When temperatures start to rise in Los Angeles this summer, try cooling off outside at the Ferndell Nature Museum. This outdoor space provides a nice respite from the heat with some 50 fern species 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 walking paths amid tropical foliage and a man-made brook.
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 excited to see where the walking path led. In fact, they were so eager that we walked the entire path in about 30 minutes. Then we went back for a closer look at everything.
Looking at ferns, flowers and the brook with its falls can be soothing on a hot summer day, particularly for parents. But if the kids are less impressed, don’t panic. Ferndell is 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 loved 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 watching them play.
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!).
- 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
- The Trails cafe (open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; closed Mondays) is just a short walk from Ferndell; 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