Back in 1870, it was just dunes in a part of the city dubbed the Outer Lands. 150 years later, Golden Gate Park is the crown jewel of San Francisco. Home to world-class museums, gardens, and events that draw millions of tourists each year. It’s also where locals go to work out and hang out. In honor of the parks’ 150th birthday, KALW is gathering stories about the history and sights of what some call San Francisco’s backyard.
Go Back In Time With The Windmills
We're heading to the far west side of the Bay Area for our last stop on the tour... for now. And, we're going back in time. At the end of the 19th century, when Golden Gate Park was just a few decades old, engineers built a pair of windmills to irrigate it. They harnessed the power of the ocean winds to pump water through the barren sand and nourish the verdant landscape. Over time the windmills fell into disrepair and slowly disintegrated. But, in the early 21st century, some visionary San Franciscans decided to rebuild them. We’ll hear that story from Niels Swinkels.
16/07/2020 • 11 minutes 34 seconds
Take Aim At The Archery Range
We’re continuing our journey westward, toward the ocean, and we’re getting close now. Less than a mile to go. We cross over Chain of Lakes Drive. And as we pass, just to our right is the simply named North Lake. We’re walking through this urban forest, and the trees have gotten especially thick to our right. Look closely and you can see … there’s a golf course in there! A lot of people who live in San Francisco don’t even know that. But we’re not here to play golf, today. We’re targeting a different sport. Just past the course’s parking lot, on 47th Avenue, a couple blocks from the beach, we’ve arrived at our destination. Luisa Cardoza is here to tell us all about it.
09/07/2020 • 8 minutes 7 seconds
Roam Over To The Bison Paddock
We’re heading out from the ponds of the Golden Gate Casting and Angling Club. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to our next stop. As we approach John F. Kennedy Boulevard, again, we come across a site you won’t find on any map — but one that locals return to year after year. About 30 feet up one of the park’s majestic tall trees, there’s a great horned owl nest. Every year, the owls return to the same spot. Right now, though, we’re crossing the street to see some much bigger creatures. We’re going to the bison paddock. For well over a century, Golden Gate Park has hosted a herd of these 900-pound hoofed and hairy beasts. They were originally brought in as part of a nationwide conservation effort. So why are they still here? Laura Klivans gets some answers from people who care for the bison in their home on the west side of the park.
02/07/2020 • 8 minutes 39 seconds
We hope you’ve been enjoying this audio tour celebrating the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park. We’ve still got a few more stops on our route, but in the wake of protests against the systemic race-based violence that plagues our country, we are going to take a break for the moment. We’ll be back with more episodes later this summer.
05/06/2020 • 30 seconds
Cast A Line At The Angling Club
We’re down in the wilder spaces of the park, now. The lower side, with its hiking and mountain bike trails, its hidden gardens, its untamed forests. We continue westward, exploring this less cultivated area where there's more space and more animals, too. You’ll see coyotes out here sometimes. Plenty of raccoons in the evening. Foxes, if you’re lucky. We turn off the road, back into the forest. It’s quiet except for the occasional whizzing sound, gentle crank, and quiet chatter. We’re at Golden Gate Park’s casting pools. Reporter Ian Lewis shows us how it's done.
28/05/2020 • 8 minutes 15 seconds
Put The Wind In Your Sails At Spreckels Lake
Most of the cultivated features of Golden Gate Park are found on its eastern side. Now we’re heading for the wilder west — an area more frequented by locals than tourists. And as you’ll see and hear, there’s plenty to discover. There are lots of grassy areas here where people like to picnic. It gets foggier ... and we pass by one of Golden Gate Park’s more dramatic features. It's a waterfall cascading down from a man-made hillside, right next to an overpass. We continue on, under the bridge, and down the hill. The creek running alongside us eventually feeds into a lake with plenty of birds in it. That's where we're going today: Spreckels Lake. Reporter Hannah Kingley-Ma introduces us to its visitors.
