sunnylands totem pole

Pole Position

Sunnylands offers a free day for the family that celebrates the current exhibition, Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration.

Staff Report Attractions, Current Guide

sunnylands totem pole
Sunnylands hosts a free Family Day on Jan. 26 that includes viewing the 30-foot cedar totem pole on the grounds.

Sunnylands is giving the public free access to the historic Annenberg estate on 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.

• READ NEXT: Herb Alpert Meets the Hunt Family of Carvers.

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.

Sunnylands Center & Gardens,  37977 Bob Hope Drive,  Rancho Mirage,