Audio Tours



Like the Museum's original building, this courtyard was designed to emulate the architecture of Spanish missions in Orange County. Around the corner by the staircase is a fountain dedicated to Ada Bowers. Although now adorned with flowers, the space still features the original statue of Juan Cabrillo, the first European explorer to navigate the coast of California.

As you face the main entrance, look for the giant prickly pear cactus to the right. There you'll see one of the Museum's oldest artifacts, the Maze Stone, dating back to prehistoric times. It was discovered on a ridge near Bell Canyon, about 25 miles from here, an area relatively distant from where signs of American Indian daily life have been found. The maze-like petroglyphs on the surface have faded over time due to erosion.

It's speculated that the engravings may have been part of the rituals of an ancient local people. Similar patterns appear in the basketry of Arizona natives and on other boulders around San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.

Nearby you'll find the Bell Stone, which was also discovered in Bell Canyon—in fact, it gave the Canyon its name: When the stone was struck, it would ring like a bell, resonating across the landscape. As legend goes, that all changed when the stone was accidentally dislodged from its granite perch by one of the many visitors who actually knew its musical capability. It never made the magnificent sound again.

Step2-Maze and Bell Stones 

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