On March 5, 2015, LEGOLAND® California Resort will premiere the new LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland Death Star Model Display. The Death Star LEGO model spans 8-feet across and includes LEGO models of Stormtroopers, a Rebel X-wing fighter pilot and an Imperial Star Ship pilot. Guests can construct their own LEGO spaceships at on-site building stations. LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland Death Star opens just before the park’s annual LEGO Star Wars Days on March 7-8, 2015. In summer 2015,LEGOLAND® California Resort debuts LEGO Friends Heartlake City. The new area is based on the LEGO Group’s “Friends” series of toys, which focuses on the lives and personalities of five girls: Mia, Olivia, Andrea, Stephanie and Emma. The new area invites guests to sing along with Andrea at her tour stage, stroll through LEGO horse stables, enjoy a building activity at one of the LEGO brick tables and go for a horseback ride on the carousel in Mia’s family ranch. The LEGO Star Wars ™ Miniland Death Star and the new LEGO® Friends Heartlake City are included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California Resort.
During March 2015, guests can celebrate the natural world during SeaWorld Wild Days and get up-close with the marine park’s zoological team. During the March 7-8 weekend, animal conservationist and TV personality Jack Hanna and SeaWorld Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina introduce amazing animals; March 14-15 is “Sea Rescue” weekend, with SeaWorld team members from the popular ABC show sharing stories of the rescue, rehabilitation and return to the wild of marine animals; March 21-22 and 28-29 are Generation Nature™ (GenN) weekends, featuring high-energy, fun-filled shows packed with cool animal facts designed to inspire kids to become game changers for nature. Shows will be performed at Mission Bay Theater at SeaWorld. The first four weekends in May 2015, SeaWorld hosts a Craft Beer & Food Festival, featuring craft beer from Stone Brewing Co. and other San Diego breweries, plus international cuisine representing California fusion, Europe, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Wine will also be served and local bands will perform throughout the day at Garden Plaza. Admission to Wild Days events and the Beer and Food Fest are included with SeaWorld admission, while beer, food and wine tastings are additional cost.
Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park returns March 14–April 12 and features thousands of beautiful butterflies in an aviary that includes birds, lush greenery and flowers. Guests can walk among exotic butterflies of all colors, shapes and sizes, take photos, and learn about the flying creatures. The more than 30 species of butterflies highlighted hail from Africa, Asia, Central, South and North America and include the zebra longwing, orange-barred tiger, Grecian shoemaker, monarch, giant swallowtail and blue morpho. In addition to butterflies, there are 15 exotic bird species that share the aviary. During Butterfly Jungle, the Safari Park offers extended hours, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Timed tickets with a reserved viewing time are offered to guests during peak hours from 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m.; open viewing is from 8-10 a.m. and 3-5:45 p.m. Butterfly Jungle is included with admission to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
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In 2015, Balboa Park celebrates its 100th anniversary with programs and events that recognize the importance of this cultural icon and heart of San Diego. In celebration, the park received a $1 million grant that will double the reach of the free public wireless internet system, making it one of the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi spots on the West Coast. The grant includes building new interactive kiosks and smartphone apps to enhance the visitor experience at Balboa Park during its 100th birthday. Other new features include the San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s 2015 Centennial Railroad Garden opening in late April. This open-air model railroad will feature a miniature recreation of Balboa Park as it existed in 1915 and will showcase new technology that will enable visitors to interact with the layout directly by using a smart phone or tablet.
On Jan. 1, 2015, for the first time since 1935, Balboa Park's California Tower at the San DiegoMuseum of Man opened for public tours. Visitors can climb 125 steps inside the historic tower, learn its history and other facts about Balboa Park from knowledgeable tour guides, and emerge onto the viewing deck to behold spectacular 360° views of San Diego. Tickets for California Tower tours are timed similar to theater tickets, so visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.
On March 14 and 15, downtown’s recently opened Waterfront Park on San Diego Bay will host the brand new CRSSD Fest, an electronic music festival featuring top acts, including Chromeo, Classixx, DJ Harvey, Empire of the Sun, Flight Facilities, Hot Natured, Odesza, Jamie Jones, Simian Mobile Disco and others. Performers will appear on three stages during this ticketed, paid-admission event for attendees 21 or older. Craft beer, mixed drinks, food and VIP area will be available.
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In December 2014, Hornblower Cruises and Events San Diego debuted the refurbished, updated and renamed ship, Lord Hornblower as Admiral Hornblower. The redone ship features a melding of 21st century technology with “Gatsby” era elegance and style. In addition to a boutique-hotel-style Admiral’s Cabin and Pilot House and fiber optic infused bars, Admiral Hornblower offers Wi-Fi throughout the ship.
In December 2014, construction was completed on San Diego's North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Phase I , a comprehensive project to enhance the waterfront and create new public open space that welcomes residents and tourists. This $31.1 million joint project of the Port of San Diego, the City of San Diego and Civic San Diego beautifies the waterfront from Navy Pier to B Street Pier. A 105-foot-wide public esplanade provides an inviting place to stroll, iconic public art by internationally acclaimed artist Pae White, a new information center, and a café where local favorite Carnitas Snack Shack is expected to open a new location.
