Travel Town – Griffith Park

Kelli’s Take

Travel Town is a very special place nestled within Griffith Park. Years ago we took our young children there when we were visiting here from Minnesota. Now my youngest son is working there, so we decided to take advantage of the “Depot Day” open house this past weekend.  A day showcasing all of the park’s fun offerings for young and old alike. Teri has special memories here too. Since she grew up in Burbank, she came here many times as a child. She also had one of her kid’s birthday parties here years ago.

DSC_0215 travel town blue sky

DSC_0137 travel town sign entrance

DSC_0138 travel town museum

DSC_0140 travel town tracks

See, it almost looks like a true Fall day here in Southern California. It was in the 80’s, but overcast, so it felt like October.

DSC_0192 travel town large engine

My husband also loves trains. We always have a Brio train setup near the Christmas tree.He always claimed it was for the kids. Very entertaining, especially for the cat. Now I know where to buy more accessories, the Travel Town gift shop has lots.

DSC_0152 travel town gift shop

The special annual event of “Depot Day” brought out very dapper people dressing in period attire. What a fun addition to the surroundings of the vintage trains and cars.

DSC_0157 travel town ladies

DSC_0160 travel town blue car

DSC_0177 travel town baby

DSC_0158 travel town ladies 2

DSC_0155 travel town orange car

DSC_0156 travel town characters

DSC_0164 travel town conductor

DSC_0165 travel town big band

Glendale’s Hoover High School Jazz Band was playing fabulous big band music, and I hear some dancing was going on before we got there.  One fun fact (for me anyway) was a connection between me and this band shell (Showmobile) the band was performing in.  It is a product of a company from my home town of Owatonna, Minnesota, from the Wenger Corporation.

DSC_0217 Wenger showmobile

I spotted the logo in the corner!  My Dad worked there for years. Another connection making this big city really just a bit more like home.

DSC_0162 travel town bake sale

How fun is this? Volunteers help to make Travel Town run so well. This wonderful bake sale was to benefit the trains.

DSC_0219 Pete

Here is my handsome son. A proud new employee.

DSC_0221 welcome play day

DSC_0169 California Western

DSC_0187 LA first railroad

DSC_0173 travel town metrolink

DSC_0172 travel town embrace

DSC_0201 movies shot at Travel town

Here are just a few TV shows and movies that have been filmed here.  This is Los Angles after all. The Bionic Woman and Columbo, classics!

DSC_0202 movies shot at Travel town 2

DSC_0206 Inside engine

DSC_0179 travel town railway express

DSC_0180 Harvey House

This woman was dressed as a “Harvey Girl”. A what? Yes, I didn’t know either. I learned so much from her. Fred Harvey was a business man who filled a need of the passenger railway system.  Everyone needs to eat and be refreshed while traveling. The Fred Harvey Company, founded in 1875, created restaurants called “Harvey Houses” along the Santa Fe Line. He wanted to provide a good meal at a reasonable price. He hired girls with good character (and at least an 8th grad education) they also had to be a bit daring to leave their homes and venture into the “wild west”.

DSC_0184 Fred Harvey

They brought respectability to the profession of the hospitality service and opened up the doors of the work force to women. An interesting documentary was made by a local Angelenos about the “Harvey Girls” – Opportunity Bound. (available for sale in the gift shop).

DSC_0183 The Harvey Girls

Judy Garland also starred in a film about the Harvey Girls. A bit cheesy, but good. I love a good old movie on a Sunday afternoon, don’t you?

DSC_0182 Judy Garland

DSC_0227 birthday car

Travel Town specializes in birthday parties, weddings, family reunions. You may rent one of two actual vintage train cars, or an outdoor picnic area.

DSC_0231 travel town picnic

DSC_0188 travel town train ride

Everyone loves to take a ride on  the kid size train that cruises around the perimeter of Travel Town.

DSC_0145 travel town model railway

Look behind the glass in  the exhibition hall to see the model railway being built. Such a craft. So fun to see the craftsmen in action.

DSC_0224 travel town train graphic

DSC_0197 travel town painting

DSC_0226 travel town graphic

If you haven’t yet discovered Travel Town. Pick up your favorite kids in your life or train enthusiast and enjoy some time in this quaint museum park. They are always looking for volunteers and members to be part of this fun part of Los Angeles history.

Travel Town Museum:  5200 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027


Hours: 10am-3:30pm  (4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday)


One thought on “Travel Town – Griffith Park

  1. Natalie Abrahamian

    Kelli, the photos are wonderful and a good story too. Did you know that Fannie was a Harvey Girl at the Grand Canyon depot?

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