Griffith Park is the largest urban wilderness and municipal park in the USA,yet it is just seven miles from downtown LA. It lies west of the Golden State Freeway (I-5) between Los Feliz Blvd on the south side and Ventura Freeway (SR-134) on the north. The park includesover 4,000 acres of hilly chaparral-covered terrain and forested valleys that arescattered with native sage bushes and California oaks. Although it is an area of recreation, much of the landscape remains unchanged from days when Native American Indians lived on these slopes.
Griffith Park is named after the land owner, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, who purchasedthe land, part of the originalRancho Los Feliz land grant made to Jose Vicente Feliz, using money made in his gold mine speculation. In 1896, he donated over half the acreage to the city of Los Angeles for recreational use, enabling the creation of one of the largest city-owned parks in the US. Further donations of land have brought the park up to its current size along with the acquisition of Cahuenga Peak, purchased by donations in 2010. On his death, Griffiths left funds for the building of a Greek Theatre and the Griffith Observatory, and they were completed in 1930 and 1935 respectively. The landmark Observatory still provides free admission and the use telescopes but there is a charge for the Planetarium.
Griffith Park is open to the publicdaily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., providing rare hiking paths, cycleways and bridle trails through this natural California landscape. It provides a valuable resource to this urban area and enhances the quality of life for visitors and local residents living in the vicinity of Griffith Park
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