The drive is simple to San Diego. Take I-5 south. The traffic was fairly light, so we made it to the Holiday Inn in about 2 hours.

We've visited San Diego a few times before and have enjoyed the touristy things that the city has to offer. The San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and Legoland [below] are all fun attractions.

One time we took a citywide tour on a little trolley, from Old Town, through the Gas Lamp District over to the Hotel Del Coronado and back again. We have stayed in a variety of accommodations, from a roadside Super8 to the historical US Grant Hotel in downtown.

The Holiday Inn on the Bay is as advertised, on San Diego Bay. This is not what I remember as a Holiday Inn. Which is to say, it was very nice. Although easily 20 years old, it was just recently rehabbed and overhauled, and the whole place looks freshly painted and like new.

The hotel has a sit-down mid-range restaurant called Elephant & Castle, a small deli that serves light sandwiches, and a Ruth's Chris Steak House. The Holiday Inn staff was friendly and accommodating. They all remained cool when they accidently assigned us to an occupied room.

Because of the confusion, we were upgraded to a room on the 9th floor.

The room was fresh and clean, and appeared to have been recently remodeled. It had the typical two beds, credenza with TV, but a great view of the bay [above]. In fact, from our balcony, we could easily see two aircraft carriers. The first morning we woke up to see a Celebrity Cruise ship had docked. [below]

It was also that first morning that I realized I had forgotten my blood pressure medication. Great!

Michael at the Concierge desk helped us find a Rite Aid that was open on Thanksgiving Day, and I phoned my friendly Rite Aid Pharmacist in Pasadena, and were able to coordinate a pick up.

I was amazed that it all worked out, and grateful for the assistance.

[Picture courtesy San Diego Community College District]

Downtown San Diego's historical Gas Lamp District was very quiet, so we decided to take a trip on Red Trolley line [above], the city's public transportation system. We bought some roundtrip tickets at $5.00 per person.

But after an uneventful ride through downtown, we found ourselves traveling northeast toward Santee, and through the not-so-pleasant parts of town - graffiti, shantytowns, and homeless people - it wasn't exactly the scenic route.

Once we got headed back to downtown, the guy asking for tickets looked at ours and said "On holidays, it's Buy One, Get One Free, and Kids are Free." Nice.

We couldn't really find a restaurant open, so ended up going back to our hotel, eating at Elephant and Castle, and watching 'The Santa Clause 2' on Pay-per-View. Happy Thanksgiving.

The next morning: Balboa Park. A 1400-acre site north of downtown, Balboa Park is the third largest park in the United States, next to New York's Central Park and San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. We had heard much about the overall layout, the architecture, the gardens and landscaping, but had never had taken the time to explore.

Did we mention 15 museums? An Automotive museum, a Museum of Art, a Science Center, a Natural History Museum [above], an Aerospace Museum, plus the odd-sounding Museum of Man and House of Charm. Plus 8 others, all essentially within walking distance in Balboa Park.

Quick history lesson: Balboa Park started out slow back when it was established in 1868 and expanded gradually. The first crop of buildings was constructed temporarily for the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition. Featuring Spanish Colonial architecture [above], the plan was to demolish the buildings after the event, but outcry from San Diegoans kept them from the wrecking ball.

Over the years, the buildings have been retrofitted and reconstructed to be permanent, while also maintaining the integrity of the original architecture.

Then, in the 1930's, San Diego sponsored the California-Pacific International Exposition, with exhibits coming directly from the Chicago World's Fair.

Overall, it's a beautiful and sprawling park, with lots of gardens, trees, rambling paths and a charming small town feel.

Looking over the websites of the various museums, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center caught our attention and was the first choice for all of us. We have always enjoyed the interactive quality of the California Science Center and thought this one would be a winner.

 
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