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With our upcoming ANI in San Diego this year, I thought you may enjoy some interesting trivia and lesser known facts about the city where we are meeting. Also, if you are staying an extra day or two, some of these may be worth exploring.  

Did you know that President Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive over the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in 1969? This is the two mile long bridge locals call “Coronado Bridge” but the official name is San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. It connects the city with the ocean.  

The Presidio was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast of the present-day United States and was the base of operations for the Spanish colonization of California

What is the name of the historical place the Presidio looks over? This is Old Town and there are a lot of neat things to do there. Nothing remains of the historic Presidio. We aren’t far from Old Town and it’s a great place to get a flavor of the Spanish influence found in San Diego. There’s a festive atmosphere here and tours, margaritas and shopping. There’s even a cemetery where you can check out old tombstones. Five original buildings have been restored to give visitors a feeling of what how things actually looked between 1821 and 1872.        

Love theme parks? In 1999 Merlin Entertainments opened LEGOLAND; San Diego’s theme park located about 20 miles north of downtown San Diego. Built around the Lego toy brand, it is second in the world after Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

In 1999, the San Diego Zoo made headlines when the giant panda was born in the zoo and named Hua-Mei. Founded in 1916, the Zoo has been an icon in San Diego for nearly 100 years. Located adjacent to downtown San Diego in Balboa Park, the Zoo is 100 acres in size and is home to more than 4,000 animals representing more than 800 species from around the world. The Wild Animal Park is awesome, the animals roam free and there are some great shows, featuring hawks and my favorite, parrots.

While celebrity sightings are not as common as other cities in California, San Diego is the birthplace of many famous stars. Adrian Brody, Cameron Diaz, Robert Duvall and Nick Cannon come from San Diego. Sports personalities such as baseball legend Ted Williams, golfer Phil Mickleson to skier Shaun White all hail from San Diego. You never know who you may spot while AAHAM is meeting here. Movies filmed in San Diego include Anchorman, Almost Famous, Citizen Kane, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Little Nikita, Paranormal Activity, Some Like it Hot, Top Gun, Sideways, Traffic and my favorite, My Blue Heaven.

If you are into historical places to visit, San Diego has the most missions of any California city. Mission Dan Diego de Alcala, Mission San Luis Rey, Mission San Antonio de Pala and Mission Santa Ysabel. San Diego is considered the birthplace of California. The first European exploration of the West Coast was by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain who landing in San Diego in 1542.

When you arrive in San Diego for the AAHAM’s ANI, you will be at the busiest single-runway major airport in the country; and second in the world after London’s Gatwick.  Love avocados? They are in plentiful supply in San Diego. This area produces more avocadoes than any other region in our country. Are you a roller coaster enthusiast? At Belmont Park along Mission Beach, there is one of only two ocean side coasters on the West Coast. Built in 1925, it is the only roller coaster in the US to have national landmark status and be on the National Register of Historic Places.

When you return home and say you were in San Diego at the ANI, you may be asked if you saw the “Del.” What they are talking about is the Hotel Del Coronado. Rumored to be haunted, this historic hotel was built more than 125 years ago. It has hosted ten US presidents including the first state dinner held outside the White House in 1970. Its iconic red-shingled roof adds a dash of majestic color to the dazzling Pacific coastline and is definitely on a list of places to see.

Travel safe and I look forward to seeing you in San Diego at this year’s ANI.    


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