Every good thing you have ever heard about San Diego is true, I can testify. They were having an odd cold snap while we were visiting, but the days turned out to be warm with sunshine. Only the nights and early mornings were cold.
Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park in San Diego. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. There are also many recreational facilities and several gift shops and restaurants within the boundaries of the park. Placed in reserve in 1835, the park’s site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. Naturally, we went to the art museum.
First day in San Diego was Christmas eve. We had planned to be in the zoo from opening bell to closing bell. Unfortunately, the zoo closed at 5pm because it was Christmas eve (naturally). Sweet husband was upset because the website said it closed at 9pm. However, by 4:30 p.m. he was ready to call it a day. The zoo is a combination zoo and botanical garden. There is a bus tour and an overhead gondola lift to move you from one end of the park to another, quickly. It is truly wonderful.
I was most impressed that the zoo had a Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES). This was founded in 1975 at the urging of Kurt Benirschke, who became its first director. CRES was renamed the division of Conservation and Research for Endangered Species in 2005 to better reflect its mission.
The day after Christmas we drove out to del Coronado Hotel on Coronado island. Hotel del Coronado (also known as The Del and Hotel Del) is a beachfront luxury hotel. It is one of the few surviving examples of an American architectural genre: the wooden Victorian beach resort. It is the second largest wooden structure in the United States and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and a California Historical Landmark in 1970. It opened in 1888, and at the time was the largest resort hotel in the world. It has hosted presidents, royalty, and celebrities through the years. The hotel has been featured in numerous movies and books.
Christmas day we went for Christmas services at a nice Methodist church near our hotel. It was a sweet, sacred celebration complete with a wonderful Christmas choir and communion. This was the event that made me KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, we were in California – they had communion with gluten free bread. Enough said. That afternoon we went for the first day release of Unbroken. The movie based on the book by the same name about Louis Zamperini and directed by Angelia Jolie. The book and the movie were both excellent.
That week we also received news of the loss of our sweet friend, Lexie. She was a faithful companion, friend and playmate for 15 wonderful years. That day I stayed alone at the hotel while Sweet husband, sister-in-law and brother-in-law went back to Balboa Park for the day.