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Griffith Park Observatory
Discover exciting exhibits, sweeping views of LA and more!
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of the world-famous Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, California. Many Southern California visitors from around the globe choose to add the Griffith Park Observatory to their "must-do" list of attractions to visit...and why not? It's fun, it's interesting...and most of the price is just right: most of the things you can do at the observatory are FREE! On this page, you'll discover the many attractions available for your enjoyment at the Griffith Observatory building and grounds.
Griffith Park Observatory: a visitor favorite since 1935!The Griffith Park Observatory is a Los Angeles "favorite" for visitors and locals, alike! Ever since it was built, it has been one of the world's best educational observatories for the hordes of non-scientifically trained citizens who crave information about science and astronomy.
Of course, it's a no-brainer to say that people who enjoy science are going to enjoy visiting the Griffith Park Observatory. But, even visitors with no interest in science at all will fall under the beguiling spell of the stars as they view the observatory's exhibits, take in the planetarium's fascinating show, and gaze at the stunning views of Los Angeles spreading out before them.
(Romantics particularly enjoy the city views from the observatory at night, when the city looks peacefully sleepy & the street lights seem to twinkle like a mirror image of the starry night sky.)
Movie-lovers are drawn to the Griffith Park Observatory, as well. One of James Dean's most remembered films, "Rebel Without a Cause," was partially shot here. There's even a monument to James Dean on the grounds (and you can see a picture of the James Dean memorial in the slide show above.)
More currently, the Transformers movie (of 2007) features a Griffith Observatory scene, as well. In fact, the Griffith Park Observatory has been part of dozens of different movies, tv shows, ads...and even video games! If you're interested to discover the entire list, here's Wikipedia's Griffith Observatory page, where you'll be fascinated to find out all the many shows which have been filmed here. In fact, you may even have seen some of those episodes...without even realizing it!
This long-time landmark still has the same "look" as ever...but unless you've visited since November 3, 2006, you won't have seen the Griffith Park Observatory's NEW internal exhibit halls. (Visitors since that time have enjoyed a completely expanded and re-designed interior that took 4 years and $93 MILLION dollars to achieve! The observatory has doubled its exhibit space...and many parts of the interior appear shiny and new.) On the other hand, the exterior of the building retains its original 1935 appearance...just all shined and spit-polished; and many spots on the building's interior retain their original appearance, as well.
Griffith Park Observatory's Terrific Exhibits
In the slides above, you're viewing pictures of Griffith Observatory's exhibit areas, movie theater and planetarium seating. What's the cost of enjoying the observatory's many exhibits, the telescope viewings, the stunning city views, and informative movie? The price is free! (In fact, you'll only need to pay for the planetarium show...which you definitely will want to enjoy if you've got the time.)
You'll be glad to know that the all-new, completely renovated and expanded Griffith Park Observatory is not only shiny & sparkling clean, it offers many new exhibits, as well.
First and foremost on this list of "great new items" is the fact that the Griffith Park Observatory's exhibit area has doubled in size! The list of exhibits that the Griffith Park Observatory display areas now contain makes for exciting reading! To view the entire list of exhibits, you may use the following link to reach the Griffith Observatory Exhibits page of the Griffith Park Observatory official website. You may also want to see a map of the Griffith Park Observatory exhibits so you may get a better idea of the layout.
We suggest that you visit the newer exhibits on the LOWER LEVELS first, because these are the newest exhibits that were added with the expansion of the observatory. However, if you wish to purchase planetarium tickets upon your arrival, you should head to the MAIN LEVEL; you'll find the ticket booth just inside the observatory's front door.
Do you love to shop? The remodeled Griffith Park Observatory has a cute new gift shop full of hard-to-find items! Expect to discover all sorts of astronomy & science-themed souvenirs, home decor, apparel, books and toys for sale in the gift shop. Some of the interesting & educational merchandise sold in this shop is difficult to find elsewhere...and turns the gift shop into nearly as interesting an "exhibit" as the exhibit area itself!
Want to grab a snack while you're at the observatory? The all-new cafeteria is shiny & gleaming...PLUS, it's run by the renowned Wolfgang Puck restaurants! If you didn't expect to enjoy a tasty meal at the observatory, you'll be pleasantly surprised. If the weather is either hot or cold outside, then you can partake of your feast in the climate-controlled dining room. But when the gorgeous Los Angeles weather is at its best, you'll surely want to try out the lovely outdoor dining deck, where you'll enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding hillsides of Griffith Park as you eat.
The all-new Griffith Park Planetarium!
You'll also notice that you not only SEE more clearly, but you'll HEAR more clearly, as well, because the planetarium's sound system has been upgraded for peak performance. And the new planetarium's seats? Plush and comfy! Check 'em out in the picture of the Griffith Observatory's new seats (to your right.)
There are several shows playing at the planetarium every day. When you make your reservation, you'll want to be sure that you're buying tickets for the particular show that you want. However, on some days, it's so busy that you may have to view a different show in order to get into the planetarium at all. If that's the case, don't worry---all of the shows are good!
