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Griffith Park Observatory

2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, California 90027 | 213-473-0800
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20 Reviews
Type: Museums & Monuments
Ages: Ages 3 — adult
Cost: Free
Hours of operation: Tue-Fri noon-10pm, Sat/Sun 10am-10pm

Griffith Observatory is an icon of Los Angeles, a national leader in public astronomy, a beloved civic gathering place, and one of southern California's most popular attractions. The Observatory is located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, just above the Los Feliz neighborhood. It is 1,134 feet above sea level and is visible from many parts of the Los Angeles basin.
 
There is a wonderful planetarium show every 60-90 minutes. Please note that children under 5 are admitted ONLY to the first show each day (12:45 p.m. on weekdays, 10:45 a.m. on weekends).
 

Kids under 5 are free for the planetarium show, but must sit in the lap of an adult.


20 Reviews for Griffith Park Observatory

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Trayaunna
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September 10 2016
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Very cool on the Fourth of July "

March 17 2016
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Awesome free & educational fun"

I had never been to the Griffith Observatory, which is just crazy because I have lived in SoCal my whole life. We LOVED it here; truly something for everyone.

My youngest (6) was a bit too young to really get much of it,  but she did enjoy running amuck through the grounds and pushing all of the buttons on the interactive exhibits.

My two bigger girls  (11 & 9) were at a great age for opening their minds a bit more to the wonders of space.  

Don't miss the lower level exhibits and free telescopes at sunset.

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ruthl5
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January 26 2015
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Interesting!"

Fun place to visit, but recommend getting there as soon as they open. Parking is limited, so you might have to park down the hill if you show up later. Enjoyed visiting the planetarium and watching the show. There is a small fee for this. It's a great place to go and visit.

June 26 2013
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Convenient to visit for a spectacular view"

We visited in the evening as the sun was setting. Public parking can be found on the drive up to the observatory. The pathway up and around most of the facility was stroller friendly. This is a great look out point for beautiful city views. We could see the Hollywood sign from one end while looking down on the valley from the other. Open space in the courtyard would be great for kids to run about.
This is a free attraction that should be on everyone's must see list in LA. Try to visit  later in the evening to avoid crowds and direct exposure to sun.

August 12 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Plenty of Fun for Little Astronomers"

This is one of those places in L.A. that I assumed wouldn’t be fun for my 6-year-old. But boy, was I wrong. He’s a huge fan of all things planetary, so there was plenty here for him to enjoy. His favorite? The “Gunther Depths of Space” exhibit for side-by-side comparisons of the planets – including how much you’d weigh on each. The solar telescope – complete with three different views of the earth’s star – was also a big hit. Head to the “Edge of Space” exhibit area and ask permission at the Information Desk to touch an actual meteorite. If you miss out, no worries! There are other meteorite fragments available for touching at the adjacent display.

Although we didn’t watch it, there is a star show available for viewing. The fancy, schmancy 285-seat Samuel Oschin Planetarium Theater features a star projector, laser digital projection system, a state-of-the-art aluminum dome and theatrical lighting. Choose from one of a few different 30-minute shows and the kids are sure to be entranced. (Children under 5 can only attend the first show of the day.)

Before you leave, be sure to head outside to check out the scaled-down version of the solar system just outside the main doors to the Observatory extending out to the front lawn (look down – it’s on the ground). See where each of the planets is in relation to each other by standing on one while someone else stands on another. And don’t forget to look for the Hollywood sign while you’re up there. The Observatory offers some of the best views of the city you’ll find anywhere.

With free entrance, this place can’t be beat. The only major drawbacks are parking and crowds. To manage both, avoid visiting during the summer or on weekends.

August 02 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Fantastic and Free"

We had a wonderful time at the observatory. The displays were interesting and interactive. The view was fantastic! Even my preschool age kids enjoyed the displays and the amazing view. We did have to park down the hill and walk up a bit, but it really was no big deal. A great place to visit for all ages.

