Sunnylands Center & Gardens

Gardens in Greater Palm Springs

Sunnylands is the mid-century modern winter retreat of Walter and Leonore Annenberg, one of America’s ‘first families.’ It was here that they entertained seven US presidents, royalty, Hollywood celebrities and heads of state. The only way to get inside is on a guided 90-minute tour ($45) which must be booked far in advance via the website. No reservations are required to see the film and exhibits at the new visitor center, surrounded by magnificent desert gardens.

House-tour tickets are released at 9am on the 15th of the preceding month and usually sell out the same day. Two other types of tours are also available. The Open-Air Experience is a 45-minute first-come, first-served shuttle tour of the grounds and golf course ($20) that runs from September to April. With prior reservation, you can also join a bird tour ($35) offered Thursdays at 9:15am from November to April. Neither of these tours gives access to the house. See the website for the schedule and to buy tickets.