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a picture of the observatory from 2009
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Griffith Observatory

2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tue.-Fri. 12:00pm-10:00pm & weekends 10:00am-10:00pm, closed Mon.
213-473-0800 3 hours
January 2014 All year
$0-9 Los Angeles California
Website Educational Science Museums
First review
Griffith Observatory is a world famous observatory and science museum in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Los Angeles. The facility includes science oriented displays such as a pendulum, a Tesla coil, and information about planets and stars. There are also public telescopes, a planetarium show, an overview movie, various science presentations and a café.

The observatory is named in honor of Griffith J. Griffith (1850-1919), an immigrant from Wales. Having become very wealthy from mining and real estate pursuits, Griffith felt obligated to better the community. He donated both 3,000 acres of land to Los Angeles, which is now called Griffith Park, as well as funds to build the Griffith observatory and museum which opened in 1935. A major renovation and expansion was completed in 2006. This overhaul was a huge engineering project that refurbished the beautiful Art Deco main building, while constructing major new facilities underground.

The observatory typically offers evening telescope viewing through a main 12-inch telescope as well as smaller telescopes set up on the lawn. It may seem like sacrilege to advise skipping these telescopes in favor of other attractions at an observatory, but the bright lights of LA make it difficult to see anything that is remote or dim, so the Moon and Jupiter had to suffice. Also, the lines for the telescopes were long. During the day, telescopes are available to view the Sun. In the upstairs museum there were interesting displays on the history of telescopes and a Tesla Coil. While there was not enough time to catch the planetarium show, it's very popular so is probably something you will want to see. A cool winding corridor leads to the underground exhibits. This corridor traces the creation of the universe with costume jewelry displays. An excellent overview film, narrated by Leonard Nimoy, is shown downstairs. There are also worthwhile exhibits downstairs relating to the planets and a wall of stars display that shows a huge number of stars in the evening sky. Griffith is often crowded as it is a popular attraction, but it’s an interesting place with informative exhibits so is worth some congestion to enjoy. Also, views of LA from the observatory are great on either a clear day or night.
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10/6/2014 6:00:04 PM
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During another visit in 2014 saw 2 Planetarium shows: Water Is Life and Centered in the Universe. The same guy narrated both shows and was entertaining. The Centered show was better and got into interesting topics like the nature of the universe. Both shows briefly identified star constellations.