Nikigator — the whimsical mosaic by Nike de Saint Phalle that has been climbed by a multitude of San Diego children — is back at its original home outside the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park.
The 5,000-pound sculpture was moved to Liberty Station in July 2019 for safety as renovation of the Mingei began. It returned by crane on Monday, just two weeks after the museum reopened to the public.
“We’re thrilled that once again she can be a beacon for the museum and a fun destination for families in her native habitat in Balboa Park,” said Mingei Executive Director and CEO Rob Sidner.
The whimsical alligator was sculpted in 2001 by the late French-American artist while she lived in La Jolla during the last years of her life.
The artist’s other cherished large-scale mosaic sculpture, The Poet and His Muse, is set up to welcome visitors at the museum’s new west entrance from the Alcazar Garden.
The renovated folk art museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, with extended evening hours until 8 p.m .on Thursdays and Fridays.