Monday, July 22, 2013

Griffith Observatory

After visiting La Brea Tar Pits we traveled through L.A.'s Koreatown to our third stop--Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills.
There were impressive views of L.A. from the observatory.
But, one of the best surprises were all the free exhibits inside. The scientists in our family were definitely in their element.
Brian explained how a Foucault pendulum works.
This periodic table was pretty cool too.
It was a good day!

Friday, July 19, 2013

La Brea Tar Pits

La Brea Tar Pits was the second stop in L.A. that Brian wanted us to see. Like our first stop, Brian went here on a field trip when he was in elementary school. At that time, however, it wasn't in the middle of a city.
"Asphaltum or tar (brea in Spanish) has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years. The tar is often covered with dust, leaves, or water." (Source)
Brian remembers these life-size models of mammoths. The poor mother has been caught in the tar! A sign posted by the pit states, "These seeps became unique death traps for countless Ice Age mammals and birds, making Rancho La Brea the world's richest deposit of Ice Age fossils. Over 100 tons of fossil bones have been recovered."
See that colorful house in the distance?
The crocheted facade was awesome.
Who knew I'd find this at the La Brea Tar Pits?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Watts Towers

After our Disney adventure, Brian wanted to take us to three sites in L.A. that made an impression on him when he was a kid. Our first stop was Watts Towers where he remembers taking a field trip when he was in elementary school.
Yes, this is the same neighborhood where the infamous Watts riots occurred in 1965.
"Simon Rodia [an Italian immigrant] spent 30 years (1921 to 1955) building a tribute to his adopted country and a monument to the spirit of individuals who make their dreams tangible." (Source)
"Two of the towers rise to a height of nearly 100 feet. The sculptures are constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, coated with mortar, and embedded with pieces of porcelain, tile and glass." (Source)
"They are decorated with found objects, including bed frames, bottles, ceramic tiles, scrap metal and sea shells. [Rodia] built them with no special equipment or predetermined design, working alone with hand tools and window-washer's equipment. Neighborhood children brought pieces of broken glass and pottery to Rodia, some of which were added, but the majority of his material consisted of damaged pieces from the Malibu Pottery or CALCO (California Clay Products Company), located nearby. Green glass includes recognizable soft drink bottles from the 1930s through 1950s, some still bearing the former logos of 7 UpSquirtBubble Up, and Canada Dry; blue glass appears to be from milk of magnesia bottles." (Source)
I really had no idea what to expect here, but I'm so glad we stopped by and got to experience first hand this fascinating historic American folk art.