Sunnylands celebrates the opening of its newest exhibition, Flight Plan: The Birds of Sunnylands, with a Films on the Great Lawn series in September that showcases three bird-themed movies.

The free, outdoor screenings get underway in the same week that Sunnylands Center & Gardens reopens for an eighth season on Wednesday, Sept. 12, with a photographic exhibition by National Geographic photographer Tim Laman. Laman spent two years on the former Annenberg estate capturing the courtship dances, hunting habits, and mid-air acrobatics of some of the 130 species of birds that have been spotted at Sunnylands so far. More than 50 of his colorful images will be on display at the Center throughout the season.

Films on the Great Lawn will feature the following movies on three Fridays in September:

  • Sept. 14: The Eagle Huntress – A 13-year-old girl from a nomadic tribe in Mongolia takes on a traditionally male role by raising an eagle and teaching it to hunt for meat and fur.
  • Sept. 21: The Birds – Birds suddenly begin to attack people in this classic, 1963 thriller from director Alfred Hitchcock starring Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor.
  • Sept. 28: A Birder’s Guide to Everything – A group of teenage birders embark on a quest to find a bird that’s thought to be extinct in this 2013 adventure film.

All movies start at 7:30 p.m. at  Sunnylands Center & Gardens, 37977 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. Gates open at 7 p.m. Filmgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and small picnics. Large coolers, alcohol, smoking, and pets are not permitted. Carpooling is advised.

What’s new at Sunnylands?

  • For the first time since its launch in 2012, Sunnylands Center & Gardens will be open five days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, giving the public more opportunities to secure tickets for the popular Historic House Tour. Tickets for September tours are on sale now only at www.sunnylands.org/tickets. Admission to the Center & Gardens is free.
  • Guests on the Historic House Tour will now have access to the office Walter Annenberg used to run his company, Triangle Publications, Inc., while he spent the winter months at Sunnylands, as well as a peek into his dressing room.
  • Large informational panels, some with video presentations and rarely seen photos of the estate’s notable guests, answer the public’s most commonly asked questions. The new panels convey the story of Sunnylands’ past and present in three languages: English, Spanish, and Mandarin. In the café, new menu boards on the walls make food selections easier.