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Cosmos' Doggie Blog

cosmos-blog_ask-cosmos_harry-mr-bibbsHarry and Mr. Bibbs write: Dear Cosmos, While there always seems to be something blooming in Balboa Park any time of year, with spring just around the corner, can you share with us your unique view of this season’s florals?


Cosmos: It will be my pleasure. In fact, making my rounds the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the seamless transition the Park’s grounds make as we go from winter to spring thanks to San Diego’s typically mild winters.


From the Rose Garden to Botanical Building to Alcazar Garden, and all the landscaping in between, I found an unending feast for all the senses (for all but my taste buds, anyway). Instead of just writing about it, however, I will set aside my keyboard and rely on my canine-friendly digital camera to do the barking:


Early risers from the award-winning Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden:



The Cherry Tree is one of the few trees I bother to look up at in springtime:



Keeping my nose at ground level along the Prado, I was rewarded by the sight of these orange beauties:



A new planter bed at the south end of the Lily Pond gives me a picture-perfect foreground element for a photo of the historic Botanical Building:



The elegant angel trumpet flowers and pink azaleas still make the Alcazar Garden a must-see while its central beds get some TLC:


Posted in Ask Cosmos, Fun Botanical Stuff | add a comment

Spring marks the return of many of my favorite things: from April flowers in the Park to chasing baseballs at Morley Field. But most of all, I look forward to the resumption of the weekly smorgasbords, a.k.a. Lawn Programs, at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.


cosmos-blog_saturday-the-lawn_sabor-andaluzTo celebrate its 75th year, the cottages are adding a Saturday Lawn Program series to complement the long running Sunday afternoon programs. Scheduled for the first Saturday of the month, the free Saturday @ The Lawn series will feature dancers, musicians, and other performers from a wide range of cultural traditions.


For instance, kicking off the series this Saturday, March 5, will be Polish singer and musician Krzysztof Wiszniewski, the keyboard prodigies the Pizarro Brothers, Flamenco dances courtesy of Sabor Andaluz (pictured), Flamenco guitar music by NovaMenco, a Chinese Lion Dance, and much more.


cosmos-blog_house-of-mexico_lawn-programThese performances will set the stage, if you will, for the spectacular annual fiesta, a.k.a. Lawn Program, hosted by the House of Mexico on Sunday, March 6. Honoring next month’s Dia de los Niños (Day of the Children), the festival will serve up plenty of additional cultural entertainment, traditional costumes and crafts, and of course the usual assortment of Mexican delicacies fit for Cosmos consumption, including enchiladas, tostadas, and carne asada.


If you’re unable to take in this weekend’s cultural double header, don’t despair. Saturday @ The Lawn returns monthly while the Sunday Lawn Programs continue through October, featuring a different cultural host, and menu, each week.

Posted in Concerts and Events, Festivals, Stuff to Do | add a comment

I never know where my super-sniffer will lead me as I make my rounds through Balboa Park. The other day I decided to sneak behind some buildings in the Pan American Plaza area to explore some new aromas when my snout made a beautiful, yet prickly discovery.


cosmos-blog_old-cactus-garden-balboa-parkYou see I had managed to wander into the Park’s original, and often overlooked, cactus garden. Now dubbed the Old Cactus Garden—in light of the expansive newer Desert Garden on Park Boulevard—it was a pet project, if you will, of Kate Sessions, who designed it for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.


And being the “old” garden, it has had ample time to grow some of the largest succulents this side of Yuma. This is also the time that many of them, particularly the aloes, are in full bloom.


The Old Cactus Garden offers anyone who ventures behind the Marie Hitchcock Theatre and Balboa Park Club a secluded respite from some of the more heavily trafficked areas of Balboa Park. Gravel pathways wind through thoughtfully laid out cactus beds that serve up plenty of fresh ideas for weekend xeriscapers. There are even three picnic tables that provide dramatic views of the Cabrillo Bridge and downtown skyline.


Not one to sniff in one place for any length of time, it wasn’t long before I discovered a hidden pathway through a densely wooded canyon heading south and embarked on a new adventure…

Posted in Fun Botanical Stuff | add a comment

cosmos-blog_science-family-day-2011Unbeknownst to most bipeds, we canine critters have a real knack for science. How else would we be able to anticipate how high to jump to snag a Frisbee or food scrap in mid-air, or know how fast we need to run in a circle to catch our tail?


My human friends can close this science learning gap next month when Balboa Park presents the second annual Science Family Day on Saturday, March 19. As the official kick off to the week-long San Diego Science Festival, the Science Family Day encourages pups of all ages to explore the science behind everything from optical illusions in art to paper airplane making to catching food with a 12-inch tongue (dare to dream!).


Over 20 Balboa Park institutions are presenting activities, entertainment, and information from 11am to 3pm as participating museums offer FREE admission to children 17 and under with a paid adult.


In addition, there will be a free drawing for a number of cool prizes at the Balboa Park Visitors Center, including a Family 4-Pack of Balboa Park Passports. And outside the Visitors Center, booths hosted by various organizations, such as the San Diego Zoo, SDG&E, and MTS, will offer even more goodies and activities.


For a complete list of activities and updates, visit Balboa Park’s website. And for the scoop on the San Diego Science Festival 2011, visit

Posted in Festivals, Museums, Stuff to Do | add a comment

cosmos-blog_valentines-day-in-balboa-parkIt’s really no coincidence that Balboa Park is the region’s most popular venue for weddings, proposals, and first dates. So with Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday, make this Saturday and Sunday the perfect “date weekend” in San Diego’s top romantic hot spot.


Whether it’s puppy love or something else, here are my top five things to do with your honey bun this weekend:


Garden Strolls: No need to buy flowers as you will find plenty of live blooms (even in February) to enjoy with your sweetie throughout the Park’s many gardens, including in the Botanical Building, the Alcazar Garden, and the Desert Garden.


Romantic Picnic Spots: Nothing is more romantic than packing an elegant meal and sharing it in some of the Park’s more scenic out-of-the-way nooks, such as Zoro Garden, the Marston House Garden, and the courtyard behind the Park Administration Building. There are also some great areas with picnic tables in Redwood Circle, Pine Grove, and Golden Hill Park.


The Prado Restaurant: If you prefer to let someone else do the cooking (and dishes), the Park’s premier restaurant for fine dining is The Prado at Balboa Park. Not surprisingly, the restaurant is already booked for Valentine’s Day, but if you make a reservation soon, you can still find openings on Saturday and Sunday.


Museum Hopping: Impress that special someone with how cultured you are by taking him or her to some of San Diego’s most prestigious museums. Fortunately, February happens to be Museum Month, so you can save some coin for chocolates and more chocolates.


Off-leash Dog Parks: If it’s just you and your best four-legged friend (nothing wrong with that), this weekend would be a great time to visit one of Balboa Park’s three off-leash dog parks. Not only because your best bud will enjoy flocking unfettered with the neighborhood pack, but you just might meet that fellow dog lover of your dreams. Remember: MUST LOVE DOGS!

Posted in Stuff to Do | add a comment
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