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Cosmos' Doggie Blog

Cosmos Blog, Summer Camps 2012, Balboa Park, Reuben H. Fleet Science CenterLong before I began my career as the Park’s resident canine blogger, I enjoyed many an idyllic summer as a young pup frolicking through Balboa Park’s gardens and sniffing every corner of its historic architecture. It is those experiences that made me the alpha dog I am today—at least in my own little pack. If I had the benefit of the kinds of organized summer camp experiences currently offered by the Park’s first-class cultural organizations, who knows where I would be today!

Fortunately, it’s not too late for your own pups, and there’s never been a better time to introduce them to the many facets of Balboa Park’s cultural kaleidoscope. Whether your younglings prefer ballet, photography, airplanes, arts and crafts, astronomy, trains, dinosaurs, archeology, nature, and everything in between, you’ll find something in the many half-day Balboa Park summer camps that they won’t mind putting down the Nintendo for.

And if your pups are more like fickle felines, no problem! A special collaborative program allows each kid to spend the morning in one camp and the afternoon in a completely different one, with camp staff providing lunchtime supervision and an escort to the second venue. The only catch is you’ll need to register at each institution separately, as there is no centralized registration process.

And if you’re the type of workaholic or commuter that can’t fetch your child by 4:00pm each day, the Old Globe Theatre is now offering an aftercare program from 4:00 to 6:00pm. Full-day camps are also offered by the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Art Institute.

But you’d better hurry, as the most popular camps fill up quickly! To start your planning, be sure to paw over this handy brochure.

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Cosmos Blog, Ask Cosmos, Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, Balboa Park, RayneRayne writes: Dear Cosmos, If you could only visit one garden this spring in Balboa Park, which one would you choose?

Cosmos writes: That’s a decision I hope I’m never actually faced with, but since you’ve asked, for the brightest selection of spring colors and scents, I would have to go with the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden.

Cosmos Blog, Ask Cosmos, Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, Balboa Park, spring 2012Why? For me spring is all about color. And given our canine limitations to perceiving certain hues, the more colors I’m exposed to, the better chance I have of enjoying some. Fortunately, when it comes to garden walks, such limitations are more than made up for by our superior snouts…

This time of year just about every bush in the Rose Garden is in full bloom, and this burst of literally thousands of roses means the air is filled with an unimaginable number of fresh floral colors and smells. Colorful, often edible-sounding, names of many of the varieties (over 200 in all) gives you some idea of what I’m barking about: Mardi Gras, Pumpkin Patch, Gourmet Popcorn, Pillow Fight, Apricot Drift, Rainbow Sorbet, etc.

As an official All-America Rose Selection display garden, the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden proudly highlights any varieties that were distinguished by the world’s highest rose award for superior qualities. The 2012 selection is a lovely pale yellow bud known as “Sunshine Daydream.” Other winners include Julia Child (2008), Moondance (2007), Wild Blue Yonder (2006), and the aforementioned lickable Rainbow Sorbet (2006).

If you’ve never been, the Rose Garden is located just across the pedestrian bridge on Park Boulevard, east of the Natural History Museum, and is always dog — and people — friendly. Just follow your snout.

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Titanic The Artifact Exhibtion, San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, Cosmos BlogWhile the rest of the country commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic by watching a 15-year-old movie that most people and their dog have seen a zillion times, Balboa Park is presenting an unparalleled opportunity to experience the tragic event of April 15, 1912.

All this week, the San Diego Natural History Museum is extending its hours for the blockbuster exhibition Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition and offering a special adult admission rate of $19.12.

To complement the 200 authentic artifacts recovered from the wreckage site and the elaborate re-creations of the ship’s interior, actors in period costume will circulate throughout the museum to recount for visitors what life at the time was like. In addition, various non-fictionalized films on the Titanic story and recovery will be shown during the week in the museum’s theater, along with other special activities, included with admission.

Of course, what would any commemoration be without my favorite means of honoring the past — food! And fittingly the museum’s Dinosaur Café will be serving up “third-class bites” based on what us working-class folk would have actually eaten on the Titanic.

For those looking for a true first-class experience, on Saturday, April 14, a special dinner package at The Prado Restaurant will treat diners to the same 10-course meal passengers ate the night the iceberg was struck. (The lengthy menu has “ask for doggie bag” written all over it.)

The dinner package price includes a number of other non-edible treats, such as an opportunity to be in the exhibition space on the fateful night. In fact, the museum will be open until 2:20am on April 15 for anyone who wants to be there the exact moment the ship went down — subject to availability and number of life vests, as dog paddling won’t cut it in this case.

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You don’t need to be school-aged to feel frisky this time of year. If you’re on college break, a school teacher, retired, or just want to play hooky from your job, you are in luck, even if ocean water temps are still bone-chilling cold.

Cosmos Blog, Balboa Park, Spring Break 2012, Coral Reef Adventure, Reuben H. Fleet Science CenterIn fact, some of Balboa Park’s cultural institutions are already rolling out programs and events worthy of the tail-wagging summer season. Here are just a few opportunities to go on a mini-vacation without leaving town:

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition—Take a cruise aboard the HMS Titanic, courtesy of the San Diego Natural History Museum. A replica boarding pass will put you in the shoes of one of the actual passengers as you view 200 original artifacts and faithful recreations and learn the fate of your assumed identity.

Woodies—If you prefer nostalgia without the epic tragedy, then take a different kind of trip down memory lane at the San Diego Automotive Museum, which is currently presenting a fun selection of these classic beach-goer cars.

Coral Reef Adventure—Speaking of classics, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is reviving one of the biggest must-see IMAX films ever made, which immerses viewers in life along the Great Barrier Reef and other exotic South Pacific locals. If you’re lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of a dogfish.

A Room with a View—And finally, if 19th-century Tuscany is more your style, the Old Globe Theatre is premiering a two-paws-up musical comedy based on the E. M. Forster novel that was made into an Academy Award-winning film.

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Cosmos Blog, Balboa Park, Family Festival, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, April 1, 2012If you missed the recent park-wide Family Day or the Bark in the Park event at the Organ Pavilion, there’s no need to howl in despair. You can always count on some other great family activity in Balboa Park, especially with the Easter week school break just around the corner.

So what tail-wagging-worthy event might I be referring to? This Sunday’s Family Festival at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, of course. Only a true April Fool would miss an opportunity to head to Balboa Park this April 1st for a free afternoon of entertainment suitable for pups of any species.

Not only will San Diego Civic Organist Carol Williams be performing pet-friendly music and other organ favorites beginning at 2pm, but youngsters will be invited onstage to get a closer look at this historic instrument and take a backstage tour. Rounding out the activities in the pavilion will be hands-on activity booths and representatives from several youth organizations. There will also be a special reading in honor of Edgar Allen Poe month in San Diego.

Cosmos Blog, Balboa Park, Botanical Building, Easter Lily Display, 2012If you’re still looking for even more delightful sights and smells, be sure to drop by the Botanical Building before or after the Family Festival to experience the Easter Lily Display. Once again hundreds of fragrant white lilies will adorn the Botanical Building’s central planters as part of the annual showcase, on view through April 18.

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