This holiday season, get on board for a magical, miniature tour of San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Park as the Conservatory of Flowers presents an all new Garden Railway display in celebration of the Park’s 140th Anniversary.
November 19, 2010 - March 13, 2011
This holiday season, get on board for a magical, miniature tour of San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Park as the Conservatory of Flowers presents an all new Garden Railway display in celebration of the Park’s 140th Anniversary. From the Dutch Windmill to the Music Concourse, this special one-time-only anniversary edition of the Garden Railway lovingly recreates the gardens, lakes and architectural wonders that have made the Park one of the most visited and cherished urban oases in the country since the 1870s.
Both new and return visitors will be delighted as G-gauge model trains and trolleys zip along on three separate tracks -- navigating around replicas of ten of the Park’s beloved landmarks, wending their way through mini versions of the Park’s specialty gardens, speeding past sparkling water features that bring Stow and Spreckels Lakes to miniature life, and even whizzing by a wee bison paddock.
In keeping with years past, local trash-to-treasure artist James Sellier who works for the Artist-in-Residence program in the recycling division at Recology in S.F., has creatively crafted the many new landmark buildings for this year’s display from recycled and repurposed materials to reflect the Conservatory’s environmental mission. The Park’s Carousel rotates on an old record player, and the Dutch Windmill’s blades are made from discarded rulers. This year’s other landmarks include the Japanese Tea Garden, the de Young Museum, the Music Concourse Bandshell, the California Academy of Sciences, the Stow Lake Boat House, the Chinese Pavilion, McLaren Lodge and the Conservatory of Flowers.
In homage to William Hammond Hall and John McLaren, the two visionaries largely responsible for turning 1017 acres of San Francisco sand dunes into a verdant wonderland, particular attention is being paid to recreating the Park’s many lovely specialty gardens. Using hundreds of dwarf, living plants, the Conservatory’s horticultural staff is planting small-scale versions of the San Francisco Botanical Garden, Fuschia Dell, Rose Garden and Rhododendron Dell. These magical mini gardens will also include the riotously colorful Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden in the spring.
New this year are two additional small railway displays – one specifically designed for children that features everyone’s favorite Tank Engine, and another that recreates downtown San Francisco complete with cable cars, the Transamerica Pyramid, the sounds of the city and more. Families will also love the opportunity to pose in front of the Conservatory Depot for photos, and visitors of all ages will enjoy learning lots of surprising and fun facts about Golden Gate Park in a special historical map display (Did you know there used to be a bear pit in the Park?!).
Click here to learn about becoming Conductor for the Day
Read about the exhibition in the Contra Costa Times
The Conservatory of Flowers would like to thank the following media sponsors for their support of the exhibition: