The Huntington Library

Forty minutes outside of Claremont lies the Huntington, a nonprofit cultural, research, and educational institution. The Huntington, located in San Marino, houses botanical gardens, a vast library, and several art galleries.

Kate Restaino SC ’16 went to the Huntington for her Desire and Decadence Core class. 

“I was amazed by all the different kinds of gardens,” Restaino said.

The Huntington’s botanical gardens are comprised of 14 themed gardens with more than 14,000 varieties of plants. Walking around the 120 acres of landscaped botanical gardens, guests find themselves in the rose garden, herb garden, children’s garden, jungle garden, Australian garden, Chinese garden, Japanese garden, and many more.

The Huntington Library offers a wide variety of rare books, maps, photographs, and manuscripts for the study of British and American history and culture. While regular guests do not have access to the full research library, a small portion of the library’s rare books are on permanent display. This small collection includes the Ellesmere manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and early editions of Shakespeare’s works. The current Library Exhibition Hall is undergoing renovation, but the rare books normally on the permanent display can still be viewed in the Scott Galleries.

The Huntington Art Galleries have permanent collections as well as rotating exhibitions. The Huntington also houses two art galleries, an architecture gallery, and a special science gallery that displays some of science’s greatest achievements in astronomy, natural history, medicine, and light.

“Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World” displays artifacts, manuscripts, journals, recreated telescopes, and interactive timelines.

Restaino said, “My favorite part of the Huntington was the Thomas Gainsbourough painting Jonathan Buttal: The Blue Boy. I really liked the attention to detail.”

The current exhibition is “When They Were Wild: Recapturing California’s Wildflower Heritage.” The exhibition showcases a wide variety of paintings, photographs, drawings of herbarium specimens, and other objects.

For a real treat, guests can make reservations for the Huntington Rose Garden Tea Room. Servers bring bottomless pots of brewed tea such as blackberry, earl grey, and rose as well as baskets of freshly baked scones. Guests dine from a central buffet filled with fresh fruit, cheeses, finger sandwiches, seasonal salads, and specialty desserts. Dining in the Tea Room is a traditional English tea experience. All the food is miniature, the plates are petite, and the service is impeccable.

Admission price for students with identification is $12 on weekdays and $13 on weekends. Reservations at the Rose Garden Tea Room are $29.50 per person, plus tax. The Huntington is open from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends. Free parking. 1151 Oxford Road. San Marino, CA 91108.


– The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science cannot be missed. The Conservatory houses three interactive exhibits with uncommon plant life: a tropical rain forest, a bog garden, and a cloud garden. The Conservatory also houses a plant lab designed for curious children to explore the science of plants. Roses, desert plants, and bamboo are a little more common in these parts, but carnivorous pitcher plants and tropical rainforest plants with leaves that grow much larger than a human body cannot be missed.

– The first Thursday of every month is free admission. The garden can get a little crowded during this time, but saving $13 is always a plus—money that can be spent exploring nearby Old Town Pasadena or splurging on a fancy lunch in the Huntington Rose Garden Tea Room.

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