Do you really know the premier playground of the Santa Monicas? Hilly and hard to manicure, the park got its start when colonel Griffith J. Griffith donated 3,105 acres to the city in 1896. Here, some insider tips on discovering its crannies and stashes. View map.
1. Engine Room
The barn that Walt Disney built for his backyard railroad is open at Travel Town for tours the third Sunday of each month.
2. Horns Aplenty
“There’s a trail that hugs the golf course, and at certain times of the year, herds of deer come out—like 10, 15 of them at once.” –Eleni Tsikrikas, park visitor by the carousel
3. Shore Sign
Lake Hollywood Park offers street parking, barbecue pits, and a stellar view of the Hollywood Sign.
4. Rail Riding
“Most people like the train by the pony rides, since the track’s a little longer than the one at Travel Town. You get more for your buck.” –Hank Bronk, co-owner of the pony rides
5. Club Kids
With three practice holes, a driving range, and areas to putt and chip, the Tregnan Golf Academy offers a Little Linkster program for kindergarten-age golfers.
6. The Old Zoo
“My dog loves running around here. It’s green, open pastures. The dog likes sniffing around the old cages, too, since the smells of the animals are still there.” –Anthony Cicero, park visitor by the original L.A. Zoo
7. The Big Sleep
Camp Hollywoodland, a 162-bed bunkhouse, is available during off-peak weekends for overnight rentals. Invite everyone you know for an adventure.
8. Rooting Around
Horticulturists from the Natural History Museum lead regular field trips ($25). Reservations are required.
9. Spin Room
“I like riding Crystal Springs to the top and back because it’s really wide and I don’t have to worry about traffic. Plus they just repaved a lot of it. You can go over the path and into Burbank.” –Rob Gleeson,cyclist near the pony rides
10. Trail Mix
The Trails cafe is beloved, but if vegetarian isn’t your thing, Crossroads West at the Autry museum serves up Navajo fry-bread tacos with carnitas or adobo chicken.
“I like to walk on Vista del Valle. There’s a heli-spot where the LAFD lands their helicopters and you can overlook the city. Sunrise and sunset are amazing.” –Park ranger, who asked to remain anonymous
12. Hide And Seek
For $12, Los Angeles Zoo guests can purchase a ticket to the “Indian Rhino Encounter” to get up close with—even feed and pet—the pachyderm
13. Fern Dell
“Gabrieleño Indians lived in Fern Dell because of the natural spring that’s still there. It’s such a beautiful place. A lot of the beautiful stonework was done in WPA times.” –Tom LaBonge, city councilman
14. Through A Lens
“Not everyone knows that we have a free telescope, open nearly every night around 7 p.m.” –Mark Pine, deputy director, Griffith Observatory
15. A Space of Your Own
No parking? A DASH bus leaves from the Vermont/Sunset Metro station.
16. Choose You Own Adventure
The park has 53 miles of hiking trails, fire roads, and bridle paths.