‘What’s Out There’ tour includes several stops, locations in La Jolla

The People’s Wall along La Jolla’s coastline will be discussed as part of the What’s Out There weekend.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Do you know what the small, circular indentations along La Jolla’s so-called People’s Wall are? At one time, they were used to hold lanterns as a way to light the path, and have remained (albeit filled in) to this day. Little tidbits like this make up the stories participants will hear on The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s (TCLF) upcoming What’s Out There Weekend San Diego tour.

Several La Jolla locations are on the tour, Oct. 26-27: Scripps Park, Wisteria Cottage and Children’s Pool at 9 a.m. Saturday; Torrey Pines Gliderport at 11 a.m. Saturday; Scripps Institution of Oceanography at 1:30 p.m. Saturday; Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve at 4 p.m. Saturday; UC San Diego Stuart Art Collection at 11 a.m. Sunday.

According to press material, tours will feature free, expert-led walks through San Diego’s parks, gardens, landscapes and open spaces. Guides provide stories, anecdotes and observations about each site, all while imparting knowledge of landscape architecture, city shaping and garden design.

Case in point: Children’s Pool. Funded by La Jolla benefactress Ellen Browning Scripps in 1931, the Children’s Pool was constructed at 850 Coast Blvd. by way of a breakwater (sea-wall) and stairs. A fixture in La Jolla’s ever-developing community, it became the source of controversy in the 1990s when harbor seals began hauling out there, restricting public access.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches member Patrick Ahern is leading the tour on Scripps Park and Children’s Pool, and said the two landmarks will be discussed as part of a multi-stop loop.

“The tour will start at the La Jolla Historical Society’s Wisteria Cottage, then we will walk to the Rec Center and La Jolla Woman’s’ Club as examples of La Jolla’s Cultural Zone, and we will talk about Ellen Browning Scripps and architect Irving Gill and how they impacted the past and still do today,” he explained. “Then we are going to go down toward the People’s Wall and on to the park. Then up to The Village to talk about its future.”

His talk will also cover how La Jolla has developed over the years, and how the 30-foot height limit played a part.

Another La Jolla stop is the Stuart Collection on the UC San Diego campus. Considered a “short view” of the complete 20-piece collection, the walk-through includes the stories behind signature installations such as Do Ho Suh’s “Fallen Star,” a house built on top of one of UC San Diego’s buildings that partially overhangs the edge, seemingly unsupported.

“ ‘Falling Star’ is an experience in and of itself,” said Stuart Collection director Mary Beebe. “When the artist first came to this country, he said he had to figure out where he was, what was around him and get his sea-legs. That is an experience that is human and international and happens to everyone when they leave home. That’s the feeling the artist wanted to create with this piece.”

And those who participate in the tour, she added: “learn about these major works in the collection and experience them, which is a great learning opportunity. The collection is known worldwide for the works and their quality. If anyone is willing to learn, there is a lot to learn. You can look outside in the world in a whole new way, when you go out, you experience things differently.”

What’s Out There Weekend San Diego dovetails with TCLF’s web-based What’s Out There searchable database of historic designed landscapes. What’s Out There is optimized for iPhones and similar handheld devices, and includes What’s Nearby, a GPS-enabled feature that locates all landscapes within a given distance, customizable by mileage or walking time. TCLF also produces an online What’s Out There San Diego guide, with 46 sites, along with a companion print publication that is available for purchase.

“San Diego’s distinct identity is embedded in its diverse landscape legacy,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, TCLF’s president and CEO, “and the What’s Out There Weekend program is an engaging way to discover these riches.”

For those looking to get out of La Jolla, other San Diego locations on the schedule can be found below, meeting locations will be sent out to registrants prior to the free tours. Space is limited, so registration is required:

Saturday, Oct. 26

9 a.m.: Mission Basilica San Diego de Alacalá; Barrio Logan Cultural Landscapes

10:30 a.m.: Gaslamp Quarter; Presidio Park

11 a.m.: Liberty Station

1 p.m.: MLK, Jr. Promenade and Children’s Park, and Children’s Museum Park and Chinese Historical Society Gardens; Old Town San Diego

3 p.m.: Mission Hills; University Heights

Sunday, Oct. 27

9 a.m.: Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park; Mission Trails Regional Park; Marston House Museum & Gardens

10 a.m.: Friendship Park, U.S./Mexico Border; Tijuana/Friendship Park, U.S./Mexico Border

10:45 a.m.: Balboa Park, Bridges and Scouts areas

1 p.m.: Bankers Hill; Hotel del Coronado

3 p.m.: Balboa Park, Calif. Pacific International Expo Grounds; Balboa Park’s “Hidden Gems”