San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the San Francisco Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, and the Japanese Tea Garden will offer year-round, free admission to any visitors receiving government food assistance benefits. Free admission of up to four people will be granted at all three Golden Gate Park gardens with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card showing enrollment in CalFresh or other Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). San Francisco residents who show their Medi-Cal card can also receive free admissions to the gardens of Golden Gate Park.
The free access to the gardens of Golden Gate Park advances a key priority of the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force by serving San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents and ensuring all San Franciscans can access and enjoy the City’s unique cultural assets.
“Access to nature is more important than ever and Golden Gate Park in particular has been an oasis for so many of us during COVID-19,” said Mayor Breed. “All San Franciscans, regardless of their income, should have access to the art and cultural institutions that our city has to offer. Now income won’t be a barrier in preventing visitors to the Park from taking in our beautiful Botanical Garden, visiting the Conservatory of Flowers, and exploring history at the oldest public Japanese garden in the country.”
Admission fees at the gardens range from $20 to $38 for a family of four to visit, creating a barrier for low-income families to access the cultural and educational benefits that these institutions offer. While access to the San Francisco Botanical Garden is free for San Francisco residents, approximately 35% of the Garden’s visitors live outside of San Francisco.
“We all deserve access to nature, wonder, and discovery. These experiences enrich our interests, deepen our learning, and ease our stress. Our commitment to equity means income is no longer a barrier to enter Golden Gate Park’s world class gardens,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg.
The benefits are a result of the three San Francisco Recreation and Park Department institutions joining Museums for All, a national access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Association of Children’s Museums. Museums for All aims to break down that barrier to open doors of opportunity for families to experience cultural education programming, and is part of the gardens’ broad commitment to seek, include, and welcome all audiences. In addition, through San Francisco Museums for All, San Francisco residents can show their Medi-Cal card or EBT to receive free admission to the gardens of Golden Gate Park and other museums and cultural attractions throughout the City.
More than 500 institutions participate in the national Museums for All initiative, including the California Academy of Sciences, Children’s Creativity Museum, de Young Museum, Exploratorium, GLBT Historical Society Museum, and Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco. In San Francisco, over twenty museums and cultural institutions participate in San Francisco Museums for All, which provides free admissions to benefits recipients of the San Francisco Human Services Agency.
Eligibility Guidelines for Free Admission to the Gardens of Golden Gate Park:
San Francisco residents: People who receive CalFresh or Medi-Cal can receive up to four free tickets when they show their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card or Medi-Cal card and proof of San Francisco residency.
Non San Francisco residents: People who receive CalFresh or SNAP benefits can receive up to four free tickets when they show their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
About San Francisco Botanical Garden
San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is a living museum within Golden Gate Park, offering 55 acres of beautiful gardens displaying more than 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. The Garden features nationally accredited collections of high elevation palms, Mesoamerican cloud forest plants, and Magnolias. San Francisco’s mild climate allows the Garden to grow plants from six continents, making San Francisco Botanical Garden unique in the U.S. The collections also include many other species that are rare or endangered in the wild.
The Garden is normally open 365 days of the year and is free for city residents and members. Easily accessed by public transport, the Garden welcomes more than 400,000 people annually – 60% of whom experience the Garden free of charge. The Garden also normally offers dozens of free programs for our communities. Established in 1940, originally as Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco Botanical Garden is a public/private partnership between San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
About San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is a botanical garden of rare and unusual tropical plants located in Golden Gate Park. The oldest existing wood-and-glass conservatory in North America, the Conservatory of Flowers houses nearly 2,000 species of plants from more than 50 countries around the world. It is one of the few botanical institutions in the nation that highlights cloud forest orchids. Immersive displays in five galleries include plants from the low and highland tropics, aquatic plants, and potted plants, a dedicated gallery to a style made popular in the Victorian era. As one of the top San Francisco cultural institutions, it has attracted millions of visitors since it first opened its doors in 1879. It is designated as a city, state, and national historic landmark. For more information, visit: www.conservatoryofflowers.org.
About Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden provides visitors from around the world with an opportunity to experience the natural beauty, tranquility and harmony of a Japanese-style garden in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the site originally spanned about one acre and showcased a Japanese style garden. Today, the Japanese Tea Garden endures as one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, featuring classic elements such as an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds and a zen garden. Cherry blossom trees bloom throughout the garden in March and April.
About the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department currently manages more than 220 parks, playgrounds and open spaces throughout San Francisco, including two outside city limits—Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierras. The system includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, golf courses, sports fields and numerous small-to-medium-sized clubhouses that offer a variety of sports- and arts-related recreation programs for people of all ages. Included in the Department’s responsibilities are Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Marina Yacht Harbor, the San Francisco Zoo and Lake Merced.
In 2017, San Francisco became the first and only city in the nation where all residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk, a direct result of the Department’s commitment to increasing and improving parkland in the city.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
The Association of Children's Museums (ACM) champions children's museums worldwide. With more than 400 members in 48 states and 20 countries, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children's museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. Learn more at www.childrensmuseums.org.