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Griffith Observatory Visitors Guide


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Griffith Observatory History
Griffith Observatory at Griffith Park in Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory at Griffith Park in Los Angeles

Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Griffith Observatory is a space observatory, planetarium and astronomy museum in Griffith Park with great views of Downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. It is one of the top free things to do in Los Angeles.

-- Skip to the Griffith Observatory Photo Gallery.


Back in 1882, Welsh immigrant and real estate baron Griffith J. Griffith bought up what was left of the Spanish land grant, Rancho Los Felis (named after its previous owner, Corporal Vincente Felis, not the happy Feliz of today). In 1896 he turned around and donated 3,015 acres to the City of Los Angeles to create a grand park for the masses. That is the urban wilderness known today as Griffith Park.

Griffith was inspired by a visit to a new research observatory built on Mt. Wilson in 1904 and decided to give the City an additional $100,000 to build an observatory on Mt. Hollywood in Griffith Park, which would be owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles for the enlightenment and education of the public.

The building's patron died 16 years before the building was completed. But eventually, the observatory that bears his name opened to the public in May 1935. The low prices during the depression and the assistance of a Federal public works program allowed the Griffith Observatory to be built with top quality materials and extensive artwork.

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