Electriquettes in Balboa Park

StaycationerJoJo is back at it finding some unusual things to do in California.   We have driven in Nascars, skydived, and flown jets in flight simulators, but this week she slows it way down for a ride in an Electriquette.

So what the heck is an Electriquette?  An Electriquette is a motorized cart first made in 1915 for an exposition in Balboa Park.  Based on wicker chairs, they were invented by Clyde Osborn and were originally pushed by hand.

An Electriquette

No surviving carts are known to exist and there is no info on what happened to them.  However, the 2016 versions are alive and well in Balboa Park!  They officially returned to Balboa Park in March of 2016 and you can rent them at the kiosk in front of the Rueben H. Fleet Science Museum.

We rented one for an hour and bypassed the umbrella rental of $2.00 which was a mistake since it was quite hot that day.

I was o.k. but they let you take your dogs so we had to find shade frequently for them during the ride.

Electriquette by Natural History Mueseum
An Electriquette with an umbrella breezes by the Natural History Museum.

Basically, the electric wicker cart allows you to cruise down the streets of Balboa Park at the pace of a fast walker.   Depending on how much time you have, you could easily stop at the museums and when finished, continue on in your own personal chariot.  Mostly they are for someone who wants to see what Balboa Park is all about.  Like me, I didn’t realize it housed so many museums.

Along with the Rueben H. Fleet Science Museum, there is the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Man, just to name a few.  There are restaurants, the Old Globe Theater, Botanical Building and Lily Pond, plus much more.

Museum of Art
Old Globe

The Electriquette is easy to drive although you wouldn’t know it by the first driver (not me).   At top speed, they go about 3.5 miles per hour, so why did I feel like I was going 200 miles per hour?   It felt like Mr. Magoo was driving!  How could that be?  If I got out and walked I could beat it back to the kiosk.

When I took over driving, all serenity was back on track and we could continue through the crowds not worrying about running into walls, careening down stairs, or flattening a tourist from Oklahoma.  Whether at 3 miles per hour or 100 miles per hour, some people are meant to be drivers and some are meant to be passengers.

With the cart in one piece and no tourist off to the hospital, we stopped in the shade by the lily pad for a few photos and then pulled over to listen to few local musicians that were playing along the route.

Lily Pad

At the slow pace, you are also able to admire the classic architecture of the buildings and museums.


It easily sits two adults and a child, or two adults and a pooch and is actually pretty comfortable.

Balboa Park is alive with activity, music, food, people; it is a perfect place to take a leisurely drive in this interesting bamboo designed cart.

By leisurely, I mean without Mr. Magoo’s twin sister at the controls.  Also, be sure and follow the provided map; I don’t think coming close to stairs is really on the allowed route.

So if you ever wondered what is actually in Balboa Park but were too lazy to walk, take an Electriquette and enjoy the sites from the comfort of your own private wicker couch!


Story and Photos: Debbie Colwell


Parting Shots:

Kids playing at fountain
Kids playing at the fountain

Rose Garden
The Rose garden is just across the bridge from the park.


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