San Francisco tourists never ever spend time telling you how many years they’ve lived in San Francisco. And of course, they never say that they were “born and raised” in the 415 either.
Mike Billings has the deets:
“Toddlers climbed all over the smaller River Play Area, which is designed for kids 6 months to 2 years old, while gaggles of older children scaled the nearby Polar Zone’s white structures, built for kids ages 2 through 5, and climbed through the Banyan Tree structure, constructed for kids ages 5 through 12.”
I defy you to visit and photograph this place well – sure is hard to show what it looks like. But Mark Simmons gets the job done here, with drawings.
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So what you do is check the place out on Free Day (free for San Francisco residents, that is – the next one is January 8th, 2014) and then decide if it’s worth it for you and the fam to get an annual Family Membership for $115.
If you all live close enough, it very well could be worth getting a membership just for the new playground.
See you there!
“After several years of fundraising, planning, and design, and over one year of construction, the Elinor Friend Playground at the San Francisco Zoo is ready for its grand re-opening. As part of The Americas Campaign capital campaign chaired by Dianne Taube, this $3.2 million project has been made possible in large part by the Friend Family and other generous donors. Additional naming rights within the Playground are still available at this time, totaling approximately $1 million (see the form below to help with this important project). This 36,000-square-foot, state-of-the art project is sure to ignite the imaginations of the 300,000 children of all ages and abilities who visit the Zoo each year.
The new playground is modeled after three distinct bio-regions, which take their themes from specific ecosystems and appeal to distinct age groups: a River Play Area for toddlers (6 months-2 years), a Polar Zone exploration space for pre-schoolers (2-5 years), and a Banyan Tree climbing structure for pre-teens (5-12 years). Along with striking natural forms, the architecture integrates a wide range of materials and textures in glorious detail that mimic those found in nature and encourage curiosity among young explorers. As an example, a charming frog sculpture in the River Play Area acts as a symbol of the Zoo’s mission to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature, and advance conservation action. In support of this mission, a portion of the funds raised for the playground will go toward the Zoo’s Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog Conservation Program. Click here for more information about this program.
Crawling through a beaver dam, sliding down an iceberg, or swinging through a tree, all children share opportunities for unique wildlife adventures, take age-appropriate risks, and immerse themselves in naturalistic environments. Each of the play structures is built with fully compliant ADA accessibility features to accommodate children with physical and mental disabilities, with a strong emphasis on exploration and adventure encouraged for all.
In partnership with the Mayor’s Office on Disability, the unique design of the Playground is the work of Scientific Art Studio, a multi-faceted design and fabrication facility located in Richmond, California. Led by Founder and Creative Director Ron Holthuysen, the Zoo’s Playground team includes artists and skilled craftspeople with experience in every material and technique imaginable, in particular reclaimed redwood tree trunks, sculptural cement composite on steel frames, woven rope, and even living vegetation. The contracting work on the project was done by Rudolph Commercial Interiors, Inc. (RCI), located in Emeryville, California.
Near the entrance to the Fisher Family Children’s Zoo and adjacent to the expansive Playfield Lawn, the Playground is located at the historic heart of the San Francisco Zoo. A natural extension of the Zoo’s Wellness Initiative, which focuses on the quality of life for all Zoo animals and visitors, the Playground will encourage movement and creativity for its guests and provide an excellent value to Zoo Members, who receive free admission each day of the year. Join today!
Boy there’s a lot of overhead involved with the whole process of charging people $7 to walk through the former Strybing Arboretum, it sure looks like.
Anyway, here’s a little background on how we’ve gotten to this point:
And here’s a post from 2010:
“Not sure how many people were at last night’s “workshop” to discuss the idea of charging admission at San Francisco Botanical Garden (aka Strybing Arboretum) in Golden Gate Park ’cause I left before it ended. But the hand-count totaled 225 souls, so let’s call that a gentleman’s 250 altogether for the crowd.
Here’s the thing - people on both sides all seem to know each other and care deeply about The Garden. This conflict seems a kind of civil war (hence the Antietam name check, yes it rhymes exactly), a family squabble. It’s plant-loving Brother against plant-loving-but-other-stuff-too Brother. Get up to speed on this dispute here.
Now, once more into the breach, dear friends.
The mise-en-scene last night. It’s Recreation and Park Commission President Jim Lazarus taking individual questions from a hostile crowd, split up unnecessarily, it turned out, into three sections. This is what the bulk of the meeting looked like. Click to expand:
But let’s start at the beginning. Below, it’s the organized neighbors! They taped up hundreds of small signs to draw attention to the meeting. Did workers from DPW spend a lot of time taking down the unofficial notices? Apparently. Were any official notices put up, like last time? Not that I could see.
Inside, the fellow on the left, (didn’t get his name, someone called him The Kid) tried to get things started, but vocal members of the crowd didn’t like the agenda that was handed out, particularly they didn’t like being split up into three groups.
The guy with the ponytail went off, and the Eli in the Yale jacket on the right pleaded for calm. Thank Gaia for Yalies:
After a couple go-arounds like that, The Kid threatened to cancel the meeting. (Arboretum staff appears to view hosting public meetings like these as doing a favor to Arboretum visitors, and truth be told, if San Francisco officials are dead-set on allowing the charging of admission, they can do it regardless of what regular Arboretum visitors want.) Here’s a ten-minute video of the action.
But after a brief huddle, redolent of a friendly car salesperson taking your low-ball offer to the Big Guy…
…out comes lawyer Jim Lazarus calling an audible to change the meeting’s format. He seemed every bit the experienced pol he is.
The new agenda that got worked out with leadership elements from the masses: an uninterupted 10-15 minute “general presentation” of the plan. “Then you can decide how much you want to beat us up after that,” said Jimbo. “You can shoot us all when it’s over.”
