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Exploring Space at the Griffith Observatory

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My family loves our Funday Sundays.  It’s a day that we spend together doing something new.  For our most recent adventure we decide to head up to Los Angeles and visit the Griffith Observatory.

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Built after Colonel Griffith J. Griffith’s, the Griffith Observatory was constructed for the public and donated to the City of Los Angeles in order to help broaden human perspective.

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Opened in 1935, over 12 million people have admiring our solar system through the telescopes at the observatory. These amazing telescopes offer astounding views of the sun, stars and planets which cannot be seen by naked eye.  The architecture is incredible and definitely memorable.

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Fun Fact: Griffith Observatory was used to help train the first astronauts for the Apollo missions to the moon in the 1960s.

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Now many of you think that an observatory is something to visit at night but it’s just as wonderful during the day.

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The observatory sits on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. From it you can see the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest (it was too smoggy for us to see it but I bet after a rainy day it’s specular).

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The observatory is a popular tourist attraction which means that the later you wait to go for your visit, the busier it gets.  We got to the observatory right when it opened at 10 am and had to park down the hill, about a 5 minute walk up; whereas my cousin who joined us at 10:45 had to park a good 30 minutes down.  When I say down I mean down the side of the mountain and looping around a good 1/2 a mile to a mile down.

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Don’t be discouraged if you get their later, if you have a family member who has trouble walking tell the guards and they will let you drop them off at the top.  On weekends, there is also a public bus that leaves from the Vermont/Sunset Metro station so if you want to be a little adventurous you can always try that.

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My advice is to come around 9:30, park in the lot at top or along the side of the hill and enjoy the exterior grounds while it’s not as busy then when the doors open go inside explore the interior.  Inside the observatory you learn about past astronomical history, California astronomical history, telescopes and planets. You can touch meteor fragments, find out more about your favorite planet (mine is earth), watch a Tesla coil, and so much more.

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Their displays are easy to understand and interpret, and also provide a lot of useful information about astronomy and science in general.

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Make sure you visit the lower floor because most people don’t know that it actually exists. There you can create your own earthquake as well as see how much you would weigh if you were on a different plants.

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There is no age limit but due to the large number of people visiting, I recommend that if you bring a stroller then make sure it’s an umbrella kind or use a baby sling.  It really is hard to move about let alone with a stroller.  Once you have seen all the amazing exhibits then I recommend catching a show.  Admission to the Observatory building and grounds is FREE but there is a nominal charge to see shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.

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We saw Centered in the Universe and it was phenomenal; it really made you realize how ginormous the universe truly is.   I left the show questioning my place in the Universe and feeling like I really needed to find a coffee shop and discuss it with some astrologists.

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Griffith Observatory is open six days a week Tuesday – Friday 12:00pm – 10:00 p.m, Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m and is located at 2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles, CA 90027.  For more information about the observatory, please visit their website at www.griffithobservatory.org .

I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.
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