Under renovation, Palace still a highlight

SAN FRANCISCO— Looking for an ideal location for pre/post wedding photos? Open space for children to play and roam? Or maybe a great display of nature and architecture at its best?

Well, the Palace of Fine Arts is the venue of your choice.

Breathtaking, serene, accommodating, vast and inviting are just a few of the words that Sherri Alcon, originally from Memphis and a new resident of San Francisco, has used to describe the site.

“Never did I feel so calm and welcomed in the outdoors. But I come here about once a week to walk, clear my mind and relax,” she said.

Currently, and for an uncertain amount of time, the Palace of Fine Arts will be under construction and renovation. Being such a historic location, although unfortunate for visitors this year, it is understandable as to why the renovations are taking place. Preserving the statues, artworks, landscaping that surrounds the vicinity and the overall essence brought to the visitors is necessary.

Originally constructed in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition construction workers and coordinators hope to further entice visitors to continue interest in their venue with the renovations taking place. However, one way that they have acted in expanding the interest and opportunity to people everywhere is through the Exploratorium.

The Palace of Fine Arts is located in the Marina District of San Francisco, next to perhaps the most innovative museum, the Exploratorium. It is a section of the palace located toward the northern end of the palace which was initially established as a means of providing a theater. It has also promoted such entertainment for the public, including but not limited to, concerts, involvement with camps for children, tours, and hosting birthday parties, their community and tourist involvement is constantly growing.

This portion of the large facility at the palace is not closed and is open during its normal operating hours.

Across the rotunda, one may hear he quaint sound of birds chirping. This sound would be coming from the pond which provides a rare haven for many birds in the area. Accordingly, as the sun sets, providing a light glow over the palace a mist settles over the pond, visitors may notice Jerry Washington, a resident of a nearby palace neighborhood sitting on the bench gazing into the atmosphere as if to be posing for a photograph.

“I’ve been a visitor of this location for years and each time I come, the feeling is positive. The renovations don’t disturb me at all. Just knowing that it is to the benefit of me, my children, and even their children, is all I need to know because I feel it is worth the wait. So until I will be able to stroll the inside runways of the palace I will enjoy my outside view.”

Two things are evident outside the palace. Both the ornate statues around the rotunda as well as the weeping women statues on the top of the colonnade are inspiring. The weeping women were created by the sculptor Ulric Ellerhusen. The point of the statues was to express the sadness and melancholy of life without art. This depiction is just proof of why this renovation is so essential to the site, the community and the remnant of the past.

Tourists and natives alike can mingle, frolic, be in commemorative day or night photographs, participate in the numerous activities being offered, feed the ducks and ignore the infamous seagulls of the nearby Fisherman’s Wharf.


If You Go: 

  • Hours of the Exploratorium are Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Prices for the Exploratorium range between $11 and $17.
  • There is no charge to walk around the public spaces surrounding the Palace of Fine Arts.
  • Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
    • 3301 Lyon St., San Francisco, Calif. 94123
    • Administrative Office: 415-563-6504
    • Box Office: 415-567-6642
    • Fax: 415-567-4062

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