The universe is a vast and beautiful place, something we are a part of yet never really take note of. Like the many exploratory places Los Angeles has to offer, the Griffith Observatory is a great place to visit if you are looking to connect with your inner astronomer. It embodies the sheer magnitude of the universe, and brings about a child-like sense of wonder because you truly realize how small you are in the vast universe.

The Griffith Observatory opened in 1935, but long before that it began as a dream by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. Armed with the audacious plan of building a public observatory, Griffith started out by donating over 3,000 acres of land, and in 1912 began negotiations and funding for a full fledged public observatory. While he died in 1919, shortly after negotiations were put in place, the funds left behind enabled a team of architects and astronomers to construct the glorious astronomical landmark that the Griffith Observatory is today.

Closed for a short period from 2002 to 2006, the Griffith Observatory now offers more of an interactive experience than ever before. It is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers the public a chance to star gaze with their public solar telescopes, showcasing the night sky for all to see. Three live shows premier daily at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium featuring our place in the universe, the role of water in our solar system, and the ancient wisdom behind the appearance of the northern lights. For fifth graders only, (although all grades are welcome to visit) the Griffith Observatory holds a special Field Trip Program that includes theater experiences, exhibits, and a visit to the Observatory’s telescope.

Best of all, visiting the Observatory is free! So if you’re in the mood for a little stargazing and have some time on your hands, take a moment to explore the wonders of our great universe!