What’s your favorite park in San Marcos? There are so many great ones – it’s really hard to choose, isn’t it? Because parks are truly one of our greatest assets here in San Marcos, we thought it would be fun to spotlight them. SHARE some of the features and maybe even spark an interest in you to get out and explore.
Walnut Grove & Heritage Park
This 39-acre park is probably one of our best kept secrets in San Marcos.
Walnut Grove Park is located on the outskirts of San Marcos. It only takes a couple minutes to get there from the heart of the City and yet, you feel like you’re in an entirely different place when you arrive.
If you’re looking for a quiet, more rural feel, you just might want to pack up a picnic and go sit under a tree at Walnut Grove Park. There is lots of open space and green grass. You’ll find picnic shelters, tot lots and even a couple of horse arenas. It’s the kind of place where you immediately feel a bit more calm and serene. It’s a great location for some peace and quiet, but also a perfect place to let the kids run and play.
This park is home to the Williams Barn – a local landmark for over 40 years that features a covered patio, wood dance floor and makes a great event facility. Lots of events take place here throughout the year.
A Park within a Park – Heritage Park
The San Marcos Historical Society maintains an extensive collection of historical documents, photographs and audio/video materials that may be used for research by individuals and students. Researchers can access San Marcos history through books, personal stories, original newspapers, public records and their extensive photographic collection. It’s pretty amazing!
The Bidwell and Cox homes were built in the late 1800s and it’s fascinating to learn about the occupants of these early homes and how they contributed to the history of San Marcos. During a docent led tour, you will learn what life was like around the time period and some of the history of the Twin Oaks Valley area of San Marcos. The Historical Society and hundreds of volunteers have spent countless hours restoring the homes and making them available to the public. For information about tours, visit www.smhistory.org or call (760) 744-9025.
Built in 1940, Connors Hall has served the community for 70 years in a variety of ways including a cafeteria for San Marcos elementary, a dance hall, recreation room, auditorium, a schoolroom and office. Eventually it became the home to the San Marcos Historical Society. In 2009, the Hall was moved from its original location on San Marcos Blvd. to Heritage Park where it now serves as a historic museum. You’ll discover all kinds of artifacts from days gone by – including newspaper clippings, the original school bell from the 1910 School House, photographs and family histories
Elementary School Programs
The San Marcos Historical Society also offers a variety of Elementary School Programs from Historic Home Tours to Hands On History and a Traveling Trunk Show.
Plan a Visit
Take some time this summer to explore Heritage Park. Throughout the summer they are offering different activities on Thursday evenings. You can also pick up a copy of our very own, newly released, San Marcos history book “Images of America – San Marcos”. When you purchase a copy of this book full of fascinating photos and historic facts about San Marcos, proceeds help to support the Historical Society.
Check the website for summer hours. There may be times when the Home Tours are closed as the Cox House is getting painted this summer. www.smhistory.org or (760) 744-9025.
10 Things to Do and See at Heritage Park this Summer
- Learn about the area known as Desolation Flats.
- Ring the 1910 School House Bell
- Listen to a Thomas Edison Phonograph
- Pick vegetables in the Victory Garden
- Sip lemonade on the porch of the 1888 Cox House
- See the original type desk of William Webster Borden, 1889
- Add your family tree to the San Marcos Biographies Collection
- Learn how the Luiseno Indians got their name
- Learn how to make your own butter at home
- See an original artist-adorned San Marcos Chicken from the Chickens Parade and mark it of your Scavenger Hunt Map