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Warner Robins, Georgia
May 27, 2004
They have a really cool collection of cactus out front. Some of them looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I didn't know that they had some that flowered in black. Not being from California, I was amazed at the size and variety of the plants there.
There is an area across the road where they used to do the laundry. If you want to slow the pace and just enjoy the grounds, this is the place. If you take kids, your pace through the mission will probably go much faster.
From journal San Diego Safari
by Barber E. Lane
Lake Forest, California
October 6, 2002
Mission San Luis Rey is the largest of the string of California missions built along the coast and is known as the King of the Missions. Like its sister missions, it played an integral part in the settlement of this area during Spain''s occupation. All California elementary school children do extensive studies of these missions and their settlement during history class.
It was built in the shape of a cross in 1798 by Father Fermen Lasuen and named for the King of France, Louis IX. The mission is not only a beautiful and spiritual place to visit, but also a historical and educational site. It is especially known for its sunken gardens.
The mission contains a museum displaying mission life of the padres and the local Indians, exhibits of Indian artifacts, and various religious items from past and present Catholic church life. Many of the colorful decorations are original and were done by the Indian inhabitants of the mission.
Special events take place at the mission throughout the year such as crafts festivals and fiestas. The mission undergoes continual refurbishments of various areas, the latest being the soldiers barracks. This process in itself is quite fascinating to watch and learn about.
Picnicking is permitted on the grounds. It is open 10am-4:30pm daily, excluding New Year''s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Good Friday. Admission is $3 for a self-guided tour. Group tours can also be arranged.
This is a great stopping off point on your way to Wild Animal Park or Legoland.
From journal A Day At the Beach
July 13, 2002
As fascinating as the museum's exhibits of early manuscripts, Indian artifacts, religious memorabilia, and photos are, the visitor should not neglect visiting the cemetery, the picnic grounds, and the gift shop on the grounds. Explore the nooks and crannies-that's how we found the ruins of an original mini-bull ring Indian style that we photographed. Also, the interior of the Mission is beautiful and has been used in the past for movie and TV productions, so take a peek into it if services are not on. The grounds are lovely, there's lots of flowers, a koi pond, and a lovely little chapel.
When the Franciscans took over the Mission in 1931, it was in disrepair, a state that had begun with the secularization of the California Missions when Spain pulled out of Southern California and Mexico could not afford the upkeep (circa 1833). Further decay ocurred when California became a State of the Union in the mid-nineteenth century. The friars have painstakingly rejuvenated it by many money-raising endeavours. Thus, there's an up-to- date audio-visually equipped Conference Center on site that is rented to various groups throughout the year. The Mission is a very active place with many special events scheduled yearly. Their "Christmas in July" crafts bazaar, which was being held on July 14 this year, and their colorful Mission Fiesta, which occurs every August, are summer highlights.
Of adobe, faced with brick, the Mission's architecture shows Spanish, Mexican and Moorish influences. As Oceanside's most important historic spot, this is a must-see not only visually, but culturally as seeing its museum and mission grounds enhances your understanding of how vitally important the Missions were in the story of early Southern California. Not too interesting ruins of Fremont's soldiers' barracks are in the process of development in an area just to your left as you enter the main entrance in front of the Mission itself. Further work on this site should amplify details about the period of Mission decay between 1850 and 1931.
From journal Overlooked Oceanside -North of San Diego