Queen Califia’s Magical Circle ‘Beetlejuice Park’ in Escondido
After visiting Grape Day Park with the kids earlier this month, one of our readers mentioned that we need to visit Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park in Escondido. The park was just a short drive away from Grape Day Park and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and ever since we were told about it, we couldn’t wait to make a drive to Escondido to see it. The park looks like something right out of the movie “Beetlejuice”, and my kids immediately nicknamed Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, Beetlejuice Park.
The morning that we planned to visit, unfortunately, the park was closed. My kids were slightly devastated, but they still got an opportunity to see the park through the cracks in the fence. It is only open on the second Saturday of the month from 10 am to 2 pm (weather permitting). They have to close the park to the public on a regular basis because of the risk of vandalism.
The park was designed by sculptor and painter, Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), and was opened to the public in 2003. The park is surrounded by a massive fence, and once your kids step inside the gates, they will be immersed into a magical wonderland. There is an enormous snake that surrounds the park with lots of little hidden spaces to explore.
Once your kids are done exploring Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, there are lots of trails to walk through Kit Carson Park. There is even a real orange grove next to the park that my kids loved running around.
While we were disappointed it was closed on the day we visited, we can’t wait to come back and experience more of this magical playground with our children. We hope to see you there on the second Saturday of the month in Escondido.
The park is located at 3333 Bear Valley Pkwy, Escondido, CA 92025.
Epic Grape Day Park in Escondido
I love to explore new parks with my kids. I have had a visit to the Grape Day Park in Escondido on my bucket list for a couple of years and finally decided that this is the year to check it off my list. When we were planning a winter staycation to San Diego, our family got up a little bit earlier than we planned to have a detour to Grape Day Park on our way to San Diego. Well..the detour continued as we checked off some more items on my bucket list by also doing the mining tour in Julian.
The park was pretty easy to find and is a perfect stop while on your way to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (it is not too far away). There is plenty of parking on the street, and tons of grass for kids to run around. My kids squealed with delight the moment that we arrived at the park, and like always; I couldn’t get them to leave.
There are bathrooms (but I don’t recommend using them). The park has a vast homeless population with people literally sleeping on the grass just a few steps away from the playground. It opened up a lot of healthy discussion about homelessness in the car with our children once we left the park.
The park is epic. The benches are shaped like leaves, and the climber is a grape vine. The best part is that the slide is a bunch of grapes. The climber is a little tall, so I recommend parent supervision with younger children.
Next to the park is a giant trunk of a eucalyptus tree. Rather than removing the tree, the city decided to recycle and repurpose the trunk and limbs for an expansion of the playground.
The next time that you’re planning a trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park or the Escondido area makes a stop at Grape Day Park for some unforgettable play time. The park is located at 321 N Broadway in Escondido.
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