Atlas Obscura - Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations

The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Shores

A mosaic map made of over 100,000 tiles depicts the geological features and sea creatures that live along this San Diego beachside community. 

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San Diego is California’s second-largest city by population and is proudly referred to as “America’s Finest City.” It has a reputation for being in close proximity to Mexico and home to all branches of the United States armed forces. However, it is perhaps most well known for its 70 miles of beaches. 

Unless an avid and practiced sea diver, few visitors probably have little experience or knowledge of what is living in these watery depths. This is what makes the Map of the Grand Canyons La Jolla Shores so unique. Unveiled in October 2020, this 2,200 square-foot LithoMosaic not only depicts over 100 variety of species, (including aquatic varieties, as well as birds, mammals, and reptiles) but also the geological formations that can be found in and around this beachfront property.

The map was created to honor what would have been Walter Munk’s 103rd birthday. Munk was an Austrian-born oceanographer who worked at the nearby Scripps Institute of Oceanography, as well as being a resident of La Jolla Shores. He was an avid proponent of understanding the effects climate change has on our environment, including the impacts on ocean temperatures. 

Along with the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans, artist Robin Brailsford and her team of volunteers spent hundreds of hours mapping out and creating the massive display. Visitors are encouraged to walk on the art piece and discover the intricate details, as well as gain an understanding of what is taking place under the nearby waves. This includes 3-D models of reefs and the varying shades of blue tiles to indicate the various depths of the ocean floor.

Know Before You Go

Free to visit and accessible at all times. Located adjacent to the public toilets on the southern end of the beach. Information placards, map keys, as well as QR Codes are present to further instruct on the various aspects of this mural. 

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August 8, 2023

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