On Saturday, February 25, 2017, the community gathered for a grand opening celebration for the new Presidio Visitor Center. The day included an Ohlone Welcome Dance from the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, Loong Mah Dragon and Lion Dancers, Tatsumaki Taiko Drummers, Ballet Folklorico de Mexicano, kids crafts, food trucks, and more. The 3,000 guests were the first to enjoy the visitor center’s exhibits, maps, digital tools, videos, as well as their collection of books and mementoes. The Presidio Visitor Center operated by the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
We asked opening day guests,
“What did you like about the new Presidio Visitor Center?”
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Bie Dellosa , Mona Singh, Alex (6), Iqvinder Singh, Asha (11), and Renee Dellosa – Petaluma, CA
Iqvinder: I like how perfect this location is. It’s got incredible views – you can even see the Golden Gate Bridge through the window at the back of the Visitor Center. It’s such a beautiful setting.
Alex: I liked the Visitor Center – especially the pictures of everything.
Bie: The Presidio Visitor Center was really modern inside. There are so many things to catch your eye that are also informative. And I loved all the books for sale.
Mona: My favorite part was the topographical map – it’s huge and you can see everything in the park. It was really nice seeing everything laid out that way.
Asha: I liked the Visitor Center because it has a lot of activities. My favorite thing was the topographical map.
Renee: I liked all the books you can buy there. The exhibits were really wonderful. We’ve been in this area but never here before. I liked the topographical map, too – it helps you see where you are in the park and understand how to get around the Presidio.
Levi (11), Jerry (10), Jud Rodriguez (11) – Oceanside, CA
Note: The Rodriguez brothers are from the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe. They were part of the Ohlone Welcome Dance on Community Day.
Levi: The bubbles that pop up on the digital display table in the Visitor Center are really cool. You can learn about the history of someone or something and learn more about the Presidio.
Jerry: I thought it was cool. And I got to play with my cousin, Zachary, which was fun.
Jud: It looked awesome inside. I liked looking at the map and learning about the history.
Leslie Chu, Kellee Hom, Amy Wu, and Ken Yu – San Francisco, CA
Note: Leslie, Kellee, Amy, and Ken are part of the Loong Mah Dragon and Lion Dancers and they performed during Community Day celebrations.
Kellee: The Visitor Center is so interactive! They have all these digital features where you can look up things and they even have an area that’s dedicated to the Ohlone people, which I think is fabulous.
Amy: This is my first time going to the Presidio Visitor Center and I love it. It’s beautiful, and I really love the windows where you can look out at San Francisco Bay.
Ken: This is my first time here, also, and it’s really nice being so informed by the space and learning more about the Presidio. You can easily get information right when you walk in the door and take a look around. You can also talk to rangers and ask questions.
Lyndon Raguro, Kailani (5), Luke (5), Anjali (6), Raj, Alice, and Lucille Ramyya – Novato, CA
Lyndon: I actually thought the Visitor Center was pretty fun. It’s a good thing we’ve gotten to know this part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, but I’d never been to the Presidio before. It’s cool you guys are using this building this way now.
Kailani: I really liked it – I made a pin at the table in the Visitor Center.
Luke: My favorite thing was watching the dragons – they were dancing! I was kind of scared because I thought they were going to catch me, but it was really fun. And we got to make these pins.
Anjali: I thought the Visitor Center was really fun. My favorite thing was the toys they have in there.
Raj: I thought the Visitor Center was great – it was very educational.
Lucille: Yes, it was really educational! We used the table where you could press all the different buttons to learn about the history of the Presidio and who once lived and worked here. I’ll definitely take the kids here again.
Ulysses, Barry (8) Torassa – Petaluma, and Karla Jones – San Francisco
Ulysses: I really liked the space. It has those videos – I didn’t know there was Andy Goldsworthy’s art here! So, yes, I was introduced to all these new things, which was very helpful. I also didn’t know about Mountain Lake and that whole project. And yes, the map is very cool. It helps me to feel oriented in a space.
Barry: I really liked it! My favorite part was the map of the whole world – well the whole Presidio. I want to go see the cemetery now. This is my first time at the Presidio, and it’s pretty cool.
Karla: I was here last night at the Officers’ Club for a concert, but this is my first time here at the Visitor Center. Well, this used to be a Post Office and a jail. I visited those spots all the time – at least once a week. I like to go hiking, and the Presidio is just a wonderful open space inside the city.
Ulysses: It’s super cool that people can live here! It’s gorgeous.
Karla: The Presidio Trust has done just a wonderful job upgrading the area from what it was when it was a base. Every time I come here I’m proud of what they’ve done – it’s quite amazing. I’m really impressed.