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.
The site/view is fanastic, including the ride up to the observatory! The displays are great for anyone only mildly interested in the real "stars".
When using the Observatory web site, be aware that it is not current. We used it to make the 48 hr reservations,print tickets, get directions,only to find upon arrival at Kodak Theatre that there is no shuttle bus service from there during Feb 07. After referrals from security guards & LA visitor center, we followed directions and embarked on a 3 hr subway & bus ride to Zoo shuttle area. Had a great time at the Griffith & were assured by staff there that we could find a shuttle to return us to Kodak. Not true.
A driver of a shuttle bus made a special trip to take us back to Kodak-no charge! Management can improve this-hire IT people from LA Metro to clarify & update website?
You need reservations to catch a shuttle that takes you to the Observatory. The gal on the line could not clearly explain the differences in the shuttle pick up points. We selected the Zoo entrance. The shuttle ride from the zoo parking lot to the Observatory turned out to be 20 minutes. Then, at the Observatory, I stood in line at the downstairs kisok to buy tickets for the Planetarium show. Their system is that the block of tickets for the 4:15, 5:15 and 6:15 shows go on sale at 3:30 in 3 different places in the Observatory. I got in line at 2:50 (was #11 in line)because I wanted to go to the 4:15 showing. At 3:30 the kisosk opened. By the 9th person in line, the computer froze and you could not purchase tickets. A technician came to fix it. By the time they fixed it, all the 4:15 tickets had been purchsed. I was able to buy tickets to the 5:15 but I would not have had to waste 40 minutes standing in line for that time. After that, we had another half our wait in line to get into the Planetarium show. Hopefully they will come up with a system to buy Planetarium tickets online when you buy your shuttle ticket. Currently, you have to make sure your shuttle ride time will get you to the Observatory in time for one of the selling times for Planetarium tickets. They sell out.
Griffith observatory is absolutely amazing. The view is miraculously beautiful and utterly stunning. However, the quality of service is unbelievably poor: you cannot reserve tickets for the planetarium and after about one hour standing in the line at 3:00 pm they will tell you tickets are sold out for the next three rounds and you have to wait until 7:00 and AGAIN wait in the line to see IF you're gonna get a ticket or not. After spending the whole afternoon there, we finally weren't able to visit the planetarium.
Here is what I wished someone had told me:
Yes, you must make internet reservations and if you have a child under five they can only go to the first show.
Make your reservation for the shuttle at the first two times, otherwise it will be too late.
Most importantly, when you get to the top of the hill and get dropped off by the shuttle, do not get in the long, long line that wraps around to the east side of the building; instead, keep right and go down the escalators to the restaurant, there are machines which you can put your credit card in and purchase tickets.Thanks to the kind person who told us about this or we would never have been able to go to the show.
The food at the cafe is not at all like Wolfgang Puck but it is Costco and that tastes great when you are very hungry. There is not any way to get through that line shorter, but bring water bottles and some fishy crackers in your diaper bag.
loved most of my 7 hour visit to the new Observatory.
The Big Picture is awesome and the New Planetarium show is wonderful. Unfortunately the show only uses the new star projector for a very short time. Let's hope that the future brings more sophisticated star shows.
My two big complaints are the planetarium ticketing system and the food:
The ticketing is either at the box office or a single vending machine. Both where totally overwhelmed when I was there (Wed before Thanksgiving). You should be able to buy these tickets on line when you purchase the shuttle bus tickets.
The cafe is a total failure. Wolfgang Puck has the concession and it is totally mismanaged. I waited in a line of about 35 people for over 50 minutes.
They serve a very limited menu that could and should be prepared ahead. Instead after you get through the Disneyland like line, someone writes your order up on paper and hands it to a short order cook. I guess all the technology went into exhibits because this was about as inefficient as possible.
The checkout stands are set up in the middle of the room so that the customers are falling all over each other as they try to get chip etc and then get back in line. An awful experience.
The food was of average quality. If you want to see how to run the perfect non-profit commissary check out the Getty Center.
In short, a wonderful experience - bring you own lunch!
Long story short, it was very disappointing.
After the big renovation and add on, we were expecting it to be great. It was a little off from the start, when the observatory shuttle taking us from Hollywood and Highland to the park almost hit a couple of pedestrians before we even left the shuttle stop, not to mention the couple of red turn lights he ran just taking us up to the observatory.
There are a lot of exhibits to see, but with so many visitors you can't really enjoy or see any of them. In theory it would be a neat place to visit, but the poor operations of the observatory made it less than enjoyale. If anything, see the planetariam show.
The Los Angeles Zoo looks entirely different at night and that is where you now park to load yourself, after a lengthy wait, onto a bus that heads skyward to the new Observatory. A unremarkable bus ride, it creeps through Los Feliz and finally heads up the hills while the Mayor and a councilman remind you how wonderful it is going to be.
Arriving, there is nothing new to detect. It is the same magnificent art deco-ed palace perched on the perfect cliff in all of Los Angeles. The night is shimmering with lights, it's still a warm evening in yet another Indian Summer. Inside, it still looks very the same: That mysterious pendulum is still swinging, the Tesla lights are still crackling (when the exhibit is on) and the moon is still waxing and waning.
The Planetarium show is SOLD OUT. The only exhibit worth seeing, on this second night of reopening is sold out...how? Disappointed children and unhappy mothers return to their strollers. The unsympathetic guards and staff who hold reign at the entrance make sure no one enters. And its odd, there isn't after 93 million, a printed program, a brochure to explain the place anywhere. If you're going for the planetarium show, find out how to book it in advance, or maybe call your councilman.
What is new is to be found down below in the "Gunther Depths". Two floors of exhibits and theater, it holds the most fascination. The Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theatre (or the LNEHT for short and sanity) is a 23 minute documentary on the history of the observatory told with wry wit and humor from one-time Vulcan himself, Leonard Nimoy.
The big news is that the park and the observatory were donated by a generous philantropist with the redundant name of Griffith Griffith. It's a quick 23 minute, enjoyable not without some astounding facts.
Spoiler coming: The Observatory was literally raised to build the new floors below.
The exhibits are well thought out, full of information and a string of planets, our solar system, presumably to scale, reveal the enormous size of Jupiter and Saturn and the pea size of that soon-to-be-forgotten dwarf planet Pluto. Looking at the nine planets, and seeing that one orb, rich with color, dancing with clouds and shadows one cannot help but wonder, why? And the sad part is, that is the only time you really wonder. Because what is missing in the 93 million dollar in renovation is something that money cannot buy, MAGIC. There is no magic in the exhibits, there is no magic in the enormous Gottleib Transit Corridor, which simply looks like a rather large wallpaper. There is no magic only science. And the irony is that on the way back, on that tired bus, on a small monitor, astronaut Buzz Aldrin appears, and in a five speech, he utters, senses, reveals the magic of space exploration, of the vastness of space, the unique position the Earth holds in an endless galaxy. He gets the magic, the observatory, sadly, doesn't.
Whether it�s a picnic or you just want to get away from the hustle. This is a pretty good getaway, even the air smell different here. This is a pretty cool place to take a date and have a romantic walk. Currently under construction though so keep that in mind due to open later this year. Once at the observatory you can enjoy some amazing views of the city on a clear day you can see long beach from here and the sunset�s� Aw� some of the best that I have seen. Observatory and ground are open late on most days so go and catch a sunset and watch the light come on and see the true stars come out.
It was alright, there was an observatory and some displays--most of which were for elementary school kids and scouts. Great place for a moonlight picnic though, one of the few places you can see the stars in LA through the lights and smog. YAY GRIFFITH!!
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