Posts Tagged ‘museum’
Griffith Observatory Is on this Private Tour
There are things to see when we arrive at the fabulous Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on a private tour. Day or night the stars are shining. And not just Hollywood stars like James Dean whose bust is prominently displayed outside this fantastic science museum along with tributes to great astronomers and cosmologists. Sometimes we have to remind our guests that the observatory is not named for either Melanie Griffith or Andy Griffith, both of whom assuredly walked around on this promontory overlooking Los Angeles at one time or another. Rather, it is Col. Griffith Griffith who bankrolled the facility. He is the same wealthy father of Los Angeles who set aside the more than 4,000 acres that is today’s Griffith Park wherein the observatory is located. Another unrelated Hollywood figure who spent time up here is D.W. Griffith, the famous director who was among the earliest creative geniuses making movies what they are today. For our science and hiking-inclined guests the Griffith Observatory is a very special destination for a custom sightseeing expedition around Los Angeles. Lately, though, it is fans of the critically and popularly acclaimed movie musical, La La Land, who are urging us up into the Hollywood Hills to visit the location of one of the important musical numbers of the film.
The Getty Museum Impresses Our Los Angeles Helicopter Tour
Depending on which heliport we depart from on a luxury helicopter tour of Los Angeles (Santa Monica, Van Nuys, Burbank or a downtown skyscraper) we do not see the beautiful Getty Museum atop its mountain ridge in Brentwood until well into the hour-long flight. Our guests have already been impressed with the layout of this vast city (we only see a portion of the 500 square miles of the city proper). We have probably seen (custom tours is all we do so our routes are not determined in advance) downtown Los Angeles with its gigantic modern towers (the brand new and not quite opened Wilshire Grand Center) and now not so tall historic towers (the infamous city hall building everyone remembers from the television cop show Dragnet). Other grand buildings and extraordinary homes have been pointed out along the way. Then we find ourselves following the mountains and there atop a tall ridge overlooking the entire Los Angeles Basin is the Getty Museum. It is composed of a wild mixture of rectilinear and circular structures with beautifully landscaped gardens all around. We see the snaking path of the electric funicular that delivers visitors to the museum from the parking area below. The wide swath of the Santa Monica Freeway curves up through a canyon just to the east of this museum and art conservation facility. And this is just the jawdropping beauty of the outside of the Getty. Imagine what our guests get to see when they visit the museum (either with us or independently) and walk through the galleries. This is what $1.3 BILLION dollars will get you (and that’s 1997 dollars). But since 1.3 million visitors enjoy the museum each year the price was well worth it. Plan a visit next year for the 20th anniversary and see for yourself what everyone is so excited about. We will be flying over and driving over with our guests. Join us.
Vincent van Gogh’s Irises Touch Our Private Tour
This was at one time the most expensive painting ever sold (~$54M in 1987). Painted in 1889 by Vincent van Gogh while he was institutionalized before his death, this painting is part of series painted in the asylum garden. Our Los Angeles private tour guests were especially moved by this beautiful work as so many of the 1.3 million visitors to the Getty Museum every year find themselves to be. We appreciate that so many of our guests understand that a private custom tour of this magnificent Southern California city can (and we think should) include visits to any number of our impressive museums. Besides the two campuses of the Getty Museum (the Getty Center in Brentwood and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades), major art museums include the Broad Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Hammer Museum and the Norton Simon Museum. There are many more fine art museums and galleries as you would expect. In fact, there is a whole art district in downtown Los Angeles. Besides art museums, there are science museums, natural history, ethnic origin and Hollywood history museums. We like to say there is a museum for everyone, even a kids’ museum. We suggest a visit to a museum of interest to you as part of your private tour so you do not have to worry about driving, parking or timing. We take care of that for you.
