One of the largest urban green spaces in the country, Griffith Park is a wonderful playground for all ages and interests. The park embraces an outdoor theater, the city zoo, and observatory, two museums, golf courses, tennis courts, playgrounds, bridle paths, hiking trails, Batman's caves, and even the Hollywood sign.
For astronomy buffs, the landmark Griffith Observatory opens a window on the universe in its planetarium with the world's most advanced star projector; the Big Picture, a floor-to-ceiling digital image of the universe bursting with galaxies and stars; and rooftop telescopes. At the Los Angeles Zoo, you can wander among some 1,200 finned, feathered and furry friends, which promises to enthrall the kids.
Also here is the delightful Travel Town Museum, with its displays of dozens of vintage railcars and locomotives; the Bronson Caves, where scenes from Batman and Star Trek were filmed; the Museum of the American West, where kids can pan for gold and explore a stagecoach; and the richly-festooned Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, with its beautifully carved and painted horses.
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Access to the park is easiest via the Griffith Park Drive or Zoo Drive exits off Interstate 5. Parking is plentiful and free. For information and maps, stop by the Griffith Park Ranger Station at Crystal Springs Drive. For a general overview of the park, drive the mountainous loop road that winds from the top of Western Avenue, past Griffith Observatory, and down to Vermont Avenue.