Queen Califia's Magical Circle, Escondido

4.4
Queen Califia's Magical Circle is a sculpture garden located in Escondido, California. It is one of the last works of French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The garden is named after Califia, the fictional warrior queen of the mythical Island of California, and inspired by California's rich history and culture. It includes a circular wall and maze entryway, ten large sculptures, and native trees and shrubs planted both inside the plaza and around the outer wall.The garden is part of a 12-acre habitat in Kit Carson Park's Iris Sankey Arboretum, and was opened to the public on October 26, 2003.The sculpture garden is only open the second Saturday of each month while undergoing repairs.Materials and constructionThe garden's wall is covered mostly in Mexican pebble stones, while the snakes and other sculptures are clad in many thousands of hand-cut glass, ceramic and stone mosaic tiles. Some wall segments are also decorated with ceramic plaques engraved with Native American rock art and other symbols, as well as handprints and signatures from Saint Phalle's family and art team. Queen Califia herself is embellished with hand-cut mirrored glass, while the fountain uses gold leaf glass and is controlled by a solar-powered pump.The wall, maze and sculptures were constructed using polystyrene encased in a polyurethane skin, with applied fiberglass coating over a steel armature. The designs were based on Saint Phalle's original maquettes, with the aid of computer modeling and prototyping. The artist began work on Queen Califia in 2000. After her death, completion of the work was overseen by Niki's granddaughter, Bloum Cardenas, and her longtime assistants. This was Saint Phalle's last major project.
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Queen Califia's Magical Circle Reviews
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146 reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • If you see nothing else beyond the beach in SoCal, come see this magnificent sculpture park by Nikki de St. Phalle and bring the kids and the grandmothers. Its exuberant and playful forms, figures, an...  more »
  • I’m so glad this place is on the back side of Kit Carson park (whixjbaz a whole I love). The first time my family and I visited this “Artistic place I was intrigued by the color and design elements it...  more »
  • This is a fabulous sculpture garden by Niki St Phalle. This is her fourth major installation. It is extremely creative, colourful, and tells many great stories. The medium and material is also unique....  more »
Google
  • I absolutely LOVED this place and I look forward to see her other works around the World. Thank you to the Lady, the guide that was there and answered ALL my questions, gave me a brouchure and lrt Me read her book in french. I would strongly reccomend visiting this place.
  • We love art and getting our kids exposed to as much culture as possible. Every detail is amazing. They are only open Tuesday and Thursday 9am to 12pm plus rhe 2nd Saturday of every month. It is very beautiful
  • Really cool. Her last piece of public art. Worth the 30 minute trip from San Diego central.
  • Fun place to go sit and look around! Great place for photos
  • What a beautiful place!! The hours and day availability is limited (9-12 Tuesday - Friday) but if you're able to visit you definitely should. The statues and artwork is breathtaking and even more amazing in person. BTW it's free admission! (!!!)

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3 days in Oceanside, Escondido & San Diego BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 11 days in San Marcos & Charles City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 12 days in Oceanside BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM ITALY June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 58 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND July, culture, outdoors, beaches, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 45 days in Escondido BY A USER FROM CANADA April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 38 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: March, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 47 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 33 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM February, hidden gems PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 48 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM CANADA March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 34 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM CANADA February, outdoors, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: February, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in San Diego BY A USER FROM CANADA June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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