Get Off Your High Horse…

Meissen porcelain chocolate pot and cover circa 1800 in Germany

… and come have some fun with me. I headed north out of the foggy skies towards Balboa Park – gardens, museums, a zoo, a golf course, and a naval hospital. It was nice to get there early for good parking, but also for the uncrowded space. I was free to walk and look at the architecture without having to look for kids running into me – temporarily. I turned a corner, and as I expected on a free admission day, people were everywhere.

I took a spot on the stairs that was shaded and waited for the doors to open to the Natural History Museum. Last time I came for their All That Glitters exhibit about gems and minerals. Today’s goal was to see Chocolate and upon entrance I was able to smell it too. The posters tell of the tall trees, monkeys, and midges that aid in keeping the cocoa plant growing. It goes on to show the history and significance that chocolate once held in the hands of the wealthy. At the end are some fancy and flavorful chocolates, but most people aren’t brave enough to try the potato chip or bacon varieties.

After stopping myself from buying lots of chocolates I head downstairs to the Horse Exhibit. It talks about the ease of domesticating horses because of their nature also seen in dogs, pigs, and cows – they are used to having a leader. Zebras though are more likely than a tiger to bite a zookeeper. Many are surprised to learn about the evolution of the horse’s foot. I have my biology class to thank for that information. I take a break halfway through to grab a veggie wrap from the café upstairs, then it’s back to learning.

The horse has many uses – battle advantage; farming for horse milk and meat; ranching to help control cattle; rodeo, circus, and racing for the enjoyment of people; and transportation that forces them to wear shoes to keep their hooves from wearing unevenly and causing them injury. It’s a powerful creature and man has bred them stronger, bigger, and faster. Smaller horses like the Shetland pony are perfect for fitting into a mine shaft. Horses can be found on stamps, in movies, and toy stores, but not as much in the wild anymore. The term horsepower is popular when talking about cars.

sandcast panels of San Diego by Charles Faust in 1970s

I feel that every star is equal to something I don’t know. The more I learn, the more I realize I am dumb. Wait! I’m not putting myself down completely, but given my brain’s capacity I have the potential to do more, but that can be another post entirely. In a learning mood and not yet ready to go home I walk over to the Model Railroad Museum. This place is like Nana’s railroad track under the tree times 1,000. There are towns and mountain ranges being put together and monitored by men that love toys and history.

There is lots to learn. There are enormous viewing windows with stairs for the kiddies. There are working lights, plenty of moving locomotives, and even a drive-in movie now playing “Wile E. Coyote chases Road Runner.” They represent all railroad lines including Union Pacific, Thomas the Train, Disney, and Halloween themed along with women’s impact during war, foreign train differences in build and speed, and hobo symbols to help the migrant worker know what to expect of the new area.

part of the model train display

I had some time to visit another museum, but decided to save it for another day. Time to get home before shops close, workers fill the road, and Piggy lets her hunger overtake her. I emailed Caleb to let him know that my day out was a success, but that a lot of parents have lost control over their children. I like to thank the ones that are doing a good job educating their kids or at least keeping them tame while indoors. A museum can be a boring place to some kids that are ready to leave when they walk in. I’m lucky to be able to walk in the door to excited dogs, though temporarily loud, they don’t need constant supervision. I’m still not ready for kids.

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