Are you thankful for having one of the best parks in the U.S. located in your backyard? In addition to having multiple ways to celebrate Thanksgiving and another significant holiday, a lot of Golden Gate Park events for November 2016 will take place at the Academy and San Francisco Botanical Garden. The month is especially filled with multiple activities for runners, and offers a little something for butterfly lovers, science buffs, and garden enthusiasts.

Special Open House for Teachers– San Francisco Botanical Garden – November 3

It’s free to attend an open house exclusive to teachers who will come to learn about the Garden and visit the Library, where plenty of valuable resources await both educators and students. With refreshments on hand, those who teach can make new friends amongst fellow teachers; listen to short, informational presentations from staff; and sign up for a complimentary library card. The event is capped off with a walk through the Mesoamerican Cloud Forest. Learn more and complete registration by emailing [email protected]. The first 15 registrants will also receive priority in the Garden’s spring lottery to ‘win’ a free guided school walk.

Weird Science Thursday NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – November 3

If the strangest and oddest science-related phenomenon fascinates you, then you’ll want to head to the Academy to enjoy the first Thursday NightLife of the month. Science enthusiasts will surely get a kick out of the Science of Deception talk in African Hall, which includes the insight of a neuroscientist and master magician. Owl lovers will rejoice in the fascinating stories and feathered specimens on display at the Naturalist Center on the third floor. The Project Lab hosts the Freaks of Nature, which allows you to explore intriguing wonders in nature, such as “freaky fish and dangerous ants.” Here, the mind reading art installation will also take place with digital media artist Colin Harrington.

Thursday NightLife events are a regular occurrence at the Academy, and if you want to join in on the fun, then you must belong to the 21 and over crowd. Members pay $12 for tickets, while non-members are charged $15. The festivities begin at 6 p.m., and end around 10 p.m.

Other Thursday NightLife events scheduled for November 2016 include the following:

  • November 10 – Vibrant City NightLife: A night filled with culture and creativity that incorporates the efforts of the California College of the Arts, where you’ll encounter a pop-up exhibit in African Hall; interactive technologies in the Hybrid Lab; and a giant inflatable installation on hand to entertain.
  • November 17 – BiteLife: All things edible are at the center of this event, which includes a host of demos and workshops on how to enhance your Thanksgiving meal – from creative fall cocktail recipes that use foraged ingredients to Firefly Chocolate and cookies made with cricket flour.
  • November 24 – Go celebrate Thanksgiving – no scheduled NightLife.

Friday Nights: Frank Stella & Danny Lyon – de Young Museum – November 4

As we count down the last Friday Nights at de Young events for 2016, those who attend the first installment of the month will be treated to a screening of Danny Lyon’s Soc. Sci. 127 and Leesburg will take place in Koret Auditorium, followed by a discussion between the artist and Julian Cox, chief curator and founding curator of photography, FAMSF. Live jazz tunes will fill the air, as the Vijay Anderson Quartet plays compositions associated with Thelonious Monk, Mal Waldron, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, and other musical artists.

The Friday Night events at de Young Museum take place from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., and offer a blend of culture, art, art-making crafts, music, dance, live performances, and other fascinating forms of entertainment. As always, it costs nothing to attend and participate in these events and activities, which are geared towards visitors of all ages.

Additional Friday Night at de Young events scheduled for November 2016 include:

  • November 11 – A Kaleidoscope of Offerings: A poetry reading with award-winning poet Kim Shuck will take place in conjunction with the exhibition, Danny Lyon: Message to the Future. A film screening of Danny Lyon’s ‘Willie‘ will also unfold at Koret Auditorium. Schmieds Puls serves up the musical entertainment for the evening, which treats visitors to Austria styles in contrabass, guitar, drums and vocals.
  • November 18 – Celebrating Frank Stella: Koret Auditorium plays host to artist Frank Stella who will hold a discussion with Timothy Anglin Burgard, Ednah Root Curator-in-Charge of American Art. The live music for the night will be provided by Diablo Jazz Company in Wilsey Court, which offers something for piano, bass and drum lovers.
  • November 25 – Grand Finale: You don’t want to miss the last Friday Nights at de Young event for 2016, which will include plenty of music, dancing and fun. A brand new season will return in April of 2017.

