14. Visit the Bison, yes Bison in Golden Gate Park

April 15, 2010

American Bison by Franco Folini on flickr

American Bison by Franco Folini on flickr

Hard to believe, but yes, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is home to some 5 Bison (often called Buffalo) and has been since 1899.

It’s so out of place that it seems a bit surreal that you can view such a lovely enormous animal without visiting some plains of the Midwest somewhere.

Next time you find yourself out in Golden Gate Park, whether it’s checking out The De Young or just cruising through, make a special trip to the Western end close to North Lake. There is where you will find the Golden Gate Park Buffalo Paddock.

More info. from the official site:

In the past, an assortment of animals, including bears, goats, and elk, roamed about a free-range environment. Small herds of bison also called Golden Gate Park their home. In 1890, a distinct bison cow and one bison bull were transported from the rolling Great Plains to the urban paradise of the Golden Gate Park. Hailing from parts of Wyoming and Kansas, the cow was named Sarah Bernhardt, while the bull was called Ben Harrison. The Park Commission beamed with pride as such possessions roamed about their land.

At first, the bison were positioned east of where the new Academy of Sciences will stand. As time passed, some bison were transported to where they can be found today during 1899. Over the years, more and more bison residents began to find their way to the Golden Gate Park Buffalo Paddock, including three from the Yellowstone National Park in 1905. Before you knew it, the herd showcased 30 by 1918 [...]

Overall, don’t expect a grand show of movement and daring feats when visiting the bison. They tend to keep to themselves and really don’t engage in any exciting activities. They appear in the standing position for most of the day and sometimes sit about. If you are lucky, one of the bison may slowly travel from the field to the corral [...]

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