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Take "A Very Curious Golden Gate Park Walking Tour"

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Visitors to the west end of Golden Gate Park enjoy the Dutch Windmill and the Queen Wilhelmina Garden in San Francisco, Calif. on Sunday October 18, 2009. (Photo By Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

The Bay Curious team has created a six-part walking tour of Golden Gate Park that explores the history behind some of our favorite features in the park. We kick off the series in our podcast feed on May 26, with new episodes appearing daily from May 30 to June 3. Find a Spotify playlist with available episodes below.

Origins of the Park | Thursday, May 26
How did just over 1,000 acres of sand dunes become a European-style urban park? In this episode we learn how the park made such a radical transformation.

Bison Paddock | Monday, May 30
Bison once roamed the West, but settlers hunted them to the brink of extinction in the 19th century. A captive breeding program operated in Golden Gate Park helped the species rebound. Today’s bison aren’t used for breeding anymore, but they remain one of the park’s popular attractions.

Japanese Tea Garden | Tuesday, May 31
The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park was originally built as a temporary exhibit, but the public loved it so much that it became a permanent fixture. It boasts a tasty claim to fame in the origins of the fortune cookie.

Dutch Windmills | Wednesday, June 1
Take a tour inside the windmills along the park's western edge, and learn how they once provided essential water for irrigating the park. Though they are no longer used, the park still spins them on special occasions.

Polo Field | Thursday, June 2
These days, the Golden Gate Park Polo Field in San Francisco is probably best known as the home to music festivals like Outside Lands. But for nearly 3 decades, polo matches were a regular sight on the field.

AIDS Memorial Grove | Friday, June 3
This tranquil national memorial is home to a loving community that tends to the landscape as a way to remember and heal.


Do Your Own Walking Tour

We designed this six-part series to be enjoyed as a walking tour of Golden Gate Park. So grab a friend, a few pairs of headphones and head to Ocean Beach, where your adventure begins. Wear some good walking shoes and be sure to pack some water and snacks. Play the corresponding episode at each of the attractions on the map below, then explore the space on your own.

Join Our Walking Tour

We're hosting tours of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park on June 11 and 12. Actress Sango Tajima – aided by Head Gardener Steven Pitsenbarger – leads us through a theatrical history of the garden, and the people who created it. The experience features lives music and other performance surprises. You can buy tickets here.

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