Picking a weekend destination in Los Angeles can be a tough decision.’ Things like affordability, good geographical location and quality are harder to find today.’ Luckily, there are unique places like Griffith Park that operate with the people’s best interest at heart.
Griffith Park was given to the people of L.A. as a gift from Col. Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. The municipal park provides an assortment of activities which entertain people of all ages.
Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park is a convenient destination for everyone in the Los Angeles County.
Griffith Park contains a state of the art observatory, planetarium, railroad museum, a 5,700-seat amphitheater, the Los Angeles Zoo, picnic and BBQ areas and some great trails for horseback riding, bicycling and hiking.
Griffith Park is the perfect place to go for people who are living on a tight budget, as you can fill up an entire day with fun, affordable experiences.
‘When my girlfriend and I first came to Griffith Park, we were pretty shocked that some of the attractions were free,’ said Greg Blessing, a 24-year-old Los Angeles Film School student.’
The zoo and railroad museums can be reached by exiting at Zoo Drive off the 134 freeway right before the 5 junction.
A day at the Los Angeles Zoo, which opened in 1966, will show you exotic animals such as komodo dragons, koalas and a species of zebra which only has about 3,400 of its kind left in the entire world.
‘We take our mission very seriously here of inspiring people about wildlife and getting them to care.’ We just don’t show animals here, we teach people about them,’ said Los Angeles Zoo Marketing Director Jason Jacobs.
The goal of the L.A. Zoo is to present wildlife diversity in interpretive exhibits that help people to learn about animals.’ ‘
The zoo is one of the few attractions at Griffith Park that isn’t free, but it’s still affordable. Adult admission is $12 and the zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Right down the street from the zoo is the Travel Town Museum. Admission is free and guests are allowed to observe and even climb on top of real steam locomotives and railroad cars.’ The museum opened in 1952 and focuses on Western railroad transportation from about 1880 to 1930.’ ‘
Another unique experience the museum provides is a ride on a miniature train.’ This mini train ride is made possible by the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum. LALSRM is located right next to the Travel Town Museum and is only open to the public on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.’ During this time guests may take rides on scale-model trains which travel throughout Griffith Park.
On the third Sunday of each month, the club allows the public to get a closer look at some of the amazing railroad artifacts inside the museum.’ One such artifact is the actual barn that Walt Disney used to create his own model railroad cars.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
On the other side of the mountain, the Griffith Observatory can be accessed either directly from Vermont Road or Fern Dell Drive off of Western Avenue in Los Feliz, Calif.
The observatory is open every day except Monday from 12-10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.
Guests of this attraction enjoy free general admission and can choose if they wish to purchase tickets to the Planetarium Show or look at the different exhibits.’ Ever since opening in 1935, the Griffith Observatory has allowed the general public to look through the Zeiss and solar telescopes.
All of these different attractions are only part of what makes Griffith Park such a desirable place to spend a day.’ The park itself provides a serene setting for people to unwind and escape the fast-paced L.A. lifestyle.’ It’s open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.