San Francisco: Federal Facilities Reopen to Visitors
By: Cindy Hu
(Oct. 17, 2013) – With the reopening of federally-operated facilities, the following San Francisco area attractions are open. For the latest information contact areas directly or the San Francisco Visitor Information Center at 415-391-2000, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.sanfrancisco.travel.
Alcatraz Island is now open to the public and welcoming passengers to board Alcatraz Cruises for the popular National Parks on-island tour. Starting Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, normal operations will resume. As of this posting tickets were available through the weekend and “walk-ins” are being accepted for bookings; however, visitors are cautioned to check website for availability. Departure times from Pier 33 begin at 9:15 a.m. and run throughout the day. Prices for the day tour range from $30 for juniors and adults (ages 12-61) to $18.25 for children 5-11 and $28.25 for seniors 62+.
Don’t miss: Before or after your visit to Alcatraz, stroll along the Embarcadero. San Francisco Chronicle writer Carl Nolte has dubbed this stretch of the waterfront from around Pier 15 where the new Exploratorium opened in the spring down to the venerable Ferry Building, a “walk without parallel.”
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
All units of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area are open including Presidio of San Francisco, Maritime National Historical Park (Hyde Street Pier and Maritime Museum), Alcatraz, Muir Woods and Fort Point.
Don’t miss: Come to Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands and get an up-close view of the fall raptor migration; The best raptor migration viewing is on fog-free days 10 am–2 pm, from Sept. through Nov. the best raptor migration viewing is on fog-free days between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. September-November. The The best raptor migration viewing is on fog-free days 10 am–2 pm, from Sept. through Nov.The best raptor migration viewing is on fog-free days 10 am–2 pm, from Sept. through Nov.Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO), a cooperative program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and National Park Service, offers “hawk talks” every Saturday and Sunday in October.
Contact: www.nps.gov/muwo; for updates including a nature hotline call 415-388-2595.
Muir Woods is open. One of the last, and most beloved, stands of old-growth coast redwoods in the world, Muir Woods celebrated its 100th anniversary as a National Monument in 2008. The park’s namesake, John Muir, declared it “the best tree-lover’s monument that could be found in all the forests of the world.” California coast redwoods are considered the tallest tree species in the world and can reach heights of more than 380 feet (the equivalent of a 35-story building). Ideal weather conditions in the fall attract many migratory animals including monarch butterflies. Autumn is also a great time to watch the Bigleaf Maples in the park turn colors.
Don’t miss: En route to Muir Woods, visit the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Established on May 2, 1855, it is the only American lighthouse to be reached by a suspension bridge — a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge, naturally!
Point Reyes National Seashore
Contact: Point Reyes National Seashore Association, www.ptreyes.org or www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm
Entire park is open. Explore more than 147 miles of hiking trails, see more than 40 native land and marine mammals (including 27 endangered species), and learn more about Point Reyes and the incredible wildlife that flourish within this magnificent landscape. Visitors have access to trails, visitor centers, beaches, campgrounds, and park-managed roads within the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Don’t miss: Guided tours to view tule elk, a species of elk only found in California, are offered on a frequent basis.
Presidio of San Francisco
All visitor amenities in the Presidio of San Francisco are operating. These include Baker Beach, Presidio Visitor Center, Fort Point and National Park Service programs. The Warming Hut and Beach Hut cafes have reopened.
Don’t miss: Until Feb. 3, 2014, The Walt Disney Family Museum will present the exhibition Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong. The exhibition focuses on the life and work of Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong—a celebrated painter, muralist, kite maker, lithographer, Hollywood sketch artist, calligrapher, ceramicist and Disney Legend. At age 102, Wong is the oldest living Chinese-American artist.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is open for business on Oct. 16, 2013. Sources in the valley say that the weather has been perfect, and the fall foliage in Yosemite Valley is nearing its peak. Visitors should visit website for complete details or call 801-559-4949.
All lodging inside Yosemite will be available for guests checking in the evening of Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013.
Dining and Services
Restaurant and dining options, as well as activities and shops will be phased in as quickly as possible. Check website for more details on which services will be available for Thursday and Friday arrivals.
Roads and Trails
Roads and trails within Yosemite that were closed during the shutdown are open, including Glacier Point Road, and the Mariposa Grove Road.
Don’t miss: During this time of year, the emphasis may be on the show created by trees and shrubs shedding colorful leaves, but don’t forget that the greatest trees of all reside in Yosemite: the Giant Sequoias. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is a short drive from the Wawona Hotel and makes a perfect backdrop for a fall ramble underneath towering Sequoias.
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