Free Movies Highlight New Season

After a scorching summer, it’s always nice to welcome cooler September days in Rancho Mirage. As Sunnylands begins a new season, it reopens with Films in the Gardens after a two-year hiatus. See family favorites three Fridays in a row and make plans to tour the gardens.


Films in the Gardens

Sunnylands Center & Gardens’ free outdoor movie series, Films in the Gardens is back with classic three family-friendly musical films. Presented in partnership with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the popular series (previously known as Films on the Great Lawn) was halted in 2019 due to the pandemic. “We’re delighted to be able to bring movies back to Sunnylands,” Michaeleen Gallagher,S unnylands director of education and environmental programs, said in a press release. “It’s never been more important to give people an opportunity to enjoy an outdoor activity with family and friends.”

Filmgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and small picnics. Carpooling is advised. Large coolers, alcohol, smoking, and pets are not permitted. Films may be canceled at any time due to weather conditions, including rain, lightning, or strong winds. The gates open at 7:00 p.m. and film begins at 7:30 p.m. This season’s selections include:

Sept. 17: The Wizard of Oz – Often ranked on critics’ lists of greatest films of all time and, according to the Library of Congress, the most seen film in movie history, this 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is back on the big screen. If you’ve only ever watched it on television, come out to see Dorothy Gale when a tornado rips through her Kansas town and takes her on a trip to the Land of Oz. (Rated G)

Sept. 24: Mary Poppins – This is the original 1964 classic with the magical nanny. She brightens the lives of her charges in turn-of-the-century London with the help of chimney sweep Bert. See a youthful Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke sing and dance. Plus, see one of the earliest examples of the live-action/animation hybrid technique ever to be seen in movies. (Rated G)

Oct. 1: Mamma Mia! – Sure, sing along with this movie set to the music of the Swedish pop band ABBA. Bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) concocts a plan to reveal the identity of her father during her upcoming wedding. Great tunes surround a fantastic all-star ensemble cast, including Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Meryl Streep, and Julie Walters. (Rated PG-13)


Visit the gardens

While Sunnylands Center & Gardens reopens on September 15, 2021 every Wednesday through Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Guests are welcome to take any one of the five self-guided audio walks of the gardens at any time during operating hours. Admission and parking are free.

Plan ahead to tour the historic house, get a guided tour with a local birder or take in a number of other activities. Tickets for tours of the historic Annenberg home begin in October. Outdoor tours of the estate and programs, such as yoga, tai chi, and bird walks in the gardens, will resume in November.  

In accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, we ask that all guests wear a face covering indoors regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are not required outdoors.

Please be aware that tours and programs may again be affected by coronavirus safeguards that state or federal agencies put in place this fall and winter.  


Currently on exhibit

“In Motion: Agam at Sunnylands,” recalls the role Leonore Annenberg played in bringing the work of the world-famous artist, Yaacov Agam, to the Coachella Valley. The son of an Orthodox rabbi, the Israeli artist is a pioneer of kinetic art and considers himself a “visual rabbi.” He urges those who view his works to view them as “visual prayers.”  

He first visited the Palm Springs area in 1963 when he came to visit his uncle, Dr. Samuel Reinhard, retired to the desert community.

From 1972 to 1976, Leonore Annenberg was president of the Palm Springs Desert (now Art) Museum’s board of trustees, and oversaw the opening of its E. Stewart Williams building with an inaugural Agam exhibition. Fascinated by his art, the Annenbergs acquired the sculpture “Square Waves” from the museum’s 1976 exhibition and later commissioned Agam to provide sculptures and outdoor paintings for their home. Their wide-ranging collection played an important visual role at Sunnylands.

This exhibition features selections from the collections of the Palm Springs Art Museum and Sunnylands to highlight Agam’s kinetic art.  


Why not stay?

Enjoy a Friday night and then spend the weekend and return for a garden tour on Saturday or take in all that Rancho Mirage has to offer, including dining, shopping, events and more.  It’s easy to find a resort with all the amenities that fit your needs.