Celebrating Dr. Seuss in San Diego
La Jolla is a beautiful part of coastal San Diego, and was also the long-time home of Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss, as he’s known to generations of people raised on his classic children’s books. His studio was in an observation tower next to his home on Mt. Soledad, giving him a stunning view and lots of inspiration to incorporate into his art. San Diego is proud to have been home to an author of such beloved work, and you can see tributes to him all through the county. Here are a few ways to celebrate Dr. Seuss in San Diego:
What better tribute to an author and book lover than to have a library named after you! The incredible library on the campus of University of California San Diego boosts unique architecture, and 8 floors housing over 7 million books. The library is also home to an archive of his material including photographs, drawings, and manuscripts. The items are only available to researchers due to their fragility, but the library allows guests to take an exhibit tour during summer and his birth month of March. Make sure to stop for a photo op at the bronze statue of Dr. Seuss sitting next to a 7 1/2-foot tall Cat in the Hat.
Geisel was an environmentalist who hated seeing buildings and billboards popping up over La Jolla’s pristine coast. His love of San Diego’s natural wonders came through in several of his works, including The Lorax. The inspiration for the trees in The Lorax came from the local Monterey Cypress, in particular a large, 80+ year old beauty growing at La Jolla Cove. Unfortunately, that particular tree collapsed in 2019, but its memory lives on in Geisel’s works.
Geisel was also inspired by the colorful California State fish, the Garibaldi. A large population of this bright orange fish lives in La Jolla Cove, and Geisel used them as a model for his famous “fish” character that appeared in many of his books, perhaps most famously as the worried fish demanding order in The Cat in the Hat.
Head to La Jolla’s Legends Gallery and visit the “The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” exhibit which features 70 years of Dr. Seuss sculptures, paintings, and drawings. The collection will surprise visitors who think of him as just a children’s book author, as you’ll see many whimsical sculptures and some of his satirical pieces as well. It’s a fun look at another side of the beloved author.
For over 20 years, the Old Globe Theater has put on a lively, fun for the whole family, performance of How the Grinch Stole Christmas during the holiday season. The book and cartoon may be classic to millions of people, but enjoying this play is a cherished yearly tradition for many San Diego families!
The Sanford Children’s Library is a beautiful, whimsical place on the first floor of downtown’s Central Library. Among the collection’s 85,000 books are several first editions of Dr. Seuss classics, all nestled inside a room decorated with 16-foot-high wall-to-wall murals of iconic Seuss characters. It’s a wonderful place for young readers to spend an afternoon!
The iconic Hotel Del served as inspiration for Geisel’s whimsical painting “I Dreamed I was a Doorman at the Hotel Del Coronado.” The beautiful red spires of the Victorian-style hotel could be seen from his studio in his tower, and in 1970 he created this bright, very Seussian, fairytale version of life at the famous beach hotel.
Make a day out of celebrating Dr. Seuss by reading his books and heading out to one of these places that honors the memory of his artistry. Oh, the places you’ll go!