Posts Tagged ‘science’
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.
Our Private Tour Guests More Interested in Surf than Snow
We drive up the Angeles Crest Highway to Mt. Wilson from time to time, generally in the summer. For fans of astronomy and science there is a very active facility consisting of numerous telescopes and measuring devices on top of the mountain above Pasadena that are used to measure and observe the heavens. During the summer the area is fully open to the public and many drive up to see what is going on and rub shoulders with scientists and astronomers. Others hike up the mountain. During the winter, though, it is a bit chilly and sometimes even icy and snowy. As you can see from this frame-grab off of the Mt. Wilson webcam there is snow in the area from recent storms. We all hope to see more as the winter progresses and El Niño drives more wet storms our way. Once up there the views of the Los Angeles basin are spectacular. An advantage we continually mention to visitors at this time of year is the clarity of the air and the distances we can see from high vantage points. Mt. Wilson has been a science outpost since George Hale brought his telescope up there in 1904 because of the clear air and good weather. We urge all our science nerds on a private Los Angeles tour with us to consider a trip up to the Mt. Wilson Observatory. We can make arrangements for a private tour of the facility any time of the year. It is a beautiful drive with numerous pullouts and vista points to enjoy along the way. At this time of the year, if our guests wish, we can be up in the snow in the morning and then on the beach to watch the surfers in the afternoon.
Our Private Tour Visits the Griffith Observatory
Everyone coming to Southern California and joining us for a private Los Angeles tour is interested in the stars. Most of the time a lengthy and thorough exploration of Hollywood and Beverly Hills will satisfy our guests’ curiosity. From time to time we have a group that is also interested in the stars above Hollywood, way above, and a visit to the Griffith Observatory is in order. This recently renovated science museum was opened in 1935 with funds set aside by Col. Griffith J. Griffith (of Griffith Park fame, the country’s largest urban park at one time). Col. Griffith was so moved by a visit to the nearby Mt. Wilson Observatory that he decided he wanted the general public to have an opportunity to view the heavens and so financed the observatory. The first equipment purchase was the 12″ Zeiss refracting telescope housed in the east observatory dome and looked through by more people than any other telescope in use today. This precisely maintained optical instrument allows many their first opportunity to truly see the planets and stars and can be the beginning of a real wonder about the cosmos for many of our guests. This day we were enjoying views of Venus and Jupiter, in planetary conjunction, and bright in the western sky soon after sunset. Our guide will also entertain our guests with tales of Hollywood stars at the observatory, too.
Our Private Tour Visits the
Griffith Observatory – Twice!
Familiar to movie lovers and close observers of myriad television shows, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is as photogenic as any movie star. It is a jewel in the crown that is Griffith Park, more than 4,000 acres of parkland in the middle of Los Angeles donated to the city by Col. Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. With the help of astronomer George Ellery Hale and initial designs of Russell Porter the facility was opened to the public in 1935. As visible from the Los Angeles basin as the Hollywood Sign even better views can be enjoyed from the observatory itself looking southward from the Pacific Ocean in the west to beyond downtown where the San Jacinto Mountains rise up in the east (on clear winter days). Our private Los Angeles tour guests got a good view of the Griffith Observatory as we flew overhead on the first part of their combination air + ground tour of Los Angeles. After our helicopter landed we drove back to the observatory through the wonderful parkland for a chance to see the grand science museum’s exhibits. A tour in the evening permits additional views – the night sky as seen through the observatory telescopes.
Private Tour Guests Love to Visit
the Griffith Observatory
Flying over the Griffith Observatory immediately has our private Los Angeles tour guests asking to circle back later in our tour vehicle to explore the science museum from inside. This is exactly what we hope to happen on our helicopter + ground combination tour of Los Angeles. The spectacular observatory, a landmark in Griffith Park since 1935, draws millions of guests each year to enjoy the recently renovated planetarium and galleries inside the building as well as to admire and photograph the 360° scenic views of Los Angeles and Hollywood (including the Hollywood Sign) from the walkways and parapets around the structure. Our guides will describe the movies and television shows made using the observatory as well as some of the history of the iconic structure and the great city park of which it is a part.