Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, formerly known as the Strybing Arboretum, is a 55-acre botanical garden that features more than 8,500 kinds of plants from around the world. The living museum in Golden Gate Park has both landscaped gardens and open spaces that are home to a diverse variety of species with a particular focus on cloud forest species from Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, high elevation palms, and Magnolia species. The mild temperatures, dry summers, wet winters and San Francisco's famous coastal fog of the Bay Area provide a broad range of climatic conditions that allow a particular range of flora to thrive.

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Planning for the garden began in the 1880s by Park Supervisor John McClaren, however planting only followed in 1937 due to lack of funds. The garden was officially opened to the public in 1940. While the garden is officially managed by the city of San Francisco as part of the Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society also plays a significant role in the management of the garden. Founded in 1955, the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society (formerly the Strybing Arboretum Society) provides a variety of educational programs and experiences, and a range of professional and volunteer staff, as well as operates the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture, monthly plant sales, and a bookstore. The Society also offers a broad range of community education programs for children and adults and raises money for new projects and Garden renovations.

The Garden

The San Francisco Botanical Garden has a unique microclimate which is made up of dry summers, wet winters, mild temperatures throughout the year and San Francisco's famous coastal fog. These exceptional conditions enable the Garden to recreate conditions of high elevation tropical cloud forests such as those found in Southeast Asia, Central and South America. Due to these particular conditions, San Francisco Botanical Garden is renowned for its significant and unique botanical collections, including an extensive Magnolia collection.

Plant Collections

The San Francisco Botanical Gardens are organized into several specialized collections, including a Mediterranean garden, a Chilean garden, a California Native Garden, the Redwood Grove, and a Cape Province (South Africa) garden. Others include an Australian garden, plants from the Mediterranean Basin Region, the John Muir Nature Trail, and a Moon-viewing Garden. The Gardens are also home to a Takamine Garden, gardens from New Zealand, a Temperate Asia Garden, Montane Tropic Garden, and Ancient Plant Garden. Cloud Forests range from Mesoamerican and Southeast Asian Cloud Forests to Andean Forests and a Succulent Garden, a Dwarf Conifer Garden, and several exhibitions gardens.

The garden’s special collections include camellias, rhododendrons, succulents, and magnolias, and the Garden of Fragrance, which was designed in 1965, gives people with visual impairments the chance to enjoy plants through touch and smell. The aromatic garden features ambrosial flowers nestled in beds made of stones that were brought into the United States from a 12th-century Spanish monastery.

The San Francisco Botanical Gardens offer a variety of educational opportunities for learners of all ages with the aim of cultivating a bond between plants and animals. Educational programs range from adult botanical art workshops and Learning and Community Engagement programs to interactive programs for children like Bean Sprouts Family Days in the Children’s Garden.

The Garden’s Youth Education Program offers a variety of educational opportunities for pre-school and school-aged children, as well as summer camps for groups and families, as well as opportunities for interns and volunteers to get involved.

Adult programs include garden and birding tours, hands-on workshops in botanical art, and more, while Garden Family Programs include Bean Sprouts Family Days, Library Story Times and Family Walks, and Summer Reading Club.

Visitor Information

The San Francisco Botanical Garden is located at 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA and has two entrances – one at the corner of Ninth Avenue at Lincoln Way known as the Main Gate, and the second on MLK Jr. Drive off the Music Concourse referred to as the Friend/North Gate. Admission to the Gardens is free for members.

1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122, Phone: 415-661-1316

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