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Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo National Monument

About This National Monument In San Diego

Cabrillo National Monument was built to commemorate the first time Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo landed at San Diego Bay which happened on September 28, 1542. The monument is situated at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California, United States. The landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo happened to be the first time a European expedition had set foot on the site that later became the United States’ West Coast. The Cabrillo National Monument was designated as a California Historical Landmark in 1932 and it was also later listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

The National Monument at America’s Finest City provides visitors with a view of San Diego’s skyline and harbor. The Coronado and Naval Air Station North Island can also be seen there and on days with clear weather, you can get a very visible view of Tijuana, Mexico’s Coronado Islands, and a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. There’s a visitor center there that has exhibits about Cabrillo’s expedition and even screens a film about his voyage.

The highest point in the Cabrillo National Monument is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and it has been an icon in San Diego since 1855. It was however closed in 1891 because low clouds and fogs often concealed the light at its high elevation point of 129 meters (422 feet) above sea level and afterwards a new one at a lower elevation point was opened. The closed lighthouse now serves as a museum where visitors are allowed to view some of the living areas.

Key Events Hosted Here

The Cabrillo Festival Open House is one of the major events hosted every year. This event reenacts Cabrillo’s landing at Ballast Point, in San Diego Bay to commemorate it. There are also other events that are held above at the National Monument and they include Mexican, Kumeyaay, and Portuguese singing and dancing, a historical reenactment of a 16th-century encampment, booths with period and regional food, and children’s activities. Visitors are also offered a place to learn about the park’s history and buy souvenirs at the visitors center. They can also communicate with Park Rangers and volunteers there. They have the opportunity to learn the time of low tide, weather readings for the day, visit the Age of Exploration exhibit, get a National Park Passport stamped, and learn the times for ranger talks, guided tours and auditorium showings which features three different films – First Breath: Gray Whales, In Search of Cabrillo and On the Edge of Land and Sea. A Junior Ranger program is also hosted by the Cabrillo National Monument where children explore the park and fill out an activity sheet.

There Are Fee-Free Weekends!

Every year, the park offers a few fee-free weekends for all visitors. There are also other events held every year like Open Tower Day on every November 15 which marks the anniversary of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, Whale Watch Weekend which occurs in January and features walks and talks led by special ranger and exhibitors as guests look for whales during the annual Pacific Gray Whales migration, and Founder’s Day on August 25 which celebrates the establishment of the National Park Service at Cabrillo National Monument in America’s Finest City. One of the fully restored World War II bunkers is also opened by the park to the public every month on the fourth Saturday.

Another place of interest: Gaslamp Quarter