We’re already in our second month of 2018…and you know what that means…another calendar of events for Golden Gate Park. It’s time to celebrate the Year of the Dog with hands-on fun. Valentine’s Day in the park offers various activities and events, from art-making to special dinners. There are plenty of flower-centric events to indulge in. For instance, if you’re an orchid lover or flower enthusiast, you’ll probably want to treat yourself to a distinctive exposition based on an unforgettable whimsical theme. So, get your calendars out and make a note of the following Golden Gate Park events for February 2018:

Bird’s Eye View of Ecology – SF County Fair Building – February 1

Are you a bird lover? It doesn’t cost a thing to check out the up close and personal exploration of local feathered friends that highlight the versatility and intrigue of several species. Here, you’ll learn about raptors, owls and songbirds that pass through or call Golden Gate Park their home. Join in on the discussion of the identification, behaviors, breeding and foraging methods of various birds in San Francisco. This event will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Year of the Dog NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – February 1

Lunar New Year traditions pay homage to a specific animal on a rotating basis, and this year, the creature of celebration is the dog. Therefore, the night will center on canines, including a visit from adoption- and foster-ready dogs from Copper’s Dream Animal Rescue in the East Garden. The West Garden will feature an animal show that introduces you to the fennec fox and other doggy relatives. Learn about Chinese New Year traditions in the Project Lab, while the Piazza hosts a martial arts performance troupe’s Lion Dance from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Music for the night will come courtesy of DJ King Most.

NightLife events at the Academy take place nearly every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., offering a rotation of exciting themes, activities, musical entertainment and guests. The cost for this weekly get-together is $12 for members and $15 for non-members. And, as always, you must be 21 or over in order to gain entry into the party; so be prepared to flash proper identification.

Other NightLife events at the Academy scheduled for February 2018 are:

  • February 8 – Noise Pop NightLife: In addition to a highly anticipated DJ set from Toro Y Moi, activities and fun for the night will be in connection to the Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival. You’ll be participating in what is considered the pre-party for this Bay Area festival which focuses on independent music. The all-female Chulita Vinyl Club serves as the opening DJ set. You’ll also have a chance to explore “Sound, Memory & Technology” in various ways at the African Hall. The entire night also features a mini Pop Up Poster Gallery in the Swamp.
  • February 15 – SF Beer Week NightLife: If you’re looking to discover a new favorite brew, consider attending this NightLife, which offers the knowledge and samplings of local beer and spirit experts from the Bay Area. A pop-up beer hall promises a night filled with fun involving dozens of local breweries. Try a limited release. Enjoy local favorites from the likes of Black Sands Brewery, Pacific Brewing Lab, and Anchor Brewing. Triple Voodoo will be on hand to treat you to an Imperial Mocha Shake Milk Chocolate Coffee Porter. The Academy’s living roof even contributes a signature craft brew made with their own magnolias. You will need to purchase beer tasting tickets in African Hall in order to enjoy samples ($2 for 1 ticket purchases you a 3-ounce swallow in many cases). Music for the event will be provided by Sweater Funk DJs.
  • February 22 – NightLife Spotlight: Tonight, the spotlight shines on coral reefs, with the help of Academy experts. A special dive show will take place at the Philippine Coral Reef. An array of Filipino cuisine will be on hand for sampling, as well as a coconut-based alcoholic drink called Lambanog (available during Adult Chemistry at The Terrace Restaurant & Bar). You’ll also get a chance to explore some of the diverse creatures that dwell in coral reefs, such as sea biscuits and nudibranchs. The tunes for the night will come from DJ Proof (Massive Selector).

Valentine’s Make & Take – Sharon Art Studio – February 2

Haven’t bought a Valentine’s Day card yet? You are in luck. Create something personalized with the help of Sharon Art Studio. From 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., you’ll be able to transform recycled paper, collage items, and traditional materials into a special keepsake. The Art Studio will provide a range of supplies, from lace and doilies to markers. Sift through paper scraps, magazines, fabric and other things provided by the Studio. You can also bring your own printed materials (think poems), photos and other supplies to enhance the look and meaning of your card. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to guide your card-making. All ages are welcome to participate. Specialty cocktails, coffee, and sweet treats will be served. Keep in mind that tickets must be purchased ahead of time, and space is limited. Members pay $6, while non-members pay $12. This event takes place in the Jewelry Studio area.

Free Outdoor Yoga – Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden Grove – February 3, 10, 17 & 24

Release any built-up stress and tension with a session of yoga in the middle of beautiful park surroundings. Grab a mat or blanket, and head for the Grove next to Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden to meet up with Purusha yogis and other locals for free yoga at 11:30 a.m. This is a weekly occurrence throughout the month of February.

Kaiser Permanente’s Annual Half Marathon & 5K – John F. Kennedy Drive – February 4

It’s that time again when participants trek through the park in one of the most anticipated running events of the year in San Francisco. Come see the sights of the 35th annual half marathon that takes place at one of the most-visited parks in the U.S. Runners may opt to enjoy a fast-paced, downhill 5K on a 3.1 mile course that has been certified by USA Track & Field.

There are separate start times for the half marathon and the 5K – 8 a.m. promptly for the 5K and 8:10 a.m. for the ½-marathon. The southwest corner of the park serves as the finish line for both races: the half marathon on Bernice Rodgers Way, near Martin Luther King Drive, and a block away on Martin Luther King Drive for the 5K. Following the race, runners and walkers may enter a post-race area to enjoy a free massage and other perks.

