April is a month buzzing with a lot of activity, as a handful of San Francisco favorites start kicking into high gear – Golden Gate Park events for April 2016 include the DeYoung Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and Music Concourse becoming a popular watering hole for locals by offering weekly fun centered on culture, art, science, music and nature. April is the time of the year where the Redwood Grove and all of its surrounding native plants flourish, and blue herons provide a heartwarming sight to see by Stow Lake. So, what are you waiting for…get those calendars out and jot down the events and activities that catch your eye.

Garden Railway: 1915 Pan-Pacific – Conservatory of Flowers – April 1 -10

Here’s your last chance to check out the latest garden railway exhibition at the Conservatory of Flowers, which celebrates the Centennial of San Francisco’s historic world’s fair. The very last day to take in the sights of hundreds of dwarf plants and fun recreations of the fair’s most captivating attractions and monuments (such as the Palace of Fine Arts and the Tower of Jewels) is April 10. The Conservatory of Flowers is open Tuesday thru Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with last entry at 4 p.m.

Urban Nature NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – April 7

If you’re interested in learning how to protect and preserve nature within urban environments, this is the NightLife event to enjoy. Some of the scheduled activities for this week’s themed gathering include Nature in the City (a discussion on creatures thriving in urban environments) and highlights on greenery we encounter on a daily basis.

Thursday NightLife events start at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., and cost $12-$15. Everyone must produce a valid I.D. to gain entry. Also keep in mind that this is a party for the 21-and-over crowd.

  • Yuri’s NightLife – April 14: Celebrate the life and achievements of cosmo-pioneer Yuri Gagarin with music by Space Cowboys and space crafts.
  • Metamorphosis – April 21: Explore a transformation-themed event centering on art and science, including yoga in front of the Academy’s indoor coral reef.

Polo Field 5K and Kids Run – Polo Fields – April 10

If you’re looking for a running event that gets everyone involved, adults can meet at the South side of Polo Fields to participate in a 5K run beginning at 9 a.m., as well as bring the kiddies along for their own event. The adult course runs westbound on Middle Drive onto Bernice Rogers Way, and then onto Kennedy Drive to Traverse Drive. After taking a right onto Traverse Drive and a right onto the dirt trail on Overlook, you will turn onto Middle Dive to finish. The Kids (1/2-mile) Run starts at 9:45 a.m. at the same start/finish location as the adult race. The cost to participate ranges from free (for ages up to 12 years old) to $5 for non-members aged 18 and over. For more information, you can call (415) 978-0837 or visit http://dserunners.com/events/race-schedule/.

Opening Night for Friday Nights at the de Young – deYoung Museum – April 15

The theme for the first Friday Nights at the de Young of Season 12 is “Worlds of Unimaginable Beauty,” which includes a Mixed-Media Art-Making Station with Nina Rodriguez at Buchanan Court; Live Music by Spanish-born, jazz-flamenco pianist Alex Conde with Special Musical Guests at Wilsey Court; and a film showing at Koret Auditorium. This event is free to the public, and is held from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Other themes for Friday Nights at the de Young includes:

  • April 22 – “Sun-Drenched Sanctuary” with a student showcase and live music showcasing Caribbean, Central, and South America tunes by La Gente.
  • April 29 – “Portraits” with live music by the John Santos Sextet (and special guests), and a guest lecture on Oscar de la Renta.

Strybing Circle Curator Walk & Talk – WILD Flowers – SF Botanical Gardens – April 16

The best of the seasons’ blooms are within reach when you participate in a guided tour held by Garden curatorial staff. Each tour consists of which of the ‘wildest’ and most appealing blooms the curator would like to highlight. Please keep in mind that heavy rain cancels this event, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The cost to enjoy this experience is $15 to $20.

SPRUCE UP the AIDS Memorial Garden – April 16

Join other volunteers at the AIDS Memorial Garden to assist in maintaining the grounds, mingle, and work towards preserving a national monument. A catered breakfast and lunch will be provided for this gathering, which is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.

