Sunday, August 26, 2012

#237: The Santa Monica Traveling Rings

So you've done #28: Trapeze School and thought it was a piece of cake? I've got another challenge for you: show off your apelike swinging skills on the Santa Monica Traveling Rings.

The rings are located just south of the Santa Monica pier along the beachside cement path. According to this article, the rings were built after a lot of debate with the city's risk management team which feared the rings would be a liability. The equipment was originally built in the 1930's and was restored in 2000. You'll find all types of people using the rings, and even more spectators lounging on the cement wall. Around the rings are also ropes and bars that people do tricks on.

When we went on a weekend afternoon, the rings were busy with about ten guys waiting in line. Some of them listened to their ipods while they swung, and all of them had talent worthy of a Cirque du Soleil show. I found myself hypnotized as I watched guy after guy take his turn, twisting and flipping and gaining more and more momentum until his time was up. Ladies will especially like watching the rings because these athletes are buff and bronze! ;) Bring a lunch and some form of sun protection (there is no shade) and enjoy the show!

The Santa Monica Traveling Rings

Sunday, August 19, 2012

#236: Los Angeles Police Academy Rock Garden

Talk about a hidden L.A. treasure! The rock garden at the L.A. Police Academy Revolver and Athletic Club in Elysian Park reminds me of an ancient Aztec temple. It's a city landmark, and was designed by Francois Scotti in 1937.  The garden features waterfalls, four pools, walking paths and stone benches.

When I saw pictures of the garden on the website Big Orange Landmarks, I knew I had to check this place out. The problem is, since it's a private club, it's not open to the public unless you make an appointment to see it. They rent out the space for weddings and other events (it costs $550), so if you want to see the rock garden, you can call the athletic club and request to see the space with the intention of possibly renting it. They'll give your name to the guard at the front entrance, and he'll give you directions to the garden.

The perfect setting for a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" themed wedding. 

When we visited on a Saturday morning, we were the only ones enjoying the garden. It was peaceful, and our girl loved the soothing sound of the rushing water. Note that there are many stairs at the garden, so we left the stroller in the car and just carried the little adventurer. 

Morning bicep workout

It was nice having the whole garden to ourselves, but it is too bad that the general public can't have regular easy access to the place. With a little planning, though, you can also see this beautiful garden. 

1800 North Academy Drive

Have you been to the L.A. Police Academy Rock Garden? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

#235: DIY Houses

The Gehry Residence

Hello stranger! I've got a good excuse for the lack of posts in the past few months -- my life has been taken over by a little baby girl! Our girl is 2 months old, and a feisty little creature. This was her first 365 L.A. adventure!

I love it when home owners take creative control over their houses and turn them into something avant garde. This weekend we went on a drive around Santa Monica and checked out two DIY houses in the area. The first is the Frank Gehry Residence which was built in the 70's. Gehry is the architect behind downtown's Disney Concert Hall. His house in Santa Monica is thought to be one of the catalysts of the Deconstructivism movement

Front of the Gehry Residence
Gehry gave the original house a makeover by keeping its exterior intact and building around it, adding chain link, plywood and metal. You can find the house on the corner of 22nd Street and Washington Ave.  It's pretty crazy looking, and supposedly some of the neighbors were not thrilled when they saw the finished product. 

The second house we visited was just a few blocks away. The Farnam Mosaic House is on the corner of 26th Street and California Ave. The owner of this house runs a mosaic business called Custom Mosaic Tile and has decorated the house's exterior, interior and back alley with beautiful mosaic. Thanks to Experiencing L.A. for letting me know about this house!

Want more DIY houses? Other notable homes in L.A. that were designed by their owners include the famous Watts Towers (#75), the Adamson Tile House (#22), and the Eames House (#86). Facebook follower Laura R. also suggested checking out the Garden of Oz in Hollywood. 

Do you know of any other unique houses in L.A.? Leave me a comment below!