Summertime bustles at The Huntington. Researchers fill the Library, and throngs of visitors arrive to take in the latest exhibitions and meander in the gardens. But this year a different sort of traveler is on site: people using their smartphones to play the wildly popular augmented-reality game Pokémon GO.
Groups of players, referred to as trainers in the game, are roaming the grounds looking for Eevees, Growlithes, and other Pokémon characters they can “catch” on their phones.
Trainers visiting The Huntington may look to test their skills at one of four Pokémon “gyms” located on the grounds. Trainers might take a moment away from the game to learn a few tidbits about the real-life attractions they’re viewing and boost their own mental health points in the process.
1. Pokémon GO gym name: “HLAG Entrance Fountain”
Location: the courtyard near the Admissions area, called the Avery and Andy Barth Family Grove
This fountain has become a popular gathering spot. Constructed in 2015 for the opening of the Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center, the fountain has been luring visitors with its soothing sound and wide rim made for perching. The fountain’s proximity to the graceful shade of four podocarpus trees and the Coffee Shop makes it an ideal place to rest pre- or post-battle!
2. Pokémon GO gym name: “Junge Frau”
Location: Lily Ponds
The work of German sculptor Georg Kolbe (1877-1947), Junge Frau (Young Woman) rises delicately from the water and beckons visitors down to the Lily Ponds. As one of the oldest parts of the gardens (established in 1904), the Lily Ponds evoke the tranquility of The Huntington’s early days as a ranch. Be sure to take a break from battling to enjoy your surroundings.
3. Pokémon GO gym name: “HLAG Hirao Viewing Stone”
Location: The Harry Hirao Suiseki Court is located between the two bonsai courts in the upper part of the Japanese Garden
The seven smooth stones in this display are examples of suiseki, or viewing stones (expressive stones of special shape, color, and texture), an ancient Japanese art form. These jade stones were found in the Eel River in northern California and appear here unaltered from their original form. Feel free to rub your hand across their surfaces to appreciate their cool touch and smoothness (and to help keep them polished!).
4. Pokémon GO gym name: “The Crypt at the Huntington”
The remotest gym on the grounds is also the most spectacular. The Mausoleum, most easily reached by a path behind the Children’s Garden leading through the orange groves, was designed by John Russell Pope (1874–1937). He went on to design the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C., modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Our founders, Henry and Arabella Huntington, are interred under the magnificent Mausoleum, made from Colorado Yule marble.
In addition to The Huntington’s four gyms, there are more than 60 PokéStops on the property—some located in lesser-known areas with some surprising history. If you think it’s your destiny to collect all the Pokémon, then extend your reach into our gardens—and take a look at our library and art collections along the way.
Christine Quach is a web editor at The Huntington.