Sunnylands offers the public free access to the historic estate to view its ‘totem pole of distinction’   

January 14, 2020


Jan. 14, 2020

CONTACT: Ken Chavez 760-202-2266


Sunnylands offers the public free access to the historic estate to view its ‘totem pole of distinction’ 


RANCHO MIRAGE, CA – Sunnylands is giving the public free access to the historic Annenberg estate on Sunday, Jan. 26, to see the 30-foot cedar totem pole that stands on the fifth hole of the Sunnylands golf course.

Shuttle rides to the totem pole from Sunnylands Center & Gardens are part of a Family Day event that celebrates the current exhibition, Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration.

The exhibition features the artworks of the late Henry Hunt, a Kwakiutl chief who became one of Canada’s most renowned First Nations’ carvers; his son, Stanley C. Hunt; and his grandson, Jason Hunt.  The exhibition blends their pieces with the paintings and sculpture of Grammy winner Herb Alpert, who found inspiration in the Kwakiutl totems he saw on a trip to Vancouver’s Stanley Park in the 1980s.

Sunnylands founders Walter and Leonore Annenberg commissioned Henry Hunt, who was once chief carver at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, to carve “a totem pole of distinction” for their golf course in 1976.

Access to the estate’s 200 acres is usually permitted only through the purchase of a tour of the Annenberg home, a bird-watching excursion on the estate, or an outdoor tour of the property.  But Family Day attendees who are at least 10 years of age will be able to take a free shuttle ride onto the historic grounds to see the pole that inspired the exhibition.  There will be no access to the Annenberg home.

Other Family Day activities include:

  • Wood-carving demonstrations by members of the Hunt family and other artists.
  • Building totems with foam blocks and decorative elements.
  • Learning to carve with soap.
  • A scavenger hunt to search for animals and other symbols found in the exhibition.
  • Writing your own folk tale.
  • Exploring books with exhibition-related topics in the Center.


Craft activities, available to guests of all ages from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., are free of charge.  No reservations are required.


Several activities will be held outdoors in the gardens, weather permitting. Sun protection and water are recommended.


Sunnylands Center & Gardens is located at 37977 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage.

The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands

The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, which operates The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and Sunnylands Center & Gardens, is a nonprofit operating entity. The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands hosts high-level retreats that address serious issues facing the nation and the world, including the 2013 meeting between President Obama and President Xi of the People’s Republic of China. Sunnylands also offers programs through Sunnylands Center & Gardens to educate the public about the history of Sunnylands, its architecture, art collections, cultural significance, and sustainable practices.