Here are some of our favorite parks and gardens in Los Angeles to enjoy with your family when the weather allows.
Corner of Wells and Ramona Street
San Gabriel, CA
Creatures of the sea come to life in this make-believe lagoon playground. Dozens of oversize ocean-themed concrete sculptures are featured in this park. You can climb and perch on top of a giant octopus, crawl over a sea serpent, and slide out of the mouth of a pink whale. If you are looking to actually get wet, there's a one-foot-deep gated pool for kids to splash around in.
4700 North Griffin Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90031
Hop on the 110 fwy (heading north from downtown L.A.) and you'll soon find yourself among towering trees and a menagerie of wildlife hidden within 282 acres of wilderness in Highland Park. Often described as a "hidden jewel", the Audubon Center at Debs Park seeks to engage with the local communities of northeast Los Angeles. The Center is located in the fourth largest park in the city of Los Angeles. More than half of the park is covered in walnut-oak woodland, grassland, and coastal sage scrub, a remnant of the native habitats that once rimmed the Los Angeles Basin. Over 140 species of birds have been spotted in the hills, including American Kestrels, Great- Horned Owls, and Northern Flickers. Visit the hilltop pond, inhale the soothing scent of eucalyptus, and unwittingly discover one of the most stunning views of downtown Los Angeles. With dogs allowed, lush trees to sit under on a hot day, and yet to be discovered by many locals, this park will feel at times like it's all your own.
2439 Wilshire Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA
You can see from its duck ponds, its spacious ground perfect for biking, roller skating, or scootering, its splash pad, and its fully loaded playground that Douglas Park is an ideal place to spend a day with the kids. If you get hungry, sit at one of the wooden picnic tables, or picnic under one of the mature trees, which provide lots of shade. Not only these trees invite you to eat in nature, but they also invite nature to join you. You couldn't ask for a better lunch date.
4800 Crystal Springs Road Los Angeles, CA 90027
“Shane’s Inspiration” was the first Universally Accessible Playground in the Western United States and the largest in the nation. This remarkable play environment is the most popular playground in Los Angeles sitting on 2 acres in Griffith Park, which features a number of fantastic play elements, including cruising down the accessible "jetway", a space station, a "Ship of Dreams," and a mini-bicycle city. “This is not just another playground…It is a symbol of hope and love and a beacon of joy for thousands of children in our city.” Former Mayor Richard Riordan.
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108
Introduce your youngsters to the wonders of the natural world through interactive sculptural elements based on the themes of earth, air, fire, and water at the Children's Garden. Designed by California kinetic artist Ned Kahn, children get to splash in water, make music with pebbles, dance under rainbows, disappear into a swirl of fog, and hold the magic of magnetic forces in their hands. They may not realize it, but they’re learning about the building blocks of life: nothing grows without light, water, earth, and air.
Plants such as topiary, weeping mulberry trees, papyrus, and tree aloes create a whimsical atmosphere. You can watch your kids from shaded benches in the garden’s center or from a comfortable overlook platform.
301 North Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91007
The Arboretum is home to exotic towering trees, a turtle-filled lake, the Queen Anne House (a Victorian gem), a waterfall, a house made of intertwined branches, and vegetation from all over the world. The gardens feature plants from the Americas, the Mediterranean, Australia, and Asia. When walking under the native oaks or having a picnic with the family on Bauer Lawn, keep an eye out for the ample number peafowls that roam free on the grounds. While there, check out the beautiful gift shop, which is a unique source for an array of peacock-theme merchandise. The children’s section offers garden-related books, educational toys and other learning materials about nature, rocks and other outdoor subjects.