Guide to The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
MomsLA is your source for Things to do in Los Angeles With Kids
Families visiting The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino will find so much to do and explore, from rare manuscripts, enchanting gardens, and stunning artwork to special events for the entire family. Our Guide to The Huntington has all the information you need to have a fun visit.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, CA 91108
Hours: Open six days a week 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed on Tuesdays.
Closed on Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens comprises 207 acres. The Huntington is named for Henry and Arabella Huntington. Mr. Huntington was a railroad and real estate businessman, and along with his wife, accumulated an extensive library, art, and botanical collection.
The Library is “one of the world’s great independent research libraries in the fields of British and American history, literature, art, and the history of science.” Some highlights of the collection include first editions by authors such as Jack London, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain; letters and manuscripts by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln; one of 12 vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible; and more.
The Art Collections “focus on European art from the 15th to the early 20th century and American art from the late 17th to the late 20th century.” The collection includes 650 paintings and 440 works of sculpture. Highlights of the collection include Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy looking across the room at Thomas Lawrence’s Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton: “Pinkie”; J. M. W. Turner’s The Grand Canal, Venice; Mary Cassatt’s Breakfast in Bed; Andy Warhol’s Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle); and more.
The Botanical Gardens encompass about 120 acres of the entire grounds and includes 12 gardens featuring 15,000 plant varieties. Take your time to marvel at all there is to see (and smell!). Explore the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, the Japanese Garden, the Desert Garden (“one of the largest outdoor collections of mature cacti and succulents in the world”), and be sure to spend extra time at the Helen and Peter Bing Children’s Garden. Here children are actively engaged while they learn about light, water, earth, and air. They can splash in water, make music with pebbles, and much more!
Special Exhibits and Events:
Orbit Pavilion is an outdoor installation that allows visitors to, in a sense, interact with “soundscape experience representing the movement of the International Space Station and 19 Earth Science Satellites.” Each sound you hear (a tree branch moving, a frog croaking) interprets one of the satellites’ missions. Orbit Pavilion will be at The Huntington until September 3rd.
Stubbs’ Zebra is on special loan to The Huntington Art Gallery until April 30th. The painting, exhibited in 1763, is on loan from the Yale Center for British Art. The painting is noted for the artist’s attention to detail and “his grasp of the anatomical differences between zebras and horses.”
Throughout the year, The Huntington also hosts a variety of special events and programs. Children’s Workshops are generally held on Saturday mornings and allow children an opportunity to learn a new art technique. (An upcoming class on March 24th focuses on Chinese Brush Painting). Check the calendar for details and to register for workshops.
Additionally, The Huntington offers classes, tours, lectures, and special holiday celebrations including their Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 1st.
Weekday prices: $25 for adults; $21 for seniors (65 and older); $21 for students (ages 12-18); $13 for children ages 4-11; free for children younger than 4.
Weekend and holiday prices: $29 for adults; $24 for seniors (65 and older); $24 for students (ages 12-18); $13 for children ages 4-11; free for children younger than 4.
Admission to The Huntington is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of each month. Advance tickets are required and can be requested online.
Families wishing to make multiple visits to The Huntington should consider the benefits of Membership. Members receive unlimited free admission, invitations to special events and programs, plants sale previews, discounts at the Huntington Store, and more.
The Huntington has a spacious outdoor parking lot. Parking is free.
Families have a choice between 5 different dining locations at The Huntington. Whether you’re looking for an elegant sit-down meal, a quick snack, or something in-between, you’ll find it at The Huntington. Options include the Rose Garden Tea Room (reservations required), the family-friendly 1919 Café, Red Car (a coffee shop), the Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House, and the outdoor Patio Grill. Check the website for menus and more information on hours. Outside food is not permitted, and picnics are not allowed on the grounds.
The Huntington is located in the city of San Marino. While San Marino has a small-town feel, it’s conveniently located to other nearby cities including Pasadena and Alhambra. (The kids will most likely be tuckered out after a day exploring The Huntington so you’ll need to plan those other outings for another day).