A Perfect Day in LA’s Griffith Park with Kids- LA Day Trip Itinerary

Griffith Park is Los Angeles’s answer to New York’s Central Park. Like Central Park, it is a large, urban green space with museums, a zoo, and a carousel, but Griffith Park is five times bigger, has miles of hiking trails ranging from easy nature walks to intense hikes, breathtaking views over the city (including the Hollywood sign!) and, of course, great weather year-round. Just replace the horse-drawn carriages with cars- Griffith Park is too big to get around on foot if you have little ones in tow. But parking is free in most places around the park.  Bring a picnic lunch and get ready for some family fun!


Start your day on the Wild Side at the LA Zoo.

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While not as popular as the San Diego Zoo, the LA Zoo has all the crowd-pleasers including lions, giraffes, chimps, gorillas, tigers, koalas, kangaroos, and hippos. Most of the habitats are designed to allow for a great view of the animals though weekends can be quite busy and you may have to jostle for the perfect spot. The zoo grounds are quite expansive, so a stroller is suggested to keep little legs from tiring out. If you can grab a snack to keep the kids happy, you can probably see the whole zoo before having a late lunch.


Picnic and  Carousel Rides

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Find your perfect picnic spot in the grass or one of many picnic tables. Let the kids frolic while you loll around and enjoy the sunshine. Then take a ride on the antique Merry-Go-Round, which is said to have inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland and is a popular filming site for Hollywood films and TV shows.

If your kids prefer horses of the live variety, you could also check out:

Griffith Park Pony Rides

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Get in touch with your inner engineer at Travel Town Museum

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This free, mostly outdoor train museum feels like it hasn’t changed much from the 1950s, and that’s a good thing! Kids will be delighted to clamber up onto old trains and use train tracks as balance beams. If you can get them to sit still, there are displays on how trains work, but for the most part, kids just love being able to explore the trains and play engineer. For a $2.75 ticket, there is a small ride-on train that goes around the park.

If your kids are out of their train phase and into their cowboy phase, you might enjoy:

The Autry Museum of the American West

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Take a nature walk through Ferndell.

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On the other side of Griffith Park, Ferndell is a little jewel box of green ferns with big sycamores providing shade for the easy, well-maintained trail that follows along the side of a small stream. Kids will love peeking into the creek to catch glimpses of frogs, fish, and crawdads.

If your family is up for something more strenuous, check out more interesting hiking options including an abandoned zoo, the Hollywood sign, or hoofing it up to the Observatory.



Stop in for a post-hike snack at The Trails.

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Stop in at The Trails, which is right near Ferndell, for your afternoon snack. You can feel like the quintessential Californian while nibbling on an avocado sandwich and a housemade nut milk or indulge in pies or pastries. They have a pleasant outdoor seating area with picnic-style benches decorated with succulent planters.


Explore the Cosmos at Griffith Park Observatory

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Another kid-friendy free attraction, Griffith Observatory has interactive exhibits on space and access to powerful telescopes housed in a beautiful art-deco building with stunning views over Los Angeles.

End your peachy day by watching the sunset over the Hollywood Sign.


Steps outside of the observatory, you can capture one of the best views of the Hollywood Sign. It is particularly beautiful at sunset.

By the end of the day, the whole family should be worn out, but there will undeniably be parts of Griffith Park that you haven’t explored, which is just a reason to visit again soon!


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