Our Mission

The Gardens of Golden Gate Park connect people to plants, the planet, and each other.

Our Vision

All people have access to beautiful public gardens and experience the intrinsic value of plants to life and culture for a healthy community and planet.

Gardens of Golden Gate Park is a public/private partnership between the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department and the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society (a nonprofit 501c3 organization doing business as the “Gardens of Golden Gate Park”) to jointly operate the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Land acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the Gardens of Golden Gate Park sit on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone who are the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula. We recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland, and we affirm their sovereign rights as first peoples. Dedicated to connecting people to plants, the planet, and each other, the Gardens uphold the significance of this cherished and revered place that celebrates Earth’s biological diversity in supporting the health and wellbeing of all people and the planet.

Historical milestones


Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1769, the Ramaytush Ohlone, a part of a larger group of the Ohlone/Costanoan peoples, lived in the area of the San Francisco Bay south to Monterey.


Golden Gate park is created on 1013 acres of windswept sand dunes by surveyor, designer, and first Superintendent William Hammond Hall.


The Conservatory opens as Golden Gate Park’s first formal structure.


John McLaren is hired as head gardener — and later superintendent — of Golden Gate Park which becomes his lifelong work and legacy.


The Japanese Tea Garden is created as a feature of the California Midwinter International Exposition. Makoto Hagiwara is named manager and caretaker.


In the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake, the Conservatory grounds become Refugee Camp No. 7, housing homeless with more than one thousand temporary tents.


Shinto Shrine and Torii Gate are added to the top of the hill at the Japanese Tea Garden.


The Garden breaks ground thanks to a bequest from Helene Strybing, to establish an arboretum and botanical garden in Golden Gate Park.


The Botanical Garden officially opens to the public and features the first magnolia tree of its kind in the U.S.


The Board of Park Commissioners take over management of the Japanese Tea Garden as the Hagiwara family is forced to evacuate, along with approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans, and move into internment camps.


New waterfall hill installation is dedicated with a Shinto ceremony.


The Helen Crocker Russell Library opens, becoming Northern California’s largest horticultural library.


The Conservatory of Flowers listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


New renovations of seven gardens includes species from the Southeast Asian cloud forest, the first of its kind.


After withstanding significant damage during storms in the winter of 1995-1996, a major multi-year fundraising effort, and construction from 1999-2003, on September 20, 2003 the restored Conservatory was once again opened to the public.


San Francisco becomes the first city in the nation where all residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk.


Restoration of the 107-year-old pagoda is completed.


Gardens of Golden Gate Park is established.


Our ability to grow some of the most biodiverse botanical collections in the world is helping us advance global plant conservation efforts. Through our own efforts and in partnership with leading conservation and research organizations, we are committed to addressing and educating  climate change and environmental sustainability.

Justice, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

The Gardens of Golden Gate Park is committed to transparency, cultural diversity, inclusion, and environmentally responsible practices. We are proud to be a public garden, accessible and welcoming to all and focused on the shared experiences of gathering, learning, celebrating and stewarding these treasured spaces.