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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)

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Exploratorium
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.
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1936 San Francisco Bay Trail, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA

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Thu Noon–5:00 PM
Fri Noon–6:00 PM
Sat-Sun 10:00 AM–8:00 PM
Mon 1:00 PM–6:00 PM
Tue 4:00 PM–5:00 PM
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