Golden Gate Park 150th Anniversary
2020 marked the 150th birthday of our beloved Golden Gate Park, and even a pandemic couldn’t stop us from celebrating in style. In partnership with the San Francisco Parks Alliance, we provided an array of activities and events throughout the year, from virtual concerts and online events to a 150-foot-tall observation wheel and an enchanted forest of lights.
Here are some highlights:
Kickoff with Mayor London Breed
Mayor London Breed joined San Franciscans representing more than 150 community groups, cultural institutions and partners to kick off the yearlong celebration, which included plans to plant 150 trees donated by music legend Paul Simon throughout the park.
Baby Bison Join the Herd
Five new year-old female bison were added to the park’s herd, including one named Sesqui in honor of the park’s 150th anniversary.
Golden Gate Park Welcome Center
The park’s first-ever “pop-up” welcome center opened. The refurbished freight container, decked out in GGP150 colors, featured a collection of merchandise such as locally designed zip hoodies, t-shirts, posters, pins, bison plushies, baseball caps, beanies, scarves, and mugs. A portion of sales supported the Golden Gate Park fund.
History Writing Contest
Three history-loving teen writers were awarded the 2020 Fracchia Prize by San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Historical Society. The Historical Society had invited students to create a guided walking tour of a section of Golden Gate Park in honor of the park’s 150th anniversary.
La Rose des Vents Makes the Park Its Permanent Home
To coincide with Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary, the glistening gold French sculpture La Rose des Vents, by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, returned to its place in front of the Conservatory of Flowers after work on its exterior cladding and the construction of a new base for its permanent home.
Holiday Light Displays Illuminate the Park and Lift Spirits
During the holiday season, park visitors were treated to an array of lighted attractions in the park, including Entwined, a public art installation at Peacock Meadow; the façade of the Conservatory of Flowers; the newly refurbished bandshell at the Music Concourse; and of course, Uncle John’s holiday tree at McLaren Lodge.
Skystar Observation Wheel
Perhaps the most anticipated and popular attraction of the yearlong park celebration was the 150-foot-tall Skystar observation wheel at the Music Concourse, which offered riders breathtaking views of the park and beyond in comfy, temperature-controlled gondolas.
Virtual Concerts and Other Online Content
Music lovers were treated to a number of virtual concerts throughout the year, highlighting some of the best performances from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Outside Lands, Summer Solstice and Comedy Day over the years. Also made available were stories, park histories, virtual tours and children’s content.
Work on major capital improvements in the park continued in 2020. The Stanyan Street Edge project was completed, and work progressed on the park’s Dog Training Area and the highly anticipated Golden Gate Park Tennis Center, both of which reopened later in 2021.
Infrastructure, Landscaping and Other Upgrades
Recreation and Park work crews completed 150 projects in the park leading up to the 150th anniversary, including the renovation of the Music Concourse, new gateway enhancements and landscaping, irrigation improvements, fencing upgrades, the planting of 150 new trees, and ornamental plantings.