As rainy weather days lessen in May, the month is filled with plenty of sunshine, Mother’s Day celebrations, and tons of activities and events to enjoy in Golden Gate Park. There are cultural attractions to visit throughout the park, music to hear, races to run, commemorations to make, and good causes to support. Just when you thought there was nothing new to do in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park events in May make sure there’s never a dull moment in the city.
Stranded! Tropical Island Survival – Conservatory of Flowers – May 8 to October 18
The Conservatory of Flowers unleashed a new exhibit this month that could very well save your life. Browse the gallery of survival facts and tips that will teach you how to climb a coconut tree, build necessities out of castaway items, explore life-saving plants, and learn about finding food, water, and protection if you are ever stranded on an island or tropical locale.
Mother’s Day in the Park – Park Chalet – May 10
From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Park Chalet is holding a special Mother’s Buffet Brunch serving prime rib and roasted turkey at carving stations amidst plenty of other delicious edibles for celebrating the special lady in your life. The price for this event is $39.50, which has every mother leaving with a handful of gerbera daisies to cap off the occasion.
Flagging in the Park – AIDS Memorial Grove – May 10
In the summertime, human ‘butterflies’ gather at the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park to create a colorful display of patterns, fabric and fun. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the park, the event will also include music provided by DJ Paul Goodyear, who spins tech and progressive tunes with a predominant Latin beat. All ‘flow artists’ are welcome to come – including fanning, poi, and staff. There will also be free flags on hand for participants to borrow for flagging. This event is scheduled to be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
SFMadeWeek Motorbike Rides – Rose Garden – May 10
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Rose Garden will host a free event as part of SFMadeWeek, which celebrates the manufacturing industry throughout San Francisco. If you have a motorbike enthusiast in your family, bring them along to view a demonstration and try out a Bolt M-1 fully-electric motorbike. A license is not required to participate. Protective gear will be provided.
GGP Band Performance (Latin American Music) – Spreckels Temple of Music – May 10
If you’re looking for a musical moment to spend with your mother, consider heading to the park for a free band performance by the Golden Gate Park Band. Starting at 1 p.m., the theme for this week is inspired by Latin American music, where you can dance the afternoon away. GGP Band performances typically last 1 ½ hours long, and provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch.
Other themes planned for Golden Gate Park Band performances for the month of May include:
- • May 17: theme to be announced later
- • May 24: Memorial Weekend concert
- • May 31: Armenian Independence Day with singing and dancing.
Park Chalet Summer Concerts – Park Chalet – May 10 to May 31
While dining on Park Chalet entrees and sipping on regional beers, come show support for local artists hailing from the San Francisco area with free music. Representing a variety of musical genres, expect to hear the following styles for the month of May: Marcelo – May 10 (Samba); Sonny Fairly – May 15 (Sax Jazz); Dos Four – May 16 (Raggaeton); Dos Four – May 17 (Bay to Breakers!); Pulama – May 22 (Hawaiian Duo); Deadlies – May 23 (Beach Rock); Dave Rocha – May 24 (Jazz); Trio Zincato – May 29 (Diverse, Gypsy); Latin Jazz All Stars – May 30 (Latin Jazz); and Lilan Kane – May 31 (Diverse Singer).
WILD Flowers: Pencil Drawing – San Francisco Botanical Garden – May 14
Calling all art lovers! Join Nina Antze to explore the beauty of the wild flowers found at the Botanical Garden through illustration. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Antze will introduce you to colored-pencil techniques that bring to life the personality and vibrancy of live flowers representing California and Mediterranean wildflowers. You’ll also have a chance to reproduce some of the more unique blooms found at the Garden. If the weather behaves, the class will gather for an outdoor lunch (that you bring). All drawing levels are welcome. The cost to participate in this event is $70 for members and $90 for non-members.
Friday Nights at the de Young – “B-bop, Prints, and Quilts!”– May 15
In addition to the celebration for the “Thrill of It All,” by Artist-in-Residence Ben Venom, this week’s Friday Night event also includes cocktails, edibles, music and other fun that doesn’t cost a thing. Don’t forget to join in on the mixed media art-making fun with Anna Slavin, where you can settle in at the art table at Buchanan Court (6 p.m.) to create bebop inspired prints to commemorate Richard Diebenkorn Prints: Celebrating an Acquisition. Here, you will be able to design your own line drawings with the help of scratch foam and stamp ink.
Additional Friday Nights at de Young events for May 2015, which are always held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. include:
- • May 22: Carnaval SF: Join deYoung Museum in a Friday Night event to enjoy live music, art-making activities, and a guest lecture by Alexander Nemerov, who is the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University.