April 25 2011
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"an awesome afternoon!"

summer break gets a little daunting trying to figure out something fun for the kids to do and this was the perfect answer!  we made the trek an early weekday morning from the inland empire...the drive wasn't bad at all.  on our way up to the observatory we came across a wild coyote!  although - he looked like he had his mad pan-handling skills down pretty good!  all of the cars would slowly drive by - take a picture and throw out a "snack" and then would disappear to only reappear minutes later for the next tourist!  ha!  anyway - on to the observatory!  what a magnificent place.  it's truly beautiful!  lots of space for the kids to run.  there are a ton of hiking paths around the observatory if you would like to make a whole day of it.  we went to one of the "observatory programs" which was narrated by a gifted speaker about the universe.  the kids were definitely inspired to start searching the sky for all of the constellations they had heard about.  definitely something to see....make the trek!

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micfoe
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January 20 2011
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Violetwhite_word
"See the real stars"

This place is great to bring kids of any age too.  I have been with my 2 & 4 year old and I have been with my 10 year old niece.  The new facility is really pretty and the observation room is really awesome.  It is totally worth it to come see one of the shows that they have at night in the auditorium light show room.  This is a definite must do for all ages

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bmschuette
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January 13 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Star Show"

We went on a fairly busy day and could not find parking anywhere but about two miles up the road, I'm not saying that's normal but possible. When we got there it was really interesting. My kids loved the periodic table with samples of every element. There is an entire world in the basement with lots of things to read about and short movies to watch. You can stand on different scales and see how much you would weigh on different planets. The view from outside is amazing, you can see the entire nighttime skyline. The movie you can get tickets for is very very good, if your kids can sit through it, I recommend it.

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tagtics
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January 13 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"AMAZING"

We visited late evening in order to view the skies through the telescopes.  The Observatory itself is Amazing...interactive exhibits, science come to life!   Two drawbacks though:  very limited parking and CROWDS who come to take in the PANORAMIC view of LA BY NIGHT.  NOT FOR KIDS OF ANY AGE!!!  We left our with the people we were staying with, so we could enjoy this Awesome place.

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Needol
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January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Great and free!"

This is a great place for anyone interested in space and plants. I wouldn't recommend this for children under 5 as they might get bored. The staff is very friendly and love to teach people. The best part is it's free!

My favorite display they have down stairs but everything is interesting. Outside you will find somewhat of a "view" as you can make out some building but the smog makes it difficult to really see.

My only complaint is there isn't very much parking and we had to park far away down a hill and hike our way up. Next time I want to take the trail to the hollywood sign.

January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"beautiful"

I have visited this place multiple times and love it.  I suggest taking a trip at night or when its dark because there is so much more to see.  In the front of the Observatory they have huge telescopes that enable you to see different stars.  I would definately recomment this.

January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"beautiful"

I have visited this place multiple times and love it.  I suggest taking a trip at night or when its dark because there is so much more to see.  In the front of the Observatory they have huge telescopes that enable you to see different stars.  I would definately recomment this.

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"FREE admission...amazing!"

Great place to explore the universe above...and admission is free! Of course, they gladly accept donations :-).  

If you're wanting to see the show, check on the age restrictions, because our infant was not allowed inside so we had to skip it.

But, if you head up to the observatory on the weekends, be prepared to park down the hill and make the very steep trek up. My husband carried our infant so I could make our 6-yr-old get in the stroller because I was tired of his complaining. There was no complaining once we were in, though! He loved every part of the museum, even if he didn't understand it all.

After we explored, we ate at the cafe inside, took a family photo w/ the famous Hollywood sign in the background, and lounged around on the expansive front lawn area. A wonderful experience we can't wait to do again, but perhaps during the week or earlier in the day.

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"A great evening"

During our recent trip to LA and Hollywood we stop by the Griffith Park Observatory. In the summer they host "Star Parties" for the family in the evenings. The nect event is actually this weekend, July 19th. Go to the site and click on public events.
We were able to get some great night time views out of the giant telescope, the lines however to look through these telescopes were long I think we waited 30 minutes. I guess the wait is more during the weekend but I definately bring my daughter back here...maybe when she can remember :)

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"What... it's free?!?"

