This was our second full day in LA. We stayed in a nice two bedroom, two bath condo in downtown Santa Monica that could sleep 8 (though a little awkwardly). At this point it was still only Debi’s parents, Gary and Rosemary, Steve, Debi, and me. We had tickets to the Griffith Observatory in the afternoon. I didn’t know much about the observatory but I’m always interested in all things science, so was excited to go. We actually hiked up above it the day before (see the previous post on hiking the Hollywood Sign), so I knew it was in Griffith Park (that makes sense, doesn’t it?), but the road up there is closed and you now have to catch a bus from the LA Zoo to get to the Observatory. So, we headed to the Zoo and caught our bus.

The Observatory is perched high up above downtown LA and has great views of the city (well, kind of; it’s more like “great views of smog”). But the observatory itself is very cool and well done. It has a number of great exhibits and they are all very nice. Based on the non-expert opinions of a PhD in Physics, a PhD in Sociology, and two individuals with Master’s degrees (Debi and her Mom), the science was very accurate. It was apparent that they had consulted with actual scientists on their presentations. I particularly liked the “Centered in the Universe” show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which discussed the origins of the universe and illustrated just how small this little rocky planet is in relation to everything else. It was awesome!

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time to spend at the observatory as I scheduled dinner with my extended family later that evening. My well-known uncle and his almost as well known family members found time in their extremely busy schedule to have dinner with Debi and me. They live in Malibu and took us to a great little Italian place where we met up with my cousins and their kids. We had a wonderful dinner with great conversation, even though my cousin, Matt, was suffering from an extremely swollen hand from a bee sting. That was really the only downer to a wonderful night.

(Note: I’m not one for star sightings as I believe they are just regular people, like you and me, but I have to mention who ate dinner next to us and stopped by our table for any Star Trek fans out there. Rick Berman stopped by to congratulate my cousin on his role in a new TV series. Rick Berman was the god of all things Star Trek for decades. After he sat back down at his table, Brent Spiner stopped by and had dinner with him. Brent Spiner is better known as “Data” in the Star Trek universe. Again, if it had been any other stars, I probably would not have cared, but these were Star Trek actors. Paparazzi even chased some star later that night; I have no idea who that person was and don’t care.)

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