How To Entertain Out-of-Town Guests in Southern California
Keeping your guests happy and busy So Cal style
Southern California has an amazing assortment of gardens ranging from the lush, ambrosial setting of the Huntington in Pasadena to the more offbeat cactus lover’s Living Desert in Palm Desert. Whether you’re inhaling the fragrance of blooming flowers, bird watching or discovering some rare native California plants along a trail, you’ll be entranced by the beauty and serenity of these natural havens.
The Japanese Garden, Van Nuys, 818/756-8166, http://www.thejapanesegarden.com
The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park, Palm Desert, 760/346-5694, http://www.livingdesert.org
Sherman Library and Gardens, Corona Del Mar, 949/673-2261, http://www.slgardens.org/
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara, 805/682-4726, http://www.sbbg.org/
Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Garden, San Marino, 626/405-2100, http://www.huntington.org
Much more than your average garden, the Huntington also houses a main gallery with masterpieces of 18th-century British portraiture, including Gainsborough’s famous “Blue Boy.” But most visitors come for the lovely thematic rose gardens, where you can take high tea in the afternoon and turn a simple visit into a special occasion.
TAKE FLIGHT: SUBLIME SOARING
Hang Gliding and Paragliding
If that daredevil spirit lurks within, hang gliding or parasailing may satisfy your need for an adrenaline rush. Soar with the birds over mountains, valleys and ocean, experiencing Southern California’s natural majesty in a totally unique and exhilarating way. If you’re a novice, have no fear: many companies offer all the instruction you need as well as certification, tandem flights and tours.
Torrey Pines Gliderport, La Jolla, 858/452-9858, http://www.flytorrey.com
Located on the scenic bluffs of San Diego’s Black’s Beach, the Gliderport offers fun for hang gliding and paragliding enthusiasts.
Eagle Paragliding, Santa Barbara, 805/968-0980
ACME Flying Machines, Los Angeles, 213/309-5592
For those who want to fly but prefer a tamer ride, a hot-air balloon excursion may be just the ticket. Float effortlessly across the sky, becoming the envy of landgoing spectators as you follow the contour of the countryside or magnificent coastline, sail over valleys and vineyards, and catch a glimpse of undisturbed wildlife.
D&D Ballooning Hot Air Adventures, 800/510-9000 or 909/303-0448, (Offers flights in Temecula)
Great American Balloon Company, 909/927-2593, (Offers daily flights from Temecula, Perris, Palm Springs and Hemet)
Panorama Balloon Tours, 800/455-3592, (Offers rides in San Diego, Del Mar, Palm Springs)
Sunrise Balloons, 800/548-9912, (Offers rides in Palm Springs)