The Golden Gate Park is a large urban park of 1,017 acres (412 ha) of public property located in San Francisco , California, USA. This is managed by the San Francisco Department of Recreation & Parks, which began overseeing the construction of Golden Gate Park in 1871. Set as a rectangle, it is similar to the Central Park of New York City, where it is frequently compared, but 20 percent larger. It is east to west over three miles (4.8 km) long, and north to south about a half mile (0.8 km). With 24 million visitors a year, after Central Park and the Memorial of Lincoln, Golden Gate is the third most-visited city park in the USA.
The 1,000 + acres of land once known as the “Outside Lands” was not a promising sight for a park, much like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge which was dubbed “The Bridge That Couldn’t Be Built” A residential oasis later named Golden Gate Park was developed, with the master gardener John McLaren and field engineer William Hammond Hill.
The park was originally built in an unincorporated section of the Peninsula, called Outside Lands, on 1013 acres of wind-swept sand dunes beginning in 1870 by the architect William Hammond Hall, the builder and the first superintendent. The acreage is actually 1,017 acres with extension.
The 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the first world fair held in the U.S. west of the Mississippi, offered a glimpse of things to come to 2 million visitors in its 180 structures set on 160 acres. The fair ‘s presence was the source of today’s Music Competition.
Since the devastating earthquake of 1906, 200,000 homeless people were forced to camp, first in rudimentary shelter and then in temporary wood barracks, the park played a role as a refuge.
There are many exclusive gardens in the park including the Shakespeare Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Tea Garden, Queen Wilhelmina Garden, and Conservatory Valley with its colorful floral plaques. The National AIDS Memorial Grove, Heroes Grove, Redwood Memorial Grove and the Phil Arnold Oak Woodlands Trail are commemorative trees.
The first formal building in the park was the Conservatory of Flowers, opened in 1879. Its 12,000 square feet, all covered in glass, mostly contains tropical plants. A giant philodendron specimen, known as Phil, believed to be over 100 years old, continues to ascend into the dome in the middle. Today, the park is home to a number of the most-visited attractions in San Francisco, including the Japanese Tea Garden, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the de Young Museum, and the California Academy of Sciences.
The Botanical Garden of San Francisco at Strybing Arboretum has 55 acres with 9,000 plants from around the world. All this is described in geographical, groupings or thematic settings of similar plants. Bison has been in the park since 1891 because of the threat of extinction. The names of the species today mirror those of Native American origin.
The first public playground in the United States was originally known as the Sharon Quarters for Children, today’s Koret Playground. The park has five children’s playgrounds in the park.
There are 680 forested acres, 130 acres of meadows, 15 miles of roads and 33 acres of lakes in the park’s landscape. There are also numerous open spaces and fields. There are a wide variety of dedicated sports facilities, parks, and courts including soccer, baseball , basketball, hockey, cycling, horseshoe throwing, golf, lawn bowling, petanque, archery, and disc golf. Several free annual activities are held in the park including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Opera in the Park, and Comedy Day.
The Music Concourse ringing cultural institutions like the De Young Museum, founded in 1895, and the California Academy of Sciences, first opened in 1923. There are also numerous statues and monuments. It is estimated that average annual attendance is 25 million. Half of these are locals, one fourth is residents of the Bay Area and the balance is outside the Bay Area.