Griffith Observatory is an educational venue that boasts telescopes, scientific exhibits, a planetarium, and stunning views of Los Angeles landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign. There are many ways to reach Griffith Observatory. One popular route is the East Observatory Trail, a fire road that is often bustling with people, some with a destination in mind and others out for a jog or walking their dogs. The trail begins at Vista Del Valle Drive and ends at the observatory, meandering gradually uphill. As you walk, the iconic building will appear from behind the tree line. Hollywood, Los Angeles, and the San Gabriel Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for this hike.
In 1896 Griffith J. Griffith donated thousands of acres of land to the City of Los Angeles for the purpose of developing Griffith Park. When he died nearly 25 years later, he left funds and instructions for building Griffith Observatory in his will. It opened in 1935, and visitors were not charged for admission. To this day entrance to the building and many of the observatory’s programs and events are free to the public. In 2002 the observatory was closed for the first time since it had opened. The building was restored for the next four years, a project that cost $93 million.
A variety of space-centric programs take place in Griffith Observatory's Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon, named for the man who played Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series. Families and school groups are among the most common visitors, but anybody who takes an interest in outer space will enjoy themselves at the observatory.
Griffith Park sprawls across 4,107 acres of land and is home to many different creatures. In 2008 an article was published in the Southern California Academy of Sciences that listed opossums, gray foxes, bobcats, raccoons, striped skunks, and coyotes among the park’s carnivorous residents. Hikers are unlikely to come across these mammals on the East Observatory Trail as the abundance of people and dogs scare them off, but rest assured that the park is bursting with fauna.