SF Rec & Parks Seeks To Merge Golden Gate Park Gardens Into One Organization

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

SF Rec & Parks Seeks To Merge Golden Gate Park Gardens Into One Organization

SF Recreation and Parks has proposed a new plan to merge the San Francisco Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers and Japanese Tea Garden. The goal is to unify all 3 gardens under the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society. The SF Rec & Park Commission will vote on the “Gardens of Golden Gate Park” proposal on Thursday, November 18.

The SF Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, and Japanese Tea Garden are all managed by the SF Rec & Parks department, however their admissions and functions are currently independent of one another despite their close proximity within Golden Gate Park. The goal will be to unify them all as the “Gardens of Golden Gate Park” into a regional organization with streamlined ticketing and fundraising. By eliminating nonprofit redundancies, the estimated savings would be $400,000 a year.  The gardens would keep their current names, but work on expanding into the future together.

If the proposal is approved, the Gardens of Golden Gate Park would hope to become a top 10 botanical garden in the country over the next decade through the following efforts:

  • More diverse gardens with new plant collections such as an African cloud forest garden

  • Expanded global plant conservation efforts protecting biodiversity in the face of climate change and the extinction crisis

  • Upgraded accessibility and improved garden designs, pathways, and maintenance 

  • More public programs with existing and new community partners like Flower Piano at the Botanical Garden and Night Bloom at the Conservatory of Flowers


  • Improved interpretation and educational resources including new digital tools

  • Major capital projects such as a new Children’s Garden in the west end of the Botanical Garden – building off momentum of recent projects like pagoda restoration at the Japanese Tea Garden and Celebration Garden and new plant nursery at Botanical Garden

  • A smoother, more cohesive experience for visitors and volunteers at each location  

All three gardens are historic and famous destinations within Golden Gate Park. The SF Botanical Garden boasts nearly 8,000 types of plants across 55 acres and just broke ground on a new nursery. The Conservatory of Flowers is a national, state, and local landmark that has curated their famous collection of plants since 1875. And the Japanese Tea Garden is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States.

“The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society is a highly qualified, longtime city partner with a strong track record. It has guided the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s evolution into a world class attraction,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Merging these gardens under the same successful operation will create organizational and operational efficiencies, inspire philanthropy, and deliver on our mission to connect people to nature and each other.”


Featured image: Pung via Shutterstock

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