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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