Yesterday I took my family (wife, tadpole, mother, niece and nephew in law) to the "sneak preview" of the Griffith Observatory. The Observatory has been closed since 2002, almost five years, while the entire interior has been redone, a new level opened, and more high tech exhibits installed.
We started the tour on the replanted lawn (they dug up the entire front lawn, and created a basement with deep space and planetary exhibits underneath. This is a special area for me - many a night I'd participate in star parties where people would bring telescopes and aim at different objects in the night sky (by the way, these aren't my pictures - these come courtesy another visitor):
The statue of James Dean looks freshly scrubbed:
The new exhibit area under the lawn:
Albert Einstein (I have a picture of me sitting next to him on my cellphone that I'll post later):
A scale model of the entire observatory:
Always a breathaking view from all levels:
One of the highlights of the new exhibits is the first reproduction of the first telescope - Galileo's telescope, the view from which changed the world. There's only one in Florence, Italy, and a team went and took measurements and used original materials to reproduce it for the observatory.
You can read more about it at: http://www.scitechantiques.com/Galileo_telescope/