Every year, the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, CA creates a special exhibit in the winter months. Electric trains are set to run through specially planted greenery with miniature monuments, all made from recycled and repurposed materials. This year the Garden Railway celebrates Golden Gate Park’s 140th anniversary, running from 11/19/10 to 3/13/11.
The largest of the three sections featured landmarks such as the Dutch Windmill, the Japanese Tea Garden, California Academy of Sciences, Stow Lake Boat House, the Chinese Pavilion, and the Conservatory of Flowers itself. Another section featured downtown San Francisco with a cable car circling the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, and more. Then there was a section designed with the little ones in mind as Thomas the Tank Engine passes the famous Victorian houses, gate in Chinatown, and Ghirardelli square.
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to share the Park’s interesting history and its enduring beauty in this really unique and fun way,” says Brent Dennis, the Conservatory’s Director. “When 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. It’s a magical way to highlight the distinctive role the Park has played in the lives of generations of San Franciscans.” – Press Release.
When coming here, I had no idea what to expect. Though I have lived in the bay area most of my life, I had never been to the Conservatory of Flowers. The display in the far west room of the enormous greenhouse was much smaller than what I had imagined. That is not to say that it was disappointing. We enjoyed the miniature version of landmarks that we commonly see. Where else can you find the famous stretch of Victorian home created with cereal boxes, Ghirardelli square sporting an actual package of Ghirardelli chocolate, or Golden Gate Bridge attacked by a Barrel of Monkeys? The little details really made it interesting and was a fantastic tool in learning about local history.
Click below for larger images:
The price of entry is very reasonable and includes admission to the rest of the Conservatory as well. Everything is inside so you can plan to take advantage of the remaining week to visit this commemorative Garden Railway, rain or shine. This is perfect for a half-day trip. The exhibit ends 3/13.
See the official website for opening times and admission prices.