Golden Gate Park events for October 2013 not only provide plenty of opportunities for you to get use out of a Halloween costume, but you’ll also have a chance to celebrate the great white shark, get drunk with botanical information, explore the Mesoamerican culture, listen to bluegrass legends, and attend a non-traditional beauty pageant. In other words, don’t be afraid to see what one of the best parks in the world has to offer you this month.


The Drunken Botanist: Evening with Author Amy Stewart – Conservatory of Flowers – October 3

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Conservatory of Flowers is hosting an evening with Amy Stewart, the author of Wicked Plants and Wicked Bugs – a NY Times bestsellers list publication. She will discuss her latest work, The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks, which explores the herbs, flowers, tree, fruits, and fungi that has led to an array of alcoholic creations. Lillet and Hendricks will be on hand to provide complementary botanical cocktails. The price to enjoy this event is $40, and is only for the 21 and over crowd. For more information, you can call (415) 831-2090.

Sharktober Nightlife – California Academy of Sciences – October 3

Shark fans and the curious will certainly want to get their tickets early for the Sharktober Nightlife celebration unfolding at the Academy with edibles and drinks that concentrate on these powerful creatures of the sea. For starters, you can drop by the pop-up beer garden to enjoy samples from local brewers, such as Triple Voodoo Brewing, Almanac Beer Co., Ale Industries, and Calicraft Beer.

The African Hall opens to the showing of new footage and a talk centered on great white sharks. Lawn games, such as a giant Tic-Tac-Toe or Connect Four arrangement, will help keep the fun going. In the East Garden, try your hand at Berlin-style ping pong. DJs Hotthobo and Daniela ‘Smouse’ Zepeda will also provide the tunes, while live music comes courtesy of Blow Musik.

Every Thursday, Nightlife events occur at the Academy from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and are geared towards the 21 and over crowd. Tickets are $10 to $12.

Other Thursday Nightlife events for October 2013 include:

• 10/10 – “Otherworldly NightLife”: An exploration of cosmic mysteries of the Universe (and beyond) will take place, including exciting cocktails and a special screening of E.T. the Extra-terrestrial in African Hall. You’ll also have a chance to make your own alien plush toys with GoGo Craft. DJ Omar (Popscene) and DJ Roach will provide music for the night. This event is part of the Brilliant!Science: Extraterrestrial Life festival.

• 10/17 – “Treasure Island NightLife”
• 10/24 – “Otherworldly NightLife”
• 10/31 – “Otherworldly NightLife”

Friday Nights: Pageantry – deYoung Museum – October 4

In Wilsey Court, come see the sights and sounds of the Third Annual Some Thing Tiara Sensation Pageant – held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – an extravaganza that delivers drag performance swith characters and personalities that come alive with dance, burlesque, lip synching, live singing, and female impersonations. The presentations will last for seven minutes and include acts that are sure to entertain. Also a showing of ‘Bulgari in the Movies’ will take place at Koret Auditorium (7 p.m. – 8 p.m.), which explores the eye-catching gems that have touched Hollywood and the celebrity world both on and off the screen.

Other Friday Night at deYoung events for October 2013 include:

Oct 11 –Maya Heritage: In celebration of Mayan culture, join in for Cha’anil Kaaj (Festivities of the People/Fiesta del Pueblo) from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Wilsey Court, where all the performances, dance presentations, and live music for this event have been arranged by Asociacion Mayab. Come hear the Orquesta Jaranera del Mayab, which supplies the sounds of a traditional 10-piece orchestra hailing from the Yucatán. A local dance troupe will showcase a variety of festive, ritual, and ceremonial dances. Locally-produced traditional art, such as weavings, paintings and embroidery, will also be on display, as well as pieces made from artists visiting from the Yucatán and Guatemala. In Koret Auditorium, expect a showing of ‘Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth’ from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Oct 18 – Past Discoveries and Future Relics: You never know what you will find at the deYoung Museum, and this event focuses on the hidden worlds that one may encounter both in and around the museum. This program is offered in partnership with Black Rock Arts Foundation, and also serves as the closing reception for the Urbanauts, de Young Artist Fellows Sean Orlando and Matthew Passmore.

