What a great way to take a break from the hectic graduate life at USC than to make a trip to the iconic Griffith Observatory. Named after Colonel Griffith Jenkins Griffith’s – whose vision was to make astronomy accessible to all – the Observatory was constructed for the public and donated to the City of Los Angeles in 1935. It has a fairly similar appearance in comparison to other astronomical places I have previously visited but its architecture is definitely incredible and memorable. The surrounding lush green area on the way up to the Observatory is also astonishing.
The Observatory sits on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. It is 1,134 feet above sea level and has a spectacular view of the Los Angeles Basin. From there, you can see Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and is the best place in the park (in my opinion) to see the Hollywood Sign to the south, siting on Mount Lee – the tallest peak in Los Angeles.
When you first get in, there is a swaying Foucault pendulum that demonstrates the rotation of the Earth. Inside Griffith Observatory, you encounter dozens of equipment and instruments that help visitors to understand interesting astronomical phenomena. There is also neatly displayed information about past astronomical history, California astronomical history, planets and telescopes. You can touch meteor fragments, see views of Los Angeles from inside the Camera Obscura, watch a Tesla coil, and so much more. One of my favorites exhibits was “Beyond the Visible” in the Wilder Hall of the Eye area, which focuses on the progress of human observation of the sky and its impact on society.
Besides space-related exhibits, the Observatory also features star shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and often hosts special events.
Griffith Observatory is definitely an amazing and highly recommended place to visit in Los Angeles, regardless of whether you are into astronomy and science or not. It is located at 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Admission to the building and grounds is free.
However, there is a nominal fee to see shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The Observatory is open Tuesday – Friday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed on Mondays.
I will be heading back soon to see their other exhibits and shows!
For more information about Griffith Observatory: www.griffithobservatory.org
Published on March 27th, 2018
Last updated on April 1st, 2021