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The cosmos via the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

The Griffith Observatory is located in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park in the Hollywood Hills and is your gateway to the cosmos and the best 360 degree views of Los Angeles. The land on which the observatory sits (3 acres) was donated to the city of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. In his will Griffith also donated the funds to build the observatory, an exhibit hall and a planetarium on the donated land. He also made sure that astronomy become accessible to the public by making admission is free for everyone.

 

In 1933 they began construction on the observatory with a design developed by architect John C. Austin with early sketches by Russell W. Porter (an artist, engineer and amateur astronaut). Two years later, in 1935, the observatory was opened to the public, and led a whopping 13,000 visitors through within the first five days of its opening! The building combines Greek and Beaux-Arts influences, with Greek key patterns seen on the exterior of the building. Its quite a site for photographing not just the stunning views of Los Angeles, but also the site itself!

There is so much to learn about the cosmos at the Observatory! From looking through telescopes and exploring exhibits to seeing live shows at the Planetarium! Learn about moon phases, planets, tides, eclipses, the elements of our universe, the sun, stars, seasons, day and night etc.

There are three levels to visit at the Griffith Obervatory; The main level is the “Historic Level” with the Hall of the Eye exhibit, the Hall of the Sky exhibit, the Sundial and the Planetarium where shows are hosted several times a day. To check the schedule for the Planetarium, click here. The lower level has two exhibition levels, the mezzanine with the “Edge of Space” exhibit, showcasing the view of the planets from Earth and samples of the universe that come to Earth from space or that we acquire through space exploration. On the lower level is the “Depths of Space exhibit where you can learn about each planet and test your weight if you were standing on the various planets! This level also highlights today’s technological advances in space exploration. Don’t forget to visit the roof level, because it’s where you will get some of the best panorama views of Los Angeles, including a view of the Hollywood Sign. For an interactive map of the levels and exhibits, check here.

And if you are too short to reach the telescopes or a good view, you may want to see what you can detect upside down through a rain spout!

Good to Know:

Getting here can be difficult on weekends. Not because it’s hard to get here, but it’s difficult to find parking. There is a parking lot at the Observatory, but they restrict it to handicap parking and won’t even let you drive your car up to the observatory to unload passengers from the main road. The street parking is along a hilly road with a narrow road and no opportunity to turn around. On the weekend it might just be easier to park at the Greek Theatre at the foot of the hill and take the shuttle up the hill. They charge $1 per person and kids ride for free. Shuttles arrive every 20 minutes. More info on how to get here, this way.

Griffith Observatory:

Admission to the Observatory is free!

Shows at the Planetarium are not free ($3-7). For showtimes and tickets, this way. Children under 5 years old are allowed for free but must sit on the lap of a parent or guardian.

Hours:
Weekdays (Tuesday – Friday) 12noon – 10pm
Weekends (Saturday & Sunday) 10am – 10pm
Closed on Mondays


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