Visitor Center

Visitor Center & Museum Shop

The Visitor Center hours are daily 9 AM to 6 PM during summer daylight saving time and 9-10 AM to 4 PM during winter standard time. Phone 858-755-2063.

Be sure to visit the Museum Shop, which sells a wide variety of Reserve and nature related items. Some examples are shirts, reusable water bottles, books, art items (some made by the docents), gorgeous items made of Torrey pine wood, and children’s toys. (Sorry, no online sales.)

*In 1922 the building which is now the Ranger Station and Visitor Center was built. It was commissioned by Ellen Browning Scripps and probably designed by H.L.Jackson. Architects Richard S. Requa and Herbert Lewis Jackson developed modern methods of using an ancient building material, adobe blocks. Requa and Jackson did the original work for the Santa Fe Land Company, as subsidiary of a well-known railroad. They designed the Rancho Santa Fe Inn, the first school, and the original post office in Rancho Santa Fe. They worked out methods of protecting earth walls from rain, capillary moisture, and (I hope) earthquakes. They were leading exponents of the mission revival style which was so popular before World War II.

The building was called Torrey Pines Lodge. It was a restaurant with stumpy tables, chintz curtains, lampshades made of Torrey Pine needles, and a jukebox. It may have been a real lodge. I have seen a picture which seemed to show three small, primitive motel buildings near where the flagpole is today. The lodge was in a handy spot. The road up the hill where joggers and bikers torture themselves was pretty rough going for a Model T. By the time you got to the top, your car needed water and you needed a beer. Guy Fleming’s daughter, Mrs. Margaret Allen, liked to tell how she and her brothers would play near the road. A Model T would snuff out on the steepest part of the hill. They would yell at the driver to turn around and back up the hill. Southern California drivers were not used to such steep hills. The Model T didn’t have a fuel pump. The tank was placed so that if it was half empty, the gravity system didn’t get the gas to the carburetor.

*(excerpt from Notes From The Naturalist by Hank Nicol)

For 360 degree views inside the Museum Store click here. (external site)

The Lodge

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