Monday, January 25, 2016

Griffith Observatory Observed

The local observatory that looks over the city for picture perfect photos of all there is in LA doesn't close until 10. Griffith Observatory lets visitors free of charge view the vast ocean of light above and below. If LA's smog isn't in the way you can see the stars and all the city's light and you might realize that the universe is vast and so is LA.

If you don't happen to have a telescope you'll get a chance as every night the museum takes out it's own telescopes and let's the public use them for free. A short wait in line and you can gaze at the stars professionally. If you want to be even more a professional you can try the telescope within the Observatory itself. Yes, it's open to the public for free and you'll only be given a few seconds on it. I have to say from my experience it may not be worth it. Though impressive on the outside gazing through the little lens is a bit anticlimactic.

The real reason so many tourists and local Angelenos drive up and hope to find parking is the stellar view of the city and possibly to a lesser extent the night sky. While you'll have a much clearer view of the stars you'll have a jaw-dropping view of the city. So many selfies to take, so many places to point out and say you've been or wish to go. Downtown LA looks so small and you can see a sea of light stretch off into the horizon.

It is worth the trip to see the city fully outlined at night. It's a sight to behold everything below you and how amazing it is that LA is just that encompassing. 

A suggestion, if you don't want to hear everyone's opinion of this miraculous view bring headphones and a playlist of music to think profoundly to. That is us unless you want to hear Mexican Grandmas worry about their grand-kids and here the never ending array of jokes about smoking doobies by older fans of the observatory.

At the observatory you can grasp a clearer look of the stars. Unfettered by your local lights you''ll be able to look up and just ponder the universe or teach someone the constellations.

Or possibly mack face. You could also call Griffith Observatory make out point. With Valentine's Day around the corner, as of writing this, I haven't seen this many people get touch feely since watching basic cable dramas. It's a good place to bring your girl or guy and look longingly into their eyes for that split-second before you kiss.

The Samuel Oschin Planetarium is only $7 for an adult, cheaper for kids; and lets you finally live the dream of saying, "Hey, I finally tried a planetarium." Lie back and look up at the stars and at least for the "Light of the Valkyries" show have someone narrate the whole thing in person with a voice worthy of a Disney movie. Valkyries explained the phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis matched with musical interludes of Ride of the Valkyries. The CGI was taken straight from what appeared to be that Chinese news service as the models of vikings looked like they were in the 90's. When not trying that hard the show, which was only thirty minutes, taught and entertained.

Inside the observatory you'll have exhibits to teach you about the other planets in our Solar System, a video with the voice of Leonard Nimoy telling you how the Observatory was created and other models to learn about the science of space.

One part I have to point out is the floor on the lower level, it stands out as it looks like the surface of Jupiter. If only the rest of the museum could have such a cool design. Watch where you're going, but I doubt you'll miss it.

The Cafe at the End of the Universe and the gift shop need some work. Though you can get a hot cocoa or coffee the food and look could be a little bit less touristy and lackluster. It could have some decent eats or try some really fun ideas for solar system themed food. I want a Milky Way Milkshake! When I went to the cafe it was understaffed with one employee, which slows down Moms dealing with their kids. The gift shop has a lack of fun items to give to friends to prove you went. Just have a t-shirt with a nice design that says Griffith Observatory you lousy gift shop.

Open late and for free makes it a hard to pass up opportunity to view the whole city and see the sunset with how beautiful our sky can look as it shifts to night. The stars and lights of the city are calling you for a visit. Take some photos when you hang out with the universe.

There are many activities to check out to, see the full schedule.

Griffith Observatory

2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800

Griffith Observatory is open six days a week.
Weekdays (Tuesday - Friday)            Open 12:00 noon - 10:00 p.m.
Weekends (Saturday - Sunday)          Open 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Mondays         Closed

Parking isn't always easy so give yourself some extra time to find some and be prepared to walk. If going at night, you may want to bring a pocket flashlight.

The floor of Jupiter