The Observatory is the highlight of Griffith J. Griffith's contribution to Los Angeles. The construction of this art deco ... More
The Observatory is the highlight of Griffith J. Griffith's contribution to Los Angeles. The construction of this art deco observatory was completed in the early 1930s and has since undergone a major renovation which has enameled it as one of Southern California's most popular landmarks. The Observatory's state-of-the-art Samuel Oschin Planetarium blasts off amazing light shows providing a visual feast for the eyes. Notwithstanding the new technology, simply walk outside and the observatory which provides outstanding views of the area during both day and night. Anyone even vaguely interested in astronomy will find the exhibits and planetarium shows fascinating. Griffith Observatory is of interest to film fans because it was the site of the unforgettable climax of Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean.
I REALLY LIKED THE LOCATION, WITH THE PARK BELOW WHERE YOU CAN HAVE A PICNIC LUNCH AND YOU CAN SEE THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN FROM THE TOP OF THE HILL. THE OBSERVATORY IS REALLY NEAT AND INFORMATIVE. DEFINITELY SOMETHING TO PUT ON YOUR "TO SEE" LIST WHEN IN LOS ANGELES.
I went yesterday and it was amazing! Just make sure you come when it gets dark so you can look through the telescope. They also have a big planitarium (Rebel Without A Cause was filmed there.) It's definitely worth your time and money.
We loved the planetarium show! It was like you were really looking at the night sky - and comfortable too. All of the exhibits were interresting and very "hands on". Our kids liked it as much as we did. The food was very good too, although a little pricey. We would definitely go back.
The Griffith Observatory is a spectacular place, filled with amazing exhibits! It's understandable that some people are frustrated, but with a little patience and some good planning, you can have a wonderful visit! Here's the 10 best tips for your trip:
(1) GO ON A WEEKDAY. It's very busy on Sat and Sun, shows sell out, and tons of people make it hard to get a good view of the exhibits.
(2) BRING A LUNCH. The cafe is okay, not great, and the prices are kind of silly ($2.50 for a bag of chips). You can eat your own food at the cafe tables, but not outside on the lawn. No picnicking.
(3) SEE THE PLANETARIUM SHOW. It is by far the coolest thing at the Observatory. It's sort of like an imax film. Very moving!
(4) ASK A GUIDE FOR INFO. As I described above, the guides can tell you what you're looking at, and it will blow your mind!
(5) COME AFTER SUNSET. You can look through the telescope on the roof and see the rings of Saturn, or the craters of the moon. Also, if the line on the roof is really long, you can see just as good of stuff by looking through the telescopes on the front lawn.
(6) BE PATIENT. The Observatory was reopened about 6 months before it was really ready - they wanted to give people the chance to get in to see what's there - but as a result there's no brochures or organized tours yet. Remember, though, the Guides will answer your questions!
(7) SEE THE FREE DOCUMENTARY. There's a new theater in the lower levels (The Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon) that has a free documentary film about the Observatory. It's 25 minutes long and it's a great way to get some background information and have a break from walking around.
(8) TAKE THE ZOO SHUTTLE. The Zoo shuttle is easy to find, easy to drive to, and free to park at. However, if you want to sightsee, don't mind paying a few bucks for parking, then park at Hollywood & Highland and see the Chinese Theatre as part of your tourist activities.
(9) HIKING UP IS FREE. If you can find the path up to the Observatory through the park, you can go in for free.
(10) USE WEBSITE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS. It is so easy. Just follow the links under "Visiting" to "Make a Reservation" and you can choose the shuttle you want, the date you want, and the time you want and then you can print your tickets out from home! Don't bother with the reservation line, the wait is forever, and they have to email or fax the tickets anyway.
I Love It. Perfect to visit in all year round. We like the planetary system that they have inside. And after you finish visiting that observatory you can drive around the park, go to the golf cource that it is next to it, or if you have children you can take down to ride the ponies and next to the ponies is a small train that you can ride too.
I didn't like it, I loved it very much. And I'm planning to come back asap. I went only once in 1984 for an eighth grade class field trip and ever since then I've wanted to come back and am in the process of making those plans as I type this. So yes I'm an antique lol but I really loved it there and can't wait to return.
The city bus (which I didn't think that LA had a great metro, but it was abolutely just fine, and cheaper than renting a car) was a bit scary, but the observatory was great.
It was a bit surreal, being in LA and the history behind the place (ghosts and old tales) but very fun, ,very cool, and I'm glad that the people at the hotel (the Vibe) mentioned it. :)
don't even bother unless you have young kids who know nothing about space
By A Yahoo! Contributor, 3/3/07
ok, i was totally stoked to take a friend of mine visiting from the east coast to the new and improved observatory- i had never been to the griffith (went to one back east as a child)...and, i have a general interest in astronomy- took it in college, etc. what a disappointment! the entire time i walked around wondering what in the world they spent millions of dollars on- turns out it's the floor, the seats in the planetarium show and the ceiling of the planetarium. the displays are the old ones- even the name plates and descriptions are the old ones...example: the information for the pendulum explains it's basic function and why it knocks pegs down, what that represents, etc....um, but there are no pegs. and, some of the displays didn't even work- like i said, they're the originals.
then there's the planetarium show....this show only contains the amount of information you find in the introduction of a child's book on space. they don't even name the planets- they show you ONE constellation- just not very educational- none of it was.
the "cafe at the end of the universe"..whatever!..are you trying to tell me that Wolfgang Puck is ok with a table that features piles of different candy bars? This joint doesn't even serve espresso- instead you're supposed to pump you own coffee from a thermos. sure, the view is awesome- but so is the one at the Getty....or any other hill you climb.
the giftshop: full of junk for your kids to slide under their bed to get their room clean and then forget about it. not even great books with some real educational value.
and, the crowning glory: the milky way of the tacky flea market jewelery....there's a ramp going from the lower level where the snack bar (a.k.a. "cafe") and giftshop are- up towards the main level....by the time we made it thru this area we were laughing so hard we were in tears....on a black or blue cloth background they literally just pinned any and every barrett, earring, pendant or headband that fit these categories: had to have a celestial theme (either sun, moon, star...but, some were snowflakes), had to be extremely cheap looking and had to be one of the tackiest things ever created (i'm talking plastic, smiling moons and suns and the kind of gems people glue on sweatshirts here). and, why did they spend the money to actually put this behind glass?!
the walk down the hill (that they refer to as a hike) was the best part.
if you want to do something educational and inspiring- go to the getty- it will take you months to even get thru the entire thing if you continue to go regularly and they change exhibits all the time....plus, the food is great, the view spectacular...don't even get me started on all the information available there and the summer music series where they serve drinks and food- have live music in the gardens on nice evenings....perfect for families or others.
i mean, really, the observatory doesn't even have a color brochure....or one in black & white for that matter!
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