Went to opening day of the Griffith Observatory last night with my friend L, and it kicked all kinds of ass. It was more museum-like than I expected, and reminded me strongly of the Museum of Science back in Boston–and who knew I remembered so much from my Junior High physical science class? The coolest parts were the multi-media experiences–the “Once and Future Griffith Observatory” making-of film starring a giddy Leonard Nimoy (they RAISED THE ENTIRE BUILDING ON STILTS in order to add a floor underneath!), and the planetarium show. The Tesla Coil was also cool, and the new observation decks.
One of the Beach Boys was there, sitting in front of us in the planetarium. My guess was originally Brian Wilson, ’cause what I know about the Beach Boys would fill a thimble, but upon image-googling, I see it was Mike Love. He was wearing a sparkly purple hat.
Also, there was FOG, which may seem like a downside when you’re visiting an observatory, but it was just so damned cool watching it roll over everything, and watching the city slowly disappear below us.
The true downside was the shuttle system. You have to park elsewhere and take a bus to the Observatory. We took the shuttle from Hollywood and Highland, which is NOT CLOSE at all, and traffic sucked, of course. Then we waited about half an hour outside in a very long line for the shuttle back (we could’ve fit on the second bus, but it was standing room only, and my back would never have survived). Then, as the very loaded and heavy bus headed down the steep hill, all I could think of was brakes and broken-down busses and omigod we were going to die! We didn’t, but I think I’ll wait until the shuttle system is discontinued before going back (it’s only in effect for the first few months of being open).