Exhibitions Both the upper and lower levels house exhibits, delving into some mind-bending topics. If you ever wondered about the mechanics behind eclipses, moon phases, tides, seasons or the sun’s fiery antics, this is a good place to get the lowdown. Learn about the evolution of the telescope and the ultraviolet x-rays used to map our solar system. While elsewhere see what happens when light is also broken into its technicolor spectrum courtesy of a sepectroscope. Downstairs, existentialist crises are likely at the interactive Gunther Depths of Space exhibit, whose ’Big Picture’ focus includes a massive photo mural of the universe itself. Griffith Observatory central rotunda and Foucault’s Pendulum Tickets to the planetarium are sold in the main lobby, itself a highlight of the observatory.
Exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood’s ode to Harry Potter is a themed area of the park featuring two rides – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff – plus special entertainment, souvenir spots, snack stands and a restaurant. Top rides at Universal Studios Hollywood With 11 rides (and two play areas for little ones) the park is doable in a day, especially if you splurge on a Universal Express ticket. But if you’re pressed for time, here are three top rides to keep on your radar: The World-Famous Studio Tour A must-do, this one-hour tour, video-hosted by Jimmy Fallon, gives you access to four acres of studio backlots.
For the finale, you’ll cruise into the world of the Fast & Furious franchise for a high-speed chase
Things to do on Venice Boardwalk Murals Venice Beach has long been associated with street art and for decades there was a struggle between outlaw artists and law enforcement. Art won out and the tagged-up towers and the free-standing concrete wall of the Venice Beach Art Walls, right on the beach, have been covered by graffiti artists from 1961 to the present. To really get into the art around Venice stroll past murals by famous Rip Cronk, including Venice Reconstituted, Jim Morrison and the Homage to Starry Night. Abbot Kinney Blvd, not far from the boardwalk, has wonderful art galleries. Probably the best art gallery in the area, and maybe the city is the LA Louvre. It’s housed in a landmark building designed by Frederick Fisher.
Santa Monica Pier Carousel A National Historic Landmark at the beginning of the pier, the classic carousel dating from 1922, features 44 hand-carved animals; 42 horses, one rabbit and one goat – that race around and around to the tune of Calliope under a classic Hippodrome
The project stayed true to the original design as much as possible with one difference: the new letters measured 45 feet tall. Hefner would become pivotal to the sign’s protection again in 2010, when he and others (including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks) helped the city of Los Angeles purchase the land surrounding the letters. Best places to see the sign For easiest access, head to Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The Hollywood & Highland shopping complex was designed with sign views in mind. Plus, you’ll be near other major attractions, including the Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theatre. Griffith Observatory is another prime spot. On the west side of the observatory’s lawn, you can snap a picture with both a bust of James Dean and the sign in the frame.
The cost is a fraction of what you’d pay at Disneyland and Universal studios, and the views of the city and sea from the tops of the rides are unparalleled. This is family fun at its most wholesome. The cost is separate from admission to Pacific Park. Santa Monica Pier Aquarium Peer under the pier – just below the carousel – for this small aquarium. Kid-friendly touch tanks crawl with critters and crustaceans scooped from local waters, sponsored by fetlife forum the environmental group Heal the Bay.
Top billing at the Science Center goes to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, one of only four space shuttles nationwide, but there’s plenty else to see at this large, multistory, multimedia museum filled with buttons to push, lights to switch on and knobs to pull. A simulated earthquake and a giant techno-doll named Tess bring out the kid in everyone. Admission is free, but special exhibits, experiences and IMAX movies cost extra.