Botanical Garden | San Francisco
"I'm a San Francisco resident," I say as I get out my wallet to show my ID.
"I can always spot 'em," he replies with a smile. I'm flattered. He offers me a map and off I go. This fact that I am a San Francisco resident is relevant because the Botanical Garden is free for residents of the city and county. Or it's free if you're an early bird and arrive between 7:30 and 9:00am (main gate entrance only). I did not arrive before nine, so the San Francisco ID was my method. Otherwise, it's a $7 entry fee for adults.
Upon entering the garden from the "Friend Gate", the garden opens up to a sprawling green lawn, waterfowl pond and numerous walking paths. The place is so big (56 acres) and the paths so winding that it is easy to feel lost. However, the frequent wooden benches dedicated to loved ones invite visitors to sit down and stay awhile. I find a quiet nook amidst the trees bordering the Succulent Garden and time passes peacefully. I've been here two hours already and it feels like I only just sat down.
I'm enchanted by the blooming succulents; their vibrant coral and yellow petals contrast beautifully against the blue and green hues of their foliage. With each season, a different section of the garden comes alive with blooms. From January to March, it's the magnolias and Succulent Garden. From April to May, the California Native Garden springs to life with its wildflower meadows and seasonal mountain creek. From June to September one can enjoy the Redwood Forest with its lush shade covered floor. And finally, from October to December, it's the Andean and Mesoamerican Cloud Forest with it's rich jungle flowers. I'm already looking forward to next season's visit.
San Francisco Botanical Garden. 1260 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112. 415.661.1316. In Golden Gate Park with entrances at Ninth Ave. & Lincoln Way (Main Gate) and MLK Jr. Drive (near the Music Concourse, Friend Gate).