Escapes: Blooming magnolias in Golden Gate Park

The San Francisco Botanical Garden includes a magnificent magnolia collection. Starting this weekend, tours and interpretation stations will be offered.
The San Francisco Botanical Garden includes a magnificent magnolia collection. Starting this weekend, tours and interpretation stations will be offered.


Magnolia season

With the trees often reaching 80 feet, magnolia blossom time is a sight to behold. Its peak lasts from mid-January through March, with bare branches slowly lending themselves to gorgeous pink and white flowers.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden boasts arguably the most significant magnolia collection outside China, as it is home to nearly 100 rare, historic magnolias and 51 species within its 55 urban acres. Magnolias represent the signature of the garden, with free Magnolia Walk maps for easy exploration. Starting this weekend, take advantage of free docent-led tours at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and docent-staffed interpretation stations for answers to any of questions from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Find the garden in Golden Gate Park, near the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way. It’s open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $7, with discounts for seniors, children and families. Learn more at


Nature art show

What: A non-juried show will celebrate the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy, showcasing all kinds of art. The commonality will be artists’ depictions of local sites Cooks Beach, the Gualala Bluff Trail and Hearn Gulch. Friday marks the opening reception.

When: 5 p.m. Friday through Feb. 1

Where: Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Old State Highway, Gualala

Cost: Free



Birding hike

What: Join the Solano Land Trust raptor team for a birds of prey identification workshop, which will also cover natural history, threats, habitat conservation and more. After the presentation, you’ll be guided on a short but steep hike to observe eagles, falcons and hawks. Bring binoculars, water, snacks and a camera. Advanced payment required.

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Rush Ranch Nature Center, 3521 Grizzly Island Road, Suisun City

Cost: $10

Information: (707) 685-5908;


Reptile rendezvous

What: Meet two of California’s native snakes and an Eastern box turtle during this drop-in educational program.

When: 1-2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area, Central Park Drive, Berkeley

Cost: Free

Information: (510) 544-2233;


Restaurant week

What: Explore all the culinary delights South Lake Tahoe has to offer during its annual restaurant week. More than 20 restaurants, ranging from breweries to fine dining establishments, will offer various special prix-fixe menus and other deals.

When: Friday through Jan. 16

Where: Various locations, South Lake Tahoe

Cost: Varies




What: The Madame Houdini show comes to the United States for the first time. In a field dominated by men, the “Enchantress of the Elements” entertains with aerial tricks, dancers and multimedia special effects.

When: Jan. 14 through April 19

Where: Eldorado Showroom, 345 N Virginia St., Reno

Cost: $24.95-$43.95


Bee Staff