Griffith Park is located in the historic Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Park is at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. Spanning over 4,000 acres, Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The Park is often called the “Central Park” of California; it offers a more natural and outdoor feeling.
The list of things to do in Griffth Park is more than enough to fill up a one-day trip. Ride a train, visit a zoo, hike to the Hollywood Sign, visit a museum, relax under a shady tree, and enjoy a family picnic.
The centerpiece of the Park is the Griffith Park Observatory. The observatory closed for renovation and expansion in 2002, reopening to the public in 2006. The art deco exterior remained, but inside over $93 million had been spent by a public bond to restore the building and replace the planetarium dome.
Inside the observatory, you will find the planetarium theater, a vast triple-beam solar telescope, and three levels of fascinating hands-on exhibits and displays. Admission to the observatory building and exhibitions is free.
Griffith Park is also home to the Los Angeles Zoo and is a must-stop for any family. It’s one of the most famous zoos globally and home to 1,100 animals worldwide. Its most recent notoriety has been the zoo’s successful breeding of the rare California condor.
Autry Museum of the American West
Adjacent to the zoo is the Autry Museum of the American West
Actor and original cowboy Gene Autry established the museum to share the story of the American West and cultures, perspectives, and traditions. The collection features paintings, sculptures, costumes, textiles, firearms, and musical instruments. 4700 Western Heritage Way, – Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Visitors can view a collection of locomotives, cabooses, passenger cars, and motor cars from 1880 to the 1930s. Kids are allowed to climb aboard some locomotives and experience what it would be like to be an engineer on one of the massive train engines. Travel Town’s original miniature train came from Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch and was a steam locomotive. Today non-steam locomotives are in service, but they still pull the original Melody Ranch coaches. Griffith Park, 5200 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Just a short walk from Travel Town in Los Angeles, Live Steamers. Visitors can climb aboard beautifully built and maintained 7½” gauge model trains with pocket-sized railroad passenger cars on weekends. A 15-minute ride on over two miles of track, through a miniature world, with tiny towns, low-hanging tunnels, and dainty bridges. Train rides are free! Griffith Park, 5202 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Griffith Park & Southern Railroad opened in 1948 and has been a family favorite ever since that day. Your journey begins and the Los Feliz passenger station, where you purchase train tickets. The trip aboard the miniature train is about a mile long and takes 15 minutes to complete. This area of the Park also features pony rides. Griffith Park, 4400 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 9002
Sunset Ranch gives you a taste of the old west in Hollywood. Located in the corner of Griffith Park, the Ranch offers guided trail rides into the Hollywood Hills. Sunset Ranch has been here since 1954, when it was relocated from Culver City. One-hour, two-hour, and sunset dinner rides are available at the Ranch. 3400 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Old Zoo Griffith Park
Abandoned cages and buildings from the original Griffith Park Zoo. From 1912 to 1965, this area of the Park was the Los Angeles Zoo. Countless blogs and social media posts about the old zoo have made this a popular hike. The bottom line is there is not too much to see hear. If you like graffiti and the smell of urine, Griffith Parks’ abandoned zoo is an excellent place to visit. Since the empty cages, you can go in. In areas that are fenced off, park rangers can ticket people that enter.
Griffith Park Activities
Two 18-hole golf courses and a 9-hole course called the Roosevelt intertwine the Park and offer a chance to brush up on your game. A baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, and athletic fields are open for public use.
Griffith Park is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon with the family. Be sure to bring a picnic basket! During the summer months, a swimming pool is open.
The Park features many hiking and equestrian trails through the mountains; the local unit of the Sierra Club leads free evening and weekend conditioning hikes in Griffith Park every week.
History of Griffith Park
Initially purchased in 1882, the land was used as an ostrich farm by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. The primary purpose of the land was to encourage residents of the surrounding area to purchase their real estate projects nearby. Griffith came to believe the land was haunted by the ghost of its previous owner and donated 3,000 acres to the city of Los Angeles.
Getting to Griffith Park
Directions: Griffith Park lies just west of the Golden State Freeway (I-5), roughly between Los Feliz Boulevard on the south and the Ventura Freeway (SR 134) on the north.
After leaving freeways, follow the signs into the Park. Griffith Park is open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. the hiking trails and mountain roads close at sunset at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California.