One of the most popular sites to see in Los Angeles is Griffith Observatory. This celestial museum has been a Los Angeles landmark since its commission in 1912. It’s institution as an observatory was not realized until the 1930s, however, it was built as a science center for Angelinos to discover the wonders of the universe. Since its early days, the museum has grown to have high tourist traffic due to its attractive qualities to locals and California visitors alike.
The Griffith Observatory is a unique architectural site located on Mount Hollywood overlooking the entire Los Angeles basin. The Los Feliz neighborhood lies at the base of the mountain, and Griffith Park, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Greek Theater are only a short distance away.
While the Observatory exists to make astronomy accessible to all, there is more to this building high on a hill than the rich scientific history visitors can discover. The views of the city below are breathtaking. On a clear day, one can see the skyscrapers of downtown rise above the skyline, and the majesty of Southern California becomes an incredible photo opportunity for all who visit the observatory. In fact, this site may be the best view of the county due to its high elevation. And if the view of the Los Angeles basin wasn’t enough to attract tourists, the Hollywood sign is visible from many corners of the building, as well as the pathway up the hill. Tourists stop along the road to take pictures with the Hollywood sign in the background. This also may be the best spot in the city to get a picture with the sign, considering getting any closer to it requires strenuous hiking.
For those visiting the observatory to explore the astronomical history and recent discoveries, there is an abundance of activities and sites that make this a gem well worth visiting. Entrance to the museum itself is free, however, there are informational shows that require an admission fee. But the founder of the museum, Griffith J. Griffith, chartered the observatory for the specific purpose of making the heavens visible to all. Because of this, the observatory is run through the city Parks Department, and consequently offers free exhibits to the public. There are free telescopes, a planetarium, and general displays that explain how the celestial systems function.
Giant replicas of the planets have been put on display to demonstrate the size variation so visitors can gain an accurate visual representation of the sheer colossal dimensions of the planetary bodies. The museum also offers sites such as a giant pendulum in the foyer, a wall containing the 118 elements, a Camera Obscura, and a Tesla coil. In addition to these wonderful features, the observatory is the best place to view astronomical events such as planetary alignments, meteor showers, etc.Whatever a visitor’s interests may be there is surely something to fascinate within the walls of this magnificent museum.