image courtesy of the San Diego History Center Research Library and Archives




Between the Plaza de Panama and The Front in San Ysidro

Saturdays: June 10, June 17, June 24, 12-8 PM

ADA accessible. 

Despite the fact that the San Diego/Tijuana border is the most transited in the world, only 1 in 4 San Diegans take the drive south to cross. 100 years ago, during the Panama-California Exposition, locals and tourists visiting the Spanish dancers, gem exhibitions, and Native American reenactment villages of Balboa Park often hopped on a trolley and for an “enjoyable 20-mile ride” to “Tia Juana.” Many of the popular restaurants, casinos, and racetracks in Tijuana were funded by the same American dollars that built Balboa Park. Yet in less than a century, the public imagination of fluidity between San Diego to Tijuana has hardened in sync with the concrete border wall itself.

In collaboration with Cog•nate Collective and in partnership with members of Kumeyaay Community College and the teen docent program of Casa Familiar, Parkeology will provide a free public tour between Balboa Park and border territories of San Ysidro. Live storytelling and audio recordings will trace the animals, humans, and materials that have migrated through the region. Trolley services will also provide free round trip visits to Balboa Park for San Ysidro locals.

During tour hours, the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park will be transformed into the Border Trolley Tours interpretive center for tour participants and passerbys. In collaboration with the Velaslavasay Panorama, four mobile peepshow boxes will be displayed in the plaza, providing views of the Tijuana/San Diego border as it has evolved in the past 100 years. Cog•nate Collective’s Mobile Institute for Citizenship and Art (MICA) trailer will serve as the ticket booth and information center.  

Border Trolley Tours project is in direct support from the Balboa Park Conservancy, The Project for Public Spaces, Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community Grant & The San Diego Foundation


Photos by: Ale Uzarraga


Photos by: Ren Ebel


Production + Direction
Parkeology and Cognate Collective

In Collaboration with
Teen Docent Program at the Front:
Hector Castro
Shania Quiambao
Miguel Garcia
Andres Perez
Lourdes Alcala Guerrero
Ana Ortiz
Erick Rincon R.
Christopher Mendiola
Brienneth Durazog

Kumeyaay Community College

Border Peepshows
The Velaslavasay Panorama, in collaboration with Parkeology.

Audio Engineering
Steve Flato

Diana Benavidez
Jeszi McPeak
Annie Meitchik
Melissa Magdaleno


Thanks to
David Flores, Francisco Eme, Senior Park Ranger John Anderson, John Lindsay IV, Erica, Sara Solaimani, Matt Baldwin, Nancy, Anne Marie Tipton, Larry Benegas, Ral Cuero, Bobo Elliott, Lori Ring, members of the Kumeyaay Community College Humanities Course, Marina Grize, Noe Olivas, Rosaura Sánchez, Beatrice Pita

Nancy Valdivia-Ochoa, Alicia Sanchez, Hector Castro Jr., Anne Marie Tipton,  Lourdes Alcala Guerrero,
Maria Castro Historical and Personal Memories relating to Alta California 1769-1849
by Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo Read by Francisco Eme