May is an ideal time of the year to enjoy the great outdoors, and Golden Gate Park certainly has a lot of activities and events planned for the month. Nature lovers have many activities centered on plants and flowers. Do-gooders will find plenty of charities, good causes, and fundraisers to support. Runners will have a chance to stretch their legs in several different events, including one of the most popular races in San Francisco. It’s also a good time to enjoy a picnic surrounded by the budding greenery and increasing liveliness of the spring season. So…don’t forget to mark your calendars for the following Golden Gate Park events for May 2014:

CHOMP! They Came from the Swamp – Conservatory of Flowers – month of May

All throughout the month of May, the Conservatory of Flowers hosts a carnivorous plant exhibit that has received its fair share of rave reviews. Housed in the Special Exhibits Gallery, hundreds of meat-eating plants are sure to delight. Here, you will learn all about how these specimens attract, capture, and eat their prey. Some of the stars of the show include pitcher plants (Sarracenia and Nepenthes), the sticky sundew (Drosera), the butterwort (Pinguicula), and of course, the Venus flytrap (Dionaea).

Jackpot Nightlife – California Academy of Sciences – May 2

As part of the Thursday Nightlife lineup at the Academy, the first get-together for the month of May will focus on things that will test your luck. With the sounds of Rat Pack-era tunes in the air (courtesy of DJ Tanoa), it’s a time to take on the role of a high roller and participate in casino games, such as roulette, craps, poker, and blackjack.

The Thursday night gatherings at the Academy are for the 21 and over crowd only, and cost $10 (members) to $12 (non-members) for admission.

Other Thursday Nightlife events for May 2014 include:

May 8: Perception Nightlife – The activities for the night will center on the theme of ‘perception’ with OuterBody Labs creating an out-of-body-experience for participants; vision technology fun from SensoMotoric Instruments; optical illusions with the crafters at SCRAP; and an exhibit debut by artist Boback Emad. Entertainment for the night includes live outdoor sets by Dam-Funk and Myron & E (presented by Noise Pop), and a DJ set by Grown Kids Radio in the Piazza.

May 15: DIY Nightlife – Offering a well-rounded activity night, some of the things to look forward to at this week’s event include a pop-up maker shop with vendors from SF Bazaar; handcrafted works of art on display in African Hall; a metal-working workshop; Green Art Workshop activities; and the recycling of e-waste into usable computers for underserved communities. The music of the night will feature DJ Omar (Popscene).

47th Annual Spring Sale – SF County Fair Building – May 2 & 3

Every year, the San Francisco Botanical Garden has a huge spring sale, where locals can bring home an assortment of plants and flowers. This year’s event will include succulents, ferns, orchids, natives, alpines, rhododendrons, perennials, houseplants, shrubs, and trees with proceeds from the sale going towards the support of volunteers, nursery, curatorial and education staff.

Other highlights of the event include a special silent auction that includes rare and exotic plants, as well as the sale of new books, used book treasures, and garden gifts.

The event schedule is:

May 2 – Members-Only Sale from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
May 3 – Public Sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk – Hellman Hollow – May 3

Since May is National Brain Tumor Awareness Month, it is only fitting that a family-friendly walk in support of brain tumor survivors, patients, family members, caregivers, and friends will take place this month. In an effort to increase public awareness about the disease, as well as raise funding for a good cause, proceeds from this event scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. will benefit the National Brain Tumor Society. More information about walking, volunteering, and donating can be found here:

Bean Sprout Family Days – SF Botanical Garden – May 3,10,17,24 & 31

When looking for fun activities to enjoy with the kids during the weekend, the SF Botanical Garden offers Bean Sprout Family Days every Saturday in May. This event is for all ages, and is free with regular admission to the Garden. From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., the Children’s Garden will transform into a haven for nature crafts, outdoor games, garden care, and other exploratory activities. You are encouraged to bring your own lunch to eat in the garden.

Old-Fashioned Spring Picnic – Elk Glen Meadow – May 3

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Support for Families will host a good ol’ fashioned picnic in the park with music, games, art, activities, and loads of kid-friendly fun. While families are encouraged to bring their own lunch and blanket if they like, drinks and desserts will be provided. The event is free for families of children with disabilities, and donations are welcome. For more information, visit, and call (415) 920-5040 to register.

High Heel Race and Family Picnic – Pioneer East Meadow – May 3

In addition to hosting a lunch on the lawn with games, providing fellowship, and offering prizes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Glide Pride Team will participate in the High Heels race. To register for the High Heels Race, stop by the Pride Team Table in Freedom Hall and pay the individual cost of $10 or $25 for a four-person relay team. There are three categories in the race: Low Heel (1″); Mid Heel (2”), and High Heel (4″). You will find this event taking place at Pioneer East Meadow – located south of de Young Museum, near the Log Cabin.

