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Many people don’t know that world-renowned children’s author Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel) wrote and illustrated his most famous book, “The Cat in The Hat,” in San Diego. He went on to write at least 40 other fanciful works in the city.
“Visitors are delightfully surprised to discover that Dr. Seuss lived in La Jolla for over 40 years,” said Robert Arends, public relations manager for San Diego Tourism Authority. “There are several Seuss sights around town, from the Instagram-worthy 7.5-foot Cat in the Hat sculpture and lone Truffula tree to the world’s largest collection of Dr. Seuss memorabilia.”
Here’s how families can have a Seuss-filled vacation in San Diego.
The History of Dr. SeussTo quote Dr. Seuss himself from his 1959 book, “Happy Birthday to You!”: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You!”
Honoring the “you-est” children’s book writer in history is one of San Diego’s most popular events: the annual Dr. Seuss birthday party, which is held March 2 in front of the landmark Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego.
During the writer’s birthday month, as well as in the summer, Geisel Library offers public exhibits of selections from its extensive collection of Dr. Seuss’ personal archive (which is reserved for researchers the rest of the year). The collection makes up the world’s largest compilation of original works by Dr. Seuss and includes original drawings, storyboards, rough drafts, photographs and other memorabilia — originating from 1919 with some of his high-school work and ending with his death in 1991.
After exploring the Special Collections & Archives room and Seuss Room, families should make sure to stop for a snack at the whimsical Audrey’s Cafe, which is named after Dr. Seuss’ wife. On any day of the year, fans can snap a photo next to a life-size bronze statue of Dr. Seuss and the Cat in the Hat that sits outside the third-level forum on the west side of the library.
Another place to see the fantastic work of Dr. Seuss is at Legends Gallery in La Jolla, which is just north of San Diego. Here, “The Art of Dr. Seuss” exhibit gives visitors a look at nearly seven decades of work that the writer created for himself. This relatively unknown collection includes fanciful paintings and illustrations from Dr. Seuss, as well as the Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy, a display of his “wonderfully weird” sculptures of Seuss-ified animals.
Dr. Seuss Live OnstageArends notes that San Diego’s The Old Globe theater in Balboa Park is also a great place to see dazzling live musical productions of Dr. Seuss’ stories, including “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
According to Arends, the latter “jumps right off the pages of the book and onto the stage every holiday season.”
Every November and December, the Whos take over for the annual musical production of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Kids and parents will love the quirky costumes, toe-tapping tunes and colorful set inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original drawings. Plus, families can explore a wintery Whoville in The Globe’s main plaza, which features a giant Christmas tree and caroling Whos.
From July 2 to Aug.12, 2018, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” will make its U.S. premiere at The Old Globe. This new musical based on the writer’s environmental tale features imaginative puppetry and memorable lyrics. Families can also take a side trip to Ellen Browning Scripps Park overlooking La Jolla Cove to spy the soft tufts of the original Truffula tree, a rare Monterey cypress thought to be the inspiration for the writer’s story about protecting the trees.