(LA Trend) — Out of all of the parks in Los Angeles, La Tierra de la Culebra stands as one of the most unique in a city populated with plenty of cultural offerings.
Founded in 1992 by visual artist Tricia Ward, the park was created in the aftermath of the LA Riots when she noticed that there was a dearth of public spaces for locals to gather in residential areas.
Originally a privately owned vacant lot that was used as the neighborhood’s unofficial garbage dump, the property is now a place of magic and possibility located on an otherwise ordinary street.
Through Ward’s tireless efforts in restoring the lot into a thing to appreciate, the park became the first officially zoned “open space” in a residential neighborhood when it was registered as an official park with the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Parks and Recreation in 2003.
This art park may not look very big from the street, but wander around and you’ll discover that this little patch of paradise takes up much more real estate than it appears. It’s the sort of space that Harry Potter would feel comfortable in.
Guests are greeted by quirky statues cobbled together from old metal that welcome you with whimsical stoicism. As soon as you set foot on the grounds, you know you’re in for something a little more unreal.
Spanish for “The Land of the Serpent”, La Tierra de la Culebra gets its name from a 450 foot sculptural serpent made out of concrete, piqué tiles, and river rocks. But don’t worry, this is a friendly serpent, guiding you through three elevated terraces, each one packed with an array of surprises, including succulent plant wonders, eccentric geography, and many more marvels that only an art park could provide.
Craggy wood, cement, and tile steps – that had to have been made by a construction crew of fairies and elves – take you to higher and ever more fanciful ground.
When you’re done exploring the amphitheater, pond, and the gentle jungle of indigenous plants and flowers, take a rest on the numerous mosaicked benches sculpted with a variety of odd objects that need to be sat on to be believed. It’s the kind of furniture that invites you to relax and sit for a spell, drink some tea, and maybe forge an artistic Mother Nature masterpiece.
This is an ideal park for artists and creative types – it’s a down-to-earth constellation of colors with plenty of exotic landscapes to inspire and provoke, serving as the perfect place for artistes of all kinds to let their imaginations run wild.
And for the paw parents out there, rest assured: La Tierra de la Culebra is a dog-friendly park, so feel free to bring the pup as long as they’re leashed.
In a strange way, it’s fitting that a park filled with so many curiosities would be tucked away in such an ordinary neighborhood in Highland Park, just off of Figueroa Street. So if you’re starving for a park that offers more – much more – than the usual playgrounds, picnic tables, and vast lawns, and gives you a minor break from city life, if not reality itself, than La Tierra de la Culebra ought to cure what ails you.