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San Diego? Something for everyone!

San Diego? Something for everyone!

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Been there twice; once by car, once by train.

Nice place.

This coming Sunday, it's home to Superbowl XXXVII.

And if you don't happen to be a Raiders or a Buccaneers fan, you might wonder what else the city has to offer.

From this corner, they seem to have their act together when it comes to transit. Streetcars go right from downtown to the border. Commuter trains from the north, and Amtrak's "Pacific Surfliner" fleet from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles as well.

It is California's major naval facility, with the Navy as a major employer. With all of the base closures of the 80's and 90's, most of the military port operations for the state are here.

If you're looking for amusements, Balboa Park is one fine place to start. In fact, it may be the only place you need to look.

Here's the list of the Museums and Attractions you'll find here:

  • American Indian Cultural Center and Museum
  • Centro Cultural de la Raza
  • House of Pacific Relations
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre
  • Marston House
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • San Diego Aerospace Museum
  • San Diego Art Institute
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego Hall of Champions
  • San Diego Historical Society Museum
  • San Diego Junior Theatre
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Spanish Village Art Center
  • Spreckels Organ Pavilion
  • Starlight Theatre at Starlight Bowl
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • The Globe Theatres
  • United Nations Building
  • Veteran's Memorial Center Museum
  • WorldBeat Center
  • And Other Attractions
  • Butterfly Rides Carousel Lawn Bowling Miniature Train

Got your attention now? Good!

How about some highlights on a couple of them?

House of Pacific Relations is comprised of nearly 30 national groups dedicated to promoting an exchange of values and understanding among people of diverse national origin. This group of small cottages, each home to a different nation, holds open house to the public Sunday afternoons from noon to 5:00 p.m. From the first Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, the Houses hold special lawn programs featuring traditional costumes, arts, crafts and ethnic foods. Outdoor programs of folk dancing and music are presented at 2:00 p.m. Nations represented are Argentina, Austria, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Panama, England, Scotland, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Poland, Philippine Islands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United States, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, China, and the Czech and Slovak Republics. Public information by phone (619) 234-0739.

Museum of Photographic Arts, located in the Casa de Balboa, is one of the country's first and finest museums dedicated solely to photographic and film arts. MoPA offers changing exhibitions by the masters of the art form and critically acclaimed work by the most celebrated photographers working today. In addition to displaying major exhibitions, the museum offers lectures, workshops, and the new Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater hosts on-site film series. The museum store offers the most extensive collection of photography-related books in the country, as well as posters, note cards, and unique gift items. Open daily 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Public information by phone (619) 238-7559.

The Globe Theatres. One of the country's leading regional theaters and California's oldest professional theater organization. This Tony Award-winning theater produces 14 works a year on its three stages: the acoustically excellent 581-seat Old Globe Theatre, the intimate 225-seat Cassius Carter Centre Stage and the acclaimed 612-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Continuing a tradition of Shakespeare and the classics for over sixty years, The Globe is also renowned for the production of world premieres of contemporary plays and musicals. Performances Tuesday - Sunday evenings and weekend matinees. Box Office 619 239-2255.

San Diego Aerospace Museum. Delve into aviation's history from the Wright Flyer to the space shuttle - the San Diego Aerospace Museum brings to life aviation's rich heritage through a dazzling collection of over sixty-five aircraft and spacecraft. The museum also houses the International Aerospace Hall of Fame honoring engineers, pilots, and aviation industrialists. The museum maintains an extensive aviation library and archives and also has a remarkable aerospace museum store. Open daily 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., with extended hours during the summer. Behind-the-scenes restoration tours are available for an additional fee. Public information by phone (619) 234-8291.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum celebrates American railroads with the largest permanent operating scale model and toy train display in the United States. The 24,000 square foot museum contains four giant-scale model railroads of the Southwest, including an "HO" 1/87 actual size replica of one of the largest timber trestles in North America. Children of all ages can enjoy being engineer on a special Lionel-style layout. Additional interactive accessories can be visitor operated within the large "O" gauge Toy Train Gallery. Located in the Casa de Balboa. Open Tuesday - Friday, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Gift Shop. Public Information by phone (619) 696-0199.

San Diego Automotive Museum takes visitors on a trip through the fascinating history of the automobile - the defining invention and ultimate icon of the 20th century. Located near the Aerospace Museum, the San Diego Automotive Museum features a permanent display of classic and historically significant cars and motorcycles; special rotating exhibits displaying the finest and rarest vehicles in the world; a comprehensive resource center containing rare publications, photos and vintage films; a collection of automotive memorabilia and an active restoration display, giving visitors a glimpse of authentic restoration techniques. The Museum Store carries unique automotive-themed merchandise. Open daily 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Public information by phone (619) 231-AUTO (2886).

You just knew I would cover planes, trains and automobiles, didn't you? Why not pipe organs, too?

Spreckels Organ Pavilion, housing one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs, was donated to the City of San Diego by John D. and Adolph Spreckels in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition. This unique outdoor organ, which contains over 4,500 pipes, was built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The organ is housed in an ornate vaulted structure with highly embellished gables. The pavilion area provides comfortable seating for 2,400, with wheelchair access. Free year-round organ concerts are held on Sundays from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Guest performers are scheduled at least once a month. The annual free Summer International Organ Festival is presented from mid-June through August on Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Public information by phone (619) 702-8138

Don't miss the concert on this Sunday!

Veterans Memorial Center Museum was formed to honor and perpetuate the memories of all men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Programs are offered which promote public awareness about the contributions of these veterans. On display are historical objects, artifacts, documents, and memorabilia dating back to the Civil War. The center also provides facilities for services and social and recreational activities for veterans, active duty military personnel, and the general public. Open Tuesdays through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are welcome. Public information by phone (619) 239-2300.

Even if you don't make it this weekend, I heartily recommend Balboa Park as a place worthy of a visit on your next trip to San Diego. Something for almost everyone here...

Roger may be an Oakland A's fan, but is somewhat unenthused about the Raiders. No connection there worth noting and the same is true of the San Francisco Forty Niners. Now Stanford football is another thing, but that's another story for another column...

And if you're in San Diego or along the way, reports have a special train of nine private railroad cars making the trip down from Los Angeles to San Diego along with a ten car special train from the business car fleet of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. More info on the later is available at http://www.railroadnews.net

The cars won't be open to the public, but it's a bit more than the usual Amtrak or Coaster trains. Worth seeing if you're interested...

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