Exploring Golden Gate Park Classics
BY: Libby Beavis | Nov 15, 2013
Golden Gate Park is home to a multitude of things to see and explore. As a local, it's easy to take the park's offerings for granted, so why not have a "local tourist" day in the park to remind yourself of its many treasures. Start at the Conservatory of Flowers and work your way through as many museums, gardens and green spaces as you can handle. The Conservatory of Flowers is a great place to start your day. At the NorthEast corner of Golden Gate Park, it is surrounded by beautiful lawns perfect for a picnic, and the entrance fee into the stunning white building is only $5 for SF residents. There are permanent exhibits as well as rotating special exhibits of exotic plants and insects. After discovering what plants the Conservatory has to offer, stroll across the road and find yourself in the AIDS Memorial. This part of the park is perfect for taking a moment to connect with nature - something hard to do in such a busy city. Follow this path through the redwoods to a beautifully cultivated lawn. There are several benches interspersed, making it a great place for a picnic or nap. A short walk through the park will lead you to the "museum district" of Golden Gate Park. Here, you'll find the Academy of Sciences, the Music Concourse, and the De Young Museum. The Academy of Sciences hosts several exhibits including an aquarium, planetarium, and even some hands-on project areas. It's a large space with much to explore. If your blood sugar starts running low, be sure to check out The Moss Room - the academy's own restaurant. Be sure to look into the Academy of Science's Nightlife offerings. For about $12, every Thursday night, you'll get limited exhibit access and a show - sometimes a laser dance party, sometimes the latest up-and-coming band. Before embarking on the beauty of the De Young Museum, take a moment to rest your feet in the Music Concourse. There are several fountains, and you might be lucky enough to catch a live performance on the stage. The De Young Museum is known for art, pure and simple. The exhibits change every few months, so be sure to check out their site when planning your visit. Just down the road from the De Young, you'll find the Japanese Tea Gardens: an authentic view into an actual Japanese style garden. March and April are great months to visit as the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Year round, there are several areas to explore, my favorite being the Koi ponds! Haven't had your fill of nature's beauty yet? Be sure to check out the Botanical Gardens - there is an entrance just down the road from the Tea Garden. Here, you'll find acres of unique plants from around the world, and they even have plants for sale, so you can bring a piece of the botanical garden home. To round out this day of natural beauty, head to the Rose Garden in between John F Kennedy Dr. and the Park Presidio Bypass. With over 60 flower beds and roses from around the world, you're bound to discover a variety a rose you've never see before!