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Spouse and Guest Tours

SUNNYLANDS  EXPERIENCE
 
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Sunnylands was the 200-acre Rancho Mirage  Compound built by Ambassador Walter and  Leonore Annenberg. With renowned interior designer William Haines and his partner Ted Graber in charge of the  project   and  University of Southern California  architecture professor A. Quincy  Jones on  their team, construction  for the Sunnylands Compound began in 1963. This Compound includes  12 man­ made lakes, an  18-hole golf course with nine greens and  hundreds  of eucalyptus  trees, olive trees and   oleanders,   plus  thousands  of  shrubs and   smaller  trees.    Beyond  the  25,000 square-foot midcentury modern  house are the soaring San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains. The Annenberg's lived in this oasis in the desert for approximately five months each  year following  its completion in 1966.  During  subsequent  years,  they  entertained seven  United  States Presidents, British Royalty, international political figures, and cultural and entertainment icons at Sunnylands.
 
The tour today includes a private walking tour through the grounds, Education Center conducted by one of center's docents. Guests will have the opportunity to examine the exhibits placing Sunnylands in the context  of an architectural movement called California modernism. They can view the orientation film in the theater and engage with the interactive multimedia kiosks that will bring Sunnylands, its residents, its heritage, and its context live. Changing special exhibitions will be seen in the loggia. They will be able to relax in the Great Room of the Education Center  with its spectacular view of Mt. San Jacinto and browse in the Gift Shop.
 
Outdoor  activities include exploring the unique nine-acre  garden that uses desert plants to paint a living canvas  while consuming a minimal amount of water. Interpretive  materials will also explain the ways in which solar panels and geo-thermal systems will supply energy for this LEED Silver  project.
 
Following the tour at Sunnylands, a relaxing lunch is held right on the property  on the Cafe Terrace overlooking the lush gardens.

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ADVENTURE TOUR: AT THE PEAK OF POWER -
PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY AND WINDMILLS

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The Palm Springs Aerial Tram on Mt. Jacinto is a true adventure.  It was the dream of a young electrical engineer named Francis  F. Crocker to "go up there where it's nice and cool".  Construction of the Tramway was an engineering challenge and was soon labeled the "eighth wonder of the world."  The rotating cable  cars are the most advanced in the world (the only two in North America) and they guide passengers 2-1/2 miles up the mountainside to a height of 8,516 feet using a push/pull method. Each ride up the hill to the Mountain Station will be
' met with a cable car on the opposite side of the cable returning to the Valley Station.

Once  at the top of the Aerial Tramway, the Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness offers 54 miles of hiking trails. Trails range  from the awe-inspiring five and one-half  mile trek to the 10,804 foot peak of San Jacinto to the just over one mile nature walk through picturesque  Long Valley, located just behind  the Tram's Mountain Station. For the less active  guests, a continuous reel movie about  the building of the tram, gift shop, 2 restaurants and a lounge to enjoy lunch/dinner/refreshments and several viewing terraces located at the Mountain Station.

While viewing the valley floor beneath from the Mountain Station at the Aerial Tram, guests will see a sea of what appears  to be toothpicks.  What they will find (as guests return to the Valley Station and take a quick 10 minute drive to North Palm Springs)  is that these toothpicks  are actually gigantic windmills. The towering windmills and giant turbine blades WHOOSH overhead as the wind rushes through the fabled San Gorgonio  Pass. Visitors will explore these technological wonders of the only working wind farm in the world.  A Step-On tour guide will discuss the i
nternational history of wind energy, current utilization of wind power and provide an informative  glimpse into the future of the electric industry. When guests take a closer look at the giant towers they will be surrounded by spectacular mountain vistas.

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