Spiral into Magic at the 5 Coolest Labyrinths in LA

Labyrinths aren’t just for meditative moms and dads; the pattern has a strong pull on little people, too. While your wee ones might not reap the Zen effects of following an ancient spiral pattern, they will have a blast walking (or, more likely, running) through, again and again. Alas, chances of encountering David Bowie circa 1986 are unlikely, but the kids won’t care. Get ready to spiral into some magic.

photo: Sylvie Greil

The Little Mermaid Leads the Way to the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Labyrinth
This privately owned cemetery in Glendale is open to the general public and features a bombastic statue collection, including a replica of the original Little Mermaid from Denmark at the pond by the front. The Memorial Park is gorgeously landscaped with gently rolling, green hills and has a beautiful, small labyrinth modeled on the famous original in Chartres, France. Set at the Gardens of Contemplation, this tiny, but very pretty stone labyrinth boasts fantastic views. Fun at a cemetery may sound a bit blasphemous, but sculpture scouting (peacefully and quietly that is) on a Sunday drive is a concrete way to connect the kids with art history. Yes, you need your car. The area is immense. The lush park was designed with an eye toward classic European art. Thus you’ll find a statue of David by Michelangelo, lots of Old World children statues, and other really cool stuff like imposing murals and art. Tip: Bring flowers to place at a site that captures your fancy.

1712 S Glendale Ave.
Online: forestlawn.com

photo: Sylvie Greil

An Ancient Affair: Labyrinth at Arlington Garden in Pasadena
This lovely, formal botanical park feels like someone’s private garden but is actually Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden. It’s small but full of treasures to discover. Part of the fun of a visit is exploring what’s around the next corner, and the next: an olive allée, a small, fragrant orange grove, all manner of plant arrangements, sculptures, and the piece de resistance which is a beautiful spiral. The pattern of this classical, seven-circuit labyrinth is more than 5,000 years old. Boggle your kids’ minds by telling them they are walking one of the oldest and most sacred designs in the world. Admission is free, and visitors are invited to linger via little tables and chairs hidden along and dotting the paths. Bring a picnic, as there are a plethora of sweet nooks for chillaxing and snacking.

275 Arlington Dr.
Online: arlingtongardeninpasadena.org

photo: Lac T. via yelp

Zen Awaits at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens
Here’s your chance of practicing Zen and the art of entertaining the kids! This spiritual oasis and Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument in the heart of the city features a marvelous hand-carved stone labyrinth made of travertine marble and modeled after the labyrinth in the famous, medieval Chartres Cathedral in France. Tire the tykes out first a little by checking out other aspects of the gardens, such as the koi pond, water fountains and lush, green nooks. This way they might be better equipped to practice quiet appreciation as they walk the peaceful path of about one third miles. Admission is free but always call ahead, as they are prone to closing periodically. Unlike the labyrinths listed above, this place has a bit of a hushed, meditative vibe, as people are drawn here to reflect quietly. It’s a great opportunity to teach peace and mindfulness even to the youngest set.

3500 W Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: www.peacelabyrinth.org

photo: GM via yelp

Bronson Canyon: Bat Caves and Interactive Labyrinth
Yes, Bronson Canyon has “bat caves.” Except there are no bats living in them. That’s because the moniker came from the classic Batman TV series rather than the nocturnal creatures. But the caves, they are real; and Batman isn’t all that was filmed here. This area of Griffith Park has been the set for TV shows including The Dukes of Hazzard, Star Trek and Twin Peaks and films likeInvasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s a scenic, easy, ten-minute walk to the storied bat caves. And that’s not all: another fun feature that must have been created by some happy hikers is a labyrinth made of rocks in the canyon behind the caves. Little folks can spend hours adding rocks to the existing structure to extend the lines of the spiral. And running through the dust to make it to the center as fast as possible never ceases to amuse.

3200 Canyon Dr.
Griffith Park
Online: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronson_Canyon

photo: Sylvie Greil

A Mini Stonehenge and More: Descanso Gardens Labyrinth
At this lush, 160-acre escape, you get two labyrinths at the price of one: a Fibonacci sequence tucked away among the oaks and ferns and a mini hedge maze for the littlest ones. Each has a magic of their own. You can tell you’re getting close to the Children Labyrinth near the Rose Garden from the squeal of toddlers as they run through the maze, featuring a couple of adorable miniature chairs fit for gnomes and fairies in its center. And tell the kids to beware, as the site is guarded by animal statues. The Fibonacci is more deserted, made of 33 small, Stonehenge-like rocks set too far apart for kids to jump on or over but loads of fun to explore. The way the light filters through the canopy here is dreamy. After some labyrinth loving, hop on the Enchanted Railroad (check schedule ahead of time) for a sweet choo choo ride. There’s also the Japanese Garden and the brand new Ancient Forest, growing plants pretty much unchanged since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Descanso holds lots of events such as movie nights, the Little Owls Reading Nest, Toddler Treks and more.

1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge
Online: descansogardens.org

photo: Sylvie Greil

Have you encountered any magical mazes or labyrinths in or near LA? Recommend your favorites in the comments.

Source: http://redtri.com/los-angeles/best-labyrinths-in-la/

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