What better way to welcome 2018 in San Francisco than by experiencing a few Golden Gate Park events in January? Come see what the Conservatory of Flowers, California Academy of Sciences, Music Concourse, Botanical Garden, and other fixtures of the park have to offer. Up for a hot chocolate adventure? Haven’t checked out some of the seasonal and limited-time activities and exhibits throughout the park? Want to jumpstart the New Year with a run? All this and more is offered in January, and the following events are just a few things to be on the lookout for this month:

Tis the Season for Science – California Academy of Sciences – January 1-7

Some of the winter activities available at the Academy will come to a close this early January, so if you haven’t experienced a glide on the holiday ice rink, now is the time. The Academy has brought a touch of winter to the park (and it ends soon). A hands-on, polar themed exhibit awaits and indoor snow flurries are sure to entertain. It’s free to enjoy the seasonal activities and exhibits at the Academy (they are included with your admission cost), but access to the rink, requires a separate ticket ($10 for members and $12 for non-members).  For more information, click here.

Butterflies & Bloom – Conservatory of Flowers – January 1 –7

The ultra-popular Butterflies & Bloom exhibition’s extension will end this month, on January 7th, which means you only have a few days to catch the sight of more than 20 species of colorful butterflies hailing from North America. Come get better acquainted with monarchs, painted ladies, Western swallowtails, giant moths, and much more. Stop by the Butterfly Bungalow (located at the entrance of the gallery), to observe the transformation that a caterpillar undergoes to become a butterfly. Chrysalises will also be on hand for observation. This is definitely a fun outing to take the kiddies to.

Vintage Paper Fair – Hall of Flowers – January 6 & 7

The Vintage Paper Fair makes a guest appearance at Golden Gate Park three times in 2018, with the first gathering taking place in January. Known as offering a peek at one of the largest collections of postcards, photography, memorabilia, and all things paper on the West Coast, the fair will entertain for two days at the County Fair Building at the Hall of Flowers on 9th Ave & Lincoln Way. There is no cost for admission to attend this event. There is plenty to see and possibly bring home. Come see the latest pin up art. Learn about local history. Browse old ads and antique paper crafts. And, if you have old paper goods at home, bring them along and take advantage of free appraisals offered on site.

  • Saturday Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sunday Hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K Road Race – Music Concourse – January 7

If you’re a fan of chocolate, then you won’t want to miss this annual event. Not only will you have a chance to stretch your legs throughout Golden Gate Park, but the rewards for completion are pretty sweet. You get a goodie bag out of this world, free instant race photos, and delectable post-race edibles that include a mug filled with fondue and hot chocolate, pretzels, Rice Krispie Treats, and more. Cross the finish line, and you also receive a medal and key chain representing San Francisco. Feel good about what you’re doing too – those who participate are supporting Make-A-Wish® charity efforts.

Registration for the Hot Chocolate race is open until Thursday, January 4, 2018. The 5K (which starts at 7:20 a.m.) costs $49, while the 15K (beginning at 8:15 a.m.) is priced at $74. The start and finish line for this event will be waiting for you at the GGP Music Concourse. For more information on the race (or to sign up), visit https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/sanfrancisco.

Birding in the Garden – SF Botanical Garden – January 7

It’s that time again, the first Sunday of the month, when birding enthusiasts gather at the Garden to enjoy a morning of pinpointing feathered residents and visitors in the park. Meet at the Garden’s Main Gate at 8 a.m. to participate in a free, docent-led exploration of the John Muir Trail. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner in the field, or have tons of experience under your belt. Everyone is welcome. Spotting around 30 species during one trip is a common occurrence.

Fungus Among Us NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – January 11

You don’t have to be a mushroom lover to appreciate this week’s NightLife event. There is plenty to learn about when it comes to this popular fungus and more. Explore the history and future of psychedelic shrooms. Find out how to find fungi in the great outdoors, and where they are hiding in your neck of the woods. Can you imagine what an earthy mushroom simply syrup tastes like in a cocktail? Here is your chance to discover a different taste. Art and activities inspired by fungi are on the menu of fun, with the assistance of artists representing the Paint Pens Collective. Churning out the hits for the night is DJ Sep (Dub Mission).

NightLife fun takes place every Thursday, and lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The price of tickets for this event is $12 (members) and $15 (non-members). Only those in the 21 and over age bracket are allowed to participate, so have a valid I.D. on hand to show at the door.

