Since I grew up in Los Angeles, and lived less than 3 miles away, I was very familiar with the Griffith Observatory. For a good part of my childhood, I kept hearing my mom say to us kids–if you ever get lost, just look for the observatory and head in that direction. It’s not like we lived at the base of the hill that the Griffith Observatory sits on, but I guess her thought was it would point us in the general direction of our home–I guess. : |
When I was young and much more energetic, I remember riding my bike with friends from my house to the observatory. Mind you, this was no small feat considering the observatory is purched high on a hill and I only had a single speed bike. If I had to do that trek again on a bike today…No way!, no chance!.
The Griffith Observatory is a very interesting place to visit if you’re interested in all things to do with astronomy. I even think it would still be of interest to people that have a natural curiosity of how things work, because there are things here that you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the things that I remember from my younger days are still there today. One such item is the large pendulum, that I now know is called the Foucault Pendulum, that’s suspended from the ceiling. It’s purpose is to demonstrate the rotation of the earth. Rather than me write about it here, you can read exactly how it works and see what it looks like at this link from the Griffith Observatory website: http://www.griffithobservatory.org/exhibits/brotunda.html
On a recent hike with some friends, I took the following photograph of the observatory from a great vantage point, high on the hill. Ahhh, breathe in that thick blanket of Los Angeles smog!
We almost lost the observatory. On May 8, 2007 a major wildfire burned more than 817 acres, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people. The fire burned right up to the Griffith Observatory, but the fire was contained and the observatory was spared.
I’ve been back to the Griffith Observatory within the last year and a half. Me and a handful of friends went on a nostalgia outing which started at Pinks hot dog stand (see my post at http://yesteryearremembered.com/?p=48) and ended that evening at the observatory. A great place to see the lights of the city.
Griffith Observatory website:
More details at wikipedia.com: