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Griffith Observatory is even better than I expected

By May 9, 2019 No Comments
Griffith Observatory 1

One of the main reasons I chose to do a two week road trip in southern California and Arizona was because one of my nieces graduated and moved there for work. After visiting Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks during the week it was time to spend the weekend with her in Los Angeles.

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Mural on the ceiling as you walk into the Observatory

The building combines Greek and Beaux-Arts influences with Greek key pattern exterior embellishments and is a very iconic looking building overlooking Los Angeles. In fact, it has become one of the most visually recognized buildings in LA. I first saw the building featured in the movie Rocketeer, but it has been in over two dozen movies. Of course the most important place it has been featured is my niece’s engagement photos. 🙂

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Checking out some of the exhibits

The first place she took me to was up the hill to the Griffith Observatory on the north side of the city. The observatory is in the middle of large park and all of it was donated by Griffith J. Griffith. In his will Griffith donated funds to build an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the donated land. His objective was to make astronomy accessible by the public, as opposed to the prevailing idea that observatories should be located on remote mountaintops and restricted to scientists. So in 1935 the Griffith Observatory opened as the country’s third planetarium ever.

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My niece and I hanging with Einstein

I was very excited to go up and see the outside of the observatory, but I did not realize how much is inside it also. To be honest, I thought it was closed to the public, but that would be against Griffith’s wishes I found out. The inside of the observatory is crammed full of scientific displays that I feel really shows science and astronomy on a level that most lay people can understand it. The planetarium was so great that it was actually used during World War II to train pilots in celestial navigation and in the 1960s to train Apollo astronauts for the lunar missions.

I loved every part of Griffith Observatory from the exterior to the rotunda ceiling mural to the many exhibits. It even gives you one of the best view of the Hollywood Sign across the valley, which is where we will head to next……..Hollywood, not the sign, but I will explain why on Sunday.

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The back wall is an extremely detailed photo from a telescope that includes everything in the area of the sky behind your finger if you held it out in front of you.

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