Queen Califia’s garden to reopen on select Saturdays

Queen Califia’s garden to reopen on select Saturdays
The sculpture garden will open more often as more volunteer docents become available, according to Kristina Owens, associate planner for the city. Photo by Ellen Wright

ESCONDIDO— Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park is re-opening to the public, although not full-time.

The public will be able to view the sculpture garden on the second Saturday of each month, including Feb. 14, March 14, April 11 and May 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to Kristina Owens, associate planner for the city, more volunteer docents are needed before the city can add more opening dates and times.

She said it’s been difficult finding enough volunteers that are committed to donating their time to the garden, which is still undergoing maintenance.

“We’re always very short so that’s why it’s just the Saturday openings right now,” Owens said.

It was installed in 2003 and was the last major work by French-American artist Nikki de Saint Phalle and the only sculpture garden by her in the U.S.

She lived in La Jolla at the time of her death.

It closed for maintenance for the first time over a year ago, after broken tiles became a safety hazard.

Crews replaced broken mirror tiles and stone tiles on the floor.

“Really the majority of the project needs some type of maintenance or another,” Owens said.

The golden egg, the totems and the maze walls need to be repaired.

“If you’ve been inside recently at all, you’ll see that a lot of the tiles are broken and water has gotten inside of the walls,” Owens said of the maze area.

Aside from the Saturdays, groups of 10 or more can schedule a free tour by calling Owens at (760) 839-4519 or emailing her at kowens@escondido.org.

Interested volunteers can also reach out to her.

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