STEPPING into Griffith Observatory brought back memories from the shorts-sporting school kid that I was going to a science fair. While the projects back then were presented in cardboards, plastic balls and wires recreating the solar system and planetary orbits, this place holds the Star Trek-ish (or Lost in Space whichever you can relate to back in the 70s) version of those presentations.
But no matter what age you are, Griffith Observatory’s extensive lineup of space and science-related displays will be fascinating, and perhaps elicit that kid-like “wow” from you. If you ask me, it is still Star Trek-ish (because the movie is constantly remade with more out of this world gigs and gadgets).
From the time it opened in 1935, admission to this popular tourist attraction in Los Angeles is free (though tickets are sold to view the special show- Centered in the Universe). Through Col. Griffith J. Griffith’s generosity and foresight, the observatory, exhibit hall and planetarium were built through funding and land he bestowed to the city. He wanted the public to have access to astronomy, unlike conventional observatories erected in remote locations and restricted to scientists.
“To inspire everyone to observe, ponder, and understand the sky”, Griffith Observatory encapsulates its mission in these exhibit halls: The Hall of the Eye illustrates the nature and progress of human observation of the sky and the tools used for that exploration.; The Hall of the Sky establishes each person's connection to the primary objects in our sky: the Moon and the Sun. One of the largest public solar telescopes in the US is in this hall.; The W. M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda celebrates the intersection of science and mythology, earth and sky, and the man whose vision brought the Observatory into being. The Foucault Pendulum, one of the first exhibits, is found here.; The Cosmic Connection provides the transition from ground-based and more familiar astronomy to a new realm of cosmic perspective. The main element in this passageway is a 150-foot timeline of the universe whimsically composed of celestial-themed jewelry in the glass case that lines the corridor.; The Richard and Lois Gunther Depths of Space exhibit gallery is activated by the recent transformation of cosmic perspective that began when people first ventured into space. No longer is observation and understanding of the sky bonded to the ground and framed by the horizon. Illustrated here are The Planets, Our Earth, Our Solar System, etc.; The Edge of Space provides visitors with an experience that bridges the more familiar Earth-bound orientation toward the universe with a more cosmic perspective informed by the most sophisticated astronomical instruments ever built. The zone showcases samples of the universe that come to Earth from space or that we acquire through space exploration.
“Cool,” “awesome,” and “wicked” are just some of the words I kept hearing along the galleries, and I can relate to them. It is an amazing facility, which I can say the same to what is offered outside of the observatory’s walls. With Griffith Observatory sitting on the slope of Mount Hollywood, it commands a panoramic view of the Los Angeles Basin, which includes Downtown LA, Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean. At night when the star-filled sky is as bright as the city below it, you can say that today, nothing is unreachable.
Griffith Observatory is at 2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles, CA.
For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/