Thursday, June 25, 2009

Welcome Summer!

Griffith Observatory,
West Terrace

Greetings! As the latest addition to the ExperienceLA staff, I'm delighted to contribute my first official post to our blog.

Since joining ExperienceLA, my husband and I have been knocking off a bunch of things from our "LA must-do" list. We've experienced our first trip on the Metro (which is quite nice, I must admit), attended an event at the Ford Theatre, and more recently, spent an evening at the Griffith Observatory to celebrate the summer solstice (pardon the photos, as they were taken with my Flip Camera - not the best quality).

We've been meaning to get up to the Observatory since its re-opening in 2006, and like many, have put it off because we were "too busy". When I received an invitation to join the Observatory in celebrating the first day of summer last Saturday, I immediately told my husband, "Honey, we've got plans for Saturday night." After all, I was tired of this June gloom and wanted to let the Sun know how much I miss and appreciate it :)

Waiting for the Summer Solstice Sunset. The word "solstice" is derived from the Latin "sol," (sun) and "sistere," (to stand still).

Unfortunately, the clouds weren't cooperative, and we weren't able to see the Sun set on its designated line marking the longest day of sunlight for the year. But that didn't stop the crowd from coming. Families, tourists, young couples, and young adults gathered for the event (certainly not the crowd I was expecting, but nice to see such a turnout!). We stood outside, hopeful to see a little bit of sun, while one of the astronomers explained to us why it is the longest day of the year.

As 8:06 PM passed without any sun, I somewhat expected most of the crowd to head toward their cars. Both my husband and I were pleasantly surprised as people continued back inside the facility to do some learning. Up to this point, we'd spent most of our time outside enjoying the views of the city, so we ventured in as well. We appreciate learning, and were amazed at the quality of some of the exhibits and displays inside the Observatory. I mostly got excited because the kids around me were excited!

We spent the next hour touring through the main exhibits, and checking out the Zeiss Telescope. Since the clouds were out, we weren't able to see anything. The telescope was pointed at Saturn, which bummed me a bit because seeing the rings would have been neat. But, it's an excuse to return. We're looking forward to coming back during the day as well to see the Solar telescopes. It never occurred to me to visit an observatory during the day, or on a cloudy day for that matter.

This is one destination that's going into our regular rotation and on our list of things for guests to do. If anybody has any recommendations on when to go, what else we have to see at Griffith Observatory, staff members to meet, or how else we can make the best of our next visit, please share some ideas! And if you've never been, I highly recommend. Happy summer!


No comments: