Aug 052016


Schindler House | Photo courtesy of Michael Locke, Flickr

Some of the most interesting places in L.A. have free admission days! Read through the list below; take notes and take in all the sights free of charge. Great experiences, great things to see, opportunities to bond with family and friends while discovering L.A. cultural treasures regardless of your budget!

  1. Autry National Center: The center’s galleries explore broad themes relating to the history and diverse cultures of the American West. Free admission on the second Tuesday of every month.
  2. Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM): Exploring the leading edge of craft, art and design, CAFAM gives audience to diverse makers and artists whose work is often not represented in larger art institutions. CAFAM is a place to see art and make art – all under one roof. Free admission every Sunday.
  3. USC Pacific Asia Museum: With more than 15,000 objects in their extensive collections, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena span 5000 years of Asia’s and the Pacific Islands’ history and include paintings and drawings, ceramics, textiles and more. Free admission the second Sunday of every month.
  4. Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens: An oasis of art and culture on 207 acres, explore breathtaking themed gardens, a conservatory, four art galleries and a library showcasing collections of rare books. Free admission on the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets, which can be reserved online or by phone.
  5. Japanese American National Museum: This museum is internationally recognized for its commitment to exploring the meaning of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the experience of Japanese Americans through exhibitions, public programs, an award-winning museum store, and resource center. Free admission every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and every third Thursday of the month.
  6. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): With more than 120,000 works in its permanent collection, LACMA is the premier visual art museum in the western United States. With the addition of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), LACMA became the first encyclopedic museum with a dedicated facility for contemporary art, which is uniquely appropriate to Los Angeles. Free admission on the second Tuesday of every month; Target sponsors free admission on select federal holidays; free admission for L.A. County residents after 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  7. MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House: One of L.A.’s most significant cultural venues, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture is located in the historic Schindler House and features rotating art exhibitions about cultural issues, experimentation and invention. Free admission on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., as well as on International Museum Day (held annually in May) and Schindler’s birthday (September 10).
  8. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA): Downtown’s premier art museum features one of the best permanent collections in the country, with works by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko and more. Free admission every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  9. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA: With cutting-edge exhibitions, hands-on education programs and popular evening events, this is your source for inspiration and a must-see for contemporary art enthusiasts. Free admission every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  10. Museum of Latin American Art: With a focus on rotating exhibitions, the museum highlights significant contributions to the field of contemporary Latin American art. Meanwhile, its permanent collection anchors the museum with works by Wilfredo Lam and Alejandro Colunga, among others. Free admission every Sunday.
  11. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: The museum, recognizable by its 1913 original fitted marble walls and rotunda, holds the title of being the third-largest museum of its type in the U.S., boasting more than 3.5 million specimens and counting. Free admission on the first Tuesday of most months, except July and August; free every Tuesday in September.
  12. Norton Simon Museum of Art: The permanent collection features European art from the Renaissance to the mid-20th century, including works by Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Goya, Monet, Renoir, Degas and van Gogh, and sculptures from India and Southeast Asia. Free admission on the first Friday of every month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  13. Skirball Cultural Center: At the Skirball, enjoy museum exhibitions — including the ever-popular Noah’s Ark at the Skirball — family programs, performing arts, world music, film, lectures, classes, dining, shopping and more. Free admission every Thursday.

Free admission information reprinted from LA Tourism & Convention Board, a GREAT resource for visitors AND residents of Los Angeles.

Jul 112016

Griffith Observatory: World-Class Science You Can Experience Free Or On A Budget

Griffith Observatory!

Beloved Los Angeles landmark, the Griffith Observatory was built on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.

Griffith Observatory is fascinating for numerous reasons, many of which are obvious. The views from the facility are spectacular: on a clear day, you can see not only Downtown L.A. and Hollywood (yes, the sign, too!) but the Pacific Ocean. The scientific equipment is state-of-the-art and many telescopes are available for public use. The science and space-related displays and breath-taking shows are stunning.
One of the much less known facts is that since the Griffith Observatory creation in 1935 – in-keeping with the Mr. Griffith will – admission to the building, grounds and even parking has been and continues to be FREE. (With that said, some shows presented at the Observatory have low cost admission fees.)

The Samuel Oschin Planetarium

With its spectacular Zeiss star projector, digital projection system, state-of-the-art aluminum dome, comfy seats, sound system, and theatrical lighting, the 290-seat Samuel Oschin Planetarium theater is the finest planetarium in the world. Every show is presented by a live, engaging storyteller.

Centered in the Universe
Centered in the Universe asks fundamental questions about our place in the Universe. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why is the world the way it is? Stunning full-dome video transports us back in time, from the Library of Alexandria, to Galileo’s courtyard, to the world’s most powerful telescopes in a quest for answers among the stars. Travel through time and space back to the big bang and through a universe filled with galaxies to find our cosmic origins and discover our true place in the cosmos.
Show Times are listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Mondays.

