Los Angeles for the Family
Covering an area of more than 4,107 acres of natural terrain and home to countless California oak trees, manzanitas and wild sage, Griffith Park – often referred to as the Central Park of Los Angeles - is the largest municipal park in the United States. Situated at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park is also home to the renowned “Hollywood” sign which stands on Mount Lee, and incorporates a number of the city’s most popular attractions.
The Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park was originally opened in 1935 and underwent an extensive four-year renovation before re-opening in 2005. The observatory features exhibits of all things space-related, with awe-inspiring planetarium shows at specified times. The outside area of the observatory affords visitors stunning views of the city. The Griffith Observatory has appeared in a number of films including Rebel Without a Cause, Transformers, and Jurassic Park.
Occupying 113 acres of Griffith Park, the Los Angeles Zoo is home to more than 1,200 animals from all over the world. Through their specialized breeding program, the zoo has successfully increased the number of rare California Condors in the wild from 22 in the 1980s to several hundred. The highlights of the Los Angeles Zoo include the beautifully created natural habitats for chimpanzees, koalas, orangutans and the Komodo dragon. A new gorilla habitat opened in 2007 and ongoing plans include new elephant, monkey and rain forest exhibits. The Los Angeles Zoo incorporates an accredited botanical garden, where visitors can view in excess of 800 plant species and 7,400 individual plants at their leisure.
The Travel Town Museum, located outdoors in Griffith Park, focuses primarily on the history of railroad transport from 1880 to the 1930s, highlighting Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Visitors can take a ride on the miniature train and examine the interiors of the cabs of several steam locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses.
The Gene Autry Museum of the American West was founded in 1988 by the renowned cowboy star, his wife Jackie and Monte and Joanne Hale. The museum was the fulfillment of Gene Autry’s dream to build a museum that would reflect the heritage of the West and depict its significant influence on America and the rest of the world.
The Greek Theatre, with its 5,800-seat amphitheater’s stage modeled to resemble a Greek temple, lies nestled among the trees of Griffith Park. As one of Los Angeles’ most historic entertainment venues, the Greek Theater has hosted some of the world’s premier entertainers, including Sting, Pearl Jam, Jose Carrerras, Tina Turner, Sir Elton John, Santana, Paul Simon together with Sir Paul McCartney, and the Russian National Ballet, to name just a few.
Activities in Griffith Park include the Griffith Park Merry-go-Round, hiking, cycling and horseback riding with the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Griffith Park is popular with the local residents of Los Angeles as well as with visitors to this captivating city. When visiting Los Angeles, be sure to set a day aside to explore the treasures of Griffith Park.