Griffith Park Observatory

Today we had the chance to visit the newly revamped Griffith Park Observatory. I remember that I was a little sad when I heard that they were closing the observatory for renovations about 5 years ago and that a 5 year shutdown was a long time. Well it’s been open now for about 6 months and to be honest those 5 years flew by. I’ve been wanting to go but was always finding an excuse to not go – well yesterday I decided that it was going to happen today and it did. Admission is free of charge.

Okay here is the truth- This is not the best place for children under 8 . It’s a fantastic place but it’s best enjoyed by older children and adults. It’s a bit of a pain to bring your stroller on the bus and the shuttle ride from the parking lot to the observatory takes about 30 minutes. The exhibits are not too child friendly and its just not really fun for them.

I do however think it’s a great place to visit as a couple. The observatory has some great new exhibits and a new theater. There is also a new wonderful cafe called The Cafe at the end of the Universe. The cafe is operated by Wolfgang Puck and the food is fantastic but the best part is the breathtaking views. You have an amazing view of the Hollywood Sign and of Los Angeles. If I could do the visit over – which I plan on redoing over the next couple of weeks I would try to pick one of the last shuttles on a Saturday night- which would be any of the shuttles between 6 and 7pm. I would go straight to the cafe since it closes early and have a nice romantic dinner with some amazing views. We watched a beautiful sunset over the Hollywood Sign. It would have been breathtaking if it wasn’t so darn hazy. I hope next time I visit it won’t be a smoggy. After dinner I would try to catch one of the last shows at the planetarium. I would then take my time strolling through the exhibits. After you finish touring the observatory the best thing to do is just enjoy the grounds and the view. You will not be disappointed. This place is definitely more of an Adult adventure and a must see. I enjoyed visiting today but learned that it’s just not the place for my family. I will definitely be heading back but next time it will just be my husband and I.

Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
General Information Line: 213-473-0800

Griffith Observatory is open six days a week

Weekdays (Tuesday-Friday)
Open Noon – 10:00 p.m.

Weekends (Saturday-Sunday)
Open 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Mondays
Closed

The Observatory is open on most holidays, but closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

AAA

Okay if you are planning on doing some or most of the activities listed here then may I offer a suggestion. If you do not have a AAA membership- get one.If you already have one take full advantage of it. Most of the places that I visit offer a AAA membership discount. I would say that usually 9 out of 10 places do. I ask everywhere I visit. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no- but most of the time it’s yes and I save a couple of bucks. Did you know that places like Souplantation offer a discount- they offer a 10% discount . Their membership comes with great perks. Of course they are great to have when you are stuck in a ditch somewhere and need a tow truck to drag you out, however their services go beyond your car’s mishaps. For starters their complimentary magazine Westways is regionally geared and is packed full of travel tips, day trips and great travel articles. You can also visit your local office and pick up a variety of maps and guides. This summer pick up their summer guide which is plentiful of info and discounts. I hope I’ve convinced you to use your membership or if you aren’t a member yet at least think about it. Finally if I still have not convinced you let me leave you with a quick story- imagine that you are driving out to your OB visit and you are running late. You are low on gas and you are oh 38 weeks along. You have to run to the bathroom and figure you have to get to the doc’s as quickly as possible. All is great until you run out of gas 10 blocks before you get there. This is where AAA becomes the best investment. They promptly came and I didn’t have to waddle my way for 5 blocks with a gas container. Just something to consider…

Discovery Science Center


Last Tuesday we took a little day trip to the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. My 2 year old loves it so much that we became members.

Okay before we move on here is a quick tip- If you have little ones sometimes investing in a membership is a great idea. It’s usually not much more than for the single price of daily admission and you usually get great perks like “member only events”, free merchandise,free passes, etc… Plus usually if kids like the place and you live nearby you will more than likely head back at least once and it will pay for itself.

Now that I got that out of the way let’s resume the post… okay this place is fun for kids of all ages. My 2 year old gets a kick out of it as well as my husband’s cousin who is 12 and like most typical 12 year olds full of energy!! . There are plenty of things to do to keep you occupied for hours. We started first with the first floor and the different exhibits that are there. The first is my daughter’s favorite. It’s called Sesame Street presents the Body- It’s a temporary exhibit that has been extended until September 9th. This is a hands-on exhibition about the human body. Find answers to questions like “how many ribs does the human body have?” and “how many gallons of saliva does the body produce in a week?” Learn how to keep your body healthy and strong in “Ernie’s Rub-a-Dub Tub,” “Legs and Feet” and “Grover’s Obstacle Course.” The exhibit is a great opportunity to introduce and reinforce healthy habits and choices with your family

There also permanent exhibits that our little cousins could not get enough of. The first is perception- every one’s favorite including my 2 year old was lying on a bed of nails. When I asked all of them what they thought of this experience it was in unison- It was cool!!!. Perception is an exhibit that allows your kids to experience science hands on. The other two that they liked was Dynamic Earth which has a hurricane/tornado chamber. This was my favorite. There is also a quake zone and another older kid fave a rock climbing wall. Once we finished the 1st floor we headed outside to DinoQuest. There are life sized models of different type of dinos. I wished I would have paid more attention but I can’t tell you what kind… I think there was a real big one like in Jurassic Park… lol- okay that’s probaly not much help.. anyways there is a play area by one of the dinosaurs and plenty of room for the kids to run around.

There is also a temporary exhibit where we spent most of our time. It’s called Pirates featuring Treasure and will also be there until Sept 9th. There are so many things to do- There is a coloring area, craft area, a replica of a pirate ship where they can climb, air cannons, an astronomy area where you can copy a constellation with marshmallows and pretzels and get to snack on it after. There is also a misting area and much more. This is all located under an air conditioned tent in the parking lot.

Upstairs there is even more entertainment. This is usually the highlight for the little little ones – our crowd the 5 and under. There is a sub tunnel, craft are, there is a green screen activity area that the kids just go wild for where they can pretend to be a pirate or a mermaid. This is a must stop for your little ones. There is also an extension of the sesame street exhibit in the back that is designed for our tots where they can explore around. Think Gymboree class. Finally there is the Discovery stadium exhibit which is sports centered. You can test your fastball and play a virtual volleyball game. Trust me after all of this playtime your children will be exhausted and probably hungry. No need to pack a lunch since there is a Taco Bell on site. Of course this is the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center- The visit would not be complete without a quesadilla- LOL!! The prices are the same as your local Taco Bell so it’s a pretty cheap eat that most kids love. As we headed to our car I felt a great sense of satisfaction that my goal of a day of fun was accomplished. Hope you can too!!

Taco Bell Discovery Science Center
2500 N. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Daily
Launch Pad Science Store opens at 11 a.m.
Discovery Science Center is open daily except for Thanksgiving Day and
Christmas Day.

Open till 8pm Thursday all summer long

General Admission
Children (ages 3 – 17) $ 9.95
Adults $12.95
Children 2 and under Free

Parking is $ 3.00

Have fun!!