Preserving the iconic Moreton Bay Fig Tree in Balboa Park.

A new viewing platform around the iconic Moreton Bay Fig tree, which is located between the Natural History Museum and Spanish Village in Balboa Park, was unveiled on April 30, 2021. The tree was planted in the early 1900s and measures in at a staggering 78 feet tall. It is among the largest of its kind in California.

The tree had been fenced off to the public since 1989 due to previous damage to the roots. 

The nonprofit organization Forever Balboa Park, in partnership with landscape architect Pat Caughey of Wimmer Yamada & Caughey, led the due diligence and construction of the viewing platform to ensure the tree’s protection while allowing visitors to get physically closer to the tree to appreciate its canopy.

The project entailed use of ground radar to build a platform with above-ground footings to ensure the integrity of the root structure. The framing of the platform is composed of galvanized steel, and the deck is composed of recycled composite decking. It has the look of natural wood, and was tested to ensure it would not be blemished by the fruit from the Moreton Bay Fig tree. There will also be areas on the platform that will include dedicated benches made from felled trees in Balboa Park as well as signage about the tree’s history and botanical information.

Project Leadership & Partners

Patrick Caughey, Wimmer Yamada & Caughey, Volunteer Project Lead
City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department
California Deck Pros
J&W Lumber

Special Thanks

This project is made possible by generous contributions and we thank these philanthropists for their early support of this park enhancement project.

  • 2016

    Forever Balboa Park volunteers begin conversations with Parks & Recreation Department on this proposed project.

  • 2017

    Forever Balboa Park meets with Parks & Recreation leadership to review progress plans and determine next steps in the formal review process. Followed by conversations and presentations to other park stakeholders.

  • 2018

    Project approved by the Balboa Park Committee and the Parks & Recreation Board of Directors. Followed by further on-site ground penetrating radar conducted.

  • 2019

    All Building Permits approved.



  • 2020

    Construction began June 1.



  • 2021

    Ribbon Cutting Celebration April 30.



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