Nestled on the edge of Griffith Park, Travel Town is a FREE little train park, what a gem! Small, but loaded with real trains, trains, trains galore…there’s plenty to climb aboard, pretend to drive, ride along and see. We’re talking a real, train yard of retired trains scattered around the on tracks (stabilized of course!), some in a shed…many are open with permanent stairway access built into them- and while some safety precautions have been taken, they are in large part still in original condition.
There is a small mini ride-on train that circles the perimeter, and drives by all the trains…including a real old retired version of a “Cranky” crane train! It costs $2.75 per person.
There were multiple birthday party pavilions including what appeared to be birthday party cars (but don’t hold me to that!). It was really cute and tops the list of free things to do with kids in Los Angeles!
We spent a good three hours here – 30 minutes of it was admittedly using a train table inside the exhibit hall. Comically we had a rather nice Thomas the Train table at our home for two years and they used it cumulatively for about 30 minutes 🤣🤣 but whatevs. You can borrow engines from inside the gift shop (they take a drivers license and return upon the return of the engine).
If you have train loving kiddos, have you been on the North Pole Express?
From the Travel Town Website:
Museum Hours of Operation:
Travel Town is open daily (except Christmas Day)
Monday through Friday – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm PDT
Saturday & Sunday – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm PDT
For general information, please telephone the Operations Office at 323-662-5874
There is NO admission fee!
In the late 1940s, Charley Atkins, a Recreation and Parks employee, along with a handful of rail enthusiast friends, had the idea that a steam locomotive would make an attractive addition at the Griffith Park miniature railroad ride. The original intention of the Museum was to be a “railroad petting zoo,” an opportunity for the children of Los Angeles to “imagineer” themselves as engineers. The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department had two little engines destined for scrap that seemed to fit the bill. The idea escalated as Atkins, with the enthusiastic support of former Recreation and Parks Department General Manager George Hjelte and Superintendent of Recreation William Frederickson, initiated contacts with major railroads in California to determine what equipment they might be willing to donate. At that time, the steam locomotive era was drawing to a close, and Atkins found a good response. Travel Town was dedicated on December 14, 1952. The concept of a combined transportation museum and recreation center blossomed, and wishes for donations were generously fulfilled. In 1965, Travel Town’s exhibits were re-grouped, and the park re-dedicated. Today, Travel Town is in a state of new growth and development. Charley Atkins passed away in 1959, but he left Los Angeles a grand legacy at Travel Town.
The mission of the Foundation is to educate the public about railroad history as it pertains to the development of the Southwest Region of the United States, particularly the Los Angeles area. We fulfill this mission by supporting the restoration, operation, and interpretation of the historic railroad equipment at the City-operated Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park.
The Foundation supports Travel Town by helping the Department of Recreation & Parks to fund and administer the Museum’s volunteer programs, restoration projects and educational outreach efforts. Many of the Museum’s programs and activities are funded through grants and donations along with proceeds from our Museum Gift Shop.
We hope you will come for a visit and experience all the Park has to offer you and your family. Become a member, volunteer, shop in the Gift Shop, take a Docent Tour, ride the train and, most of all, keep the rails alive! See you soon!