While there are many wonderful parks in Torrance, only one has panoramic views from the ocean to the mountains – plus its own rocketship.
Los Arboles “Rocketship” Park is a Hollywood Riviera jewel loved by young and old alike for more than fifty years. Located on 6.3 acres at 5101 Calle de Ricardo (donated by developer H. Kessel), groundbreaking on the park took place in 1960 and the park opened four years later.
Rocketship Park was built shortly after the Soviet Sputnik satellite was launched and spacecraft was on the minds of Americans nationwide, especially in the aerospace-heavy South Bay. With the post-World War II baby boom on, city organizers were creating parks throughout the area. With Riviera Elementary situated adjacent to the park, children and parents were delighted with the new addition to the community. The Riviera Garden Club quickly donated its services to maintain and improve the park.
In addition to its 28-foot high rocketship, which was purchased from a catalog of playground equipment, the original park included a space slide, a model of Saturn, miniature jet planes, a submarine, and later an orbiter and lunar lander.
The beloved rocketship almost came to a crashing end in 1992 when the city of Torrance deemed it a safety concern and took it down. After a community outcry, the rocketship was refurbished and reinstalled a few months later. More modern equipment was also installed at the time, and a historical landmark plaque was placed on one of the rocket’s fins.
Rocketship Park was updated this summer with new play areas for ages 2 to 5 years and 5 to 12 years. The updated park includes lunar monkey bars, swings, climbing pieces and a teeter totter. And of course, the rocketship and moon lander. The park also includes a picnic area and has handicap access.
Take a trip up the four-level spaceship and enjoy views spanning from the Getty Center to the Hollywood sign to Griffith Park Observatory. You’ll be experiencing just one of the many things that make our community so special.