Activities & Resources
Griffith Observatory050in Los Angeles, CA 90027
about Griffith Observatory:
Exhibits include a fine collection of meteorites with interpretative materials; visuals of Mars (including a mural of the Pathfinder landing site); a large colorful photographic model of Mars; a giant six-foot 3D moon globe complete with craters and seas; a large display on the history of the Griffith Observatory; and a genuine Mars rock.
The 300-seat Samuel Oschin Planetarium features a fish-eye star projector and laser digital projection system to show the night sky and its motions in complex ways that the Observatory's venerable Zeiss IV planetarium projector never could, using Starry Night software. Shows are presented live by an astronomer, who leads the audience on a tour of the sky, pointing out constellations and planets and previewing upcoming astronomical events.
Some Planetarium shows require reservations, and visitors are be admitted once a show is underway. Children under the age of five are only admitted to the first show of the day (12:45 pm on weekdays, 10:45 am on weekends). It's worth the extra effort, though, as this is arguably the finest planetarium in the world.
The Gottlieb Transit Corridor, a monumental 150-foot-long, 10-foot-wide glass-walled passageway, immerses visitors in the motions of the Sun, Moon, and stars across the sky and demonstrates how these motions are linked with time and the calendar.
The Griffith Observatory Satellite is open Tue-Fri from 1pm-10pm and Sat-Sun from 10am-10pm. There is no admission charge for any Satellite activities.
The Observatory still reigns magnificently over Los Angeles from its promontory in Griffith Park; after almost seventy years, it remains one of the most well-known landmarks in a city full of architectural wonders. It earns regular pilgrimages from residents, and deserves at least one visit from out-of-towners. Sunset is usually a good bet.
The only sight that competes with the beauty of the building itself is the view of the city below. Before you go inside, take some time to walk around to the back and climb the stairs to a child-safe balcony that stretches the length of the building, and provides a great look at the distant ocean and the city skylines, as well as a look into the backyards of the incredible homes perched on the hillsides below. There are telescopes available for closer views at 25 cents a peek. Smaller children will need a lift!
And don't miss climbing the stairs to the roof. It provides the best views of the Park, and the Hollywood sign, and is a fun place for kids to run around, if it's not too crowded. At night, the telescope is available for free viewing of the night sky. Call 323.663.8171 for Sky Information before you go.
Take a stroll across the front lawn; older children might be interested in the names carved in the beautiful WPA-era Astronomers' Statue at the lawn's center. Younger children will be more interested in the statue's base - just wide enough to climb and crawl on.
Teen-age movie fans will want to see the bust of James Dean to the west of the building; prepare them for your Observatory visit with a viewing of Rebel Without a Cause!
The Observatory is accessible by hiking trails from Griffith Park. Free shuttle reservations (as available) are offered 48 hours in advance for shuttle pickup at the Greek Theatre.
An homage to Douglas Addams, the Café at the End of the Universe is operated by culinary legend Wolfgang Puck. The cafe is located on the lower level, between the Gunther Depths of Space exhibit hall and the Gottlieb Transit Corridor.