Landmarks

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Aircraft Carrier Memorial

Standing by the San Diego embarcadero is a plain black obelisk engraved with the names of every naval aircraft carrier from the USS Langley to the USS Truman--164 in all. Landscaped with colorful flowers, the Aircraft Carrrier Memorial was dedicated in 1993 as over 1,000 carrier veterans, friends and family watched.

Alta Vista Gardens

The mission of the organization that runs this scenic botanical garden was to create an engaging community space instead of a living plant museum. The garden houses several pieces of public art, a children's musical garden and labyrinth. Admission is a suggested donation of $2, the garden is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Amy Strong Castle

The unique, craftsman-style home, which sits six miles west of Ramona, was built over the course of five years for a cost of $50,000. Amy Irene Strong, a San Diego socialite and dress designer for the upper-class, designed the 12,000-square-foot home, which was completed in 1921. The home has passed through the hands of several owners, andwas recently sold by Brookfield Homes to Mt. Woodson Golf. The house is now used as a site for receptions and other events and may be revitalized as a Bed & Breakfast destination.

Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

Learn about the mechanics and craft of how rural farming was done more than a century ago. The museum has several steam-operated tractors that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s on display, as well as a short-track railroad, farmhouse and blacksmith shop.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

With over 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest desert state park in the contiguous United States. 500 miles of dirt roads, two huge wilderness areas (comprising 2/3 of the park) and 110 miles of riding and hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the Colorado Desert.

Avo Playhouse

This historic theater was built in 1948 for movies, and the city reclaimed it 1995 as a venue for live performances. The theater sits roughly 400 people, offering the audience a more intimate experience.

Balboa Park

Thanks to the foresight of its early settlers, San Diego is blessed with an oasis of green that functions as its recreational heart. Balboa Park began as an 1,400 acre track set aside as a public park in 1865. The first master plan was prepared in 1903 and the city levied a tax in 1905 to support the master plan.

Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial

The last great naval battle of World War II is commemorated on the San Diego embarcadero by the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial. The memorial consists of 13 polished black granite panels--one for each ship in Taffy 3--arranged in a V-shape. In the center is a bronze bust of Vice-Admiral Clifton A.F. Sprague. Taffy 3 was composed of lightly armed or unarmed escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts.

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium offers spectacular views of the coast and a wealth of information about the sealife that lives in the seas around San Diego. The Aquarium is part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and is located on the campus of the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla. In addition to its fabulous views, the aquarium has a large number of well-organized tanks that illustrate the life of jelly fish, sharks, eels, anchovies and more along the Pacific rim.

Border Field State Park

Border Field State Park contains much of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, an important wildlife habitat. The salt and freshwater marshes give refuge to migrating waterfowl and resident wading birds, such as black-necked stilt, avocet, teal, American widgeon and pelican. The park offers hiking, horse trails, surf fishing and birding.

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