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Queen Califia’s Magical Circle


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Inspired by the ancient Spanish myth and legends of Califia, the mythical paradise for which California is named, Queen Califia's Magical Circle was the last major project of  internationally acclaimed artist Niki de Saint Phalle , who gave it as a gift to the City of Escondido . This San Diego Treasure is magical, mysterious and magnificent, like walking through the pages of a children's book.

Located in Escondido's Kit Carson Park: The only sculpture garden designed by Saint Phalle in the United States, Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is located on a 12-acre natural habitat at the northern end of Kit Carson Park, only 5 minutes from I-15. Except for Monday mornings, the garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Entering through a mirrored maze, visitors encounter a fantasy world of mythological creatures and totems. Surrounded by a 400-foot snake wall, and studded with brilliant tiles and stones from across the globe, the mosaic figures and structures were designed to be interactive with children--and adults!

At the center, Queen Califia stands on a giant eagle, soaring 24 feet into the sky, colorfully celebrating nature, myth and magic. To learn more about this San Diego Treasure and the artist Niki de Saint Phalle, visit




San Diego Treasures Staff:
Videographer: Michael Gerdes
Sound: Roland Lizarondo
Editor: Ron Stein
Music Consultant: Byron La Due
Production Manager: Ena Newell
Producer/Host: Kathi Diamant

Music Selection: " Carnival of the Animals - The Swan " by Charles Camille Saint-Saëns from " Days of Heaven " soundtrack 

San Diego Treasures offers KPBS viewers a chance to discover one of San Diego’s natural or man-made spaces and places that make our county a special place to live.

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