Friday, June 8, 2012

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, And Botanical Gardens

Yesterday my sister's and I took our kids to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. 

At the beginning of every  month you can get free tickets to The Huntington for the following month but only a limited number of tickets are available and woo hoo I was able to get us some. This saved us $45! Normal admissions for adults is $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends (though this price is going up next month). A lot of money? Yes. Indisputably and unequivocally worth it? YES! Here in the High Desert, we headed south on the 15 freeway and then took the 210 east pretty much straight to our destination. We hit minimal traffic (always a concern here in L.A.) and got there in about an hour and twenty minutes.

 So what did we think?

The Huntington is AMAZING!! I could kick myself for not visiting this surprisingly accessible and inspiring place before. What does The Huntington offer? Here's generally what you will find: 
  1. A library that holds over 6 million books/manuscripts. (Though only select scholars have access to said library.)
  2. An art collection that would rival any museum visit.
  3. Massive botanical gardens that cover 207 picturesque acres.

The Huntington also offers specialized exhibits, group classes, lectures on various topics, conferences, and educational workshops for kids. And of course you can't underestimate the value of just taking a leisurely stroll to a secluded bench under a hanging tree (I mean a physically-hanging-tree, not the Hunger Games kind...) and escaping the world for a bit.

 The Huntington also offers short term exhibits. Right now (June 2012) you can find: a summer workshop teaching kids the art of origami, an exhibit entitled 'Visions of Empire: The Quest for a Railroad Across America, 1840–1880' which documents the changes the transcontinental railroad had on America, listen to traditional Chinese music in the Chinese Garden, and an exhibition of Al Martinez who is called the Bard of L.A.

The Huntington has something for everyone. It has so much to offer and we saw only a teeny, tiny fraction of what this horticultural and educational paradise has to offer. Sarah had to be at work by 3 pm so we had a time limit. Boo!

 We were able to see the Lily ponds and do a drive by of the Japanese Gardens.  Katie was blown away by the marvel that was the aptly named Garden of Flowing Fragrance in the Chinese Gardens (this is the description outside the garden: "Welcome to Liu Fang Yuan the Garden of Flowing Fragrance at The Huntington where nature's artistry and the spirit of poetry bloom in harmony." It moves my soul to read something like that.).

I was flipping out over the conservatory (*said in best English accent channeling Downton Abbey) but alas we ran out of time so I had to ogle it from afar (*sigh with white gloved hand glancing across my brow in mock faint*).

The vibe at the Huntington is welcoming-even for little children-and educational. As every parent knows, kids (especially two toddlers) don't fit in everywhere and some places don't like appreciate the enthusiasm (yeah, that's a good way to describe it) kids can show for life. Ryker (Katie's 22 month old son on the left) and Atticus (my 28 month old son on the right) even felt the magic of the place and decided to hold hands while frolicking through the gardens.

Can you hear the tune to The Fox And The Hound playing? "When you're the best of friends, having so much fun together, you're not even aware, you're such a funny pair. Life's one happy game..." *tear*

It is a great place to go whether you are looking for a secluded necking spot with your love (HA...necking), plan on lunching with the ladies in the Tea Room (pinky up!) or are taking your 2 year old toddlers to check out the Koi fish. It has something for everyone.

The weather was perfect in the high 70's but I would highly advise everyone to take a sun hat and a pair of sunglasses, and of course sun screen. I got a little sunburned on my shoulders :(.

Stacy and Mr. Atticus


Katie and Mr. Ryker

I came home and declared to my husband that I must, MUST move to San Marino or Pasadena so I can visit this wondrous place daily. However, reality set in and most of the surrounding beautiful homes were $1,000,000 or more. To loosely quote a friend in conclusion: it sure is expensive to live near paradise. :)

Now get thee to The Huntington! Huzzah!


  1. Wonderful review! I'm sorry I missed it. Brought a tear to my eye.

    1. If you ever want to go down mom, I would be more than happy to take you. :)

  2. I want to lunch with the ladies in the tea room! :) I want to visit this place immediately. Poetry, art, and trees? The Huntington and I could be very happy together. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. It is a wonderful place. I feel inspired there. We definitely need to have tea in the tea room!! :)

  3. I love the cactus garden. Have been there many times and never get tired of it!

    1. We didn't realize how big the gardens were but next time we are definitely visiting the cactus garden!

  4. So wish I could have enjoyed a visit there before our move...I am realizing we missed out on so much!!!!

    1. We feel the same way! We are trying to explore more and see what Southern California has to offer!