From star spotting to star gazing

If space and science are your thing, the Griffith Observatory is a must-visit on a trip to Los Angeles. Visitors can gaze through telescopes, wander exhibits, and watch live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Located on Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, you’ll also enjoy impressive and prime views of the Hollywood Sign and the Los Angeles Basin.

Planetarium shows at Griffith Observatory are showcased eight times every weekday and ten times a day at the weekend. Admission is absolutely free.

The history

Griffith J. Griffith had a vision: to make astronomy accessible to the public, as opposed to observatories being located in remote places and restricted to scientists only.

For this reason, in 1896 Griffith handed over 3,015 acres of land to the City of Los Angeles along with funds to build the Griffith Observatory, exhibit hall and planetarium that stands today. Directions for the purpose, features and location of the building came from his will in 1919.

Griffith consulted with the founder of the very first astrophysical telescope in Los Angeles, and drafted a specification for the observatory. Construction began in 1933 and the observatory along with exhibits officially opened to the public in 1935.

Griffith believed “If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!”

Other interesting facts about Griffiths Observatory in Los Angeles

  • Admission to the Griffith Observatory has been free since day one as requested within the will of Griffith J. Griffith, whom the observatory is named after
  • The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is the country’s third planetarium
  • The building of the Griffith Observatory is influenced by Greek and Beaux-Arts
  • During World War II the planetarium at Griffith Observatory was used as a base to train pilots in celestial navigation
  • Astronauts on the Apollo progam used the Griffith Observatory for their first lunar mission