Thursday, August 21, 2014

August field trip-San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is also known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park until 2010 is an 1800 acre zoo in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego, CA near Escondido.  The park houses a large array of wild and endangered animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South American, and Australia.  This is not your typical zoo.  The park is in a semi-arid environment, and one of the most  notable features is the Africa Tram, which explores the expansive African exhibits.  The free-range enclosures house such animals as antelopes, giraffes, buffalo, cranes and rhinoceros.

The park is also noted for its California condor breeding program, which is  the most successful such program in the United States.  The park houses over 2600 animals that represent more than 300 species, as well as 3500 plant species.  There is a quarantine center at the park for zoo animals imported into the United States through San Diego.  The park has the world's largest veterinary hospital and next door is the Institute for Conservation Research which holds the park's Frozen Zoo.

The San Diego Zoological Society became interested in developing the Wild Animal Park in 1964.  The idea of the park began as a supplementary breeding facility for the San diego Zoo, which would allow ample space for large animals.  In 1964, the park was assessed financially and then moved onto the next phase; this resulted in three alternative developments.  There was an idea for a conservation farm, a game preserve, and a natural environment zoo.The natural environment zoo development was chosen over the conservation farm and game preserve.  This was the most expensive option at the cost of $1,755,430.

The main purposes of this park were to be species conservation, breeding of animals for the San Diego Zoo, as well as other zoos and providing areas where zoo animals could be conditioned.

The original opening day of the park was to be April 1, 1972; however, the gates did not open until May 10, 1972.  The layout of the park was designed by Charles Faust, which included a large lagoon with a jungle plaza, an African fishing village, an aviary at the entrance of the park and approximately 50,000 plants were to be included in the landscaping.  The park was scheduled to open within three years of the original groundbreaking and the total development of the park was to take approximately 10 years.  The first two animals to arrive were an antelope from the plains of North India and a zebra, which was native to East Africa.

In the summer of 2003, the San Diego Zoological Society and Lowry Park Zoo captured 11 wild African elephants from the Hlane Royal National Park in Swaziland.  The zoos claimed that the elephants were scheduled to be killed due to overpopulation; however the Save Wild Elephants Coalition disputed this, reporting that there were three other sanctuaries in Africa that had offered to take the elephants.  Seven of the elephants are now at the Safari Park and altogether have produced 13 babies as of 2013.  In March 2012, five elephants were moved to the Reid Zoo in Tucsion, AZ to form a new herd.  In return, the Safari Park received two cow elephants that had been together for years.  One of the elephants died from cancer in July, 2012 and the other was introduced into the herd in February, 2013.

Monday, August 11, 2014

August field trips-A trip to Los Angeles County Museum of Art-LACMA and searching for ice cream

One of the things, Mari wanted to do this summer was to go to LACMA, so we planned that outing for last Thursday.  Originally we had planned it for Wednesday, but found out it was not open on Wednesdays.  At this point, we have to drive, but once they expand the purple line of the light rail in Los Angeles to a station in front of LACMA, we will be able to take the train to Union Station and then get on the purple line and take it to Fairfax and Wilshire, which is where LACMA is located.

We drove to LACMA and usually I can park in their underground lot, but it was full, so we went across the street to the parking lot for the Peterson Automotive Museum and parked.  Both lots cost $10.  We walked across the street and got our tickets.  Mari and I are members of the museum, so we got in for free and it cost $25 for Marissa to get in, as she is not a member.  The girls and I wanted to see the exhibit titled "Van Gogh to Kandinsky".  Normal admission is $15 and it was $10 extra to see this exhibit.  The hours on Thursday are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The exhibit was enjoyable.  Dual membership for Mari and I costs $110 per year.

Urban Light

Buildings in LACMA

Old May Co. building-now known as LACMA West

Urban Light at night

Urban Light

Van Gogh to Kandinsky

Buildings at LACMA

Inside the Resnick Pavilion

The history of LACMA has its roots in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, which was established in 1910 in Exposition Park.  In 1961, LACMA was established as a separate, art-focused museum.  The museum opened to the public in 1965 in its new Wilshire Blvd. location with the permanent collection in the Ahmanson Building; special exhibitions in the Hammer Building and the 600 seat Bing Theater for public programs.  The Art of the Americas Building was opened in 1986.  Originally it was named the Anderson Building and housed modern and contemporary art.  In 1988, the Pavilion for Japanese Art opened at the east end of the campus and in 1994, the museum acquired the May Company department store building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, now known as LACMA West.

Further expansion continues, which includes buildings designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. These buildings include the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, which is a three story 60,000 square foot space for the exhibition of postwar art that opened in 2008.  In the fall of 2010, the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion opened to the public, which provided the largest purpose-built, naturally lit, pen plan museum space in the world, with a rotating selection of major exhibitions.  Ray's restaurant and Stark Bar opened in 2011, near Chris Burden's iconic Urban Light.

