Step into to a bird's house. Get eye-to-eye with a moray eel. Greet a sea turtle as he swims up to say hello. The Living Coast Discovery Center isn't a nature museum—it's a chance to hang out with Southern California's plants and animals on their own turf. The Discovery Center's "living, breathing, flapping, buzzing, and splashing home" sits on the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, the ideal location for exploration of the region's most memorable residents in their native habitats.
A walk-through aviary encompasses the tidal slough habitat of black-crowned night herons, red-breasted mergansers, and endangered clapper rail chicks, freshly hatched from the in-house breeding program. Bald and golden eagles await up-close encounters at the Eagle Mesa, but the rays get even closer: an interactive touch pool puts the aquatic creatures beneath your fingertips. Raptor Row hosts the Center's rescued birds of prey, all of which have injuries or other conditions that prevent them from surviving outside the refuge on their own. Visitors are also free to pursue their own wildlife adventure along the center's 1.5 miles of walking trails.
When a golfer seeks inspiration, she looks toward the skies over Scotland, just as a baker gets a second wind from his brochure of the Choco Mountain Range. Today's Groupon inspires with a saucy salute to Memphis: $20 worth of sweet meats and succulent, finger-licking barbecue for $10 at Lil' Piggy's Bar-B-Q in Coronado. Follow the sweet-smelling dreams that haunt long nights in your rib-shack.
The New Children's Museum is frequently featured in local publications, including the San Diego Downtown News. Although reviewers are mixed on the attractions, they praise the exhibitions. Yelpers give The New Children's Museum a three-star average.
For many, there is no greater honor than having served in America's Armed Forces. The curators at the Veterans Museum & Memorial in San Diego pay their respects to these brave men and women every single day, whether by hosting programs to perpetuate their memory or by assembling special exhibits of military- and war-related memorabilia. They've chosen scenic Balboa Park as the site for the Memorial, and with good reason; San Diego and its surrounding cities have a rich Naval heritage, and the site is part of a complex of architecturally significant buildings that speak to that heritage. Visitors can stroll through the lush Memorial Gardens and do push-ups on the grass before heading into the Museum, which hosts exhibits on World War I, World War II, Pearl Harbor, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and Desert Storm.
Indulge Wine School's staff of educators, such as Kris in Jacksonville, a wine expert and blogger, expands wine knowledge with ease, having turned the revelry-steeped tassels of nearly 3,000 graduates. Classes of 12–20 take place in venues throughout the United States, as students swirl and sip their study materials and nibble complimentary appetizers. Every class ends with a Q&A session, during which potation professors shine a light on oenophilic mysteries including tannin content and regional differences. Afterward, students continue to ferment knowledge at home with a complimentary electronic copy of Indulge's book A Fun and Informative Introduction to the Wonderful World of Wine, a food-and-wine-pairing chart, and a top-10 list of wine-buying tips.
Some cars seem to have every amenity except a kitchen sink. At San Diego Automotive Museum, there's a car that has even that. Louie Mattar souped up his 1947 Cadillac to make it his dream cross-country roadster, adding an electric stove, refrigerator, chemical toilet, public address system, and an ironing board. He further outfitted it to hold more than 50 gallons of water and 230 gallons of gas, then, in 1952, drove it 6,320 miles from San Diego to New York and back without stopping (a moving gas truck refueled it three times).
Mattar's home on wheels is just one of the classic cars that inspire road-rambling daydreams at San Diego Automotive Museum. Started by renowned automobile collector and racer Briggs Cunningham in 1980, this historic Balboa Park staple showcases antique vehicles, ranging from a 1928 Studebaker that was found in a shed in Imperial Beach to a collection of George M. Hendee's Indian motorcycles. Past exhibits have also explored Lowrider Legends, Steam Punk transportation, and even car toys, enticing everyone from the casual car fan to the engineer looking for ways to pack a car with even more clowns.