Garden Railway exhibition at Golden Gate Park


Hop aboard and take a train trip through Golden Gate Park. It's a wonderland of plants and flowers and items that have been transformed into park landmarks. The carousel spins on an old turntable. The blades of the Dutch windmill are rulers. The De Young Museum is the back of an old VCR.

It's all artists' unexpected use of materials recycled.

"They go out and they find really cool stuff and they kind of repurpose them, or reconfigure them, and viola! You come up with these really cool things, and it's so engaging with the visitor because suddenly they're studying things and they're kind of figuring it out also," Conservatory Director Brent Dennis says.

Golden Gate Park is the centerpiece and a tribute to the 1,000-plus acre site that plays host to 14 million visitors every year.

"We really wanted to create a miniature landscape of Golden Gate Park and in a lot of cases, we were able to find miniature tree ferns for the tree fern dell, miniature tulips coming in the spring," says Conservatory Operations Director Lau Hodges.

The exhibition is here in the full-size version of the Conservatory of Flowers. It's the oldest building in the park and the display is seasonal. Flowers will be changed.

"We have three flower changeovers through the run of the show," Dennis says.

Old favorites from years past are there.

Cable cars still climb past Coit tower. The Ferry Building is a cheese grater. A kitchen timer is the clock and the sign is from an old Scrabble set. You can hear the sounds from the actual pipe organ in the Castro Theatre. The Alamo Square Painted Ladies are cereal boxes. The gate to Chinatown is old Mah-Jong tiles. Thomas the Train runs by.

The Garden Railway will be running through March 13.

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