April is a month known for its spring renewal, and across Golden Gate Park, you’ll see plenty of plants and flowers continue to take shape and fill with color. A trip to the Conservatory of Flowers around this time is ideal to admire the beauty of the Vanda Orchid, which is in recent bloom. This month, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens is jumping with many happenings. Golden Gate Park events for April also include March Madness specials, bringing in the season with the Beltane Ritual in Magic Meadow, running events, and plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the park.

april tulips golden gate park

Reel to Real Nightlife – California Academy of Science – April 4

If you are a film buff, then attending the Academy on Thursday night will most likely prove a rewarding experience. It’s time to get inspired by the “magic of filmmaking,” as the San Francisco Film Society aims to please before the 56th annual international film festival is held. There will be music in the Piazza from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A DJ set (Peanut Butter Wolf) will take over at 8:30 p.m. The East pavilion will showcase cicadas from the Academy collections. Events will be held in the Planetarium and African Hall, such as two separate screenings (“The Love Competition” and “The Cicada Princess”).

There are plenty of other features scheduled for the night as well.

Thursday Nightlife events at the Academy are held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and are reserved only for the 21+ crowd. You will need valid identification to gain entrance. Tickets are $12 unless you are a member of the Academy, where the admission price is then $10.

Other Thursday Nightlife events at the Academy include:

• April 11 – Cosmic NightLife – to honor the 52nd anniversary of the first human in space (Yuri Gagarin). Researchers from the likes of Berkeley Space Science Labs and NASA’s Kepler mission will be on hand. You will also get a chance to browse old astronomical instruments, as well as rare Galileo and Frances Bacon books from the Academy library.

• April 18: Please note that there are NO Nightlife events on April 18, so that the Big Bang Gala and Party After Dark can take place.

“Another World” Friday Nights – deYoung Museum – April 5

Presented in association with the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Friday Nights at deYoung Museum hosts a “Another World” themed event, which begins at 5 p.m. and continues on until 8:45 p.m. Visitors will gather in Wilsey Court to watch scenes from Make Drag, Not War while veteran artists, Combat Paper and Iraq Veterans Against the War will be on hand for the event.

When you get hungry, enjoy tasty morsels from a prix-fixe menu and quench your thirst with specialty cocktails. The Museum Lobby offers ‘Art Making for All’ from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., where you can create a project of your own to take home. The public programs for Friday Nights at deYoung are free and open to the public. They begin at 5 p.m. and continue on until 8:45 p.m.

Other Friday Night at deYoung events for April 2013 include:

• April 12 – 8th Annual Discarded to Divine Fashion Showcase
• April 19 – 17th Annual New Generations Student Showcase
• April 26 – Queen’s Night

Free Zumba in the Park – Golden Gate Park Carousel Area – April 6

During April, the weather is perfect to enjoy the sights and sounds of the park while working out to the Latin-inspired dance party exercise known as Zumba. This high calorie-burning outing comes courtesy of the Movement in the Parks Program and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. You’ll be able to work up a sweat from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Direct any questions you may have to Willa at willa@themovementsf.org or call (415) 831-2738. Also, keep in mind that the event is free with an RSVP.

Other free Zumba events in Golden Gate Park for April include:

• April 13 – same time, same place.

Spring Bloomers Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – April 6

The San Francisco Botanical Garden kicks off another monthly plant sale at the Nursery. This time, they are featuring an array of spring blooms. This event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., which can be accessed from the Main Gate.

March Madness Specials – April 6 & April 8 – Park Chalet

It’s time for basketball fans to cheer on the final soldiers entering battle at the NCAA March Madness tournament being held at Atlanta, Georgia. The Park Chalet in Golden Gate Park will host a range of specials during the games, such as an $8 Beer and Shot special: Jameson or Avion Tequila.

Windmill 10K – Kennedy Drive – April 7

Looking for a nice Sunday run in Golden Gate Park? Consider the Windmill 10K being held this month.

Runners will follow a course that travels eastbound up Kennedy Drive to the intersection prior to reaching McLaren Lodge (Kezar Drive/Second Barricade). They will turn around and return the same way back to the finish line. Basically, the race will start and finish at Kennedy Drive at Great Highway (the Dutch Windmill). The race will begin at 9 a.m. If you are interested in participating, the cost is $5 for runners (18 years and older), $3 for runners (ages 11 to 17), and free for participants 10 and under.

Volunteer in the Park – April 13 & April 20 – multiple locations

Every year, thousands of people give back to Golden Gate Park by participating in one (or more) of the many available volunteer opportunities offered throughout the park. Below are a few events that you may want to add to your calendar:

• April 13 – Panhandle Volunteer Project (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) – Join the North of the Panhandle Neighborhood Association to enhance the appearance of the basketball court, as well as complete landscaping around the children’s playground. Volunteers will meet at the community billboard near the bathrooms on Oak & Ashbury. Contact Details: (415) 831-6328.

• April 13 – Oak Woodlands Volunteer Project (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) – Join the SF Rec & Park and other volunteers to work towards restoring the native Oak Woodlands in Golden Gate Park. Volunteers will meet at the bottom of the steps to the Conservatory of Flowers. Light refreshments will be provided. Contact Details: Please email joe.grey@sfgov.org or call (415) 831-2700 to register, and allow time to prepare enough projects and supply enough tools.

