A longer visit to Golden Gate Park is time well spent. There are several worthwhile destinations right up against each other, and you can easily pass a day here.
The de Young Museum is a beautifully realized architectural achievement.
If you don’t want to pay to go in and visit the galleries, you can still see the Goldsworthy courtyard
and go around the side to find James Turrell’s atmospheric installation.
Across from the museum is the California Academy of Sciences, another architectural achievement, this one with an extensive green roof,
and a famous albino alligator.
He gets to loll on a heated rock in his grotto, and ignore the attentions of legions of fans.
The Botanic Garden AKA Strybing Arboretum is just down the way, and invites you to get lost along its curving paths as you visit plants and trees from climate zones around the world.
Cloud forest plants!
Afterward, walk across the moon bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden.
Alternately, you can go with Helen to find the nearest ice cream, here located in a mobile truck.
Really, if you’ve come this far you may as well go all the way down to the Beach Chalet
and have a meal looking out at Ocean Beach. On the way are buffalo, a nice lake, a windmill, and more of life’s rich tapestry.