One of the largest urban parks in North America, Griffith Park is more than just a park. Besides its luscious hiking trails and fantastic picnic stops, it also boasts fun activities for all ages to enjoy. This “Central Park of Los Angeles” is a popular destination for Angelenos and visitors alike. You can visit Griffith Park on one of our many tours. The land was donated to the city of Los Angeles by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith as a Christmas present from him and his wife in 1896. Upon donation of the land Griffith stated that “It must be made a place of rest and relaxation for the masses, a resort for the rank and file, for the plain people.” He later donated more land to what is now the current 4,310 acres of land that the park is made up of. Here are some of our favorite adventures in this gem of Los Angeles.
If you love the American West and Indian Artifacts than look no further than the Autry Museum. Boasting a collection of over 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts, the Autry also includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection which is one of the largest and most significant Native American collections in the United States. Also on display are items such as gold scales from the gold rush, items from saloons as well as saddles and cowboy gear. The Autry is a goldmine of information telling a fantastic story of the melding of the Native American communities with the American settlers. Definitely worth a stop.
The Los Angeles Zoo
Home to more than 1,100 mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles representing more than 250 different species of which 29 are endangered, The LA Zoo is a great place to spend all day or just a few hours. The Zoo’s botanical collection comprises several planted gardens and over 800 different plant species with over 7,400 individual plants – all spanning 133 acres. There is even a wonderful playground where the kids can play and families can sit and have a nice lunch. Right now, the LA Zoo is all lit up for the holidays with their amazing light display all through the park, making the zoo a truly magical experience.
Family Fun Activities
You can have a full family fun day just exploring the various activities all throughout the park. As you wind your way through, you can stop at the pony rides and take a ride on the Griffith Park Southern Railroad miniature train. Up a bit further, you will find horses of a different color on the colorful merry-go-round that is filled with 68 finely carved horses for your riding enjoyment. If you keep going past the zoo, you will end at the Travel Town Museum where you can view a collection of locomotives and scale models of steam engines, and you can take a ride on the Travel Town train! Plus there are also some awesome playgrounds in the park as well. Your kids will surely go to bed early that night after a fun filled play day at Griffith Park!
The Griffith Observatory
The most visited public observatory in the world, The Griffith Observatory hosts around 1 million people a year. It is one of the first institutions in the United States that was dedicated to public science and is still a national leader in public astronomy. As stipulated in Griffith’s will, entrance to the Observatory is free of charge. While at the Observatory, you can view shows at the Samuel Oshchin Planetarium for a nominal fee or participate in monthly public star parties, daily talks and presentations, and periodic special events. Last, but certainly not least, you can view the spectacular, sweeping views of Los Angeles from atop this amazing part of Los Angeles.
Hiking, Biking, Golfing & More
If you love the outdoors, then you will love all the plethora of activities you can do at Griffith Park. You can and your children can set up a camping experience through Hollywoodland Camp or you can go horseback riding on one of the many trails throughout the park. If you like to golf, you can do so on one of the municipal golf courses. There is also a 26 acre soccer field or 3 different tennis courts where you can play a friendly game. Finally, there are several picnic areas where you can just sit back and enjoy the splendor of the park.
Griffith Park has so much to offer, it’s no wonder why so many people love it. You can come experience Griffith Park on one of the many tours that LA Insider Tours offers. We hope to see you soon!