We Get Many Old Seadogs on a Private Tour to the USS Iowa
There are two historic seagoing vessels berthed near us in Los Angeles and available as a sightseeing destination on a private tour if Hollywood is not tops on our guests’ minds. One is the Queen Mary cruise ship (now a hotel and convention center as well as a terrific museum). The other is the USS Iowa. This grand battleship was commissioned in 1943 and served in the Pacific Theater with distinction in World War Two and later in Korea. Nine hundred feet long and sailing with a compliment of almost 2,800 officers and seamen, the battleship now serves to educate and remind us of the service and sacrifices of our Naval personnel throughout our history. The Iowa was decommissioned in 1990 and is now berthed in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro just south of the city. Seeing it moored amidst the company of today’s cargo vessels plying the port’s waterways never ceases to impress our guests many of whom have never seen a warship. Of course, former Navy sailors with us are familiar with the vessel and its operation but still in awe of its power and place in naval history. Walking the passageways below deck when visiting the Iowa Museum moves our guests, and us, to think of the young men so dedicated to our American ideals that they volunteered to man the ship in wartime. On this Veteran’s Day we thank and pay our respects to everyone, those who served and their families, for making this a county we can all be proud of.
Our Private Tour Guests Spend Time with the Stars
What does a 4.5 ton, 200″ long, Zeiss telescope with a 12″ lens and James Dean have in common? They are both to be found at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Since 1935 this wonderful feature of the Los Angeles park system has been open and free to the public according to the wishes of Col. Griffith Griffith who provided the more than 4,000 acres for Griffith Park (you probably guessed that) and also bequeathed the funds to build the observatory and purchase the two telescopes (there is also a 9″ Zeiss refracting telescope mounted atop the larger scope). Even without the draw of Hollywood and its stars (like James Dean) this museum of astronomy and cosmology has been one of the most popular of public astronomy facilities in the world. What this museum has going for it in terms of public relations and advertising is its iconic beauty (Russell Porter’s original sketches and John Austin’s final design) and its proximity to Hollywood and the filmed entertainment industry. Movie and television production companies have been up on this promontory since it opened capturing the views and the location in countless films and shows. Most notably, in 1955, Rebel Without a Cause with its young star, James Dean. This classic film about teenage angst remains beloved among film lovers and historians and is always recalled when guests with us on a private tour of Los Angeles come up to the observatory and see James Dean’s bust on a plinth amidst sculptures of historic figures associated with science and astronomy. A star beneath the stars. Make sure you tell us you want to visit the Griffith Observatory when you start your custom tour of Los Angeles and we will show you around.
Super Snack Before Private Tour to LACMA
Los Angeles is a restaurant town. Lots of restaurants. Lots of truly amazing restaurants. Sometimes, though, on a private tour around Hollywood and Beverly Hills we are on a roll and do not really want to take time out for a sit down meal. That’s when food trucks can be so beneficial. And our food truck company we want to promote, one of our very favorites, is Komodo. This Asian-fusion theme rolling food machine is, as their logo clearly states, dangerously good. Their specialty is a soft taco filled with dreamy, creamy tastes of the Pacific Islands. Seafood and farm food combinations that are mouthwatering and, well, nutritious and energy building. A recent wedding reception picnic we attended was catered by the big black truck with the giant lizard on the side and the wedding party and their guests were thrilled to have such good food at hand. We know our Los Angeles private tour guests have always been delighted after enjoying a quick meal at Komodo and then satisfied and ready to get back on the road and do some serious sightseeing at destinations such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) conveniently located right across the street from this food stop. Speaking of monsters, LACMA sits right beside the La Brea Tar Pits, the last home of some pretty big but now extinct monsters whose bones can be visited at the nearby Page Museum.
