Located nearby is the well-known landmark, Cliff House and Seal Rocks (although the sea lions that were seen for centuries here have moved to the calmer waters of San Francisco Bay).
This northwest corner of San Francisco is where the Golden Gate meets the Pacific Ocean. The first European ship (Spanish), sailed into the harbor in 1775. It was not until the 1848 California Gold Rush that the harbor became a bustling port. There were many shipwrecks in these treacherous waters due to the strong currents and rocky coastline.
We hiked along the the cliff-top, Coastal Trail, where there are spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. On a clear day, you can see for 30 miles along the California coastline.
A memorial to the USS San Francisco, one the 13 American ships involved in the Battle of Guadalcanal against 14 Japanese ships November 12-13, 1942. It ended as a decisive victory for the Allies, but Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan and many men on both sides (6,000) died in the battle. The USS San Francisco was severely damaged but limped home; was repaired; and returned to battle in World War II. It was decommissioned in 1947. A portion of the damaged ship is incorporated into the memorial.
We drove the short distance to the west entrance to Golden Gate Park, stopping first at the Beach Chalet Visitor Center to pick up a map. There is a restaurant on the second floor.
There are two windmills on this side of the park. Loved the purple flowers at the Queen Wilhelmina Garden underneath the Dutch Windmill.
The first bison was brought to Golden Gate Park in 1891 when the species was close to extinction. By 1998, 100 calves had been born in the Bison Paddock and the park continues to maintain the herd. Our doggie, Sadie, had to wait in the car!
We only saw two model boat enthusiasts at Lloyd Lake, but is it a very popular spot on the weekends.
There were so many beautiful roses in bloom in the Rose Garden! Below are some of my favorites.
Honey Perfume and Picasso
Strike It Rich and Dick Clark
Admission to the Japanese Tea Garden is $8/adults and $6/seniors. Because we had our doggy, Sadie, with us, and dogs are not permitted into the garden, we only saw a few sights here. I did, however, visit here years ago and it is very beautiful.
The Music Concourse was originally constructed for the 1894 California Midwinter Exposition. The Spreckles Temple of Music (commonly known as the bandstand) was built with funds donated by sugar magnate, Claus Spreckles. Below are two of the three fountains on the concourse.
There are various statues of prominent historical figures positioned around the Music Concourse. Here are four of them.
Cervantes (1547-1616) Spanish writer most well known for Don Quixote
Padre Juniper Serra (1713-1784) founder of the California Missions
Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the US
General John Pershing, US Army General, led forces to WWI victory over Germany
The Conservatory of Flowers first opened in 1879. It is the oldest surviving municipal wood and glass greenhouse in the US. The Lowland Gallery is the first area when you enter the domed structure. Plants of tropical rainforests can be seen here.
The Potted Plant section has a wide array of plants, but I loved the orchids the most.
At the far end is the succulent garden (and a small gift shop).
The Highland Gallery features plants found an elevation of 3,000 to 7,000' Again, the orchids were spectacular
The aquatic plant area features seasonal displays. Lilies and other exotic flowers were in this section. I think this was my favorite display, although it is always a breath of fresh air to be in a gorgeous conservatory.
The galleries here reminded me of some at Longwood Gardens (www.longwoodgardens.com), one of the top horticulture centers in the world, near our hometown in PA.
There is so much more to see at Golden Gate Park including the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum, San Francisco Botanical Garden, etc. This urban park is well worth the visit if you are in San Francisco. Just check out a map online and determine what might be of interest to you. There is something here for everyone!