Sunday, March 19, 2017
Queen Califia's Magical Circle Garden
This is a fantastic, not-to-be missed, free attraction. Born in France in 1930, artist Niki de Saint Phalle designed and built large colorful sculptures all over the world. She moved to San Diego in 1994 and began searching for a piece of land for her next project, a sculpture garden featuring nine large figures inspired by California's mythic, historic and cultural roots, all enclosed inside a circular wall topped with snakes. The city of Escondido contributed the land in Kit Carson Park and Niki de Saint Phalle supplied all of the materials and money needed to complete the garden.
The sculptures are made of polystyrene with a urethane skin, fiberglass coating, and steel armatures. They’re completely covered with a mosaic of different types of hand cut glass, ceramic and stones that Niki de Saint Phalle collected as she traveled. Because of vandalism and natural deterioration, the garden is only opened on Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 AM to noon, and on the second Saturday of each month, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. It takes a bit of planning to go see the garden but it’s worth it!
The garden is accessible but the sandy path from the parking lot is difficult to push along. If you don’t have a strong helper try calling to see if it’s possible to drive to the garden gate.
The parking lot is small. Vans and short RVs will fit. Large RVs can be parked in one of the lots along Castaneda Drive. Paved trails lead to the garden parking lot.
Garden 33.08139, -117.06219