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Family-friendlyL.A. County

Forget the 'Blue Boy' and explore all the other treasures at the Huntington in San Marino

The Huntington's Chinese Garden. (Martha Benedict / Huntington Library)
The Huntington's Chinese Garden. (Martha Benedict / Huntington Library)

Why: The Huntington is one of the Southern California's greatest cultural assets, with ever-evolving gardens; a library that includes everything from a Gutenberg Bible and Shakespeare folio to the papers of Charles Bukowski and Octavia Butler; and an art collection that, unfortunately, is often overshadowed by a single famous painting of a rich kid in satin knee breeches. (That would be Thomas Gainsborough's "Blue Boy," an 18th century portrait bought by California railway pioneer Henry E. Huntington in the early 1920s.)

What: It began as a citrus ranch and later sprouted a mansion and other buildings. Huntington and his wife, Arabella, created the institution, officially known as the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, in 1919. Its 207 acres include 12 gardens (including one where kids can romp) and the galleries inside feature more than 1,000 artworks, including paintings by Americans Mary Cassatt, Frederic Edwin Church and Edward Hopper. Both the library and art collection offer rotating exhibitions.

"Blue Boy." (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
"Blue Boy." (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

"The Blue Boy" is gone from view through Oct. 31, being analyzed before thorough "conservation treatment" that will take it off display again beginning in fall 2018.

Where: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

How much: Adult admission is $25 on weekdays, $29 on weekends. Children's admission ranges from free to $24, depending on age. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, closed Tuesdays. It's free on the first Thursday of every month, with advance reservations.

Info: The Huntington Library

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