Conservatory of Flowers Garden Railway Fires Up Again Friday, November 19th – Celebrating 140 Years of Golden Gate Park

Once again, it’s on, the annual Garden Railway exhibit at our Conservatory of Flowers is on.

Check it out from November 19th, 2010 through March 13th, 2011.

Click to expand

And here’s a fresh shot from Nina Sazevich:

All the deets, after the jump

See you there!

Garden Railway
The Conservatory of Flowers celebrates the 140th Anniversary of Golden Gate
Park with an all new garden railway exhibition that brings the city’s famed
park to miniature life

SAN FRANCISCO — 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
Park¹s 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.  The Garden Railway will be on view November 19,
2010 through March 13, 2011 and opens with a preview gala November 18, 2010.

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 Park¹s beloved landmarks, wending their way through mini versions
of the Park¹s 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 with the Artist in Residence program at SF Recycling & Disposal, Inc.
(AKA the dump) has creatively crafted the many new landmark buildings for
this year¹s display from recycled and repurposed materials to reflect the
Conservatory¹s environmental mission. The Park¹s Carousel rotates on an old
record player, and the Dutch Windmill¹s blades are made from discarded
rulers. This year¹s 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
Park¹s many lovely specialty gardens. Using hundreds of dwarf, living
plants, the Conservatory¹s 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 everyone¹s 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?!).

³We are delighted to have this opportunity to share the Park¹s interesting
history and its enduring beauty in this really unique and fun way,² says
Brent Dennis, the Conservatory¹s Director. ³When we realized that 2010
marked the 140th year for the Park, we just knew we had to create a special
anniversary edition of our popular garden railway to celebrate. It¹s a
magical way to highlight the distinctive role the Park has played in the
lives of generations of San Franciscans.²

The exhibition kicks off with a preview gala entitled Tropics, Treasures and
Trains on November 18, 2010 at 6 p.m. that celebrates the romance of the
rails and raises funds for the Conservatory¹s youth environmental education
programs. Gala guests will be the first to see the Garden Railway and have
the rare chance to experience the Conservatory at night. Guests also enjoy
premium wines and ³Whistlestop Stations² of tantalizing treats. Tickets are
$150 per person and can be purchased at www.conservatoryofflowers.org
<http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org> .

Media sponsors for the Garden Railway include ABC7/KGO-TV, Alice @ 97.3
KLLC-FM, The Examiner and KQED Public Broadcasting.

The Garden Railway is open Tuesdays  Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm and is
included with admission to the Conservatory. Admission for San Francisco
residents is $5 general; $3 youth 12-17, seniors and students with ID; $1.50
children 5-11; children 4 and under FREE. Admission for non-residents is $7
general, $5 youth 12-17, seniors and students with ID; $2 children 5-11;
children 4 and under FREE. The public should call (415) 831-2090 or visit
www.conservatoryofflowers.org <http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org> for
more information.

Related Family Programming

Conductor for the Day

All aboard!!! The Conservatory offers children the opportunity to be
Conductor for the Day during the run of the Garden Railway exhibition.
Conductors receive a whistle and engineer¹s hat and get the chance to start
the Garden Railway trains that day. A $50 donation to the Conservatory is
required. For more information, contact the Development Associate at
eedelson@sfcof.org or 415-577-2584.

Frosting the Conservatory
Sunday, December 11, 2010 from 11 AM to 3 PM

Sometimes the beautiful, frosty white Conservatory looks good enough to eat,
doesn¹t it? Well, this December 11th, you can sink your teeth into the
holidays by making your very own mini edible Conservatory of Flowers. Drop
in between 11AM and 3 PM that day. You¹ll receive delectable building
supplies including cookies, frosting and candy treats to construct the
greenhouse of your dreams. Take it home for the holiday table, or eat it
right on the spot. Either way, don¹t miss this sweet, sweet special event.
$10 material fee per building (does not include admission). All ages
welcome. Adult supervision required for children under 14 years old.
Background

Golden Gate Park¹s Inception 140 Years Ago

On April 4, 1870, the plan for Golden Gate Park was approved and its
boundaries set in an act of the state legislature. It was the first
documented use of the name. Engineer William Hammond Hall conducted a survey
and designed the initial lay out and landscaping of the Park. Construction
began later that year on the Panhandle. In 1890, the legendary
horticulturist John Hays McLaren would take over as Superintendent and make
the Park his personal mission for 53 years.
Conservatory of Flowers
The Conservatory of Flowers is a spectacular living museum of rare and
beautiful tropical plants under glass. From Borneo to Bolivia, the 1,750
species of plants at the Conservatory represent unusual flora from more than
50 countries around the world. Immersive displays in five galleries include
the lowland tropics, highland tropics, aquatic plants, potted plants and
special exhibits. Opened in 1879, the wood and glass greenhouse is the
oldest existing conservatory in North America and has attracted millions of
visitors to Golden Gate Park since it first opened its doors. It is
designated as a city, state and national historic landmark and was one of
the 100 most endangered sites of the World Monuments Fund.

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