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.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!