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Free L.A.: Griffith Observatory

The copper dome roof at the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).

The copper dome roof at the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).

 

Did you know that California’s atmosphere is perfect for star watching? That’s just one of the fascinating facts you’ll learn when you visit Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

Before blast off, Apollo Astronauts came to this L.A. landmark to learn about the stars and space. Griffith Observatory is a fun place to spend a few hours, or the day. Bring a blanket and lounge on the front lawn.

The iconic Hollywood Sign can be seen in the distance through the arch at Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

The iconic Hollywood Sign can be seen in the distance through the arch at Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Admission to the exhibits is free and, for a few bucks, you can see a show at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Public star parties are held each month, so check the calendar. You’ll learn a lot about the Observatory and it’s history by viewing the (free) movie in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater.

Parking is limited at Griffith Observatory. It was a beautiful clear day in Los Angeles when I visited, so we literally parked one mile away! It’s a nice walk if you’re up for it, just wear comfortable shoes.  If you don’t want to walk, visit on a weekday, or take a bus – click this link – and scroll down to ‘other transportation’ for details. It’s closed Mondays.

Griffith Observatory, which opened in 1935, underwent a massive renovation in 2002. It reopened in 2006 and is truly one of LA’s most spectacular landmarks. If you grew up in So Cal, you probably visited the Observatory on a school field trip, but it’s well worth the trip to see it today.  Visit on a clear day and enjoy views of Los Angeles from Mount Wilson to the Pacific Ocean.

Traffic411 Insider Tip: Griffith Observatory is located in Griffith Park, which is massive. Bring the address so you can find the observatory, if you enter the park off of the Ventura (134) freeway, it’s not easy to find.

Distance from LAX: 27 miles

Free Los Angeles: Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is among the most recognizable Los Angeles landmarks. With free admission, it's a great way to learn about the planets,our solar system and beyond. Bring a picnic and enjoy an afternoon or sunset on the front lawn. The public is invited to free 'star parties,' held each month for stargazing through telescopes.

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The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, gorgeous architecture - and, because of it's sturdy construction, it's one of the safest places to be during an earthquake! (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/free-los-angeles-griffith-observatory/thumbs/thumbs_traffic411_web_griffith-observatory-arch.jpg]160The iconic Hollywood Sign can be seen in the distance through the arch at Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
The iconic Hollywood Sign can be seen in the distance through the arch at Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The Astronomers Monument pays homage to six of the greatest astronomers, at Griffith Observatory Los Angeles. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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"Rebel Without a Cause" starring James Dean is one of many movies filmed at Griffith Observatory Los Angeles. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Griffith Observatory is a fun place to learn about the moon, planets, our solar system and beyond! (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The Foucault amazes visitors to Griffith Observatory Los Angeles (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).
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There are many new exhibits to see since the Griffith Observatory was remodeled in 2002. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The roof at Griffith Observatory offers a great photo op for you and the iconic Hollywood Sign (photo of Lisa Osborne by Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Visit Griffith Observatory on a clear day to enjoy stunning views of Downtown Los Angeles and (looking in another direction) the Pacific Ocean. (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/free-los-angeles-griffith-observatory/thumbs/thumbs_traffic411_web_griffith-observatory-dome.jpg]70The copper dome roof at the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).
The copper dome roof at the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles (photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)


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Shuttle Endeavour’s Final Flight

The Hollywood Sign is one of several landmarks the shuttle Endeavour is expected to soar over on its final flight. (photo: Traffic411)

Southern California is known for its fabulous weather, beautiful beaches and horrible traffic. Any driver will tell you, it doesn’t have to be rush hour to find yourself stuck in gridlock. So, imagine what might happen to L.A freeways later this morning when a 747 jumbo jet with a space shuttle riding on its back soars low across the area.

In just a few hours, Space shuttle Endeavour will make its final flight, leaving Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). But, before it touches down at L.A.X, Endeavor is expected to fly over some of the areas most iconic landmarks.

NASA hasn’t released the shuttle’s flight plan, CBS Los Angeles is reporting these are some of the landmarks where Endeavour will tour: Malibu, Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, LAX, The USS Iowa, The Getty Museum, Universal Studios, California Science Center, The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and Disneyland.

CBS LA is reporting this is the possible flight path of the space shuttle Endeavor as it makes its final flight. (credit: CBS)

These landmarks are scattered across Southern California, so Endeavour could be visible in the skies for 90 minutes or more. Many excited people are pre-planning their viewing spots, but there will undoubtedly be plenty of drivers caught off guard when they witness the once in a lifetime flyover. See the CBS story here

The spectacle could cause accidents, as drivers take their eyes off the road. It will likely bring freeways to a standstill. Drivers are advised to pull to the side of the road and stop their vehicles if they want to watch the shuttle flyover today, which is expected to take place between 10 am and noon.

Endeavour will make the final landing of its career at LAX around 12:45 pm PT, where it will be stored in a hanger until next month. Then the shuttle will make its way through city streets to its final home, the California Science Center.

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