It’s also not too late to register online for this event, as it continues until February 2, 2018. Those who do not receive a registration packet in the mail can pick theirs up at the Will Call tent between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the race. The tent will be positioned close to the starting line near Stow Lake Drive on John F. Kennedy Drive. Everyone who participates in the run takes home a finisher medal and race T-shirt.

Volunteer for the Environment 2018 Fair – SF Botanical Garden – February 10

It is free to attend this Bay Area fair, where you can find volunteer opportunities throughout the city centered on the restoration, conservation, preservation, and maintenance of the environment and local natural spaces in San Francisco. From hands-on gardening to programs for teens, here’s your chance to give back to the community and become a part of a good cause. There will be more than 20 local groups focused on the environment at this fair, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just some of the organizations slated to participate include the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, California Native Plant Society, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Mycological Society of SF, San Francisco Urban Riders, and Literacy for Environmental Justice.

Aphrodisiacs of the Tropics – Conservatory of Flowers – February 14

Want to learn more about the things that can really get you in the mood? The Conservatory has something special planned for your Valentine’s Day at the ‘rainforest.’ From 5:30 p m. to 9:30 p.m., the permanent tropical collection is an ideal place to explore the type of plant reproduction that helps set the scene in the bedroom. You’ll enjoy an exclusively-planned self-guided tour with a little guidance from onsite docents. Other highlights for the night include orchids, photo booth fun, aromatics in the air, a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, and accordion music. Click here to get your tickets, which cost $30 for general admission.

Valentine’s Dinner – Beach Chalet – February 14

Share one of the most romantic days of the year at the Beach Chalet, dining on a special, limited menu with food you’ll surely fall in love with. Some of the items to look forward to include Grilled Ahi Tuna Steak, Roasted Pacific Oysters, Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi, and Ceviche Trio Sampler. Passionfruit Crème Anglaise, White Chocolate Gelato, and Warm Bittersweet Chocolate Cake help cap off the evening with sweet deliciousness. And, while you’re there, why don’t you try one of their limited edition beers? If you don’t get a chance to grab a meal on the 14th, this menu will also be available on the 16th and 17th. To make a reservation at the Beach Chalet for Valentine’s Day, click here.

Pencil Drawing Workshop: Flowers – SF Botanical Garden – February 15

If you’re interested in capturing the beauty of magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons, then you might want to mark your calendars to enjoy a visual exploration of these blooms – led by botanical artist Nina Antze. Artists representing all drawing levels are welcome, and should come with colored pencils in hand. You’ll learn how to and practice mixing and layering color. Other techniques covered include burnishing and using watercolor pencils. Live blooms from the Garden will serve as your inspiration. At some point, a visit to the Garden and the botanical exhibit in the Library will take place, if the weather cooperates. This workshop is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost to enjoy this event is $75 for members and $90 for non-members.

Yoga in the GardenSF Botanical Garden – February 17

Rise and shine! Are you ready to jump start your Saturday morning with an outdoor yoga session in the Garden? A 60-minute class led by accredited instructor Sarah Allison will touch upon different locations on the grounds. All levels are welcome to participate. Bring along a beach towel or yoga mat, and surround yourself with relaxing nature. This session will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The cost is $18 for members and $20 for non-members.

Magnolia Tour – SF Botanical Garden – February 17

Calling all magnolia lovers or those who’d like to be introduced to the beauty of the magnolia collection at the Garden, there’s another tour scheduled for this month. Take a stroll about the blooms, as you ask questions and get tips on how to grow your own in San Francisco. Don’t forget your camera so that you can capture this fascinating moment. The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and costs $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

Pacific Orchid Exposition – Hall of Flowers – February 23-25

A magical theme is planned for this year’s exposition, playing off of the timeless tale of Alice in Wonderland. You won’t want to miss “Curiouser and Curiouser, Orchids in Wonderland,” which promises to present a show out of this world. You can also purchase blooms to take home. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, click here.

Spreckels Lake 5K, Lightning Mile & Kids Run – JFK Dr & 36th Ave – February 25

In February, you have your choice of three runs that cater to participants of all ages.

  • The 1-mile race begins at 9 a.m. (starting at Kennedy Drive near Transverse with a finish line at Kennedy Drive near Spreckels Lake), which takes runners downhill along Kennedy Drive.
  • The scenic 5K immediately kicks off around 9:30 a.m. (when the 1 mile has ended) with a start/finish at JFK & 36th Avenue – right across from Spreckels Lake.
  • For youngsters participating in the ½- mile Kids Run, keep in mind that it starts at 9:45 a.m., which is also the same location for the start and finish of the adult race. It is suggested to arrive by 8:40 a.m. to register in time for the races.

To inquire about the cost and details for these events, you can click here or call the DSE HOTLINE at (415) 978-0837

Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast Tour and Talk – SF Botanical Garden – February 26

What better way to dust off a productive February than with a tour of the magnificent Redwood Grove at Golden Gate Park? Talk about inspiration! Join SFBG Horticulturalist Tyler Taunton on a walkabout, followed by a talk in the Library by Christian Schwarz, who is the co-author of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast. The book will be on hand for purchase and signatures. This event is free, and scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. However, Garden tours are subject to regular admission fees.