Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
This neighborhood gem is dedicated to documenting the art, history and culture of the Sweetwater Valley with over 2,000 objects connected to the region and a rotating selection of fine art sculpture, painting, photography, architecture, design and media arts. During Museum Month, you can see a new National Sculpture Society California exhibition, featuring 38 artworks by master sculptors who specialize in the natural world. During your visit, be sure to also check out the new public sculpture by Mehl Lawson, WR This Cats Smart. The life-size museum bronze of an American stud horse, located just outside the Museum’s entrance, which celebrates the history of horse culture in Bonita. (Note: Admission to the Museum is always donation-based. Many guests choose to “give forward” to pay for someone else’s visit in the future.)
This zoo/aquarium is one of the best-kept secrets in San Diego. Located on the southern edge of San Diego Bay within the tranquil beauty of National Wildlife Refuge on Sweetwater Marsh, the Living Coast focuses on animals native to Southern California, including endangered sea turtles, sharks, rays, reptiles, and an impressive range of birds, including owls, hawks, falcons, shorebirds and even an American Bald Eagle. Be sure to catch the weekend guest presentations and animal encounters for a special up-close look at the incredible creatures that call San Diego home. On February 12 and 13, you and your loved ones can take part in fun Valentine’s Day photo opportunities, animal encounters, and more.
Nature lovers will want to make a visit to this special spot, located at the southern corner of the County in Imperial Beach. As a National Estuarine Research Reserve, it is the perfect place to learn about the importance of protecting coastal wetlands (estuaries) and the incredible bio-diversity they support. Stop by the Visitor Center, where you’ll find a variety of hands-on, interactive activities for all ages as well as a collection of videos (including videos in Spanish) that are shown upon request. Bring your walking shoes and binoculars for great birdwatching and a relaxing stroll through the trails. Wrap up your visit with lunch at one of nearby restaurants or breweries and grab an ice cream at the I.B. Pier. (Note: There is no admission fee to the Visitors Center or trails. Guests may also borrow binoculars at no charge.)