Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California
The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, quite literally brings the stars to you. Located on Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, this observatory has been allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the solar system in every way possible for more than eighty years.
Named after the benefactor, Griffith J. Griffith, a Welsh-born American businessman, the observatory opened in 1935 after nearly two years of construction, and was immediately made available to the public. As per Griffith's wishes, admission for the observatory has been free since the day it opened, as well as the frequent exhibits and events that take place.
Building an observatory that was open to the general public was one of the first of its kind in the world, with star-gazing, and studying the cosmos being generally limited to scientists and researchers. However, Griffith wanted to be able to break these restrictions and give ordinary people the chance of viewing our solar system and broaden their minds, without needing to purchase expensive equipment, undertake expeditions to remote locations, or work in a specified field of study; and thus the idea was born.
Over the past eighty-five years, more than eighty million people from all over the world have visited the observatory and the main feature, the Zeiss telescope, has been looked through by more people than any other telescope on earth. This telescope is used for night viewings, where, on a clear night, you can see the moon, planets such as Venus and Saturn, and a whole host of other bright masses, stars, and celestial bodies. Seeing the solar system up close is an experience that can never be forgotten, the overwhelming feeling that you have been able to see the far-flung corners of space is incomparable to anything you will have felt before.
As well as the Zeiss telescope, you can also use the coelostat and solar telescopes; these are all used for observing the sun, highlighting sunspots and solar flares. Furthermore, on random nights, staff will set up freestanding telescopes on the grounds to enable more people to see the night sky.
For those of you who are also eager to learn more about what you are seeing, and what are some of the secrets of the universe, you can also visit the Edge of Space Exhibit, the Gunther Depth of Space Exhibit, and the Samuel Oschin Planetarium within the observatory. In each of these places, you will find state of the art technology, models, stories of past, ideas of the future, and everything you need to know to make you feel like you have been to space yourself.
As a bonus to your trip, as you stand in the grounds around the observatory, you get stunning views of Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign, and the Pacific Ocean. There are also hiking trails and paths that lead to yet more beautiful views. In every direction, there is something that will take your breath away, and it is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over the city. This tourist attraction deserves to be called one of the best in the world, there is nowhere else on earth that gives people so much opportunity to learn about and observe the wonders of the universe; it is definitely something to add to your bucket list!