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The Wave Organ is a sculpture constructed on the shore of San Francisco Bay in May 1986 by the Exploratorium, and more specifically, by Exploratorium artist in residence Peter Richards, who conceived and designed the organ, working with sculptor and mason George Gonzales.
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.
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.
Tours To The Wave Organ
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $55
Duration: 1 to 3 hours
Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $105
Duration: 3 to 6 hours
Painted Ladies and the Western Addition BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $159
Duration: 4 hours
The Wave Organ Reviews
Enjoyed our stop to see and hear the wave organ. Fun and interesting concept and structure. Nice short walk along the bay to reach to wave organ. Lovely view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. more »
Kind of a disappointing. It was really wavy but no sounds were coming out of the pipes. The walk out was nice and so was the view just don't expect to hear any noise more »
The organ itself is a really interesting piece of public art. The pipes don't all have sound coming through at lower tides so be sure to go at high tide for the full experience - the view though is the real draw for me, a panoramic look across the bay at the golden gate bridge, Alcatraz and back to the city. Beautiful!
This was a very cool place to check out in San Francisco! Parking is super easy, even for handicap. We were able to push a wheelchair all the way out to the tip, even on the crushed gravel and over the brick pathway below. Honestly, you could just sit out there and enjoy the incredible scenery. The day we went, the pipes weren't as loud, but we could still hear a little something.
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