Polo Field 5K & Kids Run – South Side of Polo Fields – January 14

Here’s one of many running events being held at Golden Gate Park and hosted by DSE Runners. This 5K event is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Those who participate will touch upon the following areas in the park: Middle Drive, Bernice Rogers Way, Kennedy Drive, Transverse Drive, and the dirt trail onto Overlook. The kiddies start their ½-mile run at 9:45 a.m. with the same start/finish line as the adult event. This pair of events will take place by Middle Drive West & Metson Road in Golden Gate Park. To learn more about the 5K and Kids Run, you can click here or call the DSE HOTLINE at (415) 978-0837.

Sketchfest NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – January 18

If you’re looking for a night full of laughs and fun, the Academy is hosting SF Sketchfest as part of the 17th Annual SF Sketchfest Comedy Festival. What do you have to look forward to? An interactive game called “Thinkers and Drinkers” is a blend of science and alcohol, and the performance of a panel of scientists will probably leave you in stitches. A live version of the comedy podcast “This Week in Science” will take place at the Academy. Head for the Main Piazza stage to enjoy a stand-up comedy lineup featuring a few Bay Area favorites. And, for something new and different, experience horror-comedy, which will truly speak to fans of The Evil Dead. Expect DJ sets by New Wave City to provide music for the night.

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. and continue on until 10 p.m. The cost to participate in this event is $12 (members) and $15 (non-members). This is a 21+ event, so don’t be surprised when you’re asked to show I.D. at the door.

Artist Reception: Lucy Martin – SF Botanical Garden – January 18

Come celebrate the new art exhibit at the Garden that features the work of Lucy Martin. Titled Looking Closely: the Hidden World of Mushrooms and Lichens, this event will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and does not cost a thing to attend.

Annual Crab Feed – Angler’s Lodge – January 20

If you have an appetite for fresh cracked Dungeness crab, the Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club is holding their yearly ‘all you can eat’ dinner and social event. As you can imagine, this is a popular event, which means you need to act fast to hold your place. Online registration is the only way to gain entry, as no tickets will be sold at the Lodge. A social hour starts at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. The entire event is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. In addition to crab, the menu will include pesto pasta, Caesar salad, and cheesecake served with a Grand Marnier-berry concoction. The price of a ticket costs $60. Click here to register for this event.

Yoga in the Garden – SF Botanical Garden – January 20

Outdoor yoga provides the benefits of healthy exercise and the invigorating freshness of surrounding greenery. Sarah Allison, who is an accredited instructor, will lead a 60-minute class in various places about the Garden. All levels are welcome. Make sure to bring a beach towel or yoga mat for the class for your personal comfort. Keep in mind that heavy rain will cancel this event, which is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Magnificent Magnolia Curator Tour – SF Botanical Garden – January 20

Get an exclusive look at a special collection of flowers at the Garden, with a curator tour that takes you on a walk that touches upon the history and importance of these blooms. This is also an ideal time to get advice on how to grow your own magnolias in the Bay Area. Don’t forget to bring along a camera to capture the beauty of the flowers. This gathering takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Keep in mind that this is an event that cancels if heavy rain occurs. The cost to participate is $23 for members and $25 for non-members.

NightLife Spotlight – California Academy of Sciences – January 25

Some of the best of the Academy will be celebrated tonight, including the monthly tasting event known as Adult Chemistry. Sparkling wines and bubbly bites will take center stage at the outside Terrace Restaurant & Bar. The Philippine Coral Reef tank will feature nighttime dive shows, with two special screenings of Vortex 2.0 in the Morrison Planetarium. Explore the beauty and intrigue of California’s marine ecosystem with the help of the Ornithology & Mammalogy department – imagine what scientific specimens and skulls will be on hand for your viewing pleasure. Artist Tiffany Bozic will host a watercolor workshop. Providing music for the night will be Concrete Jungle, which will put on SF’s 2-Tone Tribute Party – alongside The Selecter Dj Kirk (Sweater Funk), Mini Kurhan (Bangarang Crash) & Adam (Wake The Town).

NightLife activities and attractions at the Academy are open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with tickets costing $12 to $15 (depending on whether you’re a member or not). This event is only open to those belonging to the 21 and over crowd; having valid identification is a must in order to gain entry.