The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles California is the best place to visit for stargazing and learning about space. The observatory has a large collection of telescopes to see outer space clearly, one theater room which shows documentaries about the universe, several exhibits on astronomy, Earth, and other celestial bodies, three floors of exhibits devoted to light and optics, a fabulous planetarium which shows current shows and movies, and a large projection screen which gives you a panoramic view of the city.
The Griffith Observatory was originally funded by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in 1896 as a memorial to his wife, but it wasn’t until 1935 that it opened to the public. The observatory is at the top of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park where it has 60 acres of land to explore. It’s located on the highest peak in the park which gives you a view of Los Angeles and its surrounding cities.
This Observatory is best known for being home to the Zeist Telescope built-in 1973, which was until 1993, one of the most powerful telescopes that could be operated by a single person. The Zeist Telescope was used to discover distant galaxies and quasars, as well as map out the celestial coordinate system.
It has an average of 1.3 million visitors every year with thousands of school-aged children on field trips. Due to its popularity, there are always lines outside of the theater room, exhibits, and planetarium but it’s worthwhile to wait. One of the most popular exhibits is about earthquakes which are simulated by speakers on the floor.
To further your knowledge of astronomy there are several inquiry programs that allow you to explore space with a group. The observatory offers tours led by astronomers who give you a detailed explanation of what you’re seeing, but they require a reservation a month in advance.
The Griffith Observatory is a place where people from everywhere can come together to find common ground and appreciate nature from all around us. So, if you’re in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Southern California it’s a must to visit Griffith Observatory!
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