Mari and I had heard that "Salt and Straw", which is an ice cream place in Portland, OR was coming to Los Angeles.  After we left LACMA, we decided to go looking for ice cream.  One place, I had heard that had "Salt and Straw" was in Farmer's Market, which is very close to LACMA.  Not there!  The other place we had heard served "Salt and Straw" was at "Joan's on 3rd".  Not there, but had been!  We were five days late.  "Salt and Straw" is building a new store in Larchmont Village.  Once it is open, which is supposed to be the end of August, we will have to make another trip to Los Angeles.  After we found Larchmont Village, we got on the "freeway" and fought traffic getting home.

Enjoyable, but tiring day!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Field trips in August-Hollywood

This was a fun and interesting day!  I was the tour guide/tour director.  My small group from Saddleback Church had decided that we wanted to take a trip to Hollywood to attend our new campus in Hollywood at the Hollywood Palladium.  We had decided we were going to take Metrolink, which on the weekends cost $10 and includes bus rides and light rail.  This was nice, as we were going to take the Red Line from Union Station to the Hollywood and Vine station.  The walk from the Hollywood and Vine station to the Hollywood Palladium was a long block walk.

We left Irvine station around 9:20 and made it to the Hollywood Palladium, almost in time for service  to start at 11 a.m.

Decor inside the Hollywood and Vine station

View of an Amtrak train at the Irvine station

Inside of Union Station
After service, which definitely felt like Saddleback Church, we headed out to find something for lunch.  The group of us ended up at The Melt, which specializes in Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  YUM!  Every place else we went to had an hour to hour and a half wait.  Too long!

After we ate lunch, we headed out for a short tour of the area.  One of the places we stopped was Amoeba Music.

Amoeba Music has been in existence since 1990 and caters to independent music lovers of all kinds.  There are stores in Berkeley, San Francisco and Hollywood.  The stores stock every kind of usic and movies, from the top 40 to the best in underground rock and hip-hop, soul, electronic, new and classic jazz, world music, roots music and experimental music.  The stores have DVD's and vinyls and books and posters.  Amoeba Music is a trading post for new and used discs, their stock changes daily and you can find just about anything.  Their website says they are more than a record store, they are a 21st century music outlet, a website and a popular live performance venue.  The store in Hollywood is located on the Sunset Strip and constantly hosts incredible free live performances and musical events.    When we walked in to the store, one of our group said it reminded them of Tower Records.  Amoeba Music still exists, Tower Records does not.

As we continued walking down Sunset towards Highland, we stopped at a beautiful church that I have seen from the outside, but never from the inside.  The church is known as the Blessed Sacrament Church.

Blessed Sacrament Church was formed in 1904, and the first church, accommodated 250 people and was built on Hollywood Blvd.  As the movie business developed in the 1910's, the population of Hollywood increased dramatically and by 1919, the old church was not large enough to accommodate all the people.  In 1921, the church bought the land on Sunset Blvd, that is the current home of the church.

The new church and school were designed by Thomas Franklin Power.  Power designed  the school, which opened in 1923, in an Italian Renaissance style.  The enrollment at the time of the opening was 370 students.  In 1919, the school had 140 students.  Power then turned his attention to the church, which he adapted from Basilican style of Italian Renaissance style.  The roof was made of tile instead of the flat roof typical of Roman churches.  He designed the interior with flanking arches reminiscent of the San Paolo and St. Clement Basilicas in Rome.  The new church was dedicated in June, 1928, with a 223 foot chimes tower, ornate exterior and seating for 1400 people.

The completion of the interior decoration and ornamentation was delayed when the Great Depression began in 1929.  One interior element that did move forward during the Depression was the Stations of the Cross.  Carlo Wostry, who was a noted Italian artist, had been hired to paint murals at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Pasadena, and was also hired to paint the Stations of the Cross at Blessed Sacrament.  He started working on the Stations in Italy in 1930 and finished them in 1932.  Finally in 1951, J. Earl Trudeau was hired to complete the interior design.  the interior work was was finally completed in early 1954 and was chosen by Trudeau to be a simpler treatment, featuring economy of means both in the artistic and economic senses.

From there we headed up to Hollywood and Highland to see the shopping center, the "action" and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  At the corner of Hollywood and Highland, is the Red Line, which we took back to Union Station.  We explored Union Station and got some ice cream and sat in one of the patios until our train was scheduled to head back to Irvine.  It was a fun and interesting day.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Field Trips in August-to the ice cream store

a la Minute Handcrafted Ice Cream has two stores; one in Redlands and one in Orange, CA  The girls and I went to the one in Orange, CA.    It reminded me of of "Salt and Straw" in Portland, OR, which is slightly different, as they do not use liquid nitrogen.  If you like, "not the typical ice cream" you try one of these places.

a la Minute uses liquid nitrogen, which is simply nitrogen(which makes up 78% of our atmosphere) in a liquid state.  It is -321 degrees.  Using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream minimizes the size of ice crystal and results in a much creamier ice cream.  The base of a la Minute's ice cream is 100% organic and they strive to use local ingredients when possible.  The stores have teamed up with local businesses to create their interesting flavors.

A small cost us $4.00.