I was sure that we would have to pay to go into this amazing place.  We are in California after all.  After being pleasantly surprised at it being free, our family spent about 4 hours here and could've stayed much longer.
We enjoyed seeing Venus from the telescope (the sun was still out too!) and seeing the sun reflected through the telescope onto several viewing areas.  I had to remind the boys, "that's the real sun!"

My boys really enjoyed the planet's paths around the grass and the elevator housing above ground.  There were many enjoyable exhibits for kids and adults.

As an instructional note: the sun telescope is on the west side of the building and can be observed from the 1st floor exhibits.
The other large telescope is on the east side of the building and is reached from going to the second floor.  It's worth standing in line for this one.
The large dome at the "back" of the building (towards LA) is the planetarium which charges a fee.

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"A must go!"

First of all it is absolutely free to go! This place has gotten even better due to recent renovations. The exhibits are first class as they present an educational opportunity in a visual way. There is also the opportunity to look through the giant telescope at night. The only thing one has to worry about is parking as it is limited due to the popularity of the place.

kamundse
kamundse
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December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"LA Icon"

The remodel of Griffith Observatory is amazing.  Kids will love all the interactive exhibits.  Mine had a great time seeing their weight on all the different planets.  If you go in the evening, you can usually get a peek in the telescope.  I am not sure if it has changed but the last time we saw the movie, they only let small children in for certain shows.  The other gotcha is it is closed on Mondays (and there are a lot of confused people up there on Mondays who learned that the hard way).

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Amazing view of city from here."

Try hard to get past the pendulum when you walk in the door!  It is so cool and you won't want to leave to keep exploring.  This was our favorite part.  The grounds are very pretty and there is lots to see.  The views of the city are amazing from this spot.  It will keep everyone busy and is a great way to entertain yourself during an evening!

Gretchen
Gretchen
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December 23 2010
3 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Stargazers paradise"

***Updated Nov. 2009***

On our recent trip to California, we returned to the Observatory because we have great memories of our visits, and now our youngest is old enough to appreciate the activities and the films.  We actually saw both of the films in the planetarium, they are not very expensive and very informative, though seeing one is probably plenty. When asked, my kids preferred the "Water is Life" show. They enjoyed seeing the surfaces of different planets and watching the constellations move across the dome.  The show held their attention and didn't have too many messages that we disagreed with as a Christian family. The second show we saw was "Centered in the Universe" which is about how we discover more and more about the vastness of the universe. My third grader enjoyed seeing things about Gallileo and Ptolemy because she has been learning about them in science. The show was interesting, but there were more theological issues that we disagreed with. It was actually good for us to discuss them afterward with our kids, and talk about what we believe. I just thought it was odd that the narrator felt it necessary to call us all stardust.

Inside the rest of the observatory, we really enjoyed looking at the exhibits, feeling moon rocks and meteorites, and learning about all sorts of things. The new lower level in the museum is really nice, but we didn't watch the show in the Nimoy theater.

We spent a total of about 3 and a half hours in the Observatory. If we'd only done the free activities, we could have been finished in 2 and a half. We particularly enjoyed the solar telescope, the telescope on the roof, and the Camera Obscura.  Definitely a great place to spend an afternoon on a visit to L.A.  Oh, and we got some nice pictures of our family with the Hollywood sign in the background!

Oh, and do be careful where you park, we saw the park ranger handing out tons of parking violations along the road! On weekends, there is a shuttle from the lower parking area by the Greek Theater.

*******************************
We absolutely LOVE the planetarium, no better place in L.A. to see the stars than here! The Foucault pendulum will mesmerize you as soon as you walk in! (My kids think it is especially cool if they get to see a peg knocked down!)
Really a treat for all ages, and you WILL learn something new!

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