Friday, April 30, 2010
On a recent scorcher of a Sunday, CC and I were in search of fun activities and stumbled upon the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum and Walt's Barn in Griffith Park.
If your child loves trains -- heck, if you love trains -- this is a great activity, especially because both attractions are free.
Situated on an expansive lot, complete with scaled-down working trains, the Live Steamers Museum was founded in 1956 by railroad enthusiasts eager to have a place to play with their toys.
CC and I boarded one of the mini trains for a couple of loops around the track. (Unfortunately, photos were not allowed while we were riding, which was OK because I was concentrating on CC not leaping off the train, anyway.)
As you can see from the above photo, the landscapes are charming and fun -- lots of ghost towns, graveyards and even a working watermill. Also, the ride itself is pretty lengthy. No quick de-boarding for passengers, which should keep the kiddos happy. And a suggested donation of $3 per person isn't bad.
Walt's Barn (right), located within the museum grounds, is a creation of Walt Disney, himself a huge train aficionado. In 1950, he built the Carolwood Pacific Railroad in his backyard in Holmby Hills and used the barn as a place to monitor his trains.
Years after he sold the house, the barn was loaned to the City of Los Angeles and opened in the park in 1999.
Inside there are plenty of model train sets for railroad fans. On one train set, kids can even pretend to be little engineers, switching lights on and off, moving trains, and pushing a button that sends Dumbo the elephant flying around a tower.
Just make sure that you go on a Sunday (for Live Steamers) and the third Sunday of the month (for Walt's Barn), as that's the only time they're open.
Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum
5202 Zoo Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Hours: Every Sunday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; train riders must be at least 34" tall; children under age 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
* Walt's Barn is open the third Sunday of every month from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission and parking are free, but donations to the Live Steamers Railroad Museum are accepted.