One of the greatest sanctuaries in Pasadena is The Huntington Library – a private, nonprofit institution devoted to culture, research, education and beauty. It was founded by Henry E. Huntington in the early 1900s, a great philanthropist and world traveller who made his fortune in railroads, utilities and real estate in Southern California and had a keen interest in books, art and gardens.

It is such a surreal and endless place. Every corner is magical and takes you to different times and distinct parts of the world. For lunch, there is an English tea room in the middle of a full-blossomed rose garden, serving high tea with scones. It was sunny, so we skipped the tea and bought sandwiches and fruit salads to eat outside. They have a pleasant outdoor patio sheltered by this enormous tree where you can enjoy the view of the gardens.

They have a peaceful Japanese garden show casing a traditional Ryokan house, a collection of bonsai, and a Zen rock garden.

I was stunned by how much smiles and giggles a simple day out in nature can give us. I wish I had brought a giggle-o-meter with me.

My children were chasing each other and rolling on the grass along a path called the Shakespeare garden, where gigantic blue bells and colorful happy daisies were sunbathing.

The Conservatory, also on the grounds at The Huntington has a 16,000 square-foot greenhouse. It reminded me of being in Indonesia – a little humid and filled with orchids and other tropical beauties.

At the other end of the grand Conservatory, we found the Children’s Garden that was made just for kids. Everything there is built to a smaller scale and there were a ton of hands-on activities to interact with: tiny door, little bridge, low tunnels, and petite garden houses.

At the rainbow tunnel, the kids were so excited and screamed, “We found the rainbow!!!”

It almost felt as if we were trapped inside a fairy tale book.



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