Oct 25 – Larger than Life: Come celebrate David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibtion with a 60-minute film screening held at Koret Auditorium (from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) that includes a question-and-answer session with filmmaker Bruno Wollheim. Wilsey Court will open up to live music, held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., where Classical Revolution and special guests will present a combination of pop, classical, opera, and fusion tunes. Jeremy Sutton and Dana Zed will also deliver entertainment in the Court that is related to iPad painting.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival: Lucky 13 – October 4, 5 & 6

With a full roster of confirmed acts, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival continues the tradition of filling Golden Gate Park with the sounds of bluegrass music. This year, the schedule includes the likes of Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Los Lobos Disconnected, Natalie Maines, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Bonnie Raitt, the Forest Rangers with Katey Sagal (from ‘Married with Children’ fame), and even MC Hammer. You will find performers entertaining across a variety of stages that will be situated in Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley and Marx meadows. The festival is being held for three straight days, including a kids program from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday.

Opening and closing times for the festival are as follows:

• Friday (Noon – 7 p.m.)
• Saturday (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.)
• Sunday (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.)

You do not need to purchase tickets in order to attend this free event. For more details and a full list of music acts, visit

Free Outdoor Yoga – Big Rec Field – October 5, 12, 19, 26

What better place to free the mind and stretch your limbs than being surrounded by the scenery and green of Golden Gate Park. Every Saturday of this month starting at 11 a.m., outdoor yoga taught by Purusha yogis is offered at the Big Rec Field Baseball Field, which is located across from the main entrance to the Botanical Garden (County Fair Building). This event comes courtesy of the Purusha Seva Project, and while it is free to enjoy, small donations are accepted. It is suggested to bring along a blanket or mat.

Birding for Everyone – SF Botanical Garden – October 5

Docents Helen McKenna and Allan Ridley will guide you on a bird-watching adventure that takes place on the first Sunday of each month, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Some of the topics of discussion will include common bird behaviors, as well as how to spot and identify the different species in the area. You’ll learn about the different interactions between the birds and the plants during different seasons, such as the habits of herons and nuthatches. A typical excursion involves around 40 species, including passing migratory friends. You are expected to meet at the 9th and Lincoln entrance in order to participate in this free event, which is co-sponsored by SFBGS and the Golden Gate Audubon Society. For more information, you can call (415) 387-9160.

Lindy in the Park – JFK Drive/Music Concourse Drive – October 6, 13, 20, 27

Free outdoor swing dance is a popular activity at Golden Gate Park, which includes music, the energy of enthusiastic regulars, and curious newbies. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., meet up with others who also come to take advantage of the free swing lessons taught by Hep Jen from noon to 12:30 p.m. You don’t need to bring along a partner if you don’t have one, leaders and followers are rotated throughout the lesson. Interested parties will meet at John F Kennedy Drive and Music Concourse Drive (right between 8th and 10th – behind the De Young Museum). Rain is the only thing that cancels the event.

Chocolate 101 with Dandelion Chocolate – SF Botanical Garden – October 12

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Botanical Garden will focus on how the ancient peoples of Meso-America make their chocolate. You’ll learn about the art of grinding cocoa beans using traditional tools, as well as how to combine ingredients to create the ideal sweet creation. Afterwards, purchase artisan chocolate from Dandelion (a bean-to-bar chocolate factory located in the Mission District) after enjoying a tour of the Meso American Cloud forest. This event costs $50 for members and $60 for non-members.

Family Festival – California Academy of Sciences – October 12

With the price of regular admission to the Academy, you can take the kids to enjoy the Family Festival, where you’ll encounter an array of hands-on, interactive demonstrations – from astrobiology exhibits (courtesy of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) to rocks to guest cartoonists (from the Cartoon Art Museum) imagining what life on other planets look like. This event will start at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. For more information, call (415) 379-8000.

Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – October 12

The theme for the Botanical Garden’s monthly plant sale in October is trees, ferns and rhododendrons, which you can purchase from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enter at the Main Gate to reach the Nursery to find your next piece of greenery for home or garden.

Northwestern Tournament – GGACC Angler’s Lodge & Casting Pools – October 12 & 13

The Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club at Golden Gate Park will be hosting the Northwestern Tournament this month, which is free for spectators to enjoy. You will find a sign for the Angler’s Lodge situated across from the Buffalo Paddock.

The schedule of events is as follows:

• Saturday Oct 12 (8:30 a.m.) – Trout, Bass, 1/4 oz., Open Plug, Angler’s Fly, ¼ oz dist
• Sunday Oct 13 (8:30 a.m.) – Dry, Wet, 3/8 oz., 5/8 oz, 5/8 oz team
Information for participants or interested parties can be found here:

Quiet Lightning: The Greenhouse Effect – Conservatory of Flowers – October 14

This is the last time you will be able to enjoy this literary show for the 2013 season, where all sorts of creative expression comes to life using an unconventional approach. “Performers” will include the likes of professors, award-winning authors, and first-timers. The event will last from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., where tickets are based upon a sliding scale, and cost $5 to $10 at the door.

The Basics of Bokeh: Photography with John Caddell – Conservatory of Flowers – October 15

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., become enlightened by the photographic technique known as Bokeh (a Japanese-inspired word meaning ‘to blur’), where central objects of a photo are in sharp focus, and backgrounds and other objects are blurred. This event will introduce you to the technique, as well as show you how to use tricks of the trade regarding your own flower photography. Allow professional photographer John B. Caddell to guide you during this workshop, and use the beauty of the Conservatory of Flowers to test out what you’ve learned. During the last half-hour of the class, enjoy the rare opportunity to take pictures in the Conservatory after-hours. The cost of tickets for this event is $75 for the general public, and $65 for members of the Conservatory.

Harvest Full Moon Walk – SF Botanical Garden – October 18

Let the full moon be your guide as you explore the Botanical Garden in the late evening, where docent naturalists will guide a stroll throughout the greenery to uncover the secrets that the Garden has to offer in the nighttime. Settle in at the Moon Viewing Garden for a spell at the end of the tour to enjoy fragrant hot tea and cookies. A perk to this opportunity is that you can now view the moon using high-powered telescopes courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences. It is suggested to bring a flashlight and wear warm clothing. This event will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., but check-in is at 6:30 p.m. as the tour promptly leaves at 7 p.m. Admission for this outing is $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

Supernatural Party – California Academy of Sciences – October 26

If you’re looking for a safe place to trick-or-treat, look no further than the Academy, which is hosting a party from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., where you’ll encounter stilt walkers, face painters, magic, and live animal demonstrations. The planetarium will host “A Haunted Tour of the Night Sky,” while a giant pumpkin carving demo is sure to entertain. There will be live music and free beverages for adults and children. Kids who come in costume will receive a trick-or-treat bag for their candy. This is a special event where proceeds go towards the educational programs of the Academy, which is why individual general admission tickets are $50 for adults and $35 for children under the age of 17. Kiddies who are 1 year old or younger get in for free. For more details, you can call (415) 379-8000.

Pumpkin Carving and Cocktails in the Garden – SF Botanical Garden – October 26

The Exhibition Garden will transform into a Halloween event, where pumpkin carving takes center stage. Seasonal cocktails will be on hand for sipping, which will be served out of pumpkin punch bowls. You’ll also get a chance to learn about fall traditions related to Meso-America. This event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and costs $25 for members and $35 for non-members.

SF Mad Dash Wicked Woods –Polo Fields – October 27

If you’re looking for an excuse to dress up for Halloween, Golden Gate Park has you covered…simply join in the fun at the 5K Costume Run held at the Polo Fields. Check-in time for the Mad Dash is 7 a.m. with the race starting at 9:30 a.m. The race course will close at 11 a.m., and starts out at the Polo Field Stables – taking runners around a portion of the field with a turn onto the SF Bicycle Route 830 toward the beach. Other points of the race include Chain of Lakes Drive East, John F. Kennedy Drive, and Transverse Drive.

All ages are encouraged to participate with all registered runners (and walkers) receiving a goody bag, wicked woods T-shirt, and an entry to a raffle. An after-party will follow the event at the Polo Field Stables, which is scheduled to end at 2 p.m. In addition to a costume contest, kids’ corner, and cash raffle (of $1,000) at the after-party, you should expect an array of themed food, drinks, and live entertainment. All the proceeds for this event will go towards helping out the Sunset Coop Nursery.

The price for runner registration is $30. For more information, check out

Charity and the JAMBand Family Festival (Celebrate Halloween) – Park Chalet – October 27

The last JAMband Family Festival of the 2013 season will concentrate on celebrating one of the most creative, treat-filled times of the year. From 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., bring the entire family to jumpstart your Halloween celebration with a concert that blends of dance, music, and fun. Can you only imagine with the special project for families will be this time around?