The Griffith Observatory

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James Dean raced around in “Rebel without a Cause,” Arnold Schwarzenegger run through it in “Terminator,” and, oh yeah, it has been used to help millions of people discover some of the Universe’s deepest secrets.

The Griffith Observatory is the heart of the over 3,000 acres of Griffith Park. It was donated 1896 by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith (so nice they named him twice).

It wasn’t until the Works Progress Administration built the observatory in 1933 that there was an observatory, per Col. Griffith’s instructions. The observatory opened in 1935.

Now the observatory is open five days a week to the public.

There is also the Samuel Oshcin Planetarium, which features a Zeiss star projector, laser digital projection system, state-of-the-art aluminum dome, comfy seats, sound system and theatrical lighting for 285 people.

Currently there are four live shows to catch: One is titled “Centered in the Universe.” It takes you on a journey of cosmic exploration and discovery. There is also “Water is Life,” which is about the search for water and possible life beyond Earth. “The Light of the Valkyries” shows the wonders of the northern lights. Finally, “Time’s Up” is about the false claims of the end of the world from late 2012.

Tickets range from $3-7 and shows are offered on weekdays from 12:45-8:45 and weekends from 10:45am to 8:45.  

“The Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon” is a new 190 seat presentation theater that is featuring “The Once and Future Griffith Observatory,” a 24 minute film history and the recent renovation, as well as the future of the observatory. It is played every hour on the hour.

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If you are looking for something to do with the whole family, the Public Star Parties are your thing. They are free and are held monthly from 2-9:45pm. It is a chance for the whole family to look at the sun, moon and visible planets and other objects, as well as to try a variety of telescopes and talk to amateur astronomers The upcoming dates for this event are August 17, September 14, October 12, November 9 and December 7.

The Griffith Observatory and Planetarium is open Tuesday – Sunday with Tuesdays-Fridays hours being noon-10 and the weekends being 10-10.

Stellar Emporium Gift Shop and Book Store offers gifts, clothing, toys, and more. You can shop online by going to http://enssc.com/default.aspx?store=524 .

Probably named after Douglas Adams book “The Café at the End of the Universe,” operated by the famous Wolfgang Puck, offers drinks, full meals, deserts, salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups, specials of the day and a convenient grab and go section. Everything is prepared fresh daily.

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most important places in the history of Los Angeles and introducing the public to the wonders of the Universe.

It’s only a few minutes from Los Feliz, in Griffith Park, and it’s the perfect place to take the family for a day under the stars.