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Stroll down Orange Avenue and you're surrounded by genteel history. You've got the turreted, gabled, grand Hotel Del Coronado anchoring a broad avenue with tall cedars and flower patches lining the median strip and cafes, boutiques and small shops along the sidewalks. The 1916 neoclassical Spreckels Building claims one entire block and houses a live theater and this small museum's collection of photos and memorabilia. As you tour the photo lineup, consider vacationing amid the rows of striped tents lining the beach in Tent City, a 19th century glorified campground beside the Hotel Del Coronado. Think about how insular life was before the San Diego-Coronado Bridge opened in 1969, when leaving the island for meant boarding the nickel ferry. Coronado's considerable military presence is displayed with the history of the island's vast US Naval Air Station, which opened in 1917, and the current training ground for the Navy SEALs along the coast south of the Hotel Del. History and military fans are drawn to the exhibits. Others become easily bored, but can check out the Coronado-themed souvenirs and postcards in the gift shop, browse through the brochures at the information desk in the museum's lobby, and catch a bite at the adjacent Tent City Restaurant while waiting. Guided tours of the Hotel Del begin at the museum on some weekdays at 10:30am and weekends at 2pm ($15); a neighborhood tour departs from the museum on Wednesdays at 10:30am ($10). Call ahead for current information; Reservations are required for both.

-Maribeth Mellin