• April 13 – Strawberry Hill Butterfly and Trail Project (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) – Join SF Rec & Park at Stow Lake Drive & Stow Lake Drive East to enhance the butterfly habitat at Strawberry Hill. Tasks include removing invasive weeds. Instructions and required tools will be supplied to volunteers. Contact Details: Please RSVP by Thursday before each Saturday volunteer workday to julia@sfparksalliance.org or (415) 621-

• April 20 – National AIDS Memorial (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) – Join the SF Rec & Park at the AIDS Memorial Grove to maintain the space and surrounding native plants. Light refreshments are provided for those who take part in planting the grounds. Volunteers meet at Bowling Green Drive and Middle Drive. Contact Details: Call (415) 831-2700 for more information.

• April 20 – Bison Paddock Volunteer Work Party (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) – Volunteers will join the Golden Gate Audubon Society to maintain native plants and enhance the nesting grounds of the endangered white-crowned sparrow. Volunteers will meet at Bison Paddock. Contact Details: Call (415) 831-2700 for additional details.

Boomtown: Barbary Coast at the Conservatory of Flowers – ends April 14

The Boomtown: Barbary Coast that has been held at the Conservatory since November of last year will come to a close on April 14, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. The garden railway display paid homage to the gold rush Boomtown days and Barbary Coast neighborhood of San Francisco’s past.

Wildflower Craft Cocktail & Twilight Tour – SF Botanical Garden – April 18

It’s a celebration of springtime wildflower blooms at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, which offers an evening in the California Native Garden. Participants will gather just before the sun sets to take in the sights of flowering Meadow Foam, Douglas Iris, and California Blue Lilac. Ingredients gathered from the Botanical Garden will provide the flavor for signature cocktails. Cap off the night with a twilight tour. This event lasts from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can register by calling (415) 661-1316. Payment is required at the time of registration.

2013 Fly Casting Championship Festival – GGP Casting Ponds – April 19 to April 21

The casting ponds at Golden Gate Park will host the World Championship of Spey Casting (the Annual Jimmy Green Spey-O-Rama) from April 19 to April 21, 2013. This event offers free demonstrations and clinics by local and international casting masters every day from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Come by to learn about two-hand and single hand rods, as well as take in the presentations regarding fly fishing destinations. This event is free and is chock-full of exhibits and competition.

Native Plant Basket Weaving Workshop – SF Botanical Garden – April 20

From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the San Francisco Botanical Garden will offer an overview of Basketry Plants and Techniques of Central California Indians, as part of a two-part series. At the first session, participants will learn how to combine basket weaving techniques and construction. Your instructor will introduce the woody materials used in crafting projects, as well as demonstrate an array of techniques. Payment is required at the time of registration, which you can complete by calling (415) 661-1316.

Obscura Society SF: Poisons in the Garden – April 20

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the San Francisco Botanical Gardens will host a collection of stories concentrated on the theme of deadly doses. Participants will also undergo a ‘crash course’ in how to identify poisonous plants. You will touch upon the likes of lethal nightshade and hemlock. You’ll find out what kind of deadly native plants have a knack for finding their way into local gardens. Some may possess attractive blossoms and eye-catching foliage, but are truly sinister inside. Tickets for the event cost $18. The tour starts promptly on time.

Playworks Run for Recess 5k & 1 Mile Fun Run – April 21

In partnership with San Francisco schools, Playworks San Francisco is hosting their third annual 5K Run for Recess. It’s a good way to get moving in the park. The event costs $15 to $25 to participate. Registration for the event opens at 8 a.m. with the 5K starting at 9 a.m. and the Fun Run being held at 10 a.m. Participants will meet at Transverse & Kennedy Drives at Stow Lake and Pioneer Log Cabin. The 5K registration fees are $25 and it costs $15 to register for the Fun Run. The price increases to $30 if you register on the day of the event.

For more information on registering for this event, check out: http://www.playworks.org/sf5k with pre-registration closing on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Dutch “Queen’s Day” Windmill Festival – Murphy Windmill – April 27

All hail the Queen, the Dutch Queen that is, as the local community will gather at the Murphy Windmill located in beautiful Golden Gate Park to celebrate the restoration of the windmills. This all-day event will include a bike parade, live classical music at Park Chalet, flea market specials, free tours, tulips, children’s games, kids’ soccer games, and all things centered on the Dutch culture. Stop by to enjoy the food and beer garden. Keep in mind that the traditional Dutch bike ride is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. This is a free event held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For updates regarding the festival, you can click here.

2013 Magic Meadow Pagan Spring Ritual – Magic Meadow – April 27

Have you ever been to a Beltane (or May Day) Ritual before? Chances are, probably not. This pagan ritual involves witches reflecting the passing season. The free festivities kick off with wreath-making at 12:30 p.m. at Golden Gate Park’s Magic Meadow – found at 41st Avenue and Lincoln Way. A kid-friendly Maypole dance will take place, where onlookers are encouraged to participate. If you are interested in learning more about this pagan ritual, come with flowers and vines to make wreaths. Musical instruments are always a plus. It is also suggested to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks to share.

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