by Wendy VanHatten

A gem in Rancho Mirage has to be Sunnylands. If you’ve never heard of it or been there, it’s worth finding out more about it.

First…a little background.

Walter and Leonore Annenberg were extraordinary philanthropists, designating more than $3 billion in grants and gifts to major research universities, hospitals, medical centers, public schools, and cultural and civic organizations.

In addition, Mr. Annenberg served as Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, Great Britain. They continued to play important roles in public service.

For more than 40 years they welcomed political, business, educational, and entertainment leaders to Sunnylands, their 200-acre winter home in Rancho Mirage.

They established The Annenberg Foundation Trust in 2001 to address serious issues facing the nation and the world. This is a place where intimate and solution-driven meetings can take place. Presidents, premiers, experts, scientists, generals, CEOs, leaders can meet here in a neutral location surrounded by beauty.

It’s so much more than just a great venue for leaders to meet. It’s truly a peaceful place, as only the magic of the desert environment can provide.

Over 70 species of native and arid-adapted plants from North and South America, Africa, and the Mediterranean are displayed in the nine acres of gardens.

Plan a visit. Just wander around the grounds, watch the short video of the history, or schedule a visit to their historic estate. If birding is your thing, book a tour with a local birder. Activities change with the seasons.

If You Go: Sunnylands Center and Garden is open with free admission and parking Wednesday through Sunday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Sunnylands is at 37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.