Friday, August 15, 2014

Griffith Observatory: Los Angeles, California

Sitting high above the city in Los Angeles, California, the Griffith Observatory is a must visit for anyone in the city. With a stunning view of both the city down below and the Hollywood sign, that alone is enough to make the trip up a memorable one; but when you add in a world class observatory with science and space related exhibits, it becomes both educational and awe-inspiring.

Located on 3,015 acres of land, the Griffith Observatory was donated to the city of Los Angeles by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. As per his will, admission is always free to the park and observatory as it has been since it's opening. During Griffith's time, observatories and planetariums were only built for the use of scientists and were located on inaccessible mountain tops; because of this, Griffith's goal was to make astronomy accessible to the general public, to show children what was out there and to get them interested in the subject.

I went around sunset and the line to get parking further down the road (to avoid the hike up) was unbelievably long and had I known any better at the time I would have tried to find parking at the bottom. After about an hour in line to get up to the top, I parked a little way down the road closest to the observatory and walked the rest of the way up.

Although the wait to get to the top was terrible, watching the sunset fall behind the Hollywood sign made it all worth it as it felt like something straight out of a movie, something that would be doctored up on a green screen because it couldn't possibly be that beautiful in real life. Even though the sun fell quickly, those few moments that I got to spend looking out over the entire city will be forever etched so beautifully into my mind.

Completely unaware that I had just so happened to be up there on the night of both a super moon and a meteor shower, I was in for a very pleasant surprise. For the meteor shower, scientists from the observatory brought out standing telescopes that were available for public use at no cost to get a better view of the stars and passing meteors as well as a close up of the gigantic moon. And for those not wanting to wait in line to use a telescope, there wasn't a big loss as the moon was amazing just by looking at it with the naked eye.

In the end, I don't think I can possibly recommend enough for everyone that visits Los Angeles to take a trip to the Griffith Observatory. For me, it was the perfect ending to a long day of touring Los Angeles (blog post to come soon).

All photos taken with my iPhone 5 (cover photo edited with vscocam).

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