Do This Today: Lunar Eclipse at Griffith Observatory

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It’s a total eclipse of the hearrrrrt moon! This “Do This Today” is technically between today and tomorrow as it’s in the middle of the night. The Umbrial eclipse happens at 10:58p and then at 12:06am the moon is fully covered. Then at 1:24am the moon emerges and the event at the Griffith Observatory is officially over at 2am. So from 7pm to 2am you can view all of this from the observatory and it’s all free. The cafe will be open and there will be a ton of science guru’s there to answer your questions and let you look through their telescopes. This would make a really romantic date night for the unemployed.

Event: Lunar Eclipse at Griffith Observatory (event link)
Location: The Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, CA
Time: April 4, 2014, 7pm-2am
Cost: FREE!

Do This Today: Late Night at the Griffith Observatory

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To prove that the world isn’t ending, The Griffith Park Observatory has extended hours today. Come celebrate NOT the end of the world with them, or even check it out live on their website. It’s always free, so come visit and learn about why the world will still be here tomorrow.

Event: Late Night at the Griffith Observatory (website)
Location: 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Time: Open until 12:01 on Saturday
Cost: Free!

Huntington Library & Gardens

Another great place to take out-of-town guests is the Huntington Library and Gardens. It’s a tad pricy (and more expensive than its sister, Descanso Gardens) it’s worth the fee. Huntington has an excellent gift shop, art museum, science center, literary museum, and countless gardens with many food options. It’s also a Disneyland for parents.

Doesn’t it make you feel like a Rockerfeller living in the Breakers mansion.. walking the grounds like a king.

The Desert Gardens.

Many koi ponds..

So pretty and tranquil. We went on a very hot day. Luckily the trees provide lots of shade.

The Rose Garden smelled the best. The above photo was taken at a booth that (90 year old, adorable) volunteers were manning. These flowers had such different scents and the volunteers were happy to explain their differences.

the Zen Garden.

They had representations of rainforest life in the conservatories. This is a great interactive zone for kids.

In addition to the lovely gardens are many buildings with art work, literary works, science and natural history exhibits. It’s a nice break to step inside the ac after walking the grounds.

They even have Frank Lloyd Wright furniture!

I highly recommend taking out of town guests to the Huntington Gardens… especially bird-watching parents. It was a really relaxing non-touristy place to take guests and something many Los Angelenos haven’t even experienced.

Jet Propulsion Lab Open House 2012

This weekend was the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Open House. It happens one weekend a year, and since I missed last years it was high on my priority list to go this year. It’s a free event so it’s definitely a great cheap way to spend a weekend.

It was a PACKED event. We arrived on Sunday around 11a and had to park in a High School parking lot way down the road. Yeah it was crazy busy. The positive of having so many people there was seeing how many people care about science and all the families that brought their children for a family day out. That made me feel good about society at least.

This is the Mars Science Laboratory Rover. It’s the 1/3-scale model used in tests on the property. The full scale version was launched in Fall 2011 and will be landing on Mars in the summer of 2012, where it will stay for several years.

Is there another Earth out there? In each building courtyard they had tents set-up like this one, with a main topic and several presentations about the topic.

It was so busy, that it was hard to focus on the information. We got to see a 5 minute film on mars showing the simulation of the rover collecting information. It was interesting, but so short and we waited in a long line to see it. This event had a lot of lines.

We decided to just walk around the property and not wait in lines, which meant we didn’t get to see many specific displays but we tried to take in the whole event.

They did have plenty of food options which was nice. We ended up sharing a shrimp quesadilla and chips + guacamole.

After eating and people watching, we were all feeling the heat (it was crazy hot out) and decided to head home. I’m so glad I saw this event, and if I come back next year I’m going to get there as the gates open. It was like a Science Disneyland, complete with the Disney-type lines, so arriving early is a must.