The Griffith Park planetarium is as follows:
Saturday and Sunday, the planetarium's busiest days of the week, there are 10 show times. The schedule of showtimes for the weekends will be: 10:45 pm, 11:45 am, 12:45 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm, 4:15 pm, 5:15 pm, 6:45 pm, 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm. Mondays & Tuesdays, the Griffith Park Observatory and Planetarium are closed. Wedesdays through Fridays, the planetarim show schedule will be the SAME as on the weekends EXCEPT that there will be no 10:45 am nor 11:45 am shows given. On weekdays, therefore, the first show time is at 12:45 pm.
Restrictions for children under age 5: If you have small children, be sure to head to the Griffith Park Observatory early in the day. ONLY the first planetarium showtimes each day allow children under 5 years old. These are the 12:45 pm show times on weekdays, and the 10:45 am showtimes on weekends.
Griffith Park Observatory PricesGRIFFITH PARK OBSERVATORY PRICES: What does it cost to enjoy the Griffith Observatory's many attractions? Admission to the observatory's exhibits and grounds is free. An interesting movie about the observatory's amazing renovation project (engagingly hosted by Leonard Nimoy!) is also completely free of charge. There's only a fee if you wish to see a show in the planetarium.
GRIFFITH PLANETARIUM TICKET PRICES: What are the ticket prices for a show at the Griffith Park Planetarium? Adult ticket prices are $7 per show. Seniors (age 60+) cost $5. And kids' tickets (ages 5 through 12) cost only $3. Children age 4 and under get free admission to the Samuel Oschin Planetarium BUT...there are a few rules to observe. For one thing, young children must be seated on their parents' laps. And, most showtimes do NOT admit preschoolers age 4 and under, nor babies. The showtimes which accept very young children are the first shows of the day. (On weekdays, Tuesday through Friday, that's the 12:45 pm showtime. On weekends, Saturday and Sunday, that is the 10:45 am show time.)
You may NOT make advance reservations for a planetarium show (unless you're a member of Friends of the Observatory, that is.) Therefore, if you'd like to enjoy the planetarium, buy your tickets for a planetarium show as soon as you arrive at the Griffith Park Observatory! That way, if the next several showtimes are already "sold out," no problem! You will have time to enjoy the exhibits and the gift shop while you're waiting for your show to start!
Griffith Planetarium discounts: Seniors over the age of 60, plus students, get to view the planetarium shows at the discounted price of $5 (with approperiate ID.) Otherwise, a good way to get planetarium discounts is to join the Friends of the Observatory; members also receive the $5 discount price. Members have a distinct advantage on busy days: they're the only visitors who CAN purchase their tickets online ahead of time!
Griffith Park Observatory Hours and contact informationWhen can you visit the Griffith Park Observatory? One of the biggest advantages of adding the Griffith Observatory to your busy Southern California vacation schedule is that you can do it without missing out on most other attractions. Why? Because the Griffith Park Observatory stays open late in the evenings, when many other tourist attractions have already closed! The ONLY thing you need to remember for planning your trip is that it's closed to the general public on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday year-round, the Griffith Park Observatory opens at 12 Noon and closes at 10 pm.
Every Saturday and Sunday year-round, the observatory's opening time is at 10 am and closing time is at 10 pm.
Every Monday and Tuesday, the Griffith Park Observatory is closed to the general public.
Telescope viewing hours: The telescope at Griffith Park is free for public use, and is open every evening when the skies are clear for viewing the stars. The telescope closes at 9:45 pm each evening that it is open...so be sure that you're in line for your turn early enough to get in your special view of the sky before closing time.
Holiday closures at the Griffith Observatory: This famous Los Angeles observatory is always closed on Christmas Day (December 25th each year) but is open on Christmas Eve (Dec 24th.) The observatory is open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (when those holidays don't fall on Monday or Tuesday, which are the observatory's regular "closed" days.) The Griffith Park Observatory is also closed on Independence Day every July 4th; and on Thanksgiving Day (which is the 4th Thursday of November every year.)
Griffith Park Observatory Address: The Griffith Observatory's address is 2800 E. Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Map to the Griffith Park Observatory: For your convenience, here's a Google map to the Griffith Park Observatory. You'll be able to see that it's probably best for you to use the Vermont Avenue entrance to Griffith Park. (The one exception would be on nights that the Greek Theater is holding a performance.) Griffith Park's Fern Dell Drive entrance may also be used to reach the observatory. This winding road also provides spectacular views as you drive to and from the observatory. To reach either the Vermont Ave or the Fern Dell entrances, you should exit the I-5 Freeway at the Los Feliz Blvd exit and head west. Visitors should note that this is quite a safe neighborhood of Los Angeles...but the traffic can be very busy, depending on the time of day you visit the observatory.
Griffith Observatory Parking: You may drive to the observatory and park in its rather small parking lot...if you're lucky. Otherwise, you'll do like most people...and park along the roadways leading to the observatory. Either way, it's free to park.
Griffith Park Observatory phone number: The observatory's general information phone number is 213/473-0800. Please call between the hours of 8 am to 10 pm Pacific Time.