You can buy an entry ticket online. On entering, you still have to stand in queue to get your sticker but this queue is as short as the members-only queue. You can buy a membership if you’re a local resident – because then you can just go whenever you like. I am SO envious of that option. Can’t do much about it because I live on another continent.
Grab a coffee and a croissant at the cafe on entry. I don’t think you can carry food inside with you but I did want to carry a black coffee with no sugar, and that I could after my first pass through the Desert Garden. Obviously, don’t leave your trash in the garden. I had an empty backpack with me, which I stuffed with an extra jacket and my empty coffee glass.
There are washrooms right after the entrance as well. I think there are such facilities further inside too but I did not get around to investigating that. There’s a paper map you can pick up at the entrance but it was no help to me at least. I just couldn’t figure out where most of the stuff was. Even though I did ask a few official looking people at various points during my walk. My goal was to amble around aimlessly of course, so that was no big deal.
There are at least two more restaurants indoor, fine-dining as opposed to the cafe at the entrance. These have fixed dining times, so best to check before going. And then, the first thing I saw was the desert garden and I knew that’s where I wanted to be at sunset. Brace yourself for a TON of photographs of catii and succulents. In bright sunlight and then again at sunset.
Hundreds of photographs. And this after I had to painfully exclude hundreds of others. The light was beautiful, the plants even more so. I wrote about a brief interaction with one of the gardening experts in the “The Finger Lime Incident“.
All in all, this was a part of Los Angeles that I was delighted to spend a day in. Quiet for the most part. Surrounded by succulents. Perfect.