Unique Things to do in San Diego: The Famous Sunny Jim Cave
If you’re in San Diego this fall and looking for something an activity that’s unique and unknown even to most locals, we at the Ocean Park Inn suggest you head out to nearby La Jolla Cove and check out the Sunny Jim cave. The cave’s distinct name was coined by Frank Baum, the creator of the Wizard of Oz, and stems from a cartoon character named “Sunny Jim,” who was a mascot for the British Force Wheat Cereal products in the 1920’s. Baum claimed that the cave’s entrance bore a striking resemblance to this British icon.
The cave was formed by 200,000 years of ocean waves crashing into the rock layers at what is now La Jolla Cove. This dating is determined by the fossilized shell and water level marks on the cave’s interior. The internal walls of the cave feature beautiful colorings caused by mineral deposits from iron oxide, vegetable matter and iodine, which have left their mark over the thousands of years of the cave’s formation.
Visitors are able to tour the cave thanks to the work of Gustav Shultz and his coworkers who–using a pick and shovel–created a tunnel through the rock wall in 1902 & 1903. Years later, 145 steps were installed in the lighted tunnel, making it easy for visitors to climb into the depth of the Sunny Jim Cave. Admission price to explore the cave is only $4 for adults and $3 for children 16 years or younger. The cave store also has snorkeling gear for rent during the sunny months from May to September, which starts at $20 for two-hours of snorkeling. The cave is open from 9-5, 7 days per week, and is located at 1325 Coast Blvd. SO., La Jolla, CA 92037. Bring the whole family and see this natural wonder that had a little help from some early San Diegans.