The Naked Truth: The Rise And Fall Of America's Only Public Nudist Colony In Four Acts

  • Zoro Garden

For the two-year run of the California-Pacific International Exposition during 1935-36 at Balboa Park, anyone could pay their 75 cents and spend as long as they wished watching up close fellow human beings hang out and move about stark naked. Nudist historians, of which there are apparently very few, feel this was the first, and only, nudist park open to the casual public.

Seventy years later, lots of San Diegans don't believe it actually happened. But it did, right there on the Prado, in Zoro Garden, a verdant glen especially designed for the show by famed architect Richard Requa and used now as a butterfly sanctuary. The women sometimes wore "ghost panties" and the men had loincloths and shorts on hand. But often, all was discarded.

Cultural journalist Welton Jones tracked down the elusive details of Zoro Garden and now has fashioned them into a four-part pageant that answers many questions and comes as close as possible to reenactment.

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