Just a note, don’t go when it is even close to convenient, you are in a hurry, don’t want to walk a million miles, or don’t want to be with other people, because this place is popular. It is also worth it.
The observatory is built on Mt. Hollywood, the same one that has the big Hollywood sign, in 1935. From its inception it was open to the public for free. It was meant to make astronomy approachable and accessible to the masses and the masses show up en masse.
The copper domes really do house legit telescopes that aid real-life science (see what I did there?). Smart people doing smart things that I don’t understand, work there. I didn’t work there, I just looked there.The city, the sky, and the building. The art deco scalloped smooth lined solid colored building, the pastel fading multicolored shapeless sky, and the staccato jumbled lit up city.
You can only go there when you have some time.
Only go there when all those crowds and lack of parking and walking don’t matter. Because despite all that, you have to go.
When you are small the world is bigger. When you are young everything is new.
Everything being big and new can be both wonderful and terrifying.
