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Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory

Are you passionate about surveying and exploring? Then quench your adventurer thirst in Griffith Park and Observatory! Aside from Disneyland’s magical place and the golden sands of Venice Beach, this park is one of the most visited places in Los Angeles. It is home to a number of diverse attractions, including the Los Angeles Zoo, the Greek Theater, and a space observatory.

It is located in a higher part of the city. From there, you can enjoy the stunning city lights of the City of Angels. You also overlook the iconic “Hollywood” sign and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.

The Griffith Observatory also opens you the window onto the Universe from the southern slopes of Mr. Hollywood. As you tour the place, you will discover amazing displays of some of the world’s most fascinating discoveries. This includes the evolution of telescope and ultraviolet x-rays and the map of the solar system. Did we mention that their planetarium claims the world’s most advanced star projector, too?

If you are on a tight budget, then you love that the admission to the grounds and building of Griffith Observatory is free of charge! The Planetarium shows, however, were offered eight times a day every weekday and ten times a day on weekends, with a nominal entrance fee.

Griffith Park

Sun-kissed view of Griffith Observatory that overlooks the buildings of Los Angeles

Boasting over 4210 acres of chaparral-covered terrain and landscaped parks, Griffith Park is the United States’ largest municipal park and urban wilderness area. It is located in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range. The park sits at the range of 384 to 1625 feet elevation above sea level.

With its arid climate, the park communities vary from coastal scrubs to oak woodlands to riparian vegetation. The native plants in Griffith Park include oak tree species, walnut, lilac, mahogany, sages, and sumac. There are also the species manzanita and berberis, although they are nearly endangered.

If you wanted a quick nature trip, the park has more than 50 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. You will also come across flat areas open for campings, picnics, and other outdoor activities. The park also has the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens and the American West’s Autry Museum.

Remember: The higher parts of Griffith Park are too congested with heavy traffic and limited parking opportunities. The easiest option to visit the observatory is to hike towards the Hollywood Sign view or use a public transit (Dash Observatory shuttle).

Griffith Observatory

Night photography of Griffith Observatory in Los angeles

Owner Colonel Griffith J. Griffith believed in the transformative power of observation. After he looked into the telescope in Mt. Wilson, he exclaimed, “If all man could look through that telescope, it would change the world!” That said, he left funds in his will to build a public observatory in Los Angeles.

Since the official opening in 1935, the Griffith Observatory offered public telescope viewing through the Zeiss telescope, historic coelostat (solar telescope), and portable telescopes. The free telescopes are available every evening.

The observatory also has a 290-capacity seat, Samuel Oschin Planetarium theater. It features a digital projection system, a state-of-the-art aluminum dome, comfy chairs, and theatrical lighting.  Currently, there are three exciting shows: Water is Life, Light of the Valkyries, and Centered in the Universe. All shows are narrated live.

One Saturday every month, the Griffith Observatory hosts a public star party.  This is an opportunity for the visitors to look stargaze and observe with the amateur astronomers. These parties are from 2:00 pm to 9:45 pm.

Griffith Observatory periodically offers special programs as well. This is to mark astronomical milestones such as solstices, equinoxes and eclipses, and other notable anniversaries. Each time the seasons change, the observatory presents free talks about it. They also hold public viewing for most lunar and solar eclipses. They also did anniversary specials for the 50th launching year of the Apollo missions.

Ways to Get There

Griffith Park is located west of the Golden State Freeway, between Los Feliz Boulevard (on the south) and the Ventura Freeway (on the north). The offramps that lead to the park from the Golden State Freeway are the Los Feliz Boulevard, Griffith Park (direct entry), and the Zoo Drive routes. When you take the Ventura Freeway route on the east, take either the Forest Lawn Drive or the Victory Boulevard offramps. If it is otherwise on the west, take the Zoo Drive or Forest Lawn Drive. After leaving the highways, you will notice the signs in the park.

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