The result of a design competition for Marina Linear Park (now Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade) won by the Office of Peter Walker and Martha Schwartz in 1987, this 2.1-acre park is adjacent to the promenade’s midpoint. Although the completed promenade did not debut until 1997, Children’s Park and Pond opened in July 1995 in anticipation of the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego.
Equidistant from Seaport Village to the west and the Gaslamp Quarter to the east, the park is divided into two sections. A geometrically planted pine grove extends north from a 200-foot-diameter, circular pool. Bordered by Mexican fan palms, the fourteen-inch-deep pool is bisected by the promenade and the Santa Fe Railroad. Two lines of rectangular, stone slabs meet at a right angle within the pool, with one line passing through a spray fountain comprising a grid of steel poles. Crossing into the grove, the stone slabs link the park’s aquatic and terrestrial halves. The park’s shaded grove of Canary Island pines contained a prominent array of grass mounds, which were removed between 2008 and 2016. The mounds were replaced with flat, circular grass beds that were later filled with gravel, resulting in a uniform ground plane. The concrete rings that once encircled the mounds were retained. The grove is lined by palm trees and edged on two sides by a cypress allée and a path with a striped paving pattern.