The Griffith Observatory has been open to the public since 1935 and is a must-see destination for anyone interested in astronomy and science. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned stargazer, this guide will take you on a journey through the observatory's exhibits, telescopes, and programs. From the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope to the Cosmic Connection exhibit, this guide has it all. So join us as we explore the Griffith Observatory and discover the wonders of the night sky.
The observatory features several exhibits that cover a wide range of topics in astronomy and science. The Hall of the Eye is an interactive exhibit that explores the human eye and how it works. The Cosmic Connection exhibit covers the history of the universe and the latest scientific discoveries. The Space Museum is home to a variety of space-related artifacts, including a moon rock and a piece of a meteorite.
The observatory's most famous feature is its 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope, which is located in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Visitors can take a tour of the telescope and learn about its history and operation. The planetarium also has regular shows that cover a variety of astronomy-related topics.
The Griffith Observatory also offers several live shows throughout the day that cover different astronomical topics. Visitors can also take a free guided tour of the observatory, which covers the history of the observatory and the exhibits it houses. Additionally, the observatory offers several programs for children and families, including stargazing events and educational workshops.
Activities for Kids
The Griffith Observatory offers a variety of activities and exhibits that are suitable for children. Some popular things to do for kids include:
Visit the Space Museum: The Space Museum has a variety of space-related artifacts and interactive exhibits that will fascinate kids.
Explore the Hall of the Eye: The Wilder Hall of the Eye illustrates the nature and progress of human observation of the sky and the tools used for that exploration.
Take the Griffith Observatory Tour: The tour is a great way for kids to learn about the history of the observatory and the exhibits it houses.
See a live show: The observatory offers several live shows that cover different astronomical topics and are suitable for kids.
Visit the Samuel Oschin Planetarium: The planetarium offers regular shows that cover a variety of astronomy-related topics and are great for kids.
Take a hike: Griffith Park has many trails that are suitable for families, and hiking to the observatory can be a fun adventure for kids.
Participate in children's workshops: The observatory occasionally offers educational workshops and classes for children on different scientific and astronomical topics.
Attend special events for kids: The observatory occasionally hosts special events for kids, such as stargazing events or workshops.
These are just a few examples of the activities and exhibits that the Griffith Observatory has to offer for children. It's always a good idea to check the observatory's website or call ahead to confirm the availability of specific activities and events before visiting.
Related: 44 Awesome Museums You Should Visit with Your Kids! 🏛️🦕
The Samuel Oschin Planetarium Show: an immersive experience where people can learn about the night sky and the solar system through high-resolution video and images projected onto a dome-shaped screen.
The Griffith Observatory's exhibits: which cover a wide range of topics in astronomy and science, including the history of astronomy, the planets of our solar system, and the latest discoveries in space.
The telescopes: which offer some of the best views of the night sky in the Los Angeles area. The observatory has several telescopes, including the historic 12-inch refracting telescope, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The views from the observatory's grounds: which offer panoramic views of the city and the surrounding areas.
The historic 12-inch refracting telescope: one of the largest telescopes of its kind in the world, visitors can take a look at the stars, planets, and galaxies through this telescope.
Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater: a state-of-the-art theater that presents live and pre-recorded shows that take visitors on a journey through the universe.
A Walk Through the Solar System: a scale model of the solar system that allows visitors to walk through it and learn about the planets and their relative distances from the sun.
The Hall of the Eye: an exhibit that explores the history of human's ability to observe the night sky and the development of telescopes.
The Foucault pendulum: a demonstration of the rotation of the earth, it shows how the pendulum swings in different directions as the earth turns.
The James Dean Memorial: a statue of James Dean, the famous actor, who was a frequent visitor of the observatory during his childhood.
These are the most popular things to see and do at Griffith Observatory, however, the popularity of the attraction may change over time, so it's always best to check for updated information before visiting.
Other Things to Do
There are a few lesser-known "secrets" that visitors may not be aware of:
Video Library: The observatory has a library of astronomy and science videos that are only available to members.
Telescope Night Viewing: Visitors can see celestial objects like planets, stars, and galaxies through the observatory's telescopes. Free telescope viewing is available each evening the Observatory is open and skies are clear.
The Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater: The theater is located on the lower level of the observatory and features a 27-foot dome and a state-of-the-art projection system. The theater is used to show short films, live shows and planetarium shows.
The Camera Obscura: The camera obscura is a historic device that projects an image of the surrounding area onto a flat surface, and it can be found on the observatory's grounds.
It's always a good idea to explore the observatory thoroughly and ask staff for information to discover new things about this amazing place.
The Griffith Observatory hosts several special events throughout the year. Some popular events include:
Public Telescope Viewing: On certain nights, the observatory opens its telescopes to the public for viewing of celestial objects such as planets, stars, and galaxies.
Meteor Showers: The observatory often holds special events to view meteor showers, such as the Perseid meteor shower in August.
Lunar Observing: The observatory hosts special events to observe the moon and learn about its features and history.
Special Lectures: The observatory hosts special lectures by astronomers, scientists, and other experts on a variety of topics related to astronomy and science.
Star Parties: These events are held on the observatory's lawn and feature telescope viewing of celestial objects, as well as presentations by astronomers and other experts.
Film Screenings: The observatory occasionally screens films related to astronomy and science in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.
These events are not held regularly and it's a good idea to check the observatory's website or social media for upcoming events.
The Griffith Observatory has a café called the Cosmic Café, which is located on the ground floor of the observatory. The café serves a variety of food and drinks, including sandwiches, salads, snacks, and beverages. The café also has a small selection of souvenirs and gifts available for purchase.
The café is open from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. Visitors can also bring their own food and eat it at one of the picnic tables located on the observatory's lawn. The observatory also has a gift shop where you can buy snacks and souvenirs.
Hours and Admission
The Griffith Observatory is open six days a week, with the following hours:
Tuesday through Friday: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Admission to the observatory is always free, however, parking at the observatory is $4 per hour and $8 per day, and parking at the nearby Greek Theatre is $8 per day. Additionally, it's worth noting that the observatory's exhibits and telescopes are extremely popular, and on peak days, the observatory can get very busy. To avoid long wait times, it's recommended that visitors arrive early or come on a weekday.
It's located in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California. It can be accessed by car, public transportation, or on foot. The observatory offers a free shuttle service that runs from the Vermont/Sunset metro station to the observatory. It's recommended that visitors check the observatory's website or call ahead for the latest information on parking, shuttle service, and hours of operation, as they are subject to change.