Two Golden Gate Park gems will be free for SF residents — and more expensive for tourists

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Admission to the Conservatory of Flowers and Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park will officially become free for San Francisco residents, but more expensive for foreigners.

The Mayor of London Breed proposed legislation in January to scrap local resident fees for both attractions and the Board of Supervisors granted its blessing in a 10-1 vote on Tuesday.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin dissented because the change is set to lead to higher ticket prices for people who don’t live in the city.

“At a time when we’re trying to attract non-residents to San Francisco…this, to me, sends the wrong message,” Peskin said. “I feel like if we’re even going to go that route, now is definitely not the time to do it.”

The legislation will come into force 30 days after it is signed by Breed.

This means that San Francisco residents won’t have to pay for any of the park’s three specialty gardens, given that they already pay nothing for admission to the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Breed has previously said that the three gardens are “urban oases that offer visitors the opportunity to explore the natural world and enjoy the natural beauty of our city” and she wanted “all residents…to experience these attractions for free. appreciated”.

Currently, San Francisco adults under 65 pay $7 to enter the Conservatory or Tea Garden, with minors and seniors paying less. In fiscal year 2019, fees paid by city residents accounted for approximately $270,000 of more than $5 million in admission revenue to the two gardens.

As part of the legislation removing fees for residents, supervisors have also agreed to let veterans who live out of town enter the Winter Garden and Tea Garden for free. This is expected to cost $300,000 in lost annual revenue.

To compensate for fee waivers, the new legislation also allows the conservatory and tea garden to use flexible pricing – where tickets may temporarily cost more for those who have to pay, depending on factors such as audience demand .

Increases cannot exceed $7. General admission for non-local adults under 65 is currently $10.

Tamara Aparton, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Parks Department, said officials currently plan to raise daily garden admission prices to $13 from February through October and the cost could be higher for events. specials. The department also plans to launch a discounted ticket to several gardens this summer.

Separately, supervisors approved a plan to let the nonprofit San Francisco Botanical Garden Society take over operations of the city’s tea garden and conservatory and the San Francisco Parks Alliance. City officials wanted to place the park’s three specialty gardens under the control of the same nonprofit organization to streamline operations and improve the visitor experience.

JD Morris is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: jd.morris@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @thejdmorris

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