Some new pickleball courts have been fashioned out of a space at the Palace of Fine Arts that appears to be the former Exploratorium museum, and they'll be available for reservations soon to quench the city's high demand among pickleball enthusiasts.
The three new pickleball courts, which have been in the works for six months according to SFGate, are opening on July 11 in one of the high-ceilinged warehouse spaces at the Palace of Fine Arts. (Meanwhile, it seems like a project to adaptively reuse the structures and redevelop the site which goes back almost a decade is in some sort of holding pattern.)
"We are thrilled to further expand access to pickleball, an incredibly social and inclusive sport that has brought joy to so many new players over the past few years,” says SF Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg in a statement. "We will continue to prioritize meeting demand while balancing the needs of our other sports communities."
As of this week, there are 64 available courts in the city for playing pickleball, up from just 12 in 2018, the parks department notes. Once the Palace of Fine Arts courts open, that number will be 67, and that will include 17 dedicated pickleball courts and 50 tennis courts that have had new striping and wheel-able pickleball nets added to accommodate pickleball playing.
The new courts are a collaborative effort by Rec & Park, Non Plus Ultra — the event company currently leasing the building — and DinkSF, a newly formed pickleball group based at the Palace of Fine Arts location. They will be offering classes and clinics there as well.
"The DinkSF team is privileged and excited to bring pickleball lessons, clinics, court reservations and ball machine rental to this growing community," DinkSF said in a statement. "Our team of Professional Pickleball Registry-certified instructors can’t wait to share their passion for pickleball with other enthusiasts, one dink at a time!"
Reservations for these courts, opening July 11, can be made through Rec & Parks' existing reservation system.
Across the country, the sport of pickleball has exploded in popularity, with an estimated 9 million Americans playing it in 2022 — about double the number from 2021.
Photo via DinkSF