Sheet Mulching Workshop – San Francisco Botanical Garden – November 6

The Sheet Mulching Workshop with Lori Caldwell (the “CompostGal”) focuses on teaching participants on how to garden through drought conditions. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., come learn the ins and outs of sheet mulching – a technique that is used to replace lawns, cover up dirt or smother weed patches. Prepare yourself for a hands-on experience, as you touch upon all of the steps, including prep and planting. Pre-registration is required. The cost to participate in this workshop is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

Cloud Forest Beauties Workshop – San Francisco Botanical Garden – November 10

Join botanical artist Nina Antze in a workshop that concentrates on Cloud Forest Beauties in Colored Pencil, where you’ll learn drawing techniques that touch upon color theory, color layering, and blending. Live blooms from the Garden are provided, but you can also bring some of your own, if you like. Accommodating all levels of drawing, don’t forget to check the supply list before signing up. The fee to participate in this workshop (which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is $75 for members, while non-members are charged $90.

End of Season Sale – San Francisco Botanical Garden – November 12

The SF Botanical Garden is one of the best places to purchase blooms and plants to furnish your indoor and outdoor spaces. This will be the last time of the year that you’ll be able to browse the Garden’s selections until March 2017. The sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nursery.

Spreckels Lake 5K & San Franciscan Mile/Kids Run – JFK Dr & 36th Ave – November 13

Those registered or interested in participating in the Dolphin south End Runners’ race events for November, should prepare to meet at JFK Dr & 36th Ave (which is across from Spreckles Lake).

A breakdown of the Spreckles Lake race schedule is as follows:

  • 5K Course: The race starts at around 9:30 a.m. with a westbound run on Kennedy Drive, where the course takes participants onto the Chain of Lakes dirt path, MLK Drive pedestrian path, Transverse Drive, and then back onto Kennedy Drive for a downhill finish.
  • 1M Course: With a start time of 9 a.m., participants begin at Kennedy Drive near Spreckels Lake, and finish at Kennedy Drive near Transverse – running uphill along Kennedy to the finish line.
  • Kids Run: The ½-mile event kicks off at 9:45 a.m., with the same start/finish location as the adult race.

The fees to participate in one race are: $3 members and $5 nonmembers; or $5 members, $7 non-members to run in both races. To ask questions and register online, visit and call (415) 978-0837.

Butterflies & Blooms – Conservatory of Flowers – starts November 13

Calling all butterfly lovers! The Conservatory will host an exhibit devoted to hundreds of butterflies that includes the likes of monarchs, western swallowtails, and painted ladies. The free-flying insects will be able to travel about colored blooms (like daisies and zinnias), as you learn about metamorphosis, the anatomy of a butterfly, how butterflies influence the plant life cycle, and other fun facts. You will find the Butterfly Bungalow at the entrance to the gallery.

The Butterflies & Blooms exhibit will run until June 30, 2017. If you like, pay a $20 donation to become a member of the Butterfly Patrol, where you’ll learn how to release a newly emerged butterfly into the exhibit – in addition to receiving a pair of people-sized antennae and an exclusive Patrol badge.

Turkey Trot – Polo Field – November 24

With a start and finish at Polo Field, the annual Turkey Trot once again returns to Golden Gate Park, where costumed families gather to get in a little recreation before beginning or resuming their Thanksgiving festivities. Participate in the 3-mile Pilgrim Promenade walk or 5-mile Turkey Trail Trot (which both start at 8:40 a.m.), or watch the kiddies have a blast with the 100-meter Kids Gobbler Chase held at 8 a.m. The course for this event is best described as mostly flat with a terrain marked by grassy meadows and dirt pathways/trails.

‘Tis the Season for Science – California Academy of Science – starting November 23

Live performances will be on hand to set a festive mood with cultural groups, musicians, and the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees – which will all congregate on the Piazza stage. In the East garden, a pair of reindeer are visiting for the holiday season. The Academy will show signs of a winter wonderland throughout with snow flurries, carolers, and other festive programs. January 8 is the last day that the exhibit will be held.

Thanksgiving Free Day – SF Botanical Garden – November 24

The San Francisco Botanical Garden has a tradition of offering free admission on major holidays, and this Thanksgiving, all members, school groups, as well as San Francisco City and County Residents (who can furnish proof of residency) are welcome to pay a visit at no cost. You can come in as early as 7:30 a.m.

Windmill 10K – Dutch Windmill – November 27

The Windmill 10K at Golden Gate Park couldn’t come any sooner after one of the highest weight-gaining holidays has passed. If you’d like to shake the sluggishness and lose those extra calories, consider participating in this running event, which takes runners up Kennedy Drive to the intersection before reaching McLaren Lodge (Kezar Drive/Second Barricade). Turn around and return the same way back to the finish line. The race event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The cost to participate in the event is free for ages up to 12; $3 for 13-17 year olds; and for the 18 and over crowd – $3 dollars for members and $5 dollars for non-members. For more information, you can contact (415) 978-0837.