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Sunny Jim Sea Cave

The Cave Store in La Jolla had been on our to-do list since moving to San Diego. Inside is a man made tunnel leading to the opening of Sunny Jim Sea Cave – the only one of seven ‘sister’ sea caves accessible by foot.

The small entrance fee ($5 adults, $3 children) is worth the price for a memorable, unique, and somewhat quirky experience that dates back to 1902. Here are some fun facts:

  • Sunny Jim is the only one of 7 ‘sister’ sea caves accessible by foot
  • The tunnel was started in 1902. It took two years to dig using picks and shovels
  • There are 145 wooden stairs between the store and cave entrance
  • The cave was named “Sunny Jim” by author Frank Baum (The Wizard of Oz). See also: How was ‘Sunny Jim Sea Cave’ named?

Looking for more things to do near La Jolla? Grab our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to La Jolla and the Beyond the Zoo Guide to Torrey Pines & Solana Beach. 

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Torrey Pines Gliderport

Visit the Torrey Pines Gliderport for a unique San Diego experience that your family won’t forget. Cross paragliding off your bucket list or simply order lunch from the onsite Cliffhanger Cafe. The outdoor dining area provides a front row seat for people watching and taking in the view!

Here are a few fun facts today about Torrey Pines Gliderport. You know, just in case it comes up on Jeopardy or something.

  • Torrey Pines Gliderport is a historic landmark for its role in aviation history. 
  • Gliders first began using the site in 1930. They were initially car-towed on the beach in order to take flight.
  • The first launch and landing at the top of the cliff at Torrey Pines was in 1936. 
  • The property became an Army camp (Camp Callan) for anti-aircraft artillery training from 1941 through the end of World War II.

Know before you go: 1) Parking at Torrey Pines Gliderport is free but sometimes crowded. 2) Bring a light jacket or sweatshirt to keep warm in the breeze.

You can read more about the history of Torrey Pines Gliderport at Looking for more fun things to do in Torrey Pines? Grab our free free Beyond the Zoo Guide to Torrey Pines & Solana Beach.

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A History of Barrio Logan – Chicano Park (Part Two)

Our belief that understanding the past is essential as you explore Barrio Logan is especially true as we take a look at Chicano Park. Chicano Park, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, has the largest outdoor mural collection in the United States. But it’s not the size of the collection that makes the park special.

The Colossus mural originally created by Mario Torero, Mano Lima, and Laurie Manzano.

Part One of A History of Barrio Logan ends with a community in crisis. Interstate 5 and San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge construction removed 5,000 homes and businesses. Over 10 years the population had shrunk from 20,000 to 5000 residents. Spirits were both crushed and ignited as residents began demanding their rights. Open spaces in Barrio Logan had otherwise disappeared. Barrio Logan residents requested that the land under the bridge be turned into a park for the community. The city agreed to a park in 1969. Five months later bulldozers were spotted where the park was to be built. It was April 22, 1970. Instead of the park, they were there to break ground for a California Highway Patrol station.

In an oversimplification of events, residents and demonstrators mobilized peacefully but forcefully to take back the land which they had been promised. They occupied the land for twelve days until the city agreed once again to build a park. Community vision for the park included turning concrete freeway supports into works of art depicting Chicano culture. Artists began painting murals in Chicano Park in 1973, and though it would take several years until completion, the park and murals continue to stand as a symbol of the community.

Additional Articles & Resources:, Explore the Murals of San Diego’s Chicano Park, An Iconic San Diego Park Is Now a National Historic Landmark

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A History of Barrio Logan (Part One)

What Barrio Logan lacks in shiny attractions is made up for in the history, art, food, and pride in cultural heritage that make the Chicano neighborhood of Barrio Logan a destination worth exploring. Download our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to Barrio Logan for a family friendly activity guide.

Understanding the past is essential as you explore Barrio Logan. The neighborhood dates back to the late 1800’s when it was known as Logan Heights. In 1871 Congressman John A Logan wrote legislation that he hoped would pave the way for a transcontinental railroad ending in San Diego. Plans for the railroad didn’t pan out and the area instead became residential. Between 1910 and 1920 the neighborhood became predominantly Mexican-American with refugees from the Mexican Revolution. The southern part of Logan Heights became known as Barrio Logan.

Remembering Our Past – History of Barrio Logan is a documentary video created by San Diego teenagers that does a good job of summarizing the history of Barrio Logan.

“In California during the 1920s, Chicanos constituted up to two-thirds of the work force in many industries. A small Chicano middle class developed, often oriented toward serving the Chicano population. The growth of barrios and colonias fostered expansion of small businesses such as grocery and dry-goods stores, restaurants, barber shops, and tailor shops. Small construction firms emerged. Chicanos entered the teaching profession, usually working in private Chicano schools or in segregated public schools.” (

By the 1930’s Barrio Logan was a thriving community extending all the way to the bay. A pier and community beach were built in 1938. Barrio Logan lost access to the waterfront when World War II began. Naval, defense, and shipbuilding industries grew and took over the waterfront. In the 1950’s Barrio Logan was re-zoned as mixed residential and industrial. Junkyards owned by non-community members moved into the neighborhood next to homes and schools. During the 1960’s the neighborhood was literally divided in half by the building of Interstate 5 in 1963 followed by the construction of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in 1969. Tensions continued to grow as residents were forced out of their homes and the quality of life for remaining residents deteriorated. (To be continued…)

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Ride the Historic Fair Park Carousel at Seaport Village

For just $3 you can ride a piece of American history at Seaport Village.

Whether you are young or young at heart, indulge your imagination on a carousel ride. We’ve included the Fair Park Carousel in our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay as a memorable family experience that won’t break the budget. Plus, it’s steeped in American history and craftsmanship.

The Fair Park Carousel was built in 1895 by Charles I.D. Looff, a Dutch-American master carver famous for his hand-carved carousels (including the first carousel at Coney Island). He is also known for building roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and the Santa Monica Pier. Throughout its lifetime the carousel has lived in Texas (debuting in 1904), California, Washington, Oregon, and Ohio. It has been entertaining riders at Seaport Village since 2004.

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San Diego’s Old Police Headquarters

Stay out of jail on vacation… Unless that jail is located in San Diego’s Old Police Headquarters in downtown San Diego. 

Explore the 8 cell jail block.
Peek inside a restored cell.

The San Diego Police Headquarters which is listed on The National Register of Historic Places was originally built in 1939. The complex is now an upscale retail center called The Headquarters at Seaport Village.

“The 104,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility brought all police operations together under one roof; administration, courts, jails, law library, crime lab, exercise areas, vehicle maintenance, and even a pistol range. In later years the headquarters even had a four-lane bowling alley, utilizing jail inmates as pinsetters.” (

What you may not realize is that The Headquarters at Seaport Village houses a historic police exhibit that is free and open to the public. The Jail Cells & Police Exhibit is a brief but memorable stop as you near the end of your day adventuring along the Embarcadero. A highlight of the walk-through exhibit is a restored 8 cell jail block.  Photo Op: Take a family photo on the lineup wall!

There is another museum in San Diego dedicated to preserving the history of the San Diego Police Department. The San Diego Police Museum is located at 4710 College Ave in the College Area neighborhood of San Diego – not far from San Diego State University.

Looking for things to do in Downtown San Diego? Grab our free Beyond the Zoo Guide to San Diego By the Bay.