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Parkeology: Border Trolley Tours

  • Balboa Park San Diego, CA 92101 (map)

Between the Plaza de Panama and Friendship State Park
Saturdays: June 10, June 17, June 24, 12-8 PM
ADA accessible. Free, reservation required

Reservations are closed for June 24th but come to Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park for on the ground activities. Cog•nate Collective’s Mobile Institute for Citizenship and Art (MICA) trailer will be transformed into a listening lounge, where visitors can hear the audio and music of the Border Trolley Tours. Border Peepshows co-created by the Velaslavasay Panorama will also be on display!

Despite the fact that the San Diego/Tijuana border is the most transited in the world, only 1 in 4 San Diegans take the drive south to cross. 100 years ago, during the Panama-California Exposition, locals and tourists visiting the Spanish dancers, gem exhibitions, and Native American reenactment villages of Balboa Park often hopped on a trolley and for an “enjoyable 20-mile ride” to “Tia Juana.” Many of the popular restaurants, casinos, and racetracks in Tijuana were funded by the same American dollars that built Balboa Park. Yet in less than a century, the public imagination of fluidity between San Diego to Tijuana has hardened in sync with the concrete border wall itself.

In collaboration with Cog•nate Collective and in partnership with members of Kumeyaay Community College and the teen docent program of Casa Familiar, Parkeology will provide a free public tour between Balboa Park and border territories of San Ysidro. Live storytelling and audio recordings will trace the animals, humans, and materials that have migrated through the region. Trolley services will also provide free round trip visits to Balboa Park for San Ysidro locals.

During tour hours, the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park will be transformed into the Border Trolley Tours interpretive center for tour participants and passerbys. In collaboration with the Velaslavasay Panorama, four mobile peepshow boxes will be displayed in the plaza, providing views of the Tijuana/San Diego border as it has evolved in the past 100 years. Cog•nate Collective’s Mobile Institute for Citizenship and Art (MICA) trailer will serve as the ticket booth and information center.  


"Tia Juana and San Diego" image courtesy of the San Diego History Center Research Library and Archives

Border Trolley Tours project is in direct support from the Balboa Park Conservancy, The Project for Public Spaces, Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community Grant & The San Diego Foundation

Earlier Event: June 2
The Vine Affair
Later Event: June 14
Art + Activate Banner Workshop