The Temple of Music heads the large Music Concourse at the center of the park where the Golden Gate Park municipal band performs for free every Sunday at 1 pm from mid-April to October. Swing dancers and family picnickers also share this century old space. Weekday mornings be on the lookout for Chinese sword and fan dancers gracefully practicing their traditional moves.
Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco Photo Gallery
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Across from the de Young is the park’s most-visited attraction, the California Academy of Sciences, which includes the Morrison Planetarium, Steinhart Aquarium and the Natural History Museum. Families can visit here often without truly repeating the experience. This specatular space, with a sod roof full of portholes, was entirely rebuilt in around 2008. In the space of an hour, families can experience tide pools and a coral reef, an enormous open atrium, and many artfully designed nature exhibits and live-animal environments. Admission is pricey: about $20 for kids and $30 adults.
To complete the park loop, head out the east end of the Music Concourse, veering to your right on a path through the McLaren Rhododendron Dell, and coming out to Kennedy Drive. Go right along the multi-use path along Kennedy. On your left you will come to what many consider a favorite attraction: the Conservatory of Flowers. The 12, 000-square-foot Victorian greenhouse was built in 1878 and is the oldest glass and wood conservatory in the United States. It was closed in 1995 due to wind damage and its restoration took years. Within its bubble of thousands of window panes is a tropical rainforest of some 10, 000 specimens. From the Conservatory, continue along Kennedy Drive to Kezar drive, completing your loop.
Conservatory of Flowers, M.H. deYoung Museum, Temple of Music.
Bike: Although bicycles are not permitted on some paths, Golden Gate Park is ideal for exploring on two wheels. Meander around. One specific ride, however, is the Ocean Beach loop, a ride of about 7 miles. Start at the east end of the park at Kennedy and Kezar and head west on the multi-use path along Kennedy, all the way to the Beach Chalet at the west boundary of the park. Take the path behind the Beach Chalet, heading south, to the Murphy Windmill not toward the Dutch Windmill and tulip garden. At the Murphy Windmill, cross over Martin Luther King Drive and head east on a bike trail that runs parallel to King Drive on its south side. About halfway back, at Traverse Drive, turn left, on a bike path that takes you back to Kennedy Drive.