Heron Watch – Stow Lake – April 16, 23 & 30

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the observation deck is open and ready to give you a peek into the spring nesting season where the local Great Blue Herons reveal their new chicks. You’ll get a chance to spot the action with the help of spotting scopes. Naturalists will provide the details behind these great birds, explaining their behavior, and answering any of your questions. These birds reach 4-feet tall, and have 6-foot wingspans – so they are quite a sight to see. The above-mentioned is a free program, but for $10 per adult (free for kids), you can enjoy a naturalist-led walk around the Lake and Strawberry Island.

First Concert for Golden Gate Park Band’s 2016 Season – Music Concourse – April 17

As always, the Golden Gate Park Band (under the direction of Michael L. Wirgler) will present concerts at Spreckles Temple of Music at Music Concourse, and if you’d like to take in their first concert of the 2016 season – mark your calendars. The performances run from 1 p.m. to roughly 3 p.m. Some of the tunes you should look forward to include many old favorites and family-friendly selections. Another GGP Band concert is scheduled for April 24 (theme currently pending). For more details and to view the full schedule, click here or call (510) 530-0814.

Wild Native Blooms and Majestic Redwoods – SF Botanical Gardens – April 18

If you are a Strybing Circle member, join curator Dr. Don Mahoney for a walk amongst native plants and trees, which includes huckleberry, flowering current, wildflowers, and the tallest living conifers in the world. More than 100 species of plants call the century-old redwood grove their home. The months of April and May are the best months of the year to see all of the beautiful displays of nature at its peak. This free event runs from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

420 in the Park – Hippie Hill – April 20

This ‘unofficial’ celebration has been going on for quite some time now, so the thousands who arrive on Hippie Hill each year to collectively gather to do the same “hush-hush” activity (or simply take in the sights and people-watch) aren’t governed by any permits. The event typically starts at 10:30 a.m.-ish and continues on until dusk with peak activity taking place at 4:20 p.m. It’s suggested to be respectful, keep the peace, and don’t make a mess of the park…and the day should turn out nicely. For more details, you can click here.

Full Moon Walk for Earth Day – SF Botanical Garden – April 22

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by participating in a tour of the Botanical Garden after dark, where the flowers and greenery offer a romantic glow against the full moon’s light. Bring a flashlight to make a most of your experience. Light refreshments are included in the price of tickets. Keep in mind that heavy rain cancels this event, which is scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and costs $20 to $25.

Pastels in the GardenSF Botanical Garden – April 23

Join Erika Perloff (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) to learn how to paint flowers in both a wild or ‘tame’ setting in the landscape. You’ll be using soft pastels to capture impressions of trees and flowers in an outdoor setting. You will also create landscapes using direct observation, sketching in the gardens (if the weather is nice), and personal photographs. At the end of the day, everyone will leave with a small pastel landscape and a variety of sketches. Although some drawing experience is helpful, it is not required in order to participate in this workshop. Members pay $85 and non-members pay $100 for this experience.

Walk on the WILD Flower Side (Spring’s Best) – SF Botanical Gardens – April 23

If you’d like to explore some of the best blooms that arrive in the springtime, according to the opinion of your friendly Garden curator of the day, mark your calendars for this outdoor event that is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Keep in mind that heavy rain cancels this outing, which costs $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

Dutch “King’s Day” Windmill Festival 2016 – April 23

You don’t have to be part of the Dutch community in San Francisco to enjoy the King’s Day celebration taking place at Murphy Windmill on the south end of Golden Gate Park. The day will include food, music, beer and engaging activities. If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to see the windmill in action. This free event starts at 11 a.m., and ends at 5 p.m.

Vintage Paper Fair – Hall of Flowers – April 23 & 24

Bring your love of paper goods to the annual free, two-day event known for featuring the largest selection of trade cards, postcards, photography, brochures and labels on the West Coast. From browsing collections of interesting-looking old papers to viewing sports memorabilia, there is definitely plenty to see and admire. Also, if you bring any of your old paper (like antique postcards, pin up art, and local history gems) to the fair, free appraisals are available. The hours for this event are Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (11 am to 5 p.m.).