Boney Island is a massive, animatronic Halloween display now located in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. After nearly two decades running out of a home in Sherman Oaks, Boney Island eventually grew so large and popular that it was shut down, leading to a fortunate move to Griffith Park. It’s ultimate family Halloween experience, and one of the most beloved Halloween traditions in the city.
- Located at the 5202 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles
- Massive display including a number of animated scenes as well as performing acts
- No jump scares
- Family friendly – appropriate for all ages
- No intense special effects or trigger warnings
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Boney Island is, simply put, one of the largest and most beloved Halloween attractions in Los Angeles, and the premiere destination for anyone looking to celebrate the holiday with young children. The word “display” does not do Boney Island justice – it’s more of a carnival, with a multitude of small animated scenes, walkthrough sections, stages featuring live performers, and light/water show featuring a collection of singing pumpkins.
Now located adjacent to the Steamers Railroad Museum Ghost Train, Boney Island did not arrive at its current venue without a struggle. At its previous home in Sherman Oaks, the attraction became so well-attended that the city demanded a police presence, which would have exploded Boney Island’s financial resources. After a heartbreaking announcement that Boney Island would be closing for good, a miraculous deal was reached with Griffith Park, who now hosts the event for the foreseeable future, and offers even greater space and potential for growth.
Though appreciated by countless adults in the area, Boney Island is targeted to young children, offering up all of the wonder and delight of the Halloween season. As its name implies, most of the inhabitants of Boney Islands are skeletons – all animatronic – who seem to be having just as much fun as the human guests. Magic is a central theme in many of the displays, with skeleton magicians pulling rabbits out of hats, showing off optical illusions, and harmlessly sawing a fellow skeleton in half. There are often live magic shows, again targeted at kids and usually looking for young volunteers.
There are also short walkthrough sections that can lean ever-so-slightly creepier, like an eerily-lit garden full of skeleton animals and spiders. But everything on display is well within a “G” rating, and does not even approach the scariness of something like Disney’s Haunted Mansion.
Tickets are generally inexpensive, and can be bought online or at the entrance. While Boney Island’s larger location ensures virtually no lines and plenty of space for guests, parking can be very difficult and ride-sharing is encouraged. The entire attraction can be seen in 15 or 20 minutes, not counting any live performances. Many visitors will want to visit the Ghost Train before or after Boney Island – but note that the train often comes with extremely long wait times and should be planned for well in advance (more on that here).
For so many families, Boney Island is the face of Halloween fun in Los Angeles. Don’t come looking for a good scare – instead, visit Boney Island to recapture the magic of that first trick or treat, that first pumpkin carving. Come to remember the reason for the season.
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