At The Living Desert, a dedicated conservation team tends to plants and animals populating more than 1,800 acres of desert—1,000 of which remain in their natural, undisturbed state. In addition to protecting the Colorado Desert's native population of birds, wolves, reptiles, and minotaurs, The Living Desert houses bighorn sheep, cheetahs, striped hyenas, leopards, and parrots from arid regions throughout the globe. Through annual contributions, members of the nonprofit organization help preserve the Colorado Desert and bolster the population of endangered desert species. Members also gain unlimited access to the park, discounts in the gift shop, and invitations to special events, such as the annual member-cheetah race.
Castelli Art Framing's master craftsmen continue a more than 25-year tradition of conserving and displaying prized artwork of all shapes and sizes. Small photographs, large portraits, and record-breaking speeding tickets all earn wall-worthiness while donning custom frames assembled out of thousands of moldings and a variety of matting and mounting styles. Castelli's museum-quality conservation frames ensure delicate or valuable pieces can emerge from their protective casings undamaged. The multitalented staffers can also build unique frames for 3-D objects such as medals, sports jerseys, and a baby's first pair of shoes. Gilding and leafing services performed by artisans with more than 20 years of experience embellish plain wooden surfaces with thin sheets of gold or silver shinier than a freshly polished glass eye.
Renovated in 2011, the Museum of Making Music showcases a permanent display of hundreds of unusual and vintage instruments charting the progression of song-crafting from 1900 to modern times. Five museum galleries present popular music, innovations in instruments and their manufacture, and marketing and distribution techniques in five eras throughout the 20th century. Racks of gleaming instruments line the cases, as well as more eclectic pieces such as double-neck guitars, the crossbreed GuitarViol, and an ancient, forgotten instrument whose name is always whispered: the "clarinet." The museum is dotted with interactive exhibits, giving visitors the chance to craft their own tunes on the exhibit's drum kits or keytar.
The Oceanside Museum of Art displays compelling works of art from local and regional artists as well as traveling national and international exhibitions. Current exhibits include Focus on Oceanside: Lee Peterson, a photographic collection by San Diego aperture enthusiast Lee Peterson. Peterson has courted and captured the spirit of Oceanside, from its ghosts-of-seagulls haunted harbor to the San Luis Mission Rey, in a stunning series of images employing both classically breathtaking and extraordinarily surreal perspectives. The gallery walls are also privileged to carry an impressive exhibition of contemporary Mexican-American art from Einar and Jamex de la Torre, as well as Raul Guerrero, along with myriad works by contemporary Native American artists in San Diego County. The museum's galleries are re-designed for each new exhibition to prevent acute cases of eyeball ennui.
Lil' Piggy's mouthwatering comfort fare takes its cue from Memphis, where slathering style and smoky aromatics crown motivated pork-based cooking. Choose from one of more than 100 beers stored cold in their bottles, and then adjust your wet-nap for a journey through the menu of savory porks and beefs cooked low and slow over Hickory hardwoods. Break in your barbecue fork on a piggy plate of pulled pork ($11.99–$14.99) or baby back ribs served wet or dry ($10.99–$22.99). While the mouth can't avoid a respectably sloppy time at Lil' Piggy's, the fingers can stay clean and cool thanks to the bread-barricaded Bar-B-Q bacon burger with smoked applewood bacon, onion rings, and cheddar jack cheese ($9.99) or the lean pulled-chicken sammich topped with slaw and slapped on a potato bun ($9.99).
Watch immersive giant-screen films and amazing planetarium shows on San Diego's only IMAX Dome and experience seven galleries of fascinating and fun hands-on science exhibits for all ages. Located in San Diego's "must see" Balboa Park. Open 365 days of the year for travelers and locals to enjoy year round.