Sunday, February 25, 2024

Cinnabar’s Newest Project, Lands End Lookout, Opens a Window on History and Nature

Observation deck and gallery, Lands End Lookout. Courtesy EHDD.


San Francisco, CA, USA /PRWEB/ —  On April 28, 2012, The National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy unveiled the Lands End Lookout, the newest visitor center within the Golden Gate National Parks. Located along San Francisco’s rugged Pacific coast, the new 4,150-square-foot “green” visitor center sits directly above the former Sutro Baths at the northwest edge of the City, and features a museum store, café, and educational and interpretive exhibits highlighting the natural landscape and cultural history of this remarkable site.

Work began on the visitor center in 2011, through a generous lead gift from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, with major support from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and additional funding from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. The Lands End improvement project also received lead support from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund for upgrades to the USS San Francisco Memorial overlook and parking area, a new wheel-chair accessible trailhead and overlook at Merrie Way, renovations and extension of the Coastal Trail, expanded bicycle and vehicle parking, and restoration of coastal views and natural habitat largely driven by Parks Conservancy and NPS volunteers. Additional funding came from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the California State Coastal Conservancy.

“The Goldman Fund is so pleased to see how the community has responded positively to the improvements at Lands End. The Lookout will dramatically enhance the visitor experience and create more opportunities to enjoy this spectacular place,” Amy Lyons, Executive Director, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. “Lands End has always been special to Mr. Goldman as he used to walk there with his father as a young boy and continued the tradition with his grandchildren.”

Long before Europeans arrived in North America, Lands End was a seasonal home to the Yelamu Ohlone tribe. In the late 1800s, Adolph Sutro, a San Francisco entrepreneur, supported the building of the Cliff House Railroad to bring the general public to his ocean-side amusements—the Sutro Baths and Sutro Heights Gardens. In 1887, at Sutro’s urging, Seal Rocks became a designated marine preserve—one of the nation’s first. In its many reincarnations, the site has served as the Playland amusement park and a 1960s ice rink, but these early visitor amenities were destroyed by fire in 1966. In the 1980s, the land was purchased by the National Park Service and the recent improvements are the latest in a long line of innovative and sustainable projects made possible through their partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

“The new Lookout showcases Lands End as an amazing piece of San Francisco history,” said Frank Dean, general superintendent, Golden Gate National Parks. “With these improvements, visitors will be able to truly appreciate its fascinating natural and cultural legacy.”

Open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., the new Lookout presents visitors with stunning 30-mile views of the California coast, and provides the opportunity to explore the natural and cultural history of this beloved park site. The new Lands End visitor experience includes:

Interactive Displays and Panels: Visitors will learn about the coast’s geology, the original inhabitants of Lands End, the Yelamu (Ohlone) tribe, Adolph Sutro’s role in developing this part of the City in the 1880s, and the archeological remnants of an early amusement park. Educational displays also reveal the many animals and plants that call the area home, and why native plants and habitat restoration are key to the endurance of wildlife.

Interpretative Items and the Lookout Café: Visitors can take a peek into the future thanks to a fortune-telling machine from the Musée Mécanique, an old fashioned “arcade” at the nearby Cliff House, and choose from a selection of unique interpretative items for purchase. The new Lookout café features a selection of fresh, locally-sourced grab-and-go fare, including the It’s It, which was originally developed by George Whitney for sale at Playland At the Beach. 

Sustainability and Design: Designed with the surrounding natural landscape in mind, architectural components of the new Lookout include reclaimed Redwood siding, natural ventilation and lighting, low-flow fixtures, native-plant landscaping and photovoltaic systems, and windows that showcase the panoramic view of Sutro Baths and the California coastline. The structure also offers storage space for the ongoing volunteer-driven stewardship efforts that will help sustain the maintenance and preservation of Lands End as well as the nearby California Coastal Trail.

“We are delighted to be able to reinvigorate one of the top visitor destinations in the Bay Area,” said Greg Moore, President and CEO of the Parks Conservancy. “This stunning—and sustainable—visitor facility would not have been possible without our partners the National Park Service, generous support from our donors, and active participation from our volunteers, neighbors, and members of the community.”
About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Parks Conservancy is an authorized “cooperating association” of the National Park Service, and is one of more than 70 such nonprofit organizations working with national parks around the country. To learn more, please visit or call (415) 561-3000.

About the National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior charged with managing the preservation and public use of America’s most significant natural, scenic, historic, and cultural treasures. The NPS manages the Golden Gate National Parks, as well as 394 other park sites across the U.S. For more information, visit or call (415) 561-4700.

About our Partners
The Lands End Lookout is designed to maximize the visitor experience at this beloved San Francisco destination. The storied natural and cultural history of the area has been interpreted through hands-on displays, panels and merchandise to create an interactive museum store experience. The Lookout’s architecture is the work of several San Francisco based firms including architects from EHDD, landscape architecture by SURFACEDESIGN INC., general contracting work by Plant Construction Company, L.P., exhibition and retail design by Macchiatto, graphic design by Studio Hinrichs, and exhibit and fixture fabrication by Cinnabar in Los Angeles.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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