Ballona Discovery Park is the culmination of a dream begun in 1978 when Playa del Rey resident Ruth Lansford and her friends founded Friends of Ballona Wetlands to save the remnants of Los Angeles' once flourishing 2000-acre coastal wetlands complex. The 2-acre site is at the western end of Playa Vista's two-mile riparian corridor at the base of the Loyola Marymount University/ Westchester bluff. The park, designed by architect Brenda Levin of Levin & Associates, is a partnership between the Friends, Loyola Marymount University, and Playa Vista-Brookfield. Click here to learn more about Discovery Park partners.
The Friends envisioned not only saving the few acres of remaining viable coastal wetlands from development (600 were eventually saved), and restoring what could be restored, but also creating a "museum without walls" interpretive center to explain to children and their parents the natural and cultural history of the Ballona Wetlands, including the importance of wetlands habitat to the planet, and of these wetlands in particular, to the local Los Angeles ecosystem. Discovery Park is a gateway to the wetlands, inviting people to "Explore Ballona" from the freshwater marsh at the corner of Lincoln and Jefferson Boulevards, to the saltwater, dune and uplands habitats that stretch from there west to Playa del Rey and north to Marina del Rey.
Visiting Ballona Discovery Park
Discovery Park is located at 13110 Bluff Creek Drive, Playa Vista, 90094. Click here to download map and directions. The park is open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.
Groups interested in a private tour should contact Day Scott or Patrick Tyrrell.
Features of Discovery Park
1. An interpretive "watershed walk" that shows the movement of water from the mountains, through an urbanized city into a freshwater estuary, saltwater marsh, mudflat, sand dune and finally to the ocean.
2. A grass amphitheater, or gathering place, that will allow for informal educational and theatrical gatherings.
3. A “Ki” structure which is reminiscent of a type of structure that the Tongva tribe that inhabited the area may have used.
4. Historic and native plant demonstration gardens, including a pollinator garden and medicinal plant garden.
5. A "Ballona Over Time" exhibit that focuses on the human impacts on the Ballona Watershed.
6. Free-standing interpretive graphics throughout the park.
7. Riparian path nooks with benches for contemplation of the natural surroundings.