Saturday, January 19, 2019

Griffith Observatory

After spending a fun morning at the Los Angeles Zoo, since we're in the area, one of the places we've really been wanting to take Ian is the Griffith Observatory. This boy loves his planets and all things space. I know they both had a lot of fun at the zoo, but I suspect they'll like the Observatory even more.

Having come to the Griffith Observatory a few times now, the driving and parking situation right by the observatory is always crazy. The better choice for us is to park at the bottom of the hill near the Greek Theater. There's just one challenge with that. Getting to the observatory is going to be a hike.

It started out well enough with Ian walking and Alli in the stroller. But it's a lot of uphill so I knew it wasn't going to last that long.

We're putting the Pockit Stroller through its paces. We laugh at the 55 lbs weight limit.

I thought we'd seen all the animals at the zoo this morning. This coyote was walking just on the other side of the street as we made our way up the hill.

Made it to the top! One side benefit of being up here is the great view of the Hollywood sign. Here's a shot with my DSLR and the 200mm lens.

And here's a shot from the same location with my iPhone. It's interesting how things in the background can look so much smaller with a different camera lens.

We're here!
I went inside and grabbed Theresa and Ian tickets to the planetarium show. Children 5 years and older are allowed, so me and Alli are just going to hang out while they are watching the presentation.

A view from the hill into downtown Los Angeles.

Have fun Ian! He's watching the Centered in the Universe, a show that talks about the progression of mankind's learning of our place in the universe.

Leaning back in their seats and watching as the projected sky transforms into the night sky.

But like I said, me and Alli don't get to watch the show, so we're off doing our own thing! First we looked down at the hiking paths leading up to the observatory. Alli asked "Can we go down there?" I don't see why not. Let's go!

The recent rains have carved some good size ravines in the path. Alli would hop over them while commenting on them. "That was a great big one. That was a kid size one. That was a baby one." Cute girl. So much energy.

Made it to as far as I'm willing to go right now.

Alli - Let's run back up!

With just a little more time to kill before the show is done, Alli and I head to the gift shop.

I thought these Celestial Buddies planetary plushes were just the cutest things. The "fiery" sun. Saturn with its ring hat. Really fun.

One of the volunteers showed Alli some of the amazing things you can do with a gyroscope. I bet we spent 5 minutes here talking with Robert while he told us about some of the more interesting visitors he's seen. Like the ones who think the Newton's cradle needs batteries, or what time is the 3:15 planetarium show.

Hi Ian! Big smiles. I think he liked the show.

I took them both back to Robert while he showed off the Newton's cradle and gyroscope. I was telling  Robert that Ian is a really big fan of everything related to space. Not only does he know his planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. He also knows his dwarf planets: Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Eris, and Sedna (did you learn something new?). He'll tell you what's in the asteroid belt or the Kuiper Belt.

Robert told him, since you like space so much, come with me real quick. He took him to the display case and pulled out a $1500 meteorite that crashed into Argentina hundreds of years ago and left a 40 foot crater. Ian thought it was pretty cool to hold it. Thanks Robert!

After looking around the rest of the gift shop, they liked the science toys that Robert showed them. Ian got himself a Newton's cradle (and has been playing with it all Sunday), and Alli got a gyroscope.

Exploring the rest of the observatory, here's a giant meteor from thousands of years ago.

Alli, try to lift this 400 pound meteor.

What's this? Something pretty special. It's a moon rock!
The Apollo 14 astronauts brought back samples from the lunar surface, and of them is on loan to the Griffith Observatory.

Ian - Can I touch it?
Ian - Can I touch the box?

Looking through binoculars at the stars on the walls.

Time for dinner! The Cafe at the End of the Universe didn't have much to offer. We enjoyed some tasty chicken noodle soup and pb&j sandwiches.

Los Angeles looks amazing at night.

Looking at a few more of the exhibits. Learning about our sun.

A cool element wall with representations of almost every known element.

It's been really crowded all day, and it's not slowing down. Here's the view at 6:30pm.

What we're really waiting around here for is the telescopes that come out at night. The big telescope on the roof is being serviced right now, but there's a few on the lawn you can look through.

Looking at the surface of the moon. Ian thought it looked like carpet.

Looking through another telescope at the Orion Nebula. Really amazing what you can see, even in the light-polluted Los Angeles.

Take a bus ride down the mountain for 50 cents? Not with a line that's 20 minutes long. We're walking! Ian walked the entire way down the mountain and back to the car.

T and I had a feeling this would happen. Out late and past their bedtime. When we got home they went right into their jammies and into bed.

It's been a really awesome day.


  1. Wow...what a full but fun, exploratory (and very educational) day! Congrats (w/ Ruston) on the chalk drawing...that was a wonderful piece of art, and must have taken quite some time/effort to do. Saturday was a beautiful sunny CA day made for the zoo. Ian must have a fairly good memory for remembering something at 3 yrs (but then again, that's not the 1st time Ian recalled something said or done at an early age). Very interesting that the different camera lens gave different perspectives on the background. I especially liked that Alli picture w/ outstretched arms and that HUGE open smile...she looked so "carefree" and just exulting in the beautiful hike and day...great capture there! I wonder what Ian would have thought of the "Adventure Thru Inner Space" Disneyland attraction. Too bad he never got to experience it. Guess a lot of people got "stir crazy" from being indoors all week due to rain, and decided Saturday was a perfect day to get out and explore the "heavens." :-) Great (and educational) TR!

    1. In the 4 years of doing the Chalk Festival, we've found a few ways to produce something faster. I won't claim to be a good artist, but I can work out a plan to make something look good.
      Not just Ian, I wonder what I would have thought about Adventure Thru Inner Space. Time to go find some old ride-through videos.
      Alli is certainly very expressive and wears her emotions right out front. She's a lot of fun.