The Naked Truth at Zoro Gardens, Balboa Park
For the two-year run of the California-Pacific International Exposition during 1935-36 at Balboa Park...


For the two-year run of the California-Pacific International Exposition during 1935-36 at Balboa Park, anyone could pay their 75 cents and spend as long as they wished watching up close fellow human beings hang out and move about stark naked. Nudist historians, of which there are apparently very few, feel this was the first, and only, nudist park open to the casual public.

Seventy years later, lots of San Diegans don't believe it actually happened. But it did, right there on the Prado, in Zoro Garden, a verdant glen especially designed for the show by famed architect Richard Requa and used now as a butterfly sanctuary. The women sometimes wore "ghost panties" and the men had loincloths and shorts on hand. But often, all was discarded.

Season I: The Naked Truth: The Rise and Fall of America's Only Public Nudist Colony in Four Acts
May 22, 2016.  1:00pm - 9:00pm.

Cultural journalist Welton Jones tracked down the elusive details of Zoro Garden and fashioned them into a four-part pageant that came as close as possible to the "truth."  Each 40 minute act occurred at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00 + 7:00 pm.

Season II: The Naked Truth: Free Range
March 18, 2017.  1:00pm - 8:00pm.

After the first season pageant directed by dramatist Playwright Welton Jones, the question still persisted: was Zoro Gardens a social experiment or was it a peepshow? The facts were unclear.

Naked Truth: Free Range revived Zoro Gardens with a group of nudist sympathizers, in collaboration with performance artist Maria Ríos-Mathioudakis.  Hourly programs with special guests explored ways a contemporary reincarnation of a 1935 nudist colony can be an accessible, intersectional, gender non-conforming, and body positive social experiment.



Season I

Production Team

Playwright: Welton Jones
Direction: Kate Clark and Welton Jones
Sound Production: Steve Stopper
Sets, Costumes: Kate Clark
Production Assistance: Jerry Blackman, Peter Chen, Sierra Miller, Elizabeth Sutton,
Celia Gold, Nick Lesley, Marina Grize, Meegan Nolan
Robotics: Jon Pucci
Stills Photographer: Camille Laut
Channel Parkeology Video, Editing, Direction: Ren Ebel
ParkCast: Sound, Editing and Direction: Parker Bray
Research support by Committee of 100, San Diego History Center, San Diego Public Library
Carpet Sponsorship by North Park Rug and Carpet

StoryTeller: Todd Blakesley
Yvonne Stacey (“Queen Zorine”): Maria Mathioudakis
Florence Cubitt (“Queen Tanya”): Alison Cummings
Four Sisters: Diana Benavidez, Jeszi McPeak, Alyssa Tucker, Alena Vasquez
Queen Elizabeth: Alyssa Tucker
Queen of San Francisco: Jeszi McPeak
Nudists: Diana Benavidez, Jason Crane, Alison Cummings, Jeyla Spencer, Yelena Gluzman, Maria Mathioudakis, Jeszi McPeak, Max Nanis, Jon Pucci, Jeremy Raab, Ashley Ray, Rafa Rios, Dylan Wilde, Alena Vasquez, Hannah Johansen, Kate Clark
King Adolph: Max Nanis
Male “Authority Figure": Dylan Wilde
Press Agent: Hannah Johansen
Physical Trainer: Jason Crane
Reporter: Jeremy Raab
Alpha the Robot: Jon Pucci
Reader ACT II: Jeszi McPeak
Reader ACT III: Yelena Gluzman
Reader ACT IV: Maria Mathioudakis
Photographer: Camille Laut

Parks and Recreation Administration Support
Park Ranger Carina Weber
Park Ranger Kim Duclo

Season II

Nick Lesley, Sound Engineer
Maria RÌos-Mathioudakis, Creative Direction
Jeremy Raab, Parkeologist
Diana Benavidez, Parkeologist
Jeszi Mcpeak, Parkeologist
Peter Chen, Parkeologist
Save Starlight, Tech Support
School for Creative Careers, Tech Support
Marina Grize, Marketing
Lissa Corona, SDAI staff support
Kevin Freligh, SDAI staff support
Jessica Ballenger, Production support
Jennifer Betancourt, Stenographer
Brochure image from the archive of Welton Jones
Thanks to Park Ranger John Anderson and the City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department

Nudist Colony Members
Rebecca Maria Gold
Brian Gaul
Ashley Ray
Minxuan Lin
Gabrielle Ramlow
Carlos Galvan
Arati Lane
Angela Risi
Kate Clark
Yelena Gluzman
Rafa Rios
Eva De Leon
Jeyla Spencer
Sonidero Travesura
Loretta Carota
Peter Chen
Diana Benavidez
Jeremy Raab
Jeszi McPeak
Glena Trone
Jamie McGuffee
Abra Olivier
Em Hoguin
Rat Malone
Maria RÌos-Mathioudakis
Hannah Johansen
Camilla Fimbers
Paola Viola
Leilani Trepkau