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Sculptures in San Francisco

Wave Organ

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The Wave Organ is a sculpture constructed on the shore of San Francisco Bay in May 1986 by the Exploratorium.

Through a series of pipes, the Wave Organ interacts with the waves of the bay and conveys their sound to listeners at several different stations. The effects produced vary depending on the level of the tide but include rumbles, gurgles, sloshes, hisses, and other more typical wave sounds. The structure incorporates stone platforms and benches where visitors may sit near the mouths of pipes, listening.

The Wave Organ is located at the end of a spit of land extending from the Golden Gate Yacht Club. The stone pieces used in its construction were salvaged from the demolition of the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco. Exploratorium artist in residence Peter Richards conceived and designed the organ, working with sculptor and mason George Gonzales.

There is a panoramic view of the city across the narrow channel into the St. Francis and Golden Gate yacht clubs, bounded on the left by the Fort Mason piers and to the right by a towering eucalyptus grove bordering Crissy Field. The park and trail to it are wheelchair accessible, with the trailhead at the Marina Green park.

The Wave Organ includes 25 PVC organ pipes and is dedicated to Frank Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was the founding director of the Exploratorium, led the fundraising efforts for the Wave Organ, and died seven months before construction started.

See also

  • Blackpool High Tide Organ (in Blackpool, England, UK)
  • Sea organ (in Zadar, Croatia)

External links

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Tips & Hints
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16 August 2011
Did you know the Wave Organ is an Exploratorium exhibit? Completed by two artists in 1986, it includes 25 organ pipes! Come at high tide when the Wave Organ sounds best. Read more below for more info.
Patience S
5 August 2015
It gets pretty windy, so bring a jacket.
19 October 2011
Come at high tide or on a full moon, and you too might hear sounds of the Flying Dutchman trying to send messages to port.
Mark Brenneman
15 August 2011
Go when it is high tide for a great tune!
18 January 2011
A really romantic spot to sit and listen to & watch the waves crashing.
9 November 2010
Being here on a high tide is definitely a must-do, but even when it's not, it's an absolutely beautiful and relatively unknown spot to tourists and locals alike, especially on a nice clear day.
E Jacob Lindstrom
30 June 2010
High Tide Times:
Đorđe Gligorijević
12 June 2016
Make sure you visit during tide (no wave concert otherwise) !
Dan Mondragón Somera
You need to enter through the parking lot and surround the bay in order to get there. Didn't hear anything, but it's a nice place to eat lunch and enjoy the view 😅
Jess L
15 March 2016
Fun for kids to climb over. Come at high tide otherwise you miss the show.
Danilo Crnogorac [SU7]
Adrian Chen
21 May 2015
Really cool lookout point! Go during high tide to get the best effect.
The Ritz-Carlton
4 November 2014
Visit the other-worldly Wave Organ, located on a jetty at the small Boat Harbor in the Marina district of San Francisco. Through a series of pipes, visitors can listen to the sounds of the Bay.
Rita L
25 October 2014
A 10 minute walk from the parking lot, walk all the way you the end and you'll see it! Doesn't make much sound when it's not high tide...
George Hayes
18 August 2014
Try to go during hightide.
Alyssa Foote
20 July 2014
My favorite place to chill out in the city. Walk or ride your bike here and enjoy the gorgeous 360 views of the San Francisco Bay.
Darren Naude
17 December 2013
Great view but the organ sucks. Doesn't really work at all.
Mishell Paulino
5 June 2013
Don't park in the parking lot closest to the yacht club - it floods @ high tide. Walk all the way to the end of the peninsula past the club to get here.
Jesse Casman
24 May 2012
Basically always breezy. Take a windbreaker or a good coat. Totally great spot for checking out Fourth of July fireworks or watching the Blue Angels during Fleet Week.
22 April 2012
This place is awwwesome. Check it out when the tide is coming in.
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1936 San Francisco Bay Trail, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA

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Open hours
Sun 10:00 AM–8:00 PM
Mon 1:00 PM–6:00 PM
Tue 4:00 PM–5:00 PM
Wed Noon–3:00 PM
Thu Noon–5:00 PM
Fri Noon–6:00 PM

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