In the late 1940s, Charley Atkins, a Recreation and Parks employee, along with a handful of rail enthusiast friends, had the idea that a steam locomotive would make an attractive addition at the Griffith Park miniature railroad ride. The original intention of the Museum was to be a "railroad petting zoo," an opportunity for the children of Los Angeles to "imagineer" themselves as engineers. The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department had two little engines destined for scrap that seemed to fit the bill. The idea escalated as Atkins, with the enthusiastic support of former Recreation and Parks Department General Manager George Hjelte and Superintendent of Recreation William Frederickson, initiated contacts with major railroads in California to determine what equipment they might be willing to donate. At that time, the steam locomotive era was drawing to a close, and Atkins found a good response. Travel Town was dedicated on December 14, 1952. The concept of a combined transportation museum and recreation center blossomed, and wishes for donations were generously fulfilled. In 1965, Travel Town's exhibits were re-grouped, and the park re-dedicated. Today, Travel Town is in a state of new growth and development. Charley Atkins passed away in 1959, but he left Los Angeles a grand legacy at Travel Town.
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Travel Town Transportation Museum
5200 Zoo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90027
Operations: (323) 662-5874
Travel Town Planning and Development
Department of Recreation and Parks
Park Services Division
4800 Griffith Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Mail Stop #: 663
The Museum is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed Christmas Day.
During pacific daylight time, the weekend hours are extended one hour.
Travel Town Museum gladly accepts donations for admission. Sufficient parking is available on the Museum premises during operational hours.
Groups intending to visit the Museum must make reservations with the Operations Manager by calling (323) 662-5874, or in person at the office near the Travel Town entrance. Office hours are 10 am to 2 pm daily. The Travel Town Museum Foundation offers tours for elementary school groups (Grades 1-6) as well as provides pre-visit instructional materials. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (323) 668-0104, ext. 13 or in person at the Foundation office beside the Gift Shop.
Two of Travel Town's historic, turn of the century, passenger cars are available for birthday parties and meetings. Reservations are required. Please contact the Operations Manager by calling (323) 662-5874, or in person at the office near the Travel Town entrance. Office hours are 10 am to 2 pm daily.
The Museum has a gift shop which sells railroad related toys, clothing items and books, as well as snacks and drinks. The Gift Shop phone number is (323) 662-4253. Vending machines providing cold beverages and snacks are located by the Gallery building.
For a different view of Travel Town, ride the scale train which circles the perimeter of the museum for a nominal charge. The Train Ride phone number is (323) 662-9678.
For over three generations, Travel Town has been a favorite family destination. Picnic tables and barbecue facilities are available for rental. Groups intending to use the facility for picnics must call (323) 662-5874.
The Travel Town Museum is in constant motion and offers many possibilities to contribute and share your existing skills, abilities, and knowledge. More importantly, as a Volunteer Participant, you will enjoy a myriad of opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally, meet new and diverse people, and gain useful life skills. For more information, on how to become a Travel Town Museum Foundation Volunteer, please call (323) 668-0104 or visit the website to sign up online.