Movie nights return as Sunnylands Center & Gardens opens for a new season

Friday, September 10, 2021


Reopening for a new season on Sept. 15, Sunnylands Center & Gardens is reviving its popular outdoor movie series, Films in the Gardens, after a two-year hiatus.

The public will have an opportunity to see a movie musical free of charge on three consecutive Friday evenings, starting at 7:30 p.m. The movies and their screening dates are:

  • Sept. 17: The Wizard of Oz – The 1939 tale of Kansas runaway Dorothy Gale’s trip to the Land of Oz made Judy Garland a household name. (Rated G)
  • Sept. 24: Mary Poppins – A magical nanny (Julie Andrews) brightens the lives of her charges in turn-of-the-century London. (Rated G)
  • Oct. 1: Mamma Mia! – In a movie set to the music of the Swedish pop band ABBA, a bride-to-be (Amanda Seyfried) concocts a plan to reveal the identity of her father. (Rated PG-13)

Presented in partnership with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Films in the Gardens (formerly called Films on the Great Lawn) usually takes place bi-annually in the fall and spring.  The movie series was last produced in September 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic forced a halt to public gatherings the following March.

“We’re delighted to be able to bring movies back to Sunnylands,” said Michaeleen Gallagher, Sunnylands director of education and environmental programs. “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. Check for updates.

Sunnylands Center & Gardens, located at 37977 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage, features nine acres of desert gardens, an art exhibition, In Motion: Agam at Sunnylands, a café, and a gift shop.

Beginning Sept. 15, the property is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The public is invited to stroll more than a mile of walking paths, relax on shaded benches, or use their cell phones to take any of five self-guided audio tours posted to the Sunnylands website.  Visitors may also use the digital Gardens Guide to help with their exploration of desert plants. Admission is free.

Tickets for tours of the historic Annenberg home, scheduled to resume in October, go on sale at 9 a.m. on Sept. 15 at

In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest coronavirus guidelines, all visitors will be asked to wear a face covering while inside Sunnylands buildings. Face coverings are not required outdoors.