Painting & Vino
The Picasso in you is waiting to awaken. All he needs is a little wine. Painting & Vino offers painting-and-wine events where an art teacher walks a group of people through creating their own 16˝x 20˝ canvas masterpiece. They provide all the art supplies, including an apron. The two- to three-hour events are held either in your home or at select venues, including Village 631, 98 Bottles, Jake’s on 6th Wine Bar, and Roppongi. Check the calendar on their site. Private events run $45 a person and require a 15-person minimum.
City Farmers Nursery
4832 Home Avenue, City Heights
The nursery sits on an acre and a half tucked away in the center of the city at the corner of Euclid and Home Avenue. Bill Tall opened it in 1972. He’s still there every day, sporting his trademark yellow tape-measure suspenders. Amid an inspiring variety of plants, you’ll find chickens, goats, ducks, turkeys, a horse who neighs loudly for carrots, two parrots named Gimpy and Limpy, and a koi pond. Everything has a down-on-the-farm feel — weathered wooden posts hold up wire fencing, old tires become retaining walls and stairways, farm smells fill the air. Little visitors play on teeter-totters and swings and gawk at the livestock. Inside the store, gardening tools sit next to fun knick-knacks. Beside the parrots’ cage stands a case filled with old-fashioned Pez candies.
Living Coast Discovery Center
1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista
At the attraction formerly known as the Chula Vista Nature Center, feeding time for the sea turtles is at 1:30. The Eagles get their grub at 2:30. Living Coast Discovery Center is also home to other birds of prey, sharks and rays, and native water and shore birds. There is an interactive tank where visitors can touch the rays and view native sharks. Raptor Row houses hawks, owls, kestrels, and a turkey vulture. Out in the tidal slough habitat, you can catch a glimpse of native water and shorebirds. Take a 1.5-mile stroll from the Discovery Center down the walking trail toward San Diego Bay. Admission, $9 to $14.
1548 Quivira Way, Mission Beach
Some of San Diego’s most beautiful places are reached by water. Think Mission Bay. La Jolla Sea Caves. Aqua Adventures rents kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes from their Quivira Basin location. From there the coves of West Mission Bay are an easy paddle away. Aqua Adventures has a sister company, La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks, which rents kayaks off the beach in La Jolla Shores, a moderate paddle from the sea caves. Prices range from $16.50 for a 1.5-hour single kayak rental to $66 for a full-day tandem kayak. Ask about Aqua Adventures’ Baja Sea Caves kayaking adventures.
35899 Canfield Road, Palomar Mountain
Sitting at 5500 feet in the Cleveland National Forest on Palomar Mountain is the Palomar Observatory. Tours of the 200-inch Hale telescope, dedicated in 1948, run spring through fall on the weekends from 9am to 4pm. One-hour-long guided tours start at 11am and 1:30pm. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and youth 12 and under are free. The drive up the mountain is beautiful year-round.
And as impressive as the telescope is, the sight of the glistening white dome against the green pines and clear blue mountain sky is arguably more impressive.
Adventure Water Sports
Adventure Water Sports rents paddleboards from two locations, the Dana Hotel on West Mission Bay Drive and Campland on the Bay on Pacific Beach Drive. Campland’s rental location has the benefit of easy access to Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh, where the paddler can view a plethora of wildlife, particularly during spring and fall migration seasons. All while getting a killer core workout. Forty bucks for a two-hour paddleboard rental, add another $20 if you want a lesson.
Fiesta Island, Over the Line Field, Mission Bay
“Range is clear. Sky is clear. 3...2...1!” Since the ’90s, Fiesta Island has been the only public place in San Diego County to legally shoot off model rockets. Forgo the necessary permits and instead join DART (Diego Area Rocket Team) members of all ages at their meet-ups. Expect to see low-powered rockets (motors up to Class M) that are allowed to fly up to 1000 or 1500 feet, depending on the day. DART has to take off June and July but is permitted to use the island an average of twice a month, so check their schedule before schlepping out. 619-276-6238.
Vineyard Trail Rides
18750 Littlepage Road, Ramona, 951-595-3503
Vineyard Trail Rides offers a 90-minute ride through 100 acres of olive trees, apple orchards, and grapevines on the Milagro Farm Vineyard and Winery located in the budding Ramona Valley wine region. Milagro’s winemaker Jim Hart hails from one of the pioneering families in the Temecula wine region. The ride comes with a complimentary bottle of wine and chocolates. After the ride, relax on the patio or in the tasting room and enjoy tastes of Milagro’s six reds and four whites.