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SF’s New Interactive Exhibit in Golden Gate Park

Exploratorium’s installation brings interactive experiences to Alvord Lake
By - posted 10/12/2021 No Comment

The Exploratorium, in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, announced the completion of a set of installations and interactive experiences around the recently upgraded Stanyan Street Entrance to Golden Gate Park. The installations, designed and fabricated by the Exploratorium, aim to reveal, enhance, and celebrate the park’s ever-changing natural and social landscapes.

A free community event for the installation will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 14, 2021, at the Alvord Lake site. Representatives from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, Recreation and Park Department, and the Exploratorium will welcome visitors, and the Children & Nature Network will offer free activities.

The two-year installation includes eight experiences that animate Alvord Lake’s natural, built and social environment. Once an expanse of sand dunes, Alvord Lake is now an almost entirely constructed landscape. Visitors can greet each other along the High-Five Highway, investigate how wind shapes the shifting sands of Hidden Dunes, experiment with the magnetic Black Sand found at Ocean Beach, explore the algae that thrive in the lake, and more.

“Placemaking and learning belong together,” said Shawn Lani, senior artist at the Exploratorium. “Through this partnership with the Parks, we hope to build on the work they have done to make the Park entrance more welcoming and inviting by engaging people of all ages in these experiences. Our goal is to help people feel more a part of the park and the community.”

The installation of Exploratorium exhibits was the final phase of a multi-year improvement project to the Stanyan Street Frontage in Golden Gate Park. The project included renovating the Stanyan Street entry plaza, adding a new pedestrian sidewalk between Haight Street and JFK Drive, making landscape improvements in the oak woodlands area south of the lake, and converting an existing restroom to a functioning kiosk now occupied by Flywheel Coffee.

“These exhibits are the capstone in a series of major improvements to make the area safer, lusher, and more enticing to visitors,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “These wonderful interactive pieces aren’t just about sprucing things up, they are about promoting a sense of community and providing opportunities for wonder and play for people of all ages.”

The interactive exhibit pieces will be stewarded and facilitated by community members employed by Urban Alchemy, a nonprofit organization focused on bringing a sense of peace and respect to America’s most chaotic urban areas. Site stewards will help facilitate the interactive experiences and serve as mediators and caretakers of the space.