Nudist colony recreated in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden!

Sign warns of simulated nudity at the Zoro Gardens in Balboa Park. It's a one day recreation of the historic 1935 nudist colony, arranged by Parkeology, supported by various art institutions.
Sign warns of simulated nudity at the Zoro Garden in Balboa Park. It’s a one day recreation of the historic 1935 nudist colony, arranged by Parkeology, supported by various art institutions.

The historic 1935 Zoro Garden Nudist Colony was recreated today in Balboa Park!

The unusual one day event was produced by Parkeology, an organization that according to their flyer “is a public art series that excavates sites, stories, and sense of our urban parks”.

In 1935, San Diego opened the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park, trying to replicate the enormous success of the earlier 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The main intent of this “world’s fair” was to promote economic activity during the Great Depression. Various lowbrow entertainments created for the exposition were designed to lure a popular crowd.

Well, today’s recreation of the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony certainly did draw some eyeballs, and a very wide range of reactions!

It was interesting to note most participants appeared to be college age females. The literature suggests the motivation for the event was at least partly political, stating “the reincarnation of the 1935 nudist colony can be an accessible, diverse, intersectional, gender-non-conforming and body positive social experiment.”

One thing I know for certain. Take a walk through lively Balboa Park on any given day and you never know what surprises you might stumble upon!

Visitors to Balboa Park view a reenactment of the nudist colony that was a sensational attraction here during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Visitors to Balboa Park view a reenactment of the nudist colony that was a sensational attraction here during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
A variety of placid picnic-like activities are undertaken by the supposed naturists. The literature suggests a political motivation--a body positive social experiment.
A variety of placid, picnic-like activities are undertaken by the supposed naturists.
Body suits worn by people in the Zoro Garden simulate nudity.
Flesh-colored bodysuits worn by people in the Zoro Garden simulate naked bodies.
A variety of reactions are provoked by this rather unusual sight in San Diego's most popular public park.
A variety of reactions were provoked by this rather unusual sight in a public park.
One of the nudist actors photographs another. One thing is for certain--one doesn't see this everyday!
One of the friendly “nude” actors photographs another. Not the sort of performance one often sees!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! Sometimes I encounter surprising things!  You can experience even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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