OMG, “Playland at the Conservatory” is Totally Awesome – Annual Garden Railway Show Has Beach Ephemera

Get all the deets right here, and here at the Richmond District Blog, and below.

This show will run through April 15, 2012.

Check it, Playland at the Beach ephemera:

All photos by Nina Sazevich – click to expand

“Take a trip down memory lane as a bygone era of seaside amusement comes to miniature life in this season’s Conservatory of Flowers garden railway exhibition

November 18, 2011 ­ – April 15, 2012

Step right up for a ride back in time as the Conservatory of Flowers presents an all new garden railway display celebrating the legendary Playland at the Beach and a bygone era of seaside amusement that was located on San Francisco’s West End. In a dazzling display landscaped with hundreds of dwarf plants, model trains and trolleys wend their way past the famed Sutro Baths, zip around a replica of the Victorian-era Cliff House and whiz through a fantastic mini version of San Francisco’s beloved Playland at the Beach. 

Playland at the Conservatory, the conservatory’s 4th Annual Garden Railway, is an entirely new layout that resurrects the heyday of San Francisco’s west end, an area that flourished as a destination for fun and thrills after a new railroad built in 1884 made travel out to the ocean affordable. A dozen San Francisco landmarks, now mostly lost to time, are recreated in miniature and set in a landscape of hundreds of dwarf plants that bring the rocky cliffs and sandy shores of the area to life. Sutro Baths, the fantastical 7-pool swimming complex built in 1896 by eccentric mayor Adolph Sutro, nestles under Sutro’s other attraction, the Cliff House, which he transformed in that same year into a 7-story Victorian chateau. 

No doubt the recreated Playland at the Beach will be the star of the garden railway. Young and old alike will marvel at the sight of Playland’s most famous attractions in miniature, all in swirling motion and bright with twinkling carnival lights, while the sounds of the arcade and even Laffing Sal’s boisterous voice transport visitors right back to the midway. Wee rollercoaster cars climb the steep tracks of the Big Dipper, Playland’s biggest thrill ride from the 1920s to the 1950s, while a mini Airplane Ride spins and spins in circles. Other attractions include the treacherous Diving Bell, the Fun House and Playland¹s famed food arcade where hungry revelers could grab an enchilada at the Hot House or a sweet at the Candy Factory. 

As in past years, these replicas are all creatively crafted in miniature from recycled and repurposed materials. Playland’s historic 1906 carousel was created from a discarded light fixture, a slide carousel and a record player. The individual cages of the Rock-O-Plane are made from old pencil sharpeners. 

The exhibit also includes real memorabilia and photographs from Playland and beyond in a fascinating display that tells the story of San Francisco’s lost ocean-front treasures. Original wool bathing suits from Sutro Baths, the toothpick amusement park made by San Quentin inmate Jack Harrington that was displayed in the museum at the Baths, a Dodger bumper car, an original Playland sign and more provide visitors with an engaging way to experience and learn about San Francisco’s past. Period arcade games offer a hands-on history lesson with a chance to get your future from Zoltar, step into a vintage 1960s photo booth or goof around in the fun house mirrors, while a special scavenger hunt spinning wheel is a great, interactive way for young children to explore the exhibit. Portions of the popular documentary “Remembering Playland” will also be showing in the gallery.”

All right, see you there!

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