Heron Watch – Stow Lake – May 3 & May 10

You don’t have to be an avid birdwatcher to enjoy an outing centered on catching sight of Great Blue Herons and their baby chicks. These creatures are around four feet tall with a six-foot wingspan. With the help of spotting scopes, naturalists will be on hand to explain the behaviors of these birds and answer any questions you may have. The Heron Watch itself is a free event, but the optional nature walk from 10:30 a.m. to noon is $10 per adult (free for young adults and children). To reach the observation site, follow the sign located at the Boathouse. This San Francisco Nature Education event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Magic Meadow Pagan Spring Ritual – Magic Meadow – May 3

Following in the ancient tradition of celebrating May Day (or Beltane), Magic Meadow, located on 41st Avenue and Lincoln Way, will host a pagan ritual for all to enjoy. This event begins at 1 p.m. and will include wreath-making, music, Maypole dancing, and Beltane cauldron jumping. Kids are permitted to attend, and participants are asked to come with flowers, vine, musical instruments, food, and non-alcoholic drinks to share.

Golden Gate Park Band Performance – Music Concourse – May 4, 11, 18, & 25

It’s that time of year again…when the Golden Gate Park Band entertains the masses on Sunday afternoons with themed performances. Starting at 1 p.m., gather at Spreckels Temple of Music (Music Concourse) to listen to the sounds celebrating Polish Constitution Day with Polish music, singing and dancing. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch – make a day of it!

Other GGP Band concerts for May 2014 include:

May 11 – Armenian Independence Day with Armenian music, singing and dancing.
May 18 – A performance in coordination with Sunday Streets
May 25 – A Memorial Weekend Concert

SF Bike Month: Tour de Tandem – Panhandle to Ocean Beach – May 4

In celebration of Bike Month in San Francisco, you can bring along your bike or rent one from a nearby bike shop to participate in a ride from Panhandle to Ocean Beach (and back) – all at an easy pace. This event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. You should also pack a lunch because the group will stop along the way. The route is between 5 to 10 miles, and covers mostly flat land. The ride is free to SF Bicycle Coalition Members, where non-members can pay the suggested donation of $10.

Partner Yoga in the Park – Conservatory of Flowers grassy area – May 10

Golden Gate Park will host a session of outdoor partner-yoga that will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. where couples can explore a combination of Acro-Yoga and Thai Massage techniques. The aim of this activity is to deepen postures and enjoy relaxing stretches. Classes are taught on a donation basis. You are encouraged to bring your own mat and water. Class will meet at the grassy area in front of the Conservatory of Flowers. For more details, check out :

Girls on the Run 5K – Music Concourse Bandshell – May 11

Head for the front of California Academy of Sciences, where you’ll find a gaggle of girls ready to run their hearts out. The 5K will begin at 10 a.m. Check-in and race day registration starts at 8:45a.m. The entire event starts at 9 a.m., and ends at 11:30 a.m. The regular fee to register for the race is $35 per person until May 7, 2014. Race day registration will cost $40 per person (or $90 per family). All families, friends and neighbors in the Bay Area community are invited to run the 5K, and can find registration information here:

Bollywood 5K – Spreckels Temple of Music – May 11

In an effort to raise money for students and schools in Tanzania, the Bollywood 5K is an event for all ages to enjoy. Start off your day with a lovely walk/run through the park, and then relax with a Bollywood Dance Party. Registration to participate in the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., is $39. For more details, check out

California Wine in the Redwoods – SF Botanical Garden – May 15

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., surround yourself with the beauty of Golden Gate Park’s redwoods while sipping on local wines and sampling savory cheeses. Garden naturalists will also speak about the majestic trees, as well as take guests on a trail dotted with wild ginger, sword ferns, and woodland sorrel. Check-in for this event is 5:30 p.m. with the last chance to enter at 6:30 p.m. Members pay $20 to enjoy this outing, while non-members must pay $30.

Walk to Cure Arthritis – May 17

It’s an early start for the Walk to Cure Arthritis being held at Golden Gate Park (8 a.m.), which aims to raise awareness and funds to fight the leading cause of disability in America. Proceeds will go towards assisting the millions of people who suffer from arthritis pain, as well as fund research that brings victims closer to leading a pain-free life. There is a three-mile and one-mile course to participate in with arthritis information and activities for the whole family. For more details, contact Melissa LaBonge at [email protected], or call 415-356-5480.

