Queen Califa's Magical Circle
This hidden gem is a magical place. You will be amazed of the colors, textures and shapes of each sculpture. After so many years living in San Diego and passing through Kit Carson Park everyday on my way to work I was shocked to find out this place existed.
Queen Califia's Magical Circle is one of the many sculpture projects that Niki de Saint Phelle has created through out the world. It is unique because it is that last major international project created by this amazing artist before she passed away. Niki never saw the finish sculpture garden, her granddaughter, Bloum Cardenas completed this project.
Niki de Saint Phelle was born in France in 1930. She had a French father and an American mother. She came from a wealthy family however that all shattered when her family lost their fortune in the stock market collapse. She lived in New York until her teens. She was a successful fashion model appearing in magazines like Vogue and Life. She loved art, she began as a painter however her inspiration for the sculpture gardens was from Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain. She later begin to create her own sculptures.
Niki was inspired by California's mythic, historic and cultural roots, it is a mixture of Native American, Pre-Columbia and Mexican art. Her sculptures include snakes, eagles, spiders, lizards and other creates. The highlight of the garden is Queen Califia herself which stands proudly on an colorful eagle. To enter the garden you must walk through a mirrored maze right after you pass the guardian serpents. The sculptures are protected by a decorative 400 feet wall with varying heights from 4 to 9 feet in some places. The entire garden is locked by a metal fence to prevent people for stealing the rocks that decorate the sculptures.
WARNING: This beautiful place is not open everyday. You need to check the hours of operation. The hours have changed through the years to protect the sculptures from vandalism. It is best to check their current times of operation on the city website. The sit is also not open when it is raining.
ADDRESS/DIRECTIONS: Kit Carson Park, 3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA 92025
HOURS OF OPERATIONS: Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. to Noon, Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Take your camera you will want to take photos.
BEST TIME TO GO: Anytime.
California is honored by having 10 of Niki's sculptures, all located in various parts of San Diego. The main attraction is Queen Califa's magical Circle. There are 2 sculptures in La Jolla Village and 6 sculptures in downtown San Diego. I will visit all of the Southern California sculptures in the future. I hope that you visit Queen Califa's Magical Garden soon.