Have you thought about visiting San Francisco, CA for a weekend vacation or a holiday trip? If not, there are plenty of reasons you should, apart from its many astounding views, diverse culture, and suitability for biking. If you enjoy spending time in nature, then visit to the San Francisco Botanical Garden (SFBG).
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is a wheelchair friendly facility where visitors get to learn plenty about plants and flowers, not to mention participate in what will be some of the most memorable events in your life.
The SFBG, which was initially called the Strybing Arboretum, sits in the Golden Gate Park along 9th Ave, San Francisco, California. It was brought to life by one Helene Strybing in 1926, who provided the funds to make the vision a reality. However, it was not until 1937 that planting began and thanks to donations from well-wishers, the garden was opened officially in 1940.
Wheelchair users who are interested in exploring the garden can get there using a city bus, train, or even a streetcar without necessarily leaving the comfort of their chairs. Once inside the garden, you will be welcomed by various wheelchair accessible public washrooms, not forgetting the ones near the North Gate entrance, the Tea Garden Drive, and the MLK Drive.
Sitting on a 55-acre piece of land, the SFBG is today home to over 8,000 different types of plants. It is inarguably the most popular among the various San Francisco botanical gardens, thanks to its many unique offerings. Depending on the season you visit, some of the gorgeous blooms you might come across include magnolias, hibiscus, orchids, poppies, and irises.
Due to the size, it’s a good idea to pickup a map provided at the entrance when traversing various areas of this iconic garden. And because the garden pathways are all marked with ISA symbol wayfinding signage, navigating your way around shouldn’t be a buzzkill even if you’re on a wheelchair. Moreover, many of the pathways in this garden are also well-paved or carefully built with wooden planks to allow a smooth roll from the wheelchair.
Besides being easy to navigate for those with access needs, the garden even offers complimentary wheelchairs at both entrances on a first-come, first-served basis; just to improve convenience and ease to your experience.
Best Time to Visit
As earlier mentioned, San Francisco’s Botanical Garden is home to thousands of unique flowering plants from across the world. This is also why the SFBG seems to have beautiful blooms to see every month of the year.
The spicy cone bush, for instance, which is native to South Africa is usually in full bloom in January. In February, you can grace your eyes with the gorgeous white Magnolias. March, April, and May are colored with blooms like Rhododendron, Sonchus (sow thistles), and lobelias – so you’ll have lots to see if you visit SFBG in the spring.
And it is safe to argue that spring offers some of the most captivating blooms in the San Francisco Botanical Garden. It’s the best time to spot irises, California Poppies, and a myriad of other flowers in full bloom. Explore more gardens in the SF Bay Area.
One of the unique features of the San Francisco Botanical Garden is the annual events, most of which accommodate the needs of wheelchair users as well as those with limited mobility. Most of the events are focused on health, wellness, and creating a memorable experience for the visitors. Just to name a few, some common annual events you may come across include the following:
- Dancing in the Garden: If you are looking for an interesting way to spend an evening in San Francisco, you may be interested in joining one of the events here, dubbed “dancing in the garden”. They even have a class called 5Rhythms that teaches people how to explore inner essence and power using natural elements.
- Watercolor Sketching and Painting the Fragrance Garden: This is a much awaited annual event for all garden enthusiasts. It is also wheelchair-friendly, relaxing, and a good way to unwind while you put your creativity to work. Sketch the garden’s world-famous fragrant plants, and then turn them into a beautiful masterpiece.
- Yoga In the Garden: If you have ever done yoga and wanted to extend your practice to the natural setting, the SFBG might be the place for you. A session of yoga and a soothing sauna is a perfect way to unwind.
- Growing Herbs in Small Spaces: Wondering whether you have a green thumb? Another interesting activity would be getting your hands dirty in the herb garden and learning how to grow some of the most attractive herbs in small spaces such as pots.
- Meditation In the Garden: Want to take your meditation experience to the next level? Then this is the place for you. A relaxing session of meditation in the garden can be an incredibly soothing experience, plus you can do it without leaving the comfort of your chair.
Entry tickets to SFBG vary depending on age and time of visit. Children under eleven get a reduced entry fee, and on weekdays discounts are given to adults. Admission is also free for:
- Visitors on each second Tuesday of the month
- San Francisco residents
- Kids aged 4 and below
- On major holidays like New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas