The gradual re-opening of Golden Gate Park continues to unfold, and we’ve all learned how to better adapt to pandemic protocols that keep everyone safer. We’ve also discovered that you can still celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of one of San Francisco’s most-visited natural attractions from afar, which is why we see more creative ways to participate in virtual Golden Gate Park events in November 2020. Below you will also find more COVID-19 park updates:

Golden Gate Park COVID-19 Updates

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences re-opened to the public on October 23. The Academy has put a few health measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. Tickets are currently not sold at the door and must be purchased online. Please note: Some exhibits remain temporarily closed, like Morrison Planetarium, Curiosity Grove, and Discovery Tidepool.

California Academy of Sciences COVID-19 Rules

  • All guests (including members) must reserve timed-entry tickets in advance.
  • All guests ages 3+ must wear a mask at all times.
  • Physical distancing is required at all times.

Golden Gate Playgrounds

All San Francisco playgrounds are now open to the public.

Golden Gate Park COVID-19 Playground Rules

You must limit your visit to 30 minutes when others are present at a playground.

Every visitor two years and older must wear a face covering; adults and children must maintain 6 feet of distance from people who are not members of their households. Only one adult may join each child at the playground to allow more space for socially distanced playtime.

Active supervision of children at all times is a must.

  • No nonessential cell phone use at the park.
  • You must keep children under the age of 2 within reaching distance.
  • No eating and drinking are allowed at the playground.

San Francisco Botanical Garden COVID-19 Rules + Program Re-Openings

Visitors to the SF Botanical Garden must wear face coverings and stay 6 feet apart at all times.

Here are the following COVID-19 Updates for Garden Programs:

Helen Crocker Russel Library

The Helen Crocker Russel Library of Horticulture now offers Children’s Books To Go, but the interior Library remains temporarily closed.

Bean Sprouts Family Days

Bean Sprouts Family Days are back, with limited capacity and additional COVID-19 protocols.

Family Days now occurs on weekdays (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) and is free with regular admission. Families must pre-register; there are a limited number of slots available.

Each family receives an activity bucket with clean tools and craft materials to explore activities in “one family” zones, when applicable.

For more information, click here.

Bookstore and Plant Arbor

Both are open on weekends.

  • The Bookstore (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • The Plant Arbor (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

The Children’s Garden

Open daily with the same hours as the rest of the Garden.

Golden Gate Park Events for November 2020

SkyStar Observation Wheel – Music Concourse – all November

The SkyStar Observation Wheel is one of many ways to celebrate the 150th birthday of Golden Gate Park. You can take a ride on the largest traveling observation wheel in America, which stands 150 feet into the air, and gives you awesome views of the park and city. The Wheel is open daily Monday thru Friday (noon to 10 p.m.) and Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.).

Reservations are required. Adult ride ticket prices are $18, while kids and seniors pay $12.

You can purchase SkyStar tickets here.

Free Admission Day – SF Botanical Garden – November 10

Enjoy all-day free admission at the Garden, where you’ll have access to over 8,500 different kinds of plants, flowers, and trees that decorate 55 acres of open spaces and landscaped areas.

Free Ride for Veterans – SkyStar Observation Wheel at Music Concourse – November 11

In honor of Veterans Day, all veterans can enjoy a free ride on the SkyStar Observation Wheel, which is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays. Reservations are required.

You can purchase SkyStar tickets here.

NightSchool Livestream (Jellyfish) – California Academy of Sciences – November 12

Although COVID-19 has Thursday NightLife events on hold, it doesn’t mean the Academy has abandoned their unique weekly programming—introducing NightSchool—free livestreams centered on a fascinating theme. This week, join a venomologist, science writer, science illustrator, and Academy biologist for “Heartless, Brainless, Lungless” (all about jellyfish!).

Take a deeper dive into the lifecycle of this intriguing resident of the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium. Learn about deadly jelly venom. Unlock this invertebrate species’ mysteries.

The livestream begins on YouTube and Facebook at 7 p.m.

Keep in mind that this virtual programming is intended for 21 and over audiences.

For more information, click here.

Bean-to-Bite: The Cacao Delight – Conservatory of Flowers (on Zoom) – November 13

The Conservatory has a sweet event planned for you, a virtual chocolate class you can enjoy from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Zoom. You will join Brad Kintzer, the Chief Chocolate Maker of TCHO, to explore the history of chocolate and participate in an exclusive guided tasting with craft chocolate samples. This unique class also includes a virtual tour and scavenger hunt (with a chance to win a Conservatory membership!).

The cost for general admission is $55, which includes a TCHO tasting box. Members receive a 20% discount. You can purchase your tickets here and then pick them up on Thursday, November 12th, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Conservatory.

Free de Young Museum Day – de Young Museum – November 14, 21, 28

Every Saturday, you can stop by the de Young Museum for a complimentary visit. You must purchase a timed ticket (reserve in advance online) or hope that there’s one of the limited numbers of tickets still available at the membership desk on the day you arrive.

NightSchool Livestream (Sloths) – California Academy of Sciences – November 19

Spend your Thursday with the Academy for an easy-going evening that focuses on the sloth species. You’ll explore the evolution of the sloth, beginning with its prehistoric “giant” ancestors. Learn what happens when wild sloths sleep. Discover fun facts about the two-toed, three-toed, and pygmy sloth. The livestream begins on YouTube and Facebook at 7 p.m.

Please note that this virtual programming caters to the 21-and-over crowd.

For more information, click here.

SF Turkey Trot – Golden Gate Park (Virtual Results) – November 21-22

Although you won’t be able to gather in a large group with costumed participants for this exciting pre-Thanksgiving tradition centered on a 5K and other running events, you can still participate in the SF Turkey Trot—just a little differently this year.

  • First, pick your race distance (5 miles or 3 miles).
  • Next, choose your course (any route that you can walk or run)
  • Lastly, submit your results (time and photos) using the provided results form.

You will receive a race packet (T-shirt and bib numbers), which will be available for pickup at SportsBasement PRESIDIO on November 21-22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. These will not be mailed, so make sure you pick up your packet during the designed dates and time.

You can submit your results anytime between Nov 21 and 26.

For more information, click here or you can register for the 2020 SF Turkey Trot here.

Arts and Sciences 5K Virtual Race – Conservatory of Flowers – November 23-29

The Dolphin South End Runners is hosting a virtual 5K with a course that starts at the Conservatory of Flowers and ends with submitting your race results to the preparer by the weekly deadline. These virtual races are for Members Only. You can complete the suggested course or an alternative route that’s close to home. Here is the map for the Arts & Sciences 5K.

For a more detailed description of the course, click here.

Holiday Garden Free Day – SF Botanical Garden – November 26

The tradition of visiting the Garden during a holiday continues this year with free entry on Thanksgiving Day, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This attraction closes one hour after the last entry.

Other times to visit the Garden for free include:

  • Every morning from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
  • The second Tuesday of the month
  • Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Advance ticket reservations are strongly suggested; it’s the Garden’s way of reducing wait times, monitoring crowd size, and making sure there is enough space for visitors to social distance.