Ah the weekend! How I live for it (while simultaneously dreading it a bit) because I'm left wondering how I will entertain and inspire my incredibly active 6 year old son. Kid-centric activities are good for sure, but I also like to seek out options that satisfy both adult and child alike and if they're close by, even better!
I live in South Pasadena which is nearby to so many amazing cultural institutions like the Norton Simon Museum, The Gamble House, and the Huntington Library and Gardens just to name a few. I like to visit the Huntington Gardens in the spring when the flowers are blooming and it's beautiful weather without the blistering heat of summer. They have a great kids area that has some fun water features (a volcano with water vapor!) and a tunnel that kids can run through. I recently purchased a family membership and we've been using it all the time.
My favorite part of the Huntington is without a doubt the Chinese Garden. It's incredible. It's just like setting foot in a traditional Chinese garden without the long airplane flight! They have a beautiful asian fusion restaurant called Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House, a partnership of chefs Kajsa Alger and Susan Feniger. I wish they would do a traditional dim sum with cart service!
My favorite dish is the crispy cauliflower bowl. Yum!
The Huntington is big so be sure and wear comfortable shoes! These trusty Loeffler Randall flats do the trick. Beautiful tiling stone floor with elaborate patterns throughout the Chinese garden.
I always wanted to learn how to play chess but have never found the time. My son takes chess now and hopefully one day we'll be able to play at this amazing marble chess board in the Chinese garden!
Chinese musicians in traditional garb during Chinese New Year festival. They have instrumental performances every Wednesday from 1-3 pm in the garden.
During the Chinese New Year celebration they had a calligraphy station where adults and kids alike could practice their brush skills. I took weekly calligraphy classes when I lived in Hong Kong but I'm seriously out of practice and was a lot harder than I remember. The Huntington has a wide range of seasonal activities, which is another reason why I got a membership. They have Bob Baker marionette performances at the holidays, the before mentioned Chinese new year celebrations which was packed btw!, Easter celebrations and more.
Bamboo garden on the way to the desert garden
Koi fish in the Australian Garden
So many varieties of cacti and succulents like these pink tipped ones.
Dusk is also a beautiful time at the garden.
Now that Dries is older and can walk longer distances we can explore more of the property. A favorite at the Huntington is the the Orbit Pavilion, designed by Dan Goods and David Delgado, visual strategists at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who collaborated with composer Shane Myrbeck and architect Jason Klimoski of StudioKCA. Dan Goods, also happens to be my neighbor so we were really excited to see what he had been up to! The result is Orbit Pavilion, a soundscape representing the movement of the International Space Station and 19 Earth Science satellites. This sound installation interprets the data collected by these satellites as they pass over the earth on their individual missions in the form of both human and nature sounds. The pavilion is the shape of a nautilus, to enabling you to walk through and experience the sounds as they reverberate through the metal panels that make up the exterior. Similar in effect to how when picking up a shell at the beach and you hear the whole ocean within its tiny microcosm. If you haven't already seen this, it's a must see, and you are in luck because they've extended the exhibit through September 2018!
Orbit Pavilion pictured from above at the May 2015 World Science Festival at New York University. Photo courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Construction of Orbit Pavilion for the May 2015 World Science Festival at New York University. Photo courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Have you been to the Huntington? What are your favorite parts? Tell me in the comments below!