Our Private Tour Guests from Chicago Love Catalina Island
So many of our private Los Angeles tour guests are unaware of the island paradise only 23 miles away from Los Angeles. Santa Catalina Island (just Catalina to those of us living here) is the largest of the eight Channel Islands just off the southern coast of California. It’s rich history is only a small part of its attraction for visitors to our region as well as locals wishing a little “island” time to get away from the city. Our guides regale our guests with tales of Hollywood celebrities, gamblers and criminals on those days when the island appears through the foggy mist of the marine layer. Even better than stories told about the island while peering across the channel is our private tour out to Catalina (by helicopter, yacht or ferry – our guests’ choice) when we can show off the beautiful city of Avalon and the wild landscape that is still the major area of the island. The Catalina Island Museum is now housed permanently in the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner building, a lovely structure that pairs with the beautiful Avalon Casino and has whispers of Wrigley Field in its design. Ada (“Blanny”) was the granddaughter of William Wrigley, once owner of the Chicago Cubs and builder of famous Wrigley Field. Blanny Schreiner and the Wrigley Family contributed greatly to the island’s modern development and preservation and much is owed to them for the abundant joy that Catalina provides.
Natural History, Tar Pits, Monsters – Kids Love a Private Tour to La Brea
Of course kids get a big kick out the big fluffy costumed characters inhabiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater or the entrance to Universal Studios and City Walk. We also take our youngest Los Angeles private tour guests past the Henson Studios (think Muppets) and Nickelodeon. We know a couple of excellent playgrounds, carousels and, always, there is the beach. But for some unknown reason the La Brea Tar Pits truly appeals to the inner Neanderthal of our smallest passengers. The Page Museum on the Rancho La Brea grounds is a fascinating hands-on experience full of models of ancient and giant extinct creatures that once roamed Los Angeles before the giant movie stars arrived. There are dioramas and samples of all sorts of things parents would not generally allow them to touch and play with. Outside are sculptures (actual size) of some of those glorious beasts (mammoths, dire wolves, giant sloths, saber-toothed cats). And best of all – pits of oozing, bubbling tar. One end of the park contains working excavation sites that in the summer have teams of researchers and junior scientists troweling through the muck searching for the bony remnants of lives lived long before the area was settled and exploited for petroleum. The story is fascinating. The smells not so much. The kids love the science and the stories and all the clear ground to run around. Adults love this destination, too. No wonder they call this part of Wilshire Boulevard the Miracle Mile!
Our Los Angeles Tour Visits the Reagan Library
There are not too many libraries in the world, if any besides this one, that house an actual multi-engine jet plane as part of their displays. It is a modified Boeing 707 and was familiarly known as Air Force One. The aircraft, an armored limousine and bowls of Jelly Belly candies are a small part of this extensive facility just north of Los Angeles – The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The permanent collection is all about the man, our 40th president, his wife, Nancy, and those turbulent times coinciding with the end of the Cold War and Glasnost. Our older guests on a private Los Angeles tour that has ventured up to Simi Valley and the beautiful museum/library remember much of those times and enjoy revisiting the period through the lens of history. Our younger guests are always impressed and leave knowing a little more about how we got where we are today. This summer’s special exhibit features treasures from the Vatican collection and provides a glorious distraction from the expected focus on the Reagans. This is one of our favorite “museum” stops that we can include on any private custom tour we do depending on the interests of our guests. If you have always wanted to walk through an airplane in a library then let us take you up to the Reagan library.
Our Private Tour Spends as Much Time Outside the Museum as Inside
The drive to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is wondrous. The Sepulveda Canyon is a dramatic landscape with the heavily trafficked Santa Monica Freeway (the “405” in local parlance) winding up between steep hillsides. After we park there is the wonderful tram ride from the parking facility up to the museum itself. And then – the view. Los Angeles stretches out before us from the sea to the distant San Jacinto Mountains. The white granite buildings all around us create a true sense of a campus, of multiple disciplines at work exhibiting, conserving and restoring artwork from around the world and throughout history. To say it is breathtaking is not enough. Sculpted gardens demonstrate how lush and verdant foliage can be maintained in an area with so little rain and with irrigation a considerable issue for gardeners and landscape artists. And yet walking the paths and admiring the structures is like being in an outdoor art installation. Our Los Angeles private tour guests really love that we are essentially alone to enjoy and understand more of their surroundings. Our guests point out sights in the distance to be identified and described by their guide with a chance perhaps to visit those places when we depart the museum. By all means when you visit Los Angeles do get to the Getty.