The Huntington Library, Collections & Gardens

About an hour’s drive from Orange Park Acres is a magical place called the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Although one might be tempted to shorted the name to just the Huntington Library, you really can’t without eliminating so many of the amazing parts of this complex.

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If you love flowers, this is the place for you. The Huntington Gardens bloom into riotous color in the spring, and seem to be in bloom a good portion of the year. The roses are amazing! I’ve spent days here taking photos and just enjoying the scenery. There is also a little tea room if you feel like having a bit of tea and scones in the afternoon. I actually prefer something light from the cafeteria with a table outside in the garden.

The Blue Boy by Gainsborough  Image courtesy of The Huntington

The Blue Boy by Gainsborough Image courtesy of The Huntington

There is art everywhere at the Huntington: in the gardens, in the museum buildings, in the library, which houses some of the world’s most beautiful illuminated manuscripts and rare books . You have undoubtedly heard of The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, but you probably don’t know that this exquisite painting is housed at the Huntington. There are collections of American Sculpture, American Paintings, British Sculpture, and British Paintings, as a collection of William Morris’ artwork.

Each month there is a “free day” on the first Thursday of the month, where they open the museum and gardens to the public. So if you are on a tight budget, or you are a student looking for a cheap, and amazing date, you can go and it won’t cost you a cent. However, there is a catch. You have to have a ticket, and they go quick!

Tickets are free and can be requested by calling their ticketing agency at 800-838-3006. You may also reserve your tickets online: selecting from two arrival times: morning (10:30 a.m.) or afternoon (1:30 p.m.) below. A limited quantity will be available the first day of each month preceding the month you wish to visit. (For example, if you wish to visit on August Free Day, you may call for tickets beginning July 1). Please note that Free Day tickets are not available at The Huntington, and may only be reserved by phone or online. You may not purchase regular admission tickets on Free Day.

I’ve marked the free days on our community calendar. If you would like to take advantage of one of them, please check their website for the availability of tickets.

Image courtesy of Randy Son of Robert’s/Flickr Creative Commons License 2.0

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