A state-of-the-art visitor’s center will open this weekend at Land’s End in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area after a year of construction and negotiations to ensure that all exhibits could be properly featured.
The center is located above the Sutro Baths, at the trailhead of the 2-mile long footpath that leads visitors along the shoreline at The City’s northwest corner. In addition to views highlighting the natural landscape, it also will display historical images and artifacts from the baths; the 1960s-era amusement park, Playland; and a small exhibit about former Mayor Adolph Sutro, who lived nearby.
“It’s a beautiful building,” said David Shaw, spokesman for the Golden Gate Parks National Conservancy. “It’s really becoming a little better known as a beautiful place to go and hike and recreate and enjoy the views. The Park Service thought it could really benefit from a new visitors center.”
The 4,000-square-foot visitor’s center has an information desk, interpretative exhibits and large glass windows to prominently feature the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Improvements to vehicle and bike parking also have been completed in the past few years.
The final cost of the project was not immediately available. When the project was announced in April 2010, a $5 million gift was donated from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund to help complete the project.
In a released statement, Amy Lyons, executive director for the Goldman Fund, said the organization was happy to contribute to a project that would benefit many people.
“Richard Goldman wanted to create a legacy in San Francisco that married his love of The City with his deep connection with nature,” Lyons said. “It’s a gift for everyone in San Francisco and visitors coming to take in the breathtaking view.”
The project is one of many improvements planned in Lands End. With additional funding, the conservancy hopes to improve the Sutro Baths by providing educational signs that tell the story of the ruins.
“Many people walk around here not knowing what it is,” Shaw said of the future projects. “Lands End is still being discovered as a beautiful parks site.”
The center’s grand opening is scheduled for April 28.