- • May 29: The Grand Ceilidh: In conjunction with the Caledonian Club of San Francisco, this Friday Night event centers on saying goodbye to the exhibit, Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, which leaves at the end of the month. Entertainment will include performances by the Prince Charles Pipe Band and A Trio of One – fiddler Michael Mullen.
The Fragrance of Flowers: Garden Walk– San Francisco Botanical Garden – May 16
If you’re a lover of flowers and enjoy inhaling their sweet scents as they hit the spring and summer air, then a Garden walk might be just the thing to attend this month. A wide range of blooms will be experienced, and you’re sure to learn something new. To enjoy this event (from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.), members will pay $10, while non-members pay $15.
Bay to Breakers 2015 – ends at the Great Highway – May 17
All day long, thousands upon thousands of runners, walkers and revelers will gather to participate in or simply watch the antics of the 2015 Bay to Breakers unfold. It’s quite a sight to see as costumed runners take to the streets to become a part of what is considered one of the largest races to take place in North America, as well as the oldest consecutively-run annual footrace in the world. Held on the third Sunday in May, more than 30,000 people typically run with nearly 100,000 more watching from all over the city. The race itself starts at the Bay and continues on to the Breakers at the western end of Golden Gate Park – from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Free concerts and other activities are held along the race course (which measures 12K), and the fun lingers on after the Bay to Breakers event has officially concluded with various bands, DJs and other forms of entertainment.
Kennedy Drive 8K – Polo Fields – May 24
Head for the South side of Polo Fields to enjoy a run throughout Golden Gate Park, where participants will follow a course that travels eastbound on Middle Drive and onto Overlook Drive path, Transverse, Kennedy Drive, and the barricade at Kezar Drive. Runners will then turn around and head back the way they came to finish the event, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. The cost to participate in this race is 13-17 years old and 18 and over members ($3); non-members over 18 ($5); and free for ages up to 12 years old.
Garden Feast Anniversary Celebration – San Francisco Botanical Garden – May 28
In an effort to support Youth Education Programs at the Garden, this event not only raises money for a good cause, but also celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Botanical Garden. The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society is holding a reception and silent auction at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon and program at 12:30 p.m. The keynote speaker for this year’s celebration is Gavin Newsom, who is the former Mayor of San Francisco and grandson of the Garden’s former Assistant Director.
Bay Area Classic Yo-Yo Championships – GGP Bandshell/Music Concourse – May 23
Come indulge in a childhood favorite by checking out the 17th annual Classic Yo-Yo Contest which will take place at Spreckels Temple of Music Bandshell. Nearly 100 competitors from the West Coast will entertain by testing their skills and yo-yo tricks. The event, which is being held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is also the perfect time to pick up new gear, as well as compete for prizes and cash. With many yo-yo vendors and experts, there will be plenty of sights and activities to enjoy. Some people come just to get a free yo-yo lesson; learn a new trick or two; take in a demonstration; or purchase an inexpensive yo-yo kit. For more information and to register for the event, click here.
NAMI 5K Walk SF Bay Area – Lindley Meadow – May 30
What better way to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month than participating in a walk for a good cause? Onsite registration and check-in will take place at 8:30 a.m. with the opening event for this walk taking place at 10 a.m. The start of the walk will be held at 11 a.m. More than 3,000 families, friends, community groups, employees about town, sponsors, volunteers and people associated with the mental health cause will participate in this 11th annual 5K for San Francisco. The event is meant to raise awareness about mental health, as well as raise funds for NAMI programs and services. Registration is free, and for more information, you can check http://namiwalks.org/sponsors/BayArea.
9th Annual Bay Area VisionWalk – GGP Bandshell/Music Concourse – May 30
This month, another walk for a good cause will take place at the end of May, and this time around, participants are spreading awareness and raising funds to fight blindness. Registration for this event starts at 9 a.m. with a stage presentation at 10 a.m. After a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:15 a.m., the walk will begin before everyone gathers for a celebration and awards ceremony that starts at 11:30 a.m. For more information, click here.
Community Day Celebration – San Francisco Botanical Garden – May 31
All day long, you’ll be able to celebrate the SF Botanical Garden with tons of family fun, including giant puppets, sing-a-longs, docent-led walking tours, and many other activities – from bird walks to a yoga session. Upon a special stage, dance performances and worldwide music will entertain. Step inside the photo booth to create a memory with the kids. Other highlights for the day include a library used book sale, tea rituals, an Australian Garden Tour, and a Chinese Ethnic Dance Troupe performance. You can also purchase picnicking supplies and satisfy your thirst with a variety of beverages purchased from Off the Grid food trucks. This free event begins at 10 a.m. and is scheduled to end at 5 p.m.