Griffith Observatory provides clear view of night sky
For a breathtaking view of Los Angeles at night and a spectacular depiction of the Northern Lights and Viking legends, a visit to the Griffith Observatory is well worth the journey into L.A.
I somehow missed the memo on how incredible this place is. I made my first visit there last night, and I am about to graduate in a month. I don’t recommend spending four years at Biola and not making the short trip to L.A. to visit this place.
If nothing else I say about the observatory convinces you, keep in mind that parking and admission to the observatory are free.
The view of L.A. at night was amazing. I love stars and city lights. Because the observatory is so high up, its offers an incredible view of the city below. If you love photography and want to take pictures of the city at night, don’t forget to bring a tripod. I steadied my camera on the ledge overlooking the city. It worked well, but I think a tripod would have been better.
"Light of the Valkyries" explains cause of Northern Lights
Aside from the view, my favorite part of the evening was the “Light of the Valkyries” show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The presentation gave the history of the Northern Lights by depicting the night sky on the ceiling of the planetarium. The audience relaxes in reclining chairs for a good view of the ceiling.
It takes you through Viking and Scandinavian myths about what causes the Northern Lights. At the end, the presenter explains that the lights are caused by the North and South Poles deflecting charged gaseous particles from the sun.
Before seeing the presentation, I knew very little about the Northern Lights. I learned things about the North Star and how the Vikings viewed the constellations. If you are prone to motion sickness, be warned. There are not too many quick moments, but there are a few. They announce beforehand to close your eyes if you start feeling sick.
“Light of the Valkyries” was educational, but I was fascinated the entire time. Admission to the show is $7.
Observatory telescopes offer closer look at the stars
For a closer look at the night sky, the Zeiss Telescope is located in the rooftop dome. Unfortunately, I was not able to look through it because of the 45-minute wait. The line for the telescope gets long quickly, so I recommend making it one of your first stops when it starts to get dark. There were also smaller telescopes placed on the front lawn, and the wait for those was about 10 minutes.
If you get hungry during your visit, the Cafe at the End of the Universe is downstairs. It is operated by Wolfgang Puck, so the food should be pretty good. I didn’t stop here for anything to eat, but if you have, share your thoughts and recommendations in the comment section.
Another option is to pack a picnic and enjoy it on the front lawn. There were a few couples enjoying a picnic dinner under the stars.
The Griffith Observatory is a great place to go for a relaxing night out with friends or even a date. I was impressed during my visit, and I wish I had made the trip sooner. As final projects start to weigh on you, it might be good to take a short break and enjoy God’s creation.