Excitement and love is in the air throughout Golden Gate Park regarding February events in 2013, as the park joins in the celebration of football, art, running, and romance. This month, there is an extreme amount of love for the hometown team, as the 49ers are representing the city at the 2013 Super Bowl. Love is also in the air as locals prepare for the passion, devotion and heart-shaped chocolate indulgences of Valentine’s Day. There are also plenty of opportunities to fall in love all over again with some of the popular attractions at Golden Gate Park with free admission days.


Lunar New Year Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden Plant Arbor – February 1-10

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is hosting a plant sale centered on bringing luck into your home. Auspicious plants for sale at the Plant Arbor include miniature citrus and blossoming branches. You will find the Botanical Garden near the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park. This free 10-day event will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from February 1 to 10.


Bank of America Free Museum Weekend – February 2 & 3

The Bank of America Free Museum Weekend event for February 2013 includes free admission to the deYoung Museum on February 2 and 3. You must possess a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit card and debit card in your name in order to take advantage of this offer. The BOA Museum Weekend takes place on the first weekend of every month.


Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run – John F. Kennedy Drive – February 3 

Presented by Pamakid Runners Club, participants in the 30th annual Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run will gather at Golden Gate Park for events that start and finish in the park. This year, a special half marathon medal for finishers will be awarded in commemoration of three decades of the race being held by runners for runners. The starting gate will be found at John F. Kennedy Drive – east of Stow Lake Drive. The Half Marathon and 5K will begin at 8 a.m. with the starting gate open for 10 minutes. All runners and walkers must start by 8:10 a.m. The finish line will be found at Martin Luther King Drive near the Great Highway, and is kept open for four hours after the start of the event. For more details regarding course information, you can, check here.


Super Bowl XLVII Food Specials – Park & Beach Chalet – February 3

To celebrate the San Francisco 49ers playing in the Super Bowl, join fellow fans at the Park & Beach Chalet to take advantage of food and drink specials. There will be half-price house beers, shots and appetizers. For $8, indulge in the Bavarian Bratwurst – served with sweet peppers, caramelized onions, Riptide Ale Grainy mustard, and a Torpedo bun. The special Half-Time menu will include Mary’s Farm Wings, as well as Beef Sliders for $5. During the game, enjoy half-price apps, including Sweet Potato Fries and Onion Strings.


“Blooms & Branches” Story Time Events – SF Botanical Garden – February 3 & 17

For the month of February, the story time events at the San Francisco Botanical Garden will center on a ‘Blooms & Branches’ theme. A collection of new books and old standbys will be read at 10:30 a.m. on both days with an additional special Lunar New Year story time at 11:30 a.m. on February 17. This free event is recommended for children ages 4 to 8. After a 30-minute reading, a tour of the Library will take place at 11 a.m.


Free Admission Day (de Young Museum & Conservatory of Flowers) – February 5

As part of the First Tuesdays free admission program at deYoung Museum located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, visitors may enjoy access to a collection of intriguing American art (dating from the 17th to 20th centuries), as well as creations hailing from the native Americas, Africa, and the Pacific. The hours of the museum are 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The Conservatory of Flowers also offers free admission on the first Tuesday of the month so that visitors can take in the sights of the oldest existing conservatory of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Here, you will find more than 1,700 species of rare, exotic and endangered plants from all over the world. Located at 100 John F Kennedy Drive, the Conservatory is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with last entry at 4 p.m.


Social Dreaming Events – deYoung Museum – February 6 – March 3

Artists in residence at deYoung for the month of February are Natalie Zimmerman and Michael Wilson, who will bring “Social Dreaming in the 21st Century” to life at the museum.The gallery will concentrate on dreams, research, experimental film production, and the exploration of social and cultural issues. Related events being held include dream sessions on February 9, 10, 14 and 17, as well as poetry, music, and meditation on February 16.


‘Year of the Snake’ NightLife – California Academy of Science – February 7

Blending science with food, cocktails and other amusement, the Thursday night fun at the Academy will include live snakes and their handlers positioned throughout the museum. Chinese New Year performances will highlight lion dancers, northern martial art styles (Jing Mo Athletic Association), music and other specialties. The Chinese Historical Society of America will also have a craft station set up for your delight. DJ Omar (from Popscene SF) will provide the tunes for the night.

Thursday Nightlife events at the Academy are held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for the 21-year-old and over crowd with a valid identification. Tickets are $12 unless you are a member of the Academy, as they pay only $10 to enjoy the festivities.

