Golden Gate Park is a large urban park consisting of 1,017 acres of public grounds in San Francisco, California. The park is shaped as a rectangle similar to New York’s Central Park, but is nearly 20% larger. The park is over three miles long, running from east to west, and is more than half a mile wide. The Golden Gate Park is the fifth most-visited city park in the US with more than 13 million visitors every year.
Golden Gate Park was officially deeded to the people in 1870, as a place to escape the urban clutter and chaos. It was felt at the time that San Franciscans would one day feel overcrowded. This was quite insightful as 13 million visitors use the park every year.
Many of the parks iconic buildings were built for the 1894 Midwinter Fair, which was a large carnival and expo that was established to boost tourism to the San Francisco area. The city at the time wanted to prove that they had culture, so they built an art museum as well. Horse stables and landscaped greens were preserved in an effort to prove that outdoor activities could be pursued. Several themed areas were also created to show off the cities quirky atmosphere. Exhibits included an Eskimo habitat, Cairo Street, and a Japanese Village.
Millions of people flocked to San Francisco and the Midwinter Fair was a hit, succeeding in what it set out to do. Business boomed and locals gained some admiration for the park.
Today, the park has overseen many changes over the years; many of the original pieces have been preserved in the park. One of new attractions to the park include the newly designed California Academy of Sciences, which has brought a more modern feel to one of the city’s more established landmarks.
Many of the parks oldest traditions are still around, with people coming to watch the bison in the park, and those participating in some boating on Stow Lake. Golden Gate Park is also home to a disc golf course, which is a relatively new sport.
Main Attractions at Golden Gate Park
The Conservatory of Flowers – This Victorian styled greenhouse is inspired by the Palm House in London, England. The Conservatory was built over 7 years, from 1876 to 1883, and it currently houses many tropical flowers and plants.
Japanese Tea Garden – The Japanese Tea Garden is another remnant from the 1894 expo. The Tea Garden was constructed to honor and display the Japanese lifestyle. The garden features many native Japanese plants, a teahouse, ponds, bridges, and sculptures in an area of the park that covers more than 5 acres.
M.H. De Young Museum – The Museum was originally built for the 1894 Midwinter expo, but was so successful that the city decided to build a more permanent establishment. The museum houses a fairly diversified collection of paintings and other works.