The Huntington Library has quickly become one of our all-time favorite museums here in Los Angeles. Not only do we get to view art but also the various botanical gardens allow the little ones a chance to run wild and explore. We have already visited multiple times and have yet to see all that the Huntington has to offer, which is probably the reason why we have come to love it so much. So if you are in the LA area and can’t think of anything to do, here are some reasons why you should check it out!
A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Set on 120 acres in San Marino, the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens was founded by businessman Henry E. Huntington and his wife Arabella. Both avid art and manuscript collectors, the Huntington’s amassed a collection worthy of a museum and in 1919 created the Huntington Library out of their estate. As time went on and the number of acquisitions grew, various structures were created to house the collections. The once opulent residence of Henry and Arabella was eventually converted into an art gallery, while a library was constructed to house rare book and manuscript collections. As for the rest of the grounds, specialized gardens scattered the 120 acres of land showcasing flora and fauna from around the world.
WHAT TO DO WHEN VISITING
Obviously, the reason anyone visits a museum is to view art but in the case of The Huntington, there is so much more to do than just that. If you have kids the first place I suggest visiting is the Children’s Garden. It is our first stop every time we visit and it is my daughter’s absolute favorite. Not only is everything children-sized, but there are also various water features placed all around for the little ones to play. Here kids can run around exploring the different plants, sounds, and sights helping to really engage them in sensory play. My daughter’s favorite thing to do is run through the tiny trellis’ and of course get sopping wet playing in the fountains. Once she has had her fill, we usually then make our way over to the Botanical Center conveniently located right next-door.
Another favorite of Hayden’s, and a place all kids will likely enjoy, the Botanical Center is located inside a beautiful glass conservatory that houses three distinct habitats. A truly immersive exhibit the greenhouse allows families to explore flora and fauna from tropical rainforests, cloud forest, and even a bog. There are even microscopes so children can get an even closer look at the plants and tiny critters that call these habitats home. After all the scientific exploration is through, we venture off to see what else will keep the little ones occupied. I for one LOVE art, so I always make sure we visit a few of the art galleries (in hopes my kids will one day share my passion or at least appreciate it.) But if do not have little ones, or don’t wish to bring them along there are plenty of other gardens, activities, and rotating exhibits to keep you occupied during your visit.
WHERE TO EAT
With the museum’s admission being on the pricier side ($23-25 for adults and $10 for kids ages 4-11) I prefer to just bring my own snacks and set up a picnic for us in one of the various gardens. Not only does it save us money, but also the kids are not confined to a table and can run around without bothering anyone. Plus, Hayden is always so excited at the thought of a picnic. But if picnics are just not your thing, there are a variety of eateries located throughout the grounds. For lighter fare, you could always try the cafe or coffee shop. There is even a little cafeteria located in the Rose Garden if you really work up an appetite. If you want to make your visit extra special I suggest the Tea Room for a nice traditional afternoon tea and lunch. Or even the Chinese Garden Tea House for Chinese fare. There are even some cute shops and restaurants located just a few miles from the museum if you want to explore more of San Marino.
Have I convinced you yet? The Huntington Library is truly a great place for individuals and families alike. If you need more information please visit their website at www.huntington.com and the next time you need weekend plans make sure to head to San Marino and visit the Huntington Library!
To read more about other historic mansions in Los Angeles check out this post here.