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18 . Presidio Park San Diego

Presidio Park San Diego, the Plymouth Rock of the West Coast, is the birthplace of San Diego and all of California. In 1769 Father Junipero Serra and his band of missionaries established the first European settlement in what is now Presidio Park. This 40-acre park is also the site of the first royal Spanish presidio (fort) built by the Spanish army. Located on the hillsides above San Diego Old Town State Park, the park overlooks Mission Bay and Mission Valley and offers spectacular views of the city.

Junipero Serra Museum, built in 1929 as a replica of the original mission, interprets the Spanish-American period of San Diego history and displays artifacts discovered during ongoing archaeological digs on the grounds. The museum is located at 2727 Presidio Drive in San Diego and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, students and military (ID required), $2 for children ages 6-17 and free for children under 6. San Diego History Center members receive unlimited free admission. For more information, call (619) 232-6203.

With several miles of hiking trails, picnic tables and grassy meadows, Presidio Park at 2811 Presidio Drive is a great place to spend an afternoon exploring nature and history.

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