Get your camera ready and give your family the gift of cultural beauty and art by introducing them to the vibrant works of French artist, Niki de Saint Phalle. Their eyes will be graced as they admire the colorful placement and structures of fiberglass and mosaics while walking through Queen Califia’s Magical Circle. The Iris Sankey Arboretum in Kit Carson Park is home to this delightful sculpture garden museum. This magic circle of inspirations opened in October of 2003 in Escondido, California. It is the only de Saint Phalle sculpture park in America and also the last international project by the late artist. Queen Califia’s Magical Circle grasps the hearts and spirits of all ages and is one of this country’s must-sees.
The enchanting circle of artworks support Native American, Mexican, and pre-Columbian cultures. Its inspiration is California’s own mythical warrior queen, Queen Califia of the fictitious Island of California. The idea of this imaginary ruler was born of Las Sergas de Esplandian, a novel by Spanish author Garcia Rodriguez de Montalvo. Niki de Saint Phalle has cultivated the mythical warrior queen, the legend of California, and the many enlightenments of a society in a metaphysical arrangement.
Adventure through the garden’s maze as your eyes move with the decorated serpents atop the black and white tiled wall. Visitors have the pleasure of entering into the central courtyard, where lively totems and architectural art surround the stunning sculpture of Queen Califia shielded in gold glass. She is raised above a vividly awe-inspiring eagle that houses a temple of pieces from de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden. The golden egg fountain collects the remaining glory, giving a sense of life and breathing creativity. The world-class French artist has weaved the connection between the story of the birth of a culture and the societies that continue to evolve.
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is a memorable and educational experience that gives understanding of differences becoming unity. Although there are no fees and no reservations required, it is still a good idea for travelers to call when planning to go to Queen Califia’s. The hours are scarce for the cherished garden museum’s protection and preservation, but well worth the wait and the planning.
- Tuesdays and Thursdays 9am- Noon
- The second Saturday of each month 9am- Noon
- Closed holidays and during rain and inclement weather.
Kit Carson Park
3333 Bear Valley ParkwayEscondido, California 92025