Water Is Life
Water Is Life takes visitors on a journey through the solar system in search of water. On Earth, water is the key to life. If we find water on other worlds in the solar system, could we find life there, too? Blast off to Mars, crash through the ice of Jupiter’s moon Europa, and travel alongside a comet in a search for habitable worlds beyond Earth. Originally conceived and developed for Griffith Observatory’s school field trip program, Water is Life is an ideal family program that will appeal to even our youngest visitors.
Show Times are listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Monday.

Light of the Valkyries
Light of the Valkyries takes us on a voyage of Viking cosmology and explores the true nature of the aurora borealis – the northern lights. The Vikings believed the northern lights were valkyries, warrior spirits who descended from heaven to take fallen heroes from the battlefield to Valhalla, the palace of the gods. Explore the source of the northern lights (the Sun), in a cosmic light show set to one of the most iconic pieces of music of all time, Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”
Show Times are listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Monday.

The Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon

The 190-seat Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon presentation theater offers a variety of programs. The opening public presentation – “The Once and Future Griffith Observatory” – is a 24-minute film which weaves the history, recent renovation, and future of the Observatory into a tale of observation and inspiration. The theater also hosts lectures, presentations, and demonstrations.

Seating for all events in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon is provided on a walk-in, first come, first served basis. Door generally open 10-15 minutes before a program begins. To the extent possible, shows will be presented on the posted schedule. However, it is possible that technical difficulties or required maintenance will cause the cancellation of one or more shows. Almost all programs are free.

The Once and Future Griffith Observatory (Daily)
The Once and Future Griffith Observatory provides an exciting and compelling introduction to the history and unique public offerings of the Observatory. This 24-minute film, entertainingly narrated by Leonard Nimoy, reveals how the vision of one man led to the creation of an architectural, cultural, and astronomical icon for southern California.
Show Times are listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Monday.

All Space Considered (First Friday of Every Month)
On the first Friday of each month, the Observatory presents All Space Considered, an inside look at the most talked-about subjects in astronomy, space science, and space exploration. Observatory curatorial staff and special guests bring visitors up to date on what is going on in space. The presentations are offered free to the public.
Show Times are listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Monday.

Let’s Make a Comet (June 11 – September 4)
Let’s Make a Comet is a 25-minute demonstration program that mixes common household ingredients with dry ice to make a small comet that’s just like the real thing. The program explores the nature of water in all its forms – solid, liquid, and gas – and discusses why water is so important to life on Earth. Recent images and discoveries from NASA missions reveal where we might find water – and possibly life – on other worlds in our solar system. Families with children will especially enjoy Let’s Make a Comet.
Show Times are listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Monday.


Free Public Telescopes
Free telescope viewing is available each evening the Observatory is open and skies are clear. Knowledgeable telescope demonstrators are available to guide visitors in observing. Please be aware that the demonstrators must cut off the line for each telescope at 9:30 p.m. or earlier to enable all viewing to be completed by 9:45 p.m. Hours for telescope operation are not the same as for the building (which closes at 10:00 p.m.).

Public Star Parties
Free public star parties are held monthly at Griffith Observatory from 2:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. with the assistance of volunteers from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers, and The Planetary Society. They are a chance for the whole family to look at the Sun, Moon, visible planets and other objects, to try out a variety of telescopes, and to talk to knowledgeable amateur astronomers about the sky and their equipment.

The Gottlieb Transit Corridor Local Noon Talk
When the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, directly overhead the Observatory’s meridian line, we celebrate local noon. A Museum Guide gives a 15-minute presentation explaining how we use the Sun’s light in the Gottlieb Transit Corridor to tell us what day it is and where the Sun is located in its pathway across the sky.

Tesla Coil Demonstration
Periodically each day, Observatory staff make brief presentations while operating our historic Tesla Coil in the Hall of the Eye. For more information about the Tesla Coil, got to the Tesla Coil exhibit page.
Schedule is listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Monday.

The Big Picture
Each day, Museum Guides use the largest astronomical image in the world to help explain our place in space.
Schedule is listed on the Griffith Observatory Website. Closed Monday.

Sunset Walk & Talk Events
Each month the Observatory offers a sunset hike led by a Park Ranger and a Museum Guide. The hike starts on the Observatory’s West Terrace, proceeds up the Charlie Turner trail to the Berlin Forest on the hill just north of the Observatory, and then returns to the West Terrace. The distance covered is about half a mile over the course of an hour at a very moderate pace with stops along the way to discuss the highlights and history of Griffith Park and objects visible in the evening sky.

With its free admission and low-cost event admissions Griffith Observatory is a great destination for exciting and mind-stimulating activities and experiences on a budget: bring your family or a date for an unforgettable time at the Observatory.

Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: 213-473-0800

P.S. If you find the Griffith Observatory fascinating – as most of us do – and would LOVE to volunteer… You’d have to become a volunteer at Los Angeles Astronomical Society, Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers or The Planetary Society. Some of their volunteers assist in Griffith Observatory’s operations.