As its 75th birthday fast approaches, the Golden Gate Bridge is getting a little birthday present. Even though about 40 million vehicles cross it each year and visitors come in droves daily to admire and photograph it, the spectacular span has never had a visitor center. That is, until this month.
“The bridge experience up to this point has just really been self-guided and a photo opportunity,” said David Shaw, vice president of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. “Now there’s this bridge pavilion, which is a really nice welcome center. You enter the building and are greeted by a National Park Service ranger who can answer your questions and help you orient your visit. There are a number of interpretive panels that tell the bridge story and some actual artifacts.”
Visitors will also find a new café and a gift shop where good-quality merchandise has replaced the former kitsch.