Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cooling Off Outside at the Ferndell Nature Museum

Don’t let the name fool you: Ferndell Nature Museum is actually an outdoor space perfect for exploring when the temperatures start to rise. That’s because this home to some 50 fern species is set under cool cover of California sycamores.

But don't expect any maps or must-see displays here. The entire self-guided Museum spans about one long city block and features a paved, windy trail lined with tropical plants and flowers aplenty.

The location makes for ease with two kids as it’s near impossible for anyone to get lost. Bonus points for a place that’s adjacent to a city street, yet so quiet you’d be hard pressed to hear a car go by.

The explorers were more excited to see where the path through the Museum led than in stopping along the way to stare at ferns. In fact, we easily checked out the entire place is about 30 minutes.

But Ferndell made a great jumping off point for nature play at the Western Canyon entrance of Griffith Park, located directly in front of Ferndell’s parking area.

Here, the explorers most enjoyed scrambling the rocks found in the dry creek bed running along the perimeter of the park. In fact, they couldn’t seem to get enough of it.

I was shocked at their skill and problem-solving abilities – and at how well they worked together. I picked a nearby tree, sat down and enjoyed the show.

In total, we spent some three plus hours at Ferndell and the nearby Griffith Park area. As with any great spot in nature, we had the place to ourselves most of the time.

Tips for Visiting With Kids
  • Look for shades of green. How many different kinds of green can you find in this haven of ferns?
  • Go play at the nearby Western Canyon entrance to Griffith Park. The explorers especially enjoyed rock scrambling. There’s also a small play structure here that’s great for toddlers (though it gets hot!). 

Planning Essentials
  • Ferndell Nature Museum features more than 50 fern species set alongside a meandering pathway about one city block in length
  • The Museum is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
  • Admission is free
  • The trail through the Museum is paved; some parts are steep but stroller friendly
  • Multiple restrooms can be found across the street from the Museum at the Western Canyon entrance to Griffith Park
  • A small snack stand can be found north of the entrance to the Museum; picnic tables abound outside the Museum & across the street
  • Free street parking is available just north of the Museum

Ferndell Nature Museum is located at:
5375 Red Oak Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 666-5046


  1. This looks wonderful! It reminds me of a nature center here in Texas that is one of our favorites. I'll keep the nature museum in mind after we move this fall...I'm sure we'll be making a trip to LA at some point, since we'll be nearby.

  2. I remember when my dad used to take me to the Audubon nature center for walks and hikes through the woods. I had the best time there. If I'm ever in California, I'll definitely check out the Ferndell Nature Museum!

  3. I'm constantly amazed at how many little pieces of nature there are an hour or two from where I grew up. How did I not know about these places? Thanks for sharing them! I might need you to plan my next So. Cal visit ;)

  4. Sarah: Hope to meet you if/when you make it to L.A. Or maybe we can play in Vegas!

    Jordan & Mel: L.A. is full of surprises, no?!


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