21/05/2020 • 9 minutes 3 seconds
Nose Around The Rose Garden
We’ve just left the Shakespeare Garden, in a thicket off 9th Avenue. We're going to head back toward the north side of the park, and to get there, we'll take a circuitous route down a hill into the parking garage serving the California Academy of Sciences and the DeYoung Museum. Soon we’re back in the sprawling music concourse. We go down a path to the left of the Japanese Tea Garden until we get to John F. Kennedy Boulevard, where our destination is just across the street. It’s a garden. Sheer Elegance. Wild Blue Yonder. Lady Elsie May. Daybreaker. Although these might sound like romance novel titles, they’re actually names for different species of the flower of romance, the rose. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has one whole acre of land dedicated to roses. Reporter Chris Hambrick follows the scent.
14/05/2020 • 7 minutes 22 seconds
Reflect In The Shakespeare Garden
The music concourse can be seen as the cultural heart of Golden Gate Park. This wide oval plaza is filled with fountains and framed by museums and the bandshell housing the venerable Golden Gate Park Band. Now it’s time to head out from here to go to a place that’s even more timeless. We climb up stairs as we head south, around the California Academy of Sciences, into a wooded area. Back in the trees, you’ll find flowers from the writings of William Shakespeare. It’s a place dedicated to English literature’s crown prince. Walk through the entrance gate and down a worn brick path to be transported into an English garden filled with manicured flowerbeds, trimmed lawns, and people escaping the noise of the city. Reporter Jeremy Dalmas show us around.
07/05/2020 • 7 minutes 50 seconds
We’re taking a quick breather this week as our staff adjusts to reporting on how the coronavirus epidemic is affecting our lives. But do not fret! We’ll take you back to the park soon. We have six more episodes planned and, in the meantime, there’s a special virtual park event celebrating Golden Gate Park’s 150th birthday, this Saturday, April 4. Check that out at goldengatepark150.com and stay subscribed for more updates.
03/04/2020 • 49 seconds
March To The Beat Of The Golden Gate Park Band
We just got a fun workout with the swing dancers on John F. Kennedy Drive. Now, let's catch our breath and wander into the Music Concourse. As we walk along Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, we can see the California Academy of Sciences in front of us, with its skylights and living roof. To our right, the M.H. De Young Memorial Museum looks like a copper-clad battleship beached in the middle of a forest. In between the two cultural attractions is an open-air, oval-shaped plaza with many levels. If you walk down to the other end of the concourse, you’ll find yourself at the bandshell. This is the Spreckels Temple of Music and it's home to the Golden Gate Park Band. The band has brought life to the park every Sunday between April and October every year since 1882. Reporter Steven Short went strolling in the park and here’s what he heard.
27/03/2020 • 8 minutes 9 seconds
Swing Over To Lindy In The Park
Now, let's climb the steps up and out of the hollow and turn west along John F. Kennedy Drive. The flower garden before the conservatory is full of blooms and people lounging on the grass. It’s a nice, flat walk to our next stop, and we can just see it up ahead. In San Francisco, you don’t have to go to a stuffy nightclub or a formal classroom to learn how to swing dance. If you want to learn the Lindy Hop, you can learn in the great outdoors. Reporter Carolina Hidalgo, who is originally from Chile, was surprised to find the group dancing in full daylight on one of her walks in Golden Gate Park.
20/03/2020 • 9 minutes 58 seconds
Groove On Down To Tunnel Jazz
We started our tour at the Conservatory of Flowers. Now, we’re back outside. As we walk along the path back toward the street, we see flower beds laid out before us, in fact, there’s a huge clock set into one of the gardens, embedded amongst the blooms. Then, we walk down some steps, and before us, there’s a tunnel. If you’re here on a Saturday, you might hear a sound emerging from it. It’s jazz! Laura Klivans introduces us to the people making the music.
13/03/2020 • 7 minutes 33 seconds
Traverse The Tropics At The Conservatory Of Flowers
We begin at the Conservatory of Flowers. This 250-foot long building, made of wood and glass, is one of the most elaborate structures in the park. It’s clear to see that this historic landmark is nearly as old as the park itself. Truc Nguyen takes us inside.
06/03/2020 • 8 minutes 17 seconds
PREVIEW: The Golden Gate Parkcast
It’s time to take a tour of the City’s backyard with “The Golden Gate Parkcast.” Every episode features a different attraction.