Escape the stress of LA traffic by spending a relaxing day at the United States’ largest municipal park, Griffith Park, with over four thousand acres of green to frolic on. With smart phones and technology at the tip of every teens fingertips nowadays, it can be rare to find time outdoors as a family. Experiencing the park can be both magical for your teen and valuable bonding time for everyone. Depending on how extraneous you want your trip to be, you can start your family vacation at the bottom of the park just inside the gate and roam around the nature on foot, or you can drive all the way to the top and begin at the Griffith Observatory.
Be amazed by the wonders of LA
Take in the magnificent skyline of LA from every corner at the Griffith Observatory—a white building located on the top of a mountain with a dome as the planetarium. Climb the stairs on the outside to the second floor from the main entrance and you will find yourself surrounded by the city’s skyline and natural landscapes. Watch the LA traffic from above and take some award-winning snap shots of you and your teen.
Griffith Park has lots of space
What you will see inside the Griffith Observatory is as amazing as the view from the outside. Share your love for outer space and science with your teen as you learn from the Depths of Space Hall, an exhibition with details on each of the planets in our solar system. Located on the lower level of the structure, the Depths of Space Hall shares accurately scaled models of each planet, with detailed descriptions and features of what it’s like to be there. You and your teen will want to try the floor-mounted scale for each planet that shows the gravitational pull on a visitor.
The state-of-the-art Samuel Oschin Planetarium is in the dome of the Griffith Observatory and offers shows on a daily basis. Large enough to fit over 200 people, the projection of the shows are wider than what your peripheral vision can see. The chairs are so comfortable, you may find yourself napping before the show begins. Each presentation lasts about 30 minutes and will take your teen on a special journey through space while teaching information that will leave them pondering science questions for hours to come. If time permits, you will not want to miss one of these shows!
Below the planetarium, there is a café and a gift shop where you teen can buy quirky, fun science gadgets and various souvenirs to bring home. Pick up a space suit for Halloween or a mini planetarium that will paint your room with stars by projection—once you put it in water. Lastly, Grab a snack and sit outside on the café podium and delight in the view of that famous Hollywood sign! No family vacation to LA would be complete with out a photo of it.
Feeling a little more active?
The park has beautiful green spaces for a full day of family fun. Have a relaxing picnic while soaking in your daily dose of vitamin D and watch as your teen joins in with locals and tourists alike on pickup games such as soccer, flag football or Frisbee.
Make sure you stick together as a family or you may find yourself playing hide and seek in the labyrinth of Griffith Park. Go for a jog or a hike together to get the best of both worlds—exercise and a view! Multiple trails for hiking offer nothing less than spectacular views of the city and an array of natural foliage; Griffith Park it is a place of serenity in the hustling city of LA.
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Joanne Lam was born and raised in Hong Kong and has been traveling with her family for as long as she can remember. She worked as a teacher assistant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a year before completing her undergraduate degree at Emerson College with a focus on communication and business studies. You can follow Jo on Twitter at @jo_lam