What to See and Do


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Boddy House | Sturt Haaga Gallery | Enchanted Railroad | Gift Shop | Descanso Café


Boddy House

Don’t miss Your (Un)natural Garden at the Boddy House

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Perched high above the Descanso Gardens landscape on the crest of a hill, the historic Boddy House offers a glimpse of a glamorous bygone era. Built as the home of Descanso founder E. Manchester Boddy in the late 1930s, the Boddy House today is a must for every first-time visitor.

In 2007, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts chose the Boddy House to be transformed into its 43rd annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design. The following year, Descanso Gardens received a grant from The Ahmanson Foundation of Los Angeles to return the house to the visiting public as a house museum, an interpretive center showcasing highlights from the history of the property, and an elegant and attractive location for entertaining. In 2019, the Boddy House was once again reimagined by Showcase House designers.

Admission: Free with admission to Descanso Gardens.

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Sturt Haaga Gallery

Photo: Takashige Ikawa, Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects
Photo: Takashige Ikawa, Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects

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Don’t miss Your (Un)natural Garden at the Sturt Haaga Gallery
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No visit to Descanso Gardens is complete without a visit to the Sturt Haaga Gallery.

Rotating exhibits throughout the year seek to illuminate the intersection between contemporary arts and the sciences represented by the garden — botany, horticulture, biology, ecology, conservation, and the study of gardens as cultural artifacts.

Admission: Free with admission to Descanso Gardens.

 

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Enchanted Railroad

Train 1

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Take a light-hearted look at Descanso Gardens from a 1/8th-scale replica of a diesel train. The Enchanted Railroad is a Descanso icon, delighting young and old who climb aboard. The railroad travels a section of the Gardens near the Promenade.

Hours and Schedule

Requirements: Riders must be at least 30 inches tall and able to sit on their own
Schedule: The train is open daily from 10am–4pm, closed Wednesdays (Last ticket time is 3:30pm)
Tickets: Timed tickets are $5 each and must be purchased at the Visitor Center the day of. One or ten-ride train passes can be exchanged at no cost at the Visitor Center for timed tickets

*Please note: The train does not run in the rain.


Gift Shop

Gift Shop 1

Current Hours:

Open 8am–5pm daily

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The Descanso Gardens Gift Shop and Plant Patio is a cozy, cedar-beamed complex near the entrance to Gardens. The Gift Shop carries items of interest for all visitors: home gardening enthusiasts, landscape and interior designers, horticulturists and plant lovers everywhere.

Merchandise in the Shop includes home and garden furnishings, such as garden benches, bird baths, statuary, lanterns and cherubs. The art lover will find beautifully framed prints, original watercolors, rugs and wall hangings.

No botanical garden gift shop would be complete without a vast array of garden and nature books for both adults and children. Other merchandise includes an exceptional selection of cards and other gift items such as lovely glassware, ceramics and collectibles. Outdoor wear includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, gloves and hats.

The Gift Shop is open every day except Christmas. For information, phone (818) 949-4292.


Descanso Cafe Patina
Photo © Patina Group

The Kitchen at Descanso

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Current Hours:

Open 9am–4:30pm daily
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Enjoy delicious food and refreshing drinks from our café 9am–4:30pm daily.

The Kitchen at Descanso provides a fresh, seasonal dining option during your visit. Located near the Gardens entrance, The Kitchen showcases the season’s best fruit, vegetables and herbs from local farms and gardens. For more information, please call (818) 790-3663.

For information about The Kitchen at Descanso or catering, visit the Dining at Descanso page.