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Scripps Inn La Jolla, a 14-room bed and breakfast nestled along beautiful La Jolla shores, recently completed a renovation, including redesigned guest rooms and suites with new flooring, countertops and fixtures, custom furnishings, updated appliances, luxurious linens and unique coastal decor. All rooms offer an ocean view so guests can enjoy spotting the gray whales migrate, while dolphins, seals and sea lions can be seen year round. The rooms are pet friendly and are equipped with state-of-the-art personal kitchenettes.
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Meeting & Convention Hotel News
In January 2015, the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego overlooking San Diego Bay completed ameeting space renovation , one of several planned renovations throughout the property that began in 2012. In total, 130,000 sq. ft. of meeting space was remodeled with a “California coastal” color palate, new lighting fixtures, art, architecture and audio visual technology. The Coronado meeting space, Seaport (formally known as Elizabeth Ballroom), Harbor Ballroom, America’s Cup room and the 34,000-sq. ft. Grand Hall are among the renovated areas. The construction included upgrading the Kin Spa to become the chic Marilyn Monroe Spa and turning unfinished concrete storage space on the 32nd floor into an exclusive meetings venue with amazing bay views. In April 2015, Lael’s Restaurant is expected to complete its transformation into the newly renamed Seaview Restaurant. The famed Top of the Hyatt lounge will be undergoing a renovation midyear with plans to reopen for spectacular views of the Big Bay Boom on the 4th of July 2015.
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Restaurants, Breweries and Nightlife
Opening February 2015 on Mission Bay, Oceana Coastal Kitchen features chef-driven, California comfort cuisine as well as a modern, ocean-inspired design overhaul of the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa ’s signature restaurant. Oceana offers entrees including a tarragon shrimp salad sandwich served open-faced on toasted brioche with a Satsuma mandarin salad, as well as lighter fare options including a citrus salmon bowl with butter lettuce, tomato, avocado, and champagne vinaigrette. Alongside oysters on the half shell, an Omakase platter and a chipotle shrimp cocktail with a radish salad are part of the appetizer offerings, and the dinner menu includes hearty and wholesome entrees like the cold-smoked Niman Ranch pork chop with goat cheese grits, spiced apple and almond slaw. Set on Mission Bay, Oceana Coastal Kitchen provides stunning, unobstructed views of the water.
In March 2015, Cannonball reopens at Belmont Park with a recently expanded rooftop that includes a new lounge and glass “sushi cube,” offering views of the Mission Beach Boardwalk below. Cannonball’s menu offers Pacific Rim inspired share plates, beach craft cocktails and sake. Signature dishes include fried chicken bao, Korean sauce, spicy aioli, cabbage, peanuts; yellowtail tartare, daikon, trout roe, citrus, wasabi peas, taro root, cilantro pistou; and salmon tataki, tomatillo ponzu and jalapeno.
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Arts and Museums
On view now through April 19 at the Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla, Laugh-in: Art, Comedy, Performance explores the recent turn toward comedic performance in contemporary art. The exhibition features 20 artists who engage the strategies and themes of stand-up comedy as a means to rethink questions of artistic performance, audience participation and public speech. From March 5–June 28 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, visitors can view Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui. MCASD’s downtown campus will be filled with 11 metal wall and floor sculptures widely considered to represent the apex of El Anatsui’s career. In addition, a series of drawings illuminates the artist’s process, while wooden wall reliefs reference his extensive work in wood and display fascinating compositional relationships to the large metal pieces.
Opening January 30, 2015, at the San Diego Air & Space Museum is an interactive exhibition exploring the world of mathematics titled, 2theXtreme—MathAlive! In this 5,000-sq.-ft. exhibition, guests ride a snowboard in a 3D experience, design (and play) video games, capture a 360-degree self image, jump into a fractal dance party, and even design a custom skateboard. Through nearly 40 unique, interactive experiences, the exhibit takes math from its native form into the applied worlds of design, engineering, technology and science.
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The San Diego Opera presents the premiere of Nixon in China by John Adams on March 14, 17, 20 and 22, 2015. Straight from the headlines and live news broadcasts of the day, Nixon in China pays musical witness to President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing in 1972 and goodwill meetings with China’s Chairman Mao Tse-Tung and Premier Chou En-Lai. From serious political discussions to a toast-filled banquet scene where every toast tries to outdo another, with Chinese dancers and a fantasy scene with Kissinger, Nixon in China explores an heroic gesture by a sitting American President towards a burgeoning world power.
From now until March 22, 2015, La Jolla Playhouse partners with the historic Lafayette Hotel in a Without Walls (WoW) production of The Grift. The world-premiere, immersive theatre piece with Film Noir style takes audiences on a participatory journey through the extraordinary rooms and spaces of this expansive, 1940s-era landmark hotel. The Playhouse also announces the centerpiece of its 2015 WoW Festival: Healing Wars, conceived, directed and choreographed by internationally-renowned choreographer Liz Lerman. The show’s run will culminate at the 2015 WoW Festival taking place Oct. 9-11, 2015.
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