This Christmas, I decided to explore my own city a little more. On Christmas Eve, I went to the California Science Center where space shuttle Endeavour is on display, along with a special Cleopatra exhibition. I have always been fascinated by Egyptian arts and history. After seeing the King Tut exhibit in San Francisco in 2010, I was not going to miss this one.
There is a peaceful rose garden serving as a courtyard to the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum, and the African American Museum.
Cool fighter jets soaring inside California Science Center.
The pod used for the Apollo Program.
The Endeaour exhibit not only lets you see the space shuttle, it also tells you the history of the shuttle program.
Landing tires used on the last Endeavour mission. Notice the tear.
My family was invited to see Endeavour launch for mission STS-88 by astronaut Jerry Ross (in white space suit, top left) in 1998. It was a great privilege to have seen Endeavour at work. It was one of the most incredible memories of my life.
There she is!
My Dad also lost his friend, Ellison Onizuka (top left), on the 1986 Challenger mission.
She's a beauty!
After admiring the space shuttle, I went to see the Cleopatra exhibit. This was the first time a large collection of artifacts excavated from the sunken city of Alexandria being on display. Divers and archaeologists discovered the city that Cleopatra loved after being buried by a tidal wave. These were all recovered from the bottom of the ocean floor.
This was in the most holy place inside a temple (the gold idol not there).
It actually has a calendar of seasons carved onto it. It was very neat to be able to read these following the instructions.
Huge statues excavated from the sea floor.
This is a bust of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar's only son, Caesarion.
Lots of gold were retrieved.
This statue used to sit outside of Cleopatra's private temple. I was looking at something that Cleopatra used to see almost every day!
Aside from her renowned beauty, this woman had depths to her that captured the hearts of the most powerful men the time.
I wanted this for Christmas! I was blown away by the intricate craftsmanship of the jewelry on display (not owned by Cleopatra but during her time) from thousands of years ago.
Cleopatra hand signed this papyrus in Greek at the bottom right that said "make it happen."
After Cleopatra died, Roman ruler Octavian ordered that all of her images to be destroyed. This is why no one knows what Cleopatra looked like today. I think this gives a powerful testimony of how beautiful and captivating this woman was physically.
On Christmas Day, I took my Mom out to the Mission Inn in Riverside to see their Festival of Lights. I went last year with my friends and thought she would enjoy it as well. Here's Mom and I inside the Mission Inn. Merry Christmas!
We enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea on their "Spanish Patio." This is our view. It was tranquil and relaxing.
The yummy treats.
Mom and I on a Christmas mother-daughter date. :)
At 5pm, the lights came on and transformed this place into a magical wonderland.
Mom was so excited she was running around everywhere taking pictures. :)
Even buildings across the street lit up.
We saw a dog with a cute blinking headband on her, so Mom wanted to get one for our dog. We had so much fun goofing around with it.
After seeing the lights, we headed back in town. It was pretty cold so we had our Christmas dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant called "Boiling Point" and had some hot pot. I got a traditional stinky tofu hot pot and it was so good!
I am really happy to have spent time with my Mom on Christmas this year. I had so much fun that I got sick! (I hadn't been sick in 2 solid years.) I hope you had a good Christmas as well. I wish you an even brighter 2013 ahead!
View entire photo album here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplejoy/sets/72157632349903770/