Posted by: Tangled Web | March 29, 2010

Travel Town, Burbank. Not Just for Stoners and Toddlers!

You don't need pot for this!

Travel Town!
Not Just for Stoners

My significant other was skeptical about Travel Town.  When I brought up going to the Train Museum, hidden on the north side of Griffith Park next to the Zoo and the 134 Freeway, he scoffed and said that ‘a certain mind-altering substance would have to be present for him to waste his Sunday afternoon on a bunch of broken down locomotives’.

Travel Town: Bringing Out the Child Within since 1952

I must admit, I was worried too when  a bunch of kids came bursting through the wooden gated entrance of Travel Town just as we arrived.  Maybe you did have to be a die-hard, lunch-box-toting, Thomas the Train fan to enjoy this place. Not that I don’t love Thomas the Train. I mean, he ‘thought he could‘, and he did. What could be more inspiring than that?

That's just the wheel! ps: i'm 5'2''

The first thing I noticed inside the grounds was how much more enormous the trains were than I had expected.  I am a little bit taller than a three year old, and the train wheels alone still stretched far above my head!  We were able to explore inside some of the trains and surreptitiously climb on the engines. The interiors are great backdrops for reenacting your favorite scene from “Darjeeling Limited” or the Thora Birth horror film, “Train”.

Scary Train Scene Reenactment Starring Me

What I kept wondering, as we wandered through the trainyard, surrounded by the ghosts of Los Angeles’s mass-transit giants, was what our world would be like if we had never moved beyond electric rail cars and steam.

Train anyone?

Would things be so inefficient if the car hadn’t come along, giving everyone the autonomous ability to choose their own transit schedules, creating hours of traffic jams while doing so?  And what about all our hard earned money spent on car insurance, car maintenance, car accidents,  road repair!

Light Speed down Santa Monica Blvd!

Sure, the lay out of LA and the country would be different, but not necessarily for the worse.

But Travel Town does not conjecture on this fantasy future of cities criss-crossed by high-speed rail.  No, it continues its historical narrative to the arrival of the “train assassin” itself: the private automobile.

Gas guzzling "Train Assassins" on display at Travel Town

The bevy of original car companies boasted their appeal: “No hill too steep, no sand too deep” claimed the Jackson car model.  “The Car of No Regrets”-boasted the King.  “Worth the Money”-simply stated the Star.

My great-grandfather hitched a ride on a horse and buggy into Akron to buy his first automobile in 1920.  He drove it straight home from the store, having never driven in his life or had a lesson.

Set the clock back at Travel Town. Enjoy an Old Fashioned pass time: Train Jumping

He promptly took the whole thing apart to see how it worked then put it back together. My grandmother remembers it never ran quite as well again.

It only took 50 minutes to take in all the sights at Travel Town that Sunday.  And not only is admission free, they don’t even give you a dirty look if you pass by the donation box at the entry empty handed.

Duh. That would Hurt.

To quote my boyfriend, “Travel Town is actually pretty interesting”.  No Mary Jane or infants required.



  1. I worked at T-Town for two years. You did a really good job of summing it up!
    I think the great thing about it is that there just aren’t many places like it parents can take their children for free, and it’s safe and clean.
    We would have lots of parents and even grandparents coming in telling us how their parents used to take them to Travel Town when they were children.

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