Traditional Native Californian Basket Making Class – SF Botanical Garden – May 17

If you’re looking for a little creative outlet, the SF Botanical Garden will teach you how to create a traditional Pomo Indian sandbar willow basket. With the help of expert basket weaver, Charlie Kennard, you will go home with a lightweight basket that showcases several different weaves – ideal for gathering berries or carrying small fruits. The cost to enjoy this event is $65 for members and $70 for non-members, which includes the fee for all materials. The class will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Gold in Golden Gate Park – May 17

When you’re looking for something fun to do, Mastermind Treasure Hunts & Mystery Chase have something planned for you. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the hunt is on for gold in Golden Gate Park. You will have 90 minutes to locate the treasure with a map and set of clues in hand. This is a treasure hunt that requires an Internet-enable smartphone where instructions and hints come in the form of text messages. Some people play on their own, while others assemble teams of 2 to 4 people.
It is suggested that participants arrive early for check-in.

Tickets for this event cost $20 for adults; $10 for kids 18 and under, or $50 for families.

Be on the lookout for future events in June (The Chocolate Bank Robbery) and July (Dinner Rush) that follow in the same vein as this Hunt.

Bay to Breakers – May 18

One of the largest, most exciting running events in San Francisco is known for bringing a creative party to the masses, as more than 30,000 people race while over 100,000 onlookers take in the sights. Participants start at the Bay and end up at the western end of the Golden Gate Park. The 103rd Annual Bay to Breakers will no doubt bring out plenty of costumed revelers who come to participate in the oldest consecutively-run footrace in not only California, but also in the world. The festivities are scheduled to take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It’s free to watch, but costs $59 to race.

Tesla Model S Electric Car Guest Drive – May 24

Car lovers and eco-conscious consumers should take advantage of the opportunity to test drive six different electric cars, including the Tesla Model S, at the Electric Car Guest Drive social being held at Golden Gate Park. The event also include a picnic in the park with entertainment for non-driving family members and friends, such as lawn bowling, Nerf Frisbee, and other kid-friendly games and entertainment. Also, you should take the time to browse the educational exhibits about electric cars, charging stations and solar car charging systems.

Participants who become members of EV Quorum are eligible to drive any of the electric cars on display. There is no charge for guests, but you do need an invitation, which is available through advance registration online:

Bay Area Classic Yo-Yo Championships – Music Concourse: the Bandshell – May 24

If you’re a fan of yo-yos, then you should note that the 17th annual championship competition will take place on Memorial Day Weekend at Golden Gate Park. Featuring freestyle and trick ladder participants, the event will begin at 9 a.m. with preliminary competition starting at 10 a.m. More yo-yo action and the finals are held after a brief 30-minute lunch period. An Awards Ceremony takes place at 4 p.m.

Kennedy Drive 5K – Polo Fields – May 25

Thanks to DSE Runners, you still have a chance to get a good run in before the end of May. Starting at 9 a.m., the group is holding the Kennedy Drive 5K at the south side of Polo Field/Middle Drive. The 5K will start with an uphill run eastbound on Middle Drive, where runners follow a route that includes Overlook Drive (path), Transverse, Kennedy Drive, and Kezar Drive. Once you reach the barricade there, you will turn and return the same way to finish. The cost to participate in this event is 13-17 years ($3); 18 and over ($3 for members and $5 for non-members); and free for runners up to 12 years old. The closing date for registration is May 23 at 9 a.m. For more information, check out

Kids Carnival Course – Marx Meadow – May 25

Get your kids out in the fresh air and into a bit of extra curricular activity at Golden Gate Park. The Carnival Course provides the perfect outlet for a May Sunday morning. Races are broken up into four different waves with separate boys and girls races for ages 4-8 and 9-13; the first wave begins at 9 a.m. with the last starting at 9:45 a.m. The entire event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The ticket price of $40 includes race entry with numbered bib, free T-shirt, and access to the Carnival Games. For more details about the event, check out:

8th Annual Bay Area VisionWalk – Music Concourse – May 31

All ages are encouraged to participate in this free fund-raising event held by the Foundation Fighting Blindness to raise money to go towards helping to fund sight-saving research. This event will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, call (310) 450-2910 or check out the event website at:

NAMIWalk SF Bay Area – Lindley Meadow – May 31

With an anticipated 3,000 people planning on participating in the 10th Annual 5K NAMIWalk in the San Francisco Bay Area, why don’t you consider helping to raise funds as well, which will go towards benefiting free programs and services that serve nine NAMI affiliates in various local counties. Registration for walkers is free. You can walk as an individual, or join a team, or if you are truly ambitious – become a Team-Captain. This event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, you can call (800) 556-2401, or check out the following website: