Descanso ramps up summer activities

With the advent of summer and the promise of longer, warmer days, Descanso Gardens will be open for extended hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting this week and ending Aug. 25. Usually open until 4:30 p.m., the Gardens will remain open mid-week until 8 p.m.

“It gets so hot here in the summer that we thought it would be a good idea to keep the Gardens open longer because of the cooler evenings,” said Lisa Kurstin, Descanso’s manager of education programs.

In response to the overwhelming success of last year’s Camellia Lounge and jazz concert series, Kurstin planned this summer’s extended hours to offer much of the same programming and expanded it to include more activities for families.

From 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Patina Restaurant Group will be hosting the Camellia Lounge, where visitors can sip on the popular Cherry Tea-Ni and Pink Perfection cocktails and sample small plates at the Japanese Garden’s Full Moon Tea House. Cocktails are $10 and sodas, wines and beers are priced from $2.25 to $8. Patina will be serving pasta salad, gourmet hot dogs, roasted corn, mini sliders and barbecue short-rib skewers from $2 to $7.

On Thursday evenings, visitors are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on and relax to the sounds of the jazz concerts featured during the garden’s extended summer hours.

For family fun, adults, kids and their parents can enjoy Shakespeare’s “Merry Wives of Windsor” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” presented by the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum at the Under the Oaks Theater. Other family-friendly programming includes a day of storytelling and singing with woodland creatures in A Faery Hunt Theater, and an Elizabethan festival, with dance lessons and interactive theater. “It’s the closest thing we have to the Renaissance Faire,” joked Kurstin.

Additional programming will include reggae music, interactive drumming and rhythm dance.

All of the summer programming is free to Descanso Garden members. Reciprocal garden members and non-member visitors to the Gardens will be asked to pay general admission to enjoy summer programming.

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