Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, California, USA

Griffith Observatory is in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, California, sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood. It opened in 1935 with a free admission, according with Griffith’s will because he wanted to make astronomy accessible to the public and it included a planetarium under the large central dome. During World War II the planetarium was used to train pilots in celestial navigation and it was again used for this purpose in the 1960s to train Apollo program astronauts for the first lunar missions. They renovated it in 2002 and it was closes for 4 years. They built an underground expansion too with a café, a gift shop and a theater. One wall inside the building is covered with the largest astronomically accurate image ever constructed “The Big Picture” 150 feet (46 m) by 20 feet (6.1 m) depicting the Virgo Cluster of galaxies; visitors can explore the highly detailed image from within arm’s reach or through telescopes 60 feet (18 m) away. The observatory has six sections: The Wilder Hall of the Eye, the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky, the W.M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda, the Cosmic Connection, the Gunther Depths of Space Hall, and the Edge of Space Mezzanine and you can see different exhibitions in each part.

Tips

The observatory is closed on Mondays. The entrance is free but you must pay the shows in the planetarium.
There’s a small free parking next to the Observatory, but you can also leave your car along the steep road leading up to the observatory.
You also have a public bus leaving from the Vermont-Sunset Metro station at weekends.
It’s a very good spot to make photos of the Pacific Ocean, the Hollywood Sign and Downtown Los Angeles.

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Prado Gardens, Talavera de la Reina, Spain

Prado Gardens is a historical heritage of Talavera de la Reina surrounding the Basilica which gives them their name. We find a mixture of different European and Arab styles with a predominance of French-style garden. Its design and construction was made in 1864 but obviously there have been renovations and restorations. At the origin the Prado was the meeting place and walk around the city. We notice the Arabic and Moorish influence in the decor with the use of bricks and ceramics from Talavera; for example, in the construction of public toilets, we see that they are of Arabic origin. Among the most important monuments we find the Fountain of the frogs, the Temple of Music, the lake known as the home of ducks where we can see some cages with birds and pheasants; the monument to the mother, among others. In the park Alameda, which is an extension of the Prado Gardens, we can see artistic ceramics bridges. Ceramic is present even in banks.

Tips

In the Temple of Music there are shows during the summer.
You can go by bus from central Madrid.

Jardin Scullion, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, Canada

By buying abandoned land in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean in 1985, Brian Scullion had begun the development of his business, a production nursery and in 1999 he decided to diversify his activities by creating the Scullion Garden. This garden has a little more than 2,000 species of plants from around the world, many of which have had to adapt to the harsh climatic conditions of the region. This place is a pretty important tourist attraction in the area. You will find beautiful landscaping, buildings and infrastructure, several trails, streams, a mini farm, games for children, an ancient forest camp, picnic areas and several animal species. There is also a new development of 12 hectares with nearly300 species of conifers.

Tips

A very important detail is that all signs are in three languages (French, Spanish and English) and everything is well indicated.

If you want to visit the area of the new coniferous garden project, you can rent an electric cart.

Several packages are available to visitors and children under 5, accompanied by an adult, enter for free. For groups of 30 people and over, there’s a guide service.

Pets on a leash are allowed on the site, except at the restauration service.