Village Art Center is the pooch-friendliest area of the Park that isn’t an officially designated dog park. After all, what other Balboa Park cultural institution has its own doggie blogger? The annual Art Glass Guild Show & Sale, featuring over 30 juried glass artists on May 9 and 10, may be the one time of year bipedal visitors don’t notice the plaza’s colorful cobblestones.

Posted in Festivals | add a comment

If there’s one thing I know after sniffing, scratching, and digging (when the groundskeepers aren’t looking) around Balboa Park all these years, it’s gardens. And not just any garden, but award-winning historically significant gardens.

Garden Party of the Century, view of lily pondAccordingly, my tail couldn’t be wagging more over the fact that in order to properly celebrate Balboa Park’s Centennial, the City of San Diego has collaborated with a number of local cultural and floral organizations to present the Garden Party of the Century.

On Saturday, May 9, from 9:30am to 5pm, park visitors (and their pooches) will be transported to an era before 24-hour home and garden TV channels, when communities would gather together to celebrate spring’s bounty and share their latest gardening successes, tips, food, music, and conversation.

Early birds will be rewarded for setting their cell phone alarms when a Kids Floral Wagon Parade gets the party rolling at 9:30am sharp. The parade of pups pulling wagons runs from the Spanish Village Art Center, down the El Prado walkway, and finishes in the Plaza de Panama. This is followed at 11:30am by a commemorative plant exchange and march across the Cabrillo Bridge by the US Marine Corps — a re-enactment of a similar march that took place in 1915.

Filling out the day will be the fragrant San Diego Floral Show in the Balboa Park Club, demonstrations by plein air painters and master gardeners, tours of Balboa Park’s famous gardens in full bloom, dozens of vendor and activity booths, and live entertainment. And of course no 21st-century garden party would be complete without food trucks!

If you can’t be bugged about coming to the Garden Party of the Century, at least take note that capping off the day will be a free concert by the Youth Orchestra of the Californias, from 4 to 5pm, in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The region’s only binational youth orchestra (consisting of members of the Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra and Tijuana’s music conservatory, Centro de Artes Musicales) will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a performance of works by Mexican composers.

Posted in | add a comment
Syndicate content