Obscura Society SF: Twilight Monastery Stone Scavenger Hunt - Atlas Obscura
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San Francisco, California

Obscura Society SF: Twilight Monastery Stone Scavenger Hunt

Join us at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens for an evening scavenger hunt seeking William Randolf Hearst's Spanish monastery stones

Hidden in Golden Gate Park are some impressively old building blocks - older than the city, older than the state of California itself. These elaborately carved stones in decorative shapes which now form garden walls and sit picturesquely by paths in the Botanical Gardens were once part of a 12th century monastery, located in Ovila, Spain.

In 1930 William Randolf Hearst used some of his millions to acquire this crumbling ruin, bringing the massive structure in pieces to San Francisco in eleven ships, destined to be part of one of his elaborate fantasy building projects akin to Hearst Castle. But things did not go according to the millionaire's plans, and eventually the stones came to sit here, in Golden Gate Park where over the decades they have slowly scattered and found new homes.

Join us at dusk in the Botanical Gardens for a special evening quest to locate Hearst's stones in a scavenger hunt challenge, and then join us as the sun sets for cocktails and planty prizes in the library garden, built from monastery stones itself.


  • Saturday, July 20, 6:30-9:30pm
  • San Francisco Botanical Gardens, Golden Gate Park
  • $20 general admission, $20 for members of the Botanical Garden
  • Please meet promptly at 6:30 at the main gate off 9th Avenue
  • Ages 21+
  • Please bring your ID with you