San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
The Exploratorium team partnered with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) to design an inquiry-based installation that explores the history—and the next chapter—of Alvord Lake, which sits at the eastern end of Golden Gate Park. The interactive experiences at Alvord Lake embody RPD’s goals to inspire a sense of play and stewardship in local residents and visitors.
The installation offers the opportunity for enhanced social connections and a strong sense of community. Along the Hello Highway, a “High-Five Zone'' allows visitors to connect and interact in a world that is increasingly prone to social isolation. Other exhibits encourage visitors to pause and explore the engaging physical phenomena that define Alvord Lake. At Hidden Dunes, for example, visitors can shift gusts of wind that shape a miniaturized version of the sand dunes that once blanketed the land where Golden Gate Park now stands. As visitors enjoy this installation’s pathways and pauses, they discover Alvord Lake’s complex and vibrant story of how culture, nature, and the built environment evolve over time.
Alvord Lake opened in 2021 for a two-year installation.