In addition to a Valentine’s Day-related event on the 14th, other Thursday nightlife experiences at the Academy for February 2013 include:

  • February 21 – “Noise Pop Nightlife” – To celebrate the 21st birthday of Noise Pop, come discover the origins and botany of alcohol. Anticipate live music by Nosaj Thing and Giraffage, as well as DJ sets by Joaquin Bartra, Chad Salty and Brogan Bentley.
  • February 28 – “Out of Africa NightLife” – The African Hall has a new addition (Human Odyssey) and you’ll have a chance to mingle with scientists who conduct fieldwork in Africa. Radio Africa & Kitchen will fill your belly with African cuisine. The Wildcat Education and Conservation Fund will present an up-close look at African big cats, such as a cheetah. The DJs and percussionists of Afrolicious will entertain for the night.


Wooden Shoe Be Mine? ArtPoint Valentine’s Gala – deYoung Museum – February 9 

Come see what happens when you transform deYoung Museum into an “ultra chic Dutch-inspired wonderland.” In celebration of the Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt’s Century, the museum is hosting an after-hours party starting at 8 p.m. In addition to late-night access to the galleries, you can dance the night away, sample hors d’oeuvres, taste chocolates, sip on tasty cocktails, and take in the sights of renowned pieces of art. Ticket prices are $95 to $175. For more information or purchase a ticket, visit http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/calendar/wooden-shoe-be-mine-artpoints-valentines-gala.


2013 Love ’em or Leave ’em Valentine’s Day Dash – Music Concourse – February 10

It’s a mad dash for love at the Music Concourse, where participants can run solo or as part of a two-person team. Registration and packet pickup is at 8:40 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m. A free Kids Dash is held at 9 a.m. with a 5K run/walk starting at 9:15 a.m. Post-race festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with a top finisher awards ceremony. Onlookers and the like are encouraged to wear costumes (think Cupid!) For more details, check out http://www.valentinesdaydash.com.


“Spin the Bottle” Nightlife Event – California Academy of Science – February 14

What better place to enjoy both Valentine’s Day and Beer Week in San Francisco than at the Academy, where their “Spin the Bottle Nightlife” event combines the brews of Almanac Beer Co., Drake’s Brewing, and Pac Brew Lab. The Center for Sex and Culture founders Carole Queen and Robert Lawrence will host a talk and activities. Whole Foods will provide a sampling of Valentine’s Day sweet treats. SCRAP will speak to your crafty side. Music for the night will come at the hands of Hard French DJs Carnita and Brown Amy plus Sweet Cheeks DJs Loco and Mawkus.


Magnificent Magnolias Tour – Conservatory of Flowers – February 16

From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., you can enjoy a Magnificent Magnolias Tour with the guidance and expertise of the San Francisco Botanical Garden Curator Dr. Don Mahoney. The cost for the general public to participate in this event is $15.


Family Lunar New Year Celebration – Conservatory of Flowers – February 16 & 17

When you’re looking for a weekend outing with the family, the Conservatory of Flowers is hosting a Lunar New Year event filled with special performances and hands-on activities. Bring in the Year of the Snake right while appreciating the beauty of magnolias all at the same time, as the Garden pays homage to the blooms from China within their collection.

Event times are:

  • Saturday, February 16: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Expect lion dancers, folk dances performed by the San Francisco Sunset Recreation Center Dance Troupe, plant lantern crafts, and take-home potted plants.

  • Sunday, February 17: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Enjoy tai chi performances, dragon dancers, special story times, sword performances, and other demonstrations.


Magnolias, Camellias, Rhododendrons: Pencil Drawing – Conservatory of Flowers – February 21

Explore the beauty of colored pencil techniques with botanical artist Nina Antze in an art event held at the Conservatory of Flowers. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., use the winter garden as your inspiration, as you practice mixing and layering color using the different shades of the magnolia, camellia and rhododendron. While live blooms from the garden will be provided, you can also bring your own flowers. Good weather means the class will gather outside for lunch. All drawing levels are welcome to participate. The general cost for this event is $90.


A Night with Violinist Paul Mercer – Conservatory of Flowers – February 27 

Blending music and education at the Conservatory, “The Whispering in the Wood:” Talks of Ghosts, Violins, and the Trees that Brought Them to Life” provides a night with violinist Paul Mercer. The interview/concert with Jill Tracy takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is another ‘After Dark’ event held at the Conservatory that you won’t want to miss. You’ll learn about the different types of wood used to make various musical instruments, such as tropical woods found right in the Conservatory. Come hear tales about ancient instruments, which will be played during the presentation. After a full concert, enjoy a rare nocturnal tour of the greenhouse. Call (415) 392-4400 for more details. Cost: Academy Members ($155 Orchestra); Non-Members ($170 Orchestra).