This Lazarus Effect resuscitated the meeting. So, let’s hear The Proposal.
The Arboretum would set up pre-fab ticket kiosks at the Main Gate and the Friend Gate (near the Japanese Tea Garden) for $65K and then hire four part-time cashiers, a manager(?), and also a part-time accountant for $148K per year. San Francisco residents would enter for free after showing some sort of ID. Those useless freeloading parasites known as Everybody Else in the World would pay $7, or $4 (students and seniors), or $2 (kids) each time they go in. They’d have the option of getting a $75 annual pass that would also allow entry at the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers – something like that.
The projected 100,000 in paid admissions would have a “blended average” of $5.50 per, resulting in a gross take of $550K. Take away $150K for expenses and you end up with an annual net of $400K, of which $100-150K would go into the Rec and Park kitty and the rest could go into whatever, like hiring more gardeners at $68K salary (plus 25% more in benefits).
The goal would be to eventually get up to a full complement of 16 gardeners, which will “never happen” without some new source of Arboretum-specific cashola.
“KEEP THE ARBORETUM FREE”
What about residents of neighboring counties in the Bay Area you say? It doesn’t matter, all auslanders gotta pay.
What about the rumoured $1.3 million cost of building the kiosks and other related expenses? That was just a “Cadillac proposal” dreamed up by somebody or other – the bare bones approach discussed last night would not be as nice, but it would get the job done.
This charismatic-messianic type got lots of applause for questioning the whole idea of charging anybody anything, regardless of the numbers:
Mr. Lazarus acknowledged the fear San Francisco residents have of being the next in line to be charged, the fear that admission prices would then increase after that. No promises on that front. Que sera sera.
But I’ll let the Keep the Arboretum Free people delve into these issues more. When I left, Lazarus was answering questions one by one, Phil Donahue-style.
“FREE means NO FEES, NO I.D.s”
Oh yes, the “next terrible meeting” promised by Jimbo will concern paid parking in Golden Gate Park. (Do people really plant their vehicle in the park for free and then run all over town all day? People do.)
The estimate of $148k annually to pay salaries for the paid admission scheme sounds low. Way low, particularly in light of what cashiers at the Japanese Tea Garden get paid.
Park and Rec knows how to notice a public meeting but, for whatever reason, it appears to have done a bush-league job of noticing last night’s workshop.
Next up next month in June: the action will move over to City Hall and the Board of Supervisors. When will our civil war end?
When: May 28, 2009 – Thursday 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: County Fair Building, 9th Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, San Francisco
What: In response to the feedback received on the proposed admission program at Botanical Garden, the Rec & Park Department decided there will not be a fee for residents. The revised proposal does include a $7. fee for nonresident visitors. Public workshop is to take feedback regarding revised proposed admission fee and will be seeking topics including:
Implementation of the new fee for non-San Francisco residents.
Amenities at the Garden.
Potential new revenue sources.
To Be Continued…
Hey look, it’s free!
And no co-payment neither.
Here’s the crew who’ll be waiting for you, or at least this was the crew at one of UCSF’s recent screenings in Chinatown:
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Free Skin Cancer Screening at UCSF
WHAT: In honor of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the UCSF Department of Dermatology is offering free skin cancer screenings. The event is co-sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. No appointment is necessary and no insurance is required.
WHEN: Saturday, April 21, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The screenings will take approximately 30 minutes.
WHERE: 1701 Divisadero Street, third floor, San Francisco.
WHY: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, with more than three million skin cancers diagnosed annually in some two million people in the United States. More new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year than the combined totals of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old. Anyone can develop skin cancer, regardless of skin color or general health. Many can be easily treated when detected early.
About UCSF Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center consistently ranks as one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States. Recognized for innovative treatments, advanced technology, collaboration among health care professionals and scientists, and a highly compassionate patient care team, UCSF Medical Center serves as the academic medical center of the University of California, San Francisco. The medical center’s nationally preeminent programs include children’s health, the brain and nervous system, organ transplantation, women’s health and cancer. It operates as a self-supporting enterprise within UCSF and generates its own revenues to cover the operating costs of providing patient care.
Now, here’s what’s funny. Instead of getting input from the tens of thousands of people what actually use Masonic Avenue on a daily basis, what the SFMTA does it to ask the residents of Masonic for input to bless a big reconstruction project that the SFMTA has already decided it wants to do. Isn’t that funny?
Now tell me, where does the sidewalk end and where does the private property begin here?
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And oh, yes, Transit First.
This is from before the time they put up the tollbooths. (I’ve stopped going there myself, a kind of boycott, I suppose.)
These days the place is a ghost town and all the docents are upset about the big change.
Attendance is “less than anticipated” but the people who did the anticipating knew they were lying so I don’t know how you score that one.
This is what you can see inside Strybing Arboretum this time of year:
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And outside, what you’ll see are a bunch of tourists debating the merits of paying $28 or whatever to enter the gates. Usually, they walk off dejectedly.
Why does our Strybing Arboretum (aka San Francisco Botanical Garden) need to become “world-class?”
Nobody’s ever explained that one to me. But that’s the rationale for charging admission these days (after six decades of free admission.)
Now, why isn’t our Strybing Arboretum called Strybing Arboretum anymore?
So it can become “world-class.” (Apparently, naming an arboretum after the woman who gave the money to start things up is considered provincial Back East. Plus Founder Helene Strybing made the mistake of becoming old and dying so nobody gives a ROMEO ALPHA about her anymore.)
Anyway, they started charging admission so the place turned into a ghost town, a “museum of plants and trees.”
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They said if things didn’t work out, they’d stop charging admission.