Saturday Mornings Down at the LAFD Harbor Fire Museum

This past weekend our family spent all day Saturday in San Pedro (CA). This is a small town just about 20 minutes away over a couple of bridges from our hometown of Long Beach. We used to go over quite frequently for mornings out a few years ago when T was just a toddler as there’s so many wonderful and free family-focused outings (or so inexpensive they might as well be free). A posthumous thank you to Huell Howser for introducing our family to these and so many other wonderful places so many years ago.

Roll on over to the LAFD Harbor Museum in San Pedro (CA). It's located right on the old Red Car line, 6th Street stop.

Roll on over to LAFD’s Harbor Fire Museum in San Pedro (CA). It’s located right on the old Red Car line, 6th Street stop.

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This poor guy has been trying to get down this pole for years now. Heh.

This poor guy has been trying to get down this pole for years now. Heh.

C learns about some of LAFD's past down at the Harbor Fire Museum, AKA "Old 36s."

C learns some LAFD history down at the Harbor Fire Museum, AKA “Old 36s.”

We started our “San P” Saturday with a trek over to the Los Angeles Fire Department Harbor Museum. Also known as the “Old 36s,” this museum resides at the former fire station 36 along the waterfront on Beacon Street (cross-street 6th St.). It houses some of LA’s most historic fire vehicles, equipment, and other memorabilia from events over the last several decades that LAFD has been in operation down at the harbor.

C and T check out an old fire hydrant on display at the LAFD Harbor Museum.

C and T check out an old fire hydrant on display at LAFD’s Harbor Fire Museum.

I now know why more fire hydrants aren't opened up on hot days. It takes a special pentagon-shaped wrench to get around the specially shaped nuts that keep them closed until necessary. You really do learn something new every day!

I now know why more fire hydrants aren’t opened up on hot days. It takes a special pentagon-shaped wrench to get around the specially shaped nuts and bolts that keep them closed unless necessary. You really do learn something new every day!

Old fire truck at "Old 36s" in San Pedro (CA).

Old fire truck at “Old 36s” in San Pedro (CA).

The trucks are gorgeous. No, you cannot climb onto the trucks, man the hose wheels, or sit in the cars, but you can spend a long while just looking at the awesome detail and preservation that’s gone into putting these pieces on display for the public. Kids and adults alike can appreciate the way that fire detail has evolved over the years, as well as how advanced it was for its original time.

A history of hats down at the LAFD Harbor Museum in San Pedro (CA).

Hats off to our fire fighters down at the Harbor Fire Museum in San Pedro (CA).

Cool old fire suit on display at LAFD Harbor Museum.

Cool old fire suit on display at the Harbor Fire Museum.

Uniforms over the years on display at LAFD Harbor Museum.

Uniforms over the years on display at the Harbor Fire Museum.

An aquatic-focused display of gear at the LAFD Harbor Museum.

An aquatic-focused display of gear at the Harbor Fire Museum.

In honor of the 343 fallen heroes of FDNY, 9-11-2001.

In honor of the 343 fallen heroes of FDNY, 9-11-2001.

There are also several displays at the harbor fire museum showcasing fire hats, protective suits, and other tools and gear. Because this is more of a harbor-focused museum, there are many cases of aquatic gear and tools to study. The museum also houses a few understated yet poignant tributes to the 9-11 tragedy, including letters from children to FDNY in honor of our nation’s fallen heroes.

T in a fire truck at station #112 near Fireboat #2 in San Pedro just across the street from the LAFD Harbor Museum (taken June 2009).

T in a fire truck at station #112 near Fireboat #2 in San Pedro just across the street from LAFD’s Harbor Fire Museum (taken June 2009).

And not too far from the museum is Fireboat #2 (The Ralph J. Scott), a National Historic Landmark. While we didn’t get over to the boat on this trek, we’ve gone a few times before (there’s a bit of construction and dredging going on down at San Pedro Harbor, making the once easy walk a little more indirect). To say that the crew working at the adjacent and active fire station #112 does its best to make visitors feel welcome is an understatement, as you can see from the photo of T in the fire truck.

LAFD Harbor Museum in San Pedro, CA.

LAFD’s Harbor Fire Museum in San Pedro, CA.

T gets a free hat on our most recent visit to the LAFD Harbor Museum.

T gets a free hat on our most recent visit to the Harbor Fire Museum. Oh yeah… free hats for the kids along with the free admission!

T in his free hat from his trip to the LAFD Harbor Museum in June 2009.

T in his free hat from his trip to the Harbor Fire Museum in June 2009.

The Harbor Fire Museum in San Pedro is open every Saturday from 10 a.m.-to-3 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcome. It’s run by mostly retired fire department personnel from the area, and all staffers are volunteers. If you stop by, be sure to sign the guest book and pass along your gratitude for their service.

Landlubbers can check out LAFD’s other historical and more inland location, Old Station 27, a restored fire station-turned-museum in the heart of Hollywood on N. Cahuenga just south of Sunset Blvd. Their public hours are every Saturday from 10 a.m.-to-4 p.m.; admission here is free as well (donations welcome).

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One response to “Saturday Mornings Down at the LAFD Harbor Fire Museum

  1. Pingback: Ride the Old PE Red Car (Back and Forth) in San Pedro | Real Mom Time (RMT)

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