Presidio of San Francisco (February 08, 2019) – It’s not too early to plan a spring visit to the Presidio, San Francisco’s urban national park with nearly 1,500 acres of space in which to play, right at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. With two historic boutique hotels,Lodge at the Presidio and Inn at the Presidio, delicious restaurants and various activities, the Presidio can be a vacation destination in itself, or added to any San Francisco itinerary as a calm oasis close to the action of downtown. As the days get longer and milder, outdoor activities in the park return like guided art hikes, stargazing parties, and family-friendly bike rides. The popular Presidio Picnic mobile food extravaganza, sponsored by the Presidio Trust and Off the Grid, returns to the Main Post lawn each Sunday beginning March 31. Self-guided adventures in nature always await, especially in spring as the park’s flora and fauna awake to the season.
Nature and History in the Park
Nature comes alive in the Presidio in springtime, and visitors are always welcome to stop by the Presidio Visitor Center to pick up a hiking map and suggestions for exploring the park’s free picnic areas, overlooks and trails. From forests and beaches to restored wetlands, lakes and marshes, the Presidio is home to 330 native plant species and 350 species of thriving wildlife. This spring, look for the pink petals of the rare Presidio clarkiawildflowers in the grasslands below Inspiration Point as well as the returning Allen’s hummingbirds and the checker spot butterflies. Kids can pick up an Explorer Backpack at the Visitor Center or embark on a Geocaching adventure. The Presidio offers a variety of events to dig into this season; nature walks, volunteer stewardship opportunities, film screenings and discussions. Docent-led tours of the Presidio Officers’ Club convene each Saturday at 11 am and tours of the Archaeology Lab are provided each first Saturday at 1 pm (50 Moraga Ave.)
April 26-29, experienced naturalists lead various observations of Presidio flora and fauna as part of the 2019 worldwide City Nature Challenge. Started in 2016 by California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County as a friendly rivalry to stimulate citizen science, the Challenge has grown to an international “sport” for people to make observations of plants and animals and record them using the free iNaturalist app. A variety of scientific explorations through the Presidio’s wildest places over this four day period will be announced soon. Last year’s BioBlitz helped San Francisco win the City Nature Challenge with 60 cities across the globe. In total, San Francisco teams made 41,737 observations and counted, 3,211 species!
Art and Exhibitions
The Presidio Trust’s award-winning exhibition Exclusion: The Presidio’s Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration, explores the complicated history of Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt’s signing of 108 Civilian Exclusion Orders from the Presidio’s Building 35 in spring 1942—orders that unjustly incarcerated 120,000 Japanese Americans, purportedly in the name of national security. Also in the Presidio, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation mounts the similarly themed exhibition, Then They Came for Me at Futures without Violence, 100 Montgomery in the Presidio, free through May 27.
EXCLUSION is found in the museum of the historic Presidio Officers’ Club along with permanent exhibitions on the Presidio’s cultural history, an historic event space with a cozy communal fireplace, Arguello Restaurant, and Earth Wall, a sculpture by noted artist Andy Goldsworthy. Three additional sculptures by Goldsworthy can be viewed on a self-guided tour, or on one of the Presidio’s monthly docent-led walks. The Presidio houses the largest collection of Goldsworthy’s works in North America. Tree Fall, an installation that juxtaposes nature and history inside a former Powder Magazine is on view weekends from 10 am to 4 pm; open weekdays by appointment. Call (415) 561-2767. (95 Anza Avenue on the Main Parade Ground.)
The Walt Disney Family Museum presents Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World, a celebration of animation’s most beloved and recognizable character. Guest curated by legendary animator Andreas Deja, the exhibition features more than 400 objects, including rare and never-before-seen original sketches, character model sheets, and concept artwork, together with nostalgic merchandise, vintage photographs, and a variety of Mickey’s earliest and most recent animated short films. The exhibition is a testament to Mickey’s transcendent influence, from cartoons and comic books to real-life appearances at Disney Parks worldwide. May 16, 2019 through January 6, 2020.
The Immigrant Yarn Project is presented at Fort Point by Enactivist in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy through the Art in the Parks program. Immigrant Yarn Project features knitted and crocheted patches of yarn made by over 600 contributors from across the country representing generations of immigrants from every corner of the world — and including contributions from homeless communities, seniors, students, LGBTQ, Native Americans, and even a Former Secretary of State. The exhibition will run from March 8, 2019 through May 15, 2019.
Picnic in the Presidio
San Francisco’s largest community picnic, the Presidio Picnic, will return for its much-anticipated seventh season beginning Sunday, March 31 and running through early October, from 11 am – 4 pm. Co-sponsored by the Presidio Trust and Off the Grid, the weekly picnic combines the best of the international food scene with the best of this national park. This multi-cultural event offers a blend of culinary selections from international mobile food vendors (including returning fan-favorites and new discoveries), and special performances by various ethnic dance groups. The city’s most sustainable picnic is accessible from downtown via the free PresidiGo shuttle. More details will be announced at a future date.
Transportation in the Park
The free PresidiGo Shuttle takes visitors from two locations in downtown San Francisco to the Presidio, and PresidiGo’s Around the Park service offers visitors two routes within the park. San Francisco MUNI buses access the Presidio as well. Options for bike rental include Sports Basement and Electric JUMP Bikes. See: https://www.presidio.gov/transportation
Attention Calendar Editors: Although our events are free, due to space limitations, we advise patrons to register via the web links. See all of our spring 2019 events here:www.presidio.gov/events. Photos are available upon request.