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Sunday, December 17 2017 @ 07:17 PM PST

Los Angeles Gardens & Parks
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Descanso Gardens

Camellias -- evergreen flowering shrubs from China and Japan -- were the passion of amateur gardener E. Manchester Boddy, who began planting them here in 1941. Today his 160-acre Descanso Gardens contain more than 100,000 camellias in more than 600 varieties, blooming under a canopy of California oak trees. The shrubs now share the limelight with a 9-acre International Rosarium, home to hundreds of varieties. This is a very relaxing place, with paths and streams that wind through the towering forest, bordering a lake, bird sanctuary, Japanese Garden & Tea House, and Boddy House art museum. Each season
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Will Rogers State Historic Park

Will Rogers State Historic Park was once Will Rogers's private ranch and grounds. Willed to the state of California in 1944, the 168-acre estate is now both a park and a historic site, supervised by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Visitors may explore the grounds, the former stables, and the 31-room house filled with the original furnishings, including a porch swing in the living room and many Native American rugs and baskets. Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, hid out here in the 1930s during part of the craze that followed the kidnap and murder of their first son. There are picnic tables, but no food is sold.
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Los Angeles Zoo

The L.A. Zoo, which shares its parking lot with the Museum of the American West, has been welcoming visitors and busloads of school kids since 1966. In 1982, the zoo inaugurated a display of cuddly koalas, still one of its biggest attractions. Although it's smaller than the world-famous San Diego Zoo, the L.A. Zoo is surprisingly enjoyable and easy to fully explore. As much an arboretum as a zoo, the grounds are thick with mature shade trees from around the world that help cool the once-barren grounds,
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Sunset Margarita Horse Rides

This is so cool. Every Friday night, the Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables company hosts the Friday Night Dinner Ride. They saddle you up on a big ol' horse, and then y'all take a scenic 1 1/2-hour ride through Griffith Park -- with the city lights shining far below -- to the Viva Fresh Mexican restaurant in Burbank. After dinner
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Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library is the jewel in Pasadena's crown. The 207-acre hilltop estate was once home to industrialist and railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington (1850-1927), who bought books on the same massive scale on which he acquired businesses. The continually expanding collection includes dozens of Shakespeare's first editions, Benjamin Franklin's handwritten autobiography, a Gutenberg Bible from the 1450s, and the earliest known manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Although some rare works are available only to visiting scholars, the library has a regularly changing (and always excellent) exhibit showcasing different items in the collection.
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Prevent Forest Fires

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) manages more than 60,000 acres of public parkland that it owns and that is owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in the Southern California area. Fire prevention is a year-round effort. This year the MRCA spent over $1.8 million clearing more than 1,000 acres of dry vegetation on public parkland.

The MRCA assists local fire departments in fighting wildland fires in protecting the array of resources on its own properties. The MRCA:
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Griffith Park

Mining tycoon Col. Griffith J. Griffith donated these 4,107 acres to the city in 1896 as a Christmas gift. Today Griffith Park is the largest urban park in America. There's a lot to do here, including 53 miles of hiking trails (the prettiest is the Fern Dell trail near the Western Ave. entrance, a shady hideaway cooled by waterfalls and ferns), horseback riding, golfing, swimming, biking, and picnicking. For a general overview of the park,
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Exposition Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is operated by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks and has been since 1928. The Rose Garden is visited by hundreds of Angelinos and tourists each year. It is often used as an urban oasis by the local Community as a place of quiet and refuge. On most weekends between April and November, it is the location of choice for weddings and photographs of family gatherings.
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Chavez Ravine Arboretum

The City of Los Angeles welcomes you to the first and oldest arboretum in Southern California . The Chavez Ravine Arboretum in Elysian Park was founded in 1893 by the Los Angeles Horticultural Society. Planting of rare trees in the Arboretum continued through the 1920s.
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Los Angeles Hiking Trails

Get Active and start hiking! The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is a leader in the improvement of our L.A. County. They offer great trails and locations that are a lot of fun. Places you can go by yourself, with the family and/or with friends. And don't forget to take care of the land and plant a tree!

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy was established by the California State Legislature in 1980. Since that time, it has helped to preserve over 60,000 acres of parkland in both wilderness and urban settings, and improved more than 114 public recreational facilities throughout Southern California. Additionally, it has given grants to nonprofit organizations for educational and interpretation programs that have served hundreds of thousands of children and other park visitors.