Queen Califia's Magical Circle, Escondido

#5 of 35 in Things to do in Escondido
Monument · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
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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178 reviews
  • Wonderful, place to see the unexpected.The sculptures are so different then any thing you'll see elsewhere.  more »
  • Queen Califia's Magical Circle is a American sculpture garden created by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular snake wall and maze...  more »
  • Magical place with unique creations from tile and stone pieces. There is also a quick maze. Was really hot so we hid underneath the statues. Picture worthy my whole family loved it.
  • This garden is truly magical. The artist has done other exhibits that are in San Diego City and we are blessed to have this one in Kit Carson Park Escondido. Totally worth viewing and bring your camera since you will be able to get some incredible shots. Art enthusiasts will love it.

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