Tuesday, February 22, 2011

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is a sanctuary for thousands of animals, a landscape of rare plants from all climates and a living classroom that entertains as well as educates. Sometimes the native habitats show animals that are found together in the wild.   These are photos from  a recent visit.

The Galapagos Tortoise exhibit was recently updated for the herd of 17 tortoises including 10 of the original tortoises which are all over 100 years old!

The Siamangs are joined by the Orangutans with plenty of space for aerial antics and objects for play.

The Giant Panda exhibit features the zoo's panda conservation efforts.

Winter is a good time to visit the zoo when many of the animals and birds are more active.

The Marston House

The Marston House is a fine example of the Arts and Crafts movement and was built in 1905 for George Marston and his wife Anna Gunn Marston.  The property was built by William Hubbard and Irving Gill.  The formal gardens and canyon pathways on the 5 acre property are worth exploring as well.

George Marston had a chronic respiratory ailment and came to San Diego in 1870 to live in a better climate for his health.  He had the only department store in San Diego which was very successful and made him quite wealthy.  He was a generous philanthropist in the city.

George Marston was a civic leader interested in historic preservation and conservation. He hired an architect to develop the first plan for Balboa Park in 1902. Marston served as chairman of the buildings and grounds committee for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

The Marston House was donated to the City of San Diego by Marston's daughter Mary in l987. Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) took over the operations in 1907.

February is a good month to visit San Diego museums including SOHO when admission is half price with a free museum pass from Macy's.  This was part of a day's outing with Ed to the Marston House and the San Diego Zoo

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getty Villa

The Getty Villa in Malibu is modeled after a first-century Roman county house, the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy. The Villa dei Papiri was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A. D, 79 and much of it remains unexcavated. The Getty Villa museum architecture and landscaping are based on elements from other ancient Roma houses in Ponpeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae. The plantings include herbs and shrubs grown by the Romans for food and medicine.

The main entrance to the museum is like the traditional entryway to a typical Roman home. Inside the museum are new and renovated terrazzo floors and other Roman inspired interior details. New skylights and windows fill the galleries with natural light.
The cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria are shown by antiquities arranged by themes including Gods and goddesses, Dionysos etc. along with the architecture and gardens

A cafĂ© featuring Mediterranean fare with an outdoor dining area adds to the enjoyment while basking in the view of the villa.  Ed and I took a DayTripper bus trip for this.