Los Angeles boasts numerous architectural gems and historic sites, and one of the most effective organizations fighting to preserve the places that make LA County unique is the Los Angeles Conservancy. The Conservancy uses education and advocacy to raise awareness of historic places, prevent their needless demolition, empower people to save the places they love, and foster strong preservation laws and incentives. And while this work is serious and challenging, many of the ways the Conservancy engages audiences with local sites of interest—like guided neighborhood visits and screenings of classic films in historic movie palaces—are just plain fun!
For thirty-five years the Conservancy has offered fascinating walking tours of Downtown L.A., introducing countless Angelenos to the rich history and culture that the area’s architecture has to offer. This year they are marking the 35th anniversary of their walking tour program with special programs, including new youth and family tours of the marvelous Union Station.
Opened in 1939 and often considered the last great railroad station built in America, the station’s colorful tile work, gorgeous ceilings, shady arcades, burbling fountains, and towering palms epitomize Southern California glamour. A combination of Spanish Colonial Revival and Art Deco designs were used to accentuate the city’s history and heritage alongside its burgeoning modernity. Today the bustling station serves more than 100,000 passengers a day, as both an Amtrak terminal and a hub for Metrolink commuter trains.
The Conservancy is offering three hour-long tours that will explore the great Union Station through its beautiful shapes and colors, its relationship to the growth of Los Angeles, and its train history. Note, this tour is designed for children ages 5 and up but does not include boarding a train (so why not head to Travel Town after your tour?).
Tours will take place from 11 am–noon on Sunday, November 29, 2015; Sunday, December 6, 2015; and Sunday, December 13, 2015. The cost is $5 for children 17 and under, $10 for members of the general public, and $5 for Conservancy members (up to two adult admission at Individual level; up to 4 adult admissions at all other levels).
Reservations are required and can be made online. Book soon! It’s never too early to engage children with architecture and design, and there are few places as exciting and inspiring to do it as a train station.
Written by Stacey Ravel Abarbanel
Los Angeles Conservancy // 213/623-2489