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15 Ideas for Mom

She would surely like brunch and a walking tour of Descanso Gardens, or an L.A. Philharmonic concert, perhaps even a basketball game.


Tally up those allowances, kids: It's time to do something special for Mom.

But even if the piggy banks are near empty, there are plenty of inexpensive or even free things to do this weekend in honor of Mother's Day--from sporting events to cultural outings to family festivals. Here are 15 suggestions.

1. Descanso Gardens provides a lush setting for a Mother's Day brunch in the blossoms. Seatings for the buffet are hourly on the half hour Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Other garden activities open to all include a guided walking tour of the Native Plant Garden at 2:30 p.m., tours of the historic Boddy House and music by the Brass Trio. Also, the two-day International Geranium Show and Sale (opening Saturday) is included in garden admission. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Can~ada Flintridge. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Buffet prices: $35; children 12 and younger, $15 (includes garden admission). Garden admission: $5; $3 for students and seniors; $1 for ages 5-12. Reservations required for buffet: (818) 952-4401.

2. The 19th annual Monrovia Mother's Day Tour runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Nine buildings on the tour include Craftsman and Spanish homes and a Victorian cottage. Tickets are available at the Anderson House, 215 E. Lime Ave., Monrovia, for $20; seniors, $17; ages 13-17, $14; under 12, free. Baldwin's Victorian Baked Potatoes and Mediterranean Express will cater a luncheon (prices vary). Information: (626) 359-6857.

3. Take Mom for a walk on the wild side, on a free guided tour of the wildflower beds at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. The walks begin at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (also the following weekend). Donations are accepted to this nonprofit, research and educational institution. Information: (909) 625-8767.

4. Make a Mother's Day corsage and check out the Orchid Show on Saturday and Sunday at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. both days. Museum admission: $8.50; seniors, $8; students, $6; under 12, free. (Tea is sold out.) Information: (626) 405-2100.

5. In honor of moms and other women affected by breast and

ovarian cancer, the whole family can participate in the Revlon Run-Walk, Saturday at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Sit in the stands and listen to the Beach Boys for free, or run and/or walk to the finish-line festival for a $30 registration fee (includes T-shirt, gift bag and snacks). Registration starts at 7 a.m. in front of the Sports Arena in Exposition Park. Opening ceremonies, featuring actors Dylan McDermott and Melanie Griffith, will precede the run at 8:45 a.m. The finish-line festivities run till noon in the coliseum field. Registration hotline: (310) 393-6344.

6. The L.A. Philharmonic's program on Saturday is fit for a kid's budget, offering the last event in the Toyota Symphonies for Youth series and a chance to hear conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya lead the orchestra in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown L.A. Pre-concert activities, beginning at 10 a.m., include crafts, storytelling and an introduction to string instruments. An hourlong concert follows. Tickets $9-$11. (323) 850-2000.

7. Older children or those with an appreciation for chamber music can take Mom to hear a free performance by Havana's all-female orchestra, Camerata Romeu, on Mother's Day. The concert is part of the Sundays Live series (check out the Cuban photography exhibit as well). 6-7 p.m. Leo S. Bing Theater, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Information: (213) 485-6873.

8. It's opening weekend for the Fullerton Civic Light Opera's family-friendly production of "My Fair Lady." Tickets for the 2 p.m. performance Sunday, at Plummer Auditorium, 201 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton, range from $16-$36. Information: (714) 879-1732.

9. Sunday is the last chance to see "Body Politics: The Female Image in Luba Art and the Sculpture of Alison Saar" and its companion exhibit, "Imaging Women in African Art: Selected Sculptures From Los Angeles Collections," at UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1586 Fowler Building. Adults, $3; students, $1. Information: (310) 825-4361.

10. If Mom is a sports fan, take her to cheer on Lisa Leslie and the rest of the L.A. Sparks against the New York Liberty at a 7 p.m. exhibition game Saturday. Tickets are $8-$12 for this preseason contest, the only matchup this season against the three-time Eastern Conference champs. Tip-off is at the Pyramid at Long Beach State (regular season home games are played at Staples Center, beginning June 5). Information: (562) 985-4949.

11. Dodger Blue will be seeing pink on Mother's Day, when all moms will receive a pink visor at the 1:10 p.m. game Sunday versus the Atlanta Braves. Tickets start at $6. Information: (323) 224-1HIT.

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