FLASHBACK: Balboa Park and their forgotten history as the home for a nudist colony

Balboa Park nudist colony

Although now regarded as one of the most family friendly locations in San Diego, in the 1930s, the Butterfly Garden in the heart of Balboa Park was actually home to a popular nudist colony, an early attraction during the park’s original heyday.

Visible only through carefully placed peepholes on surrounding fencing, the dozens of nudists in the colony could often be seen leisurely spending their time lounging around, playing volleyball, or (most bizarrely) performing “sacrifices” to their Sun God at least five times a day.

At a time when strict censorship was placed on all things considered ‘indecent exposure,’ the nudist colony served to fuel Balboa Park’s legend as a national attraction, bringing in curious onlookers from all over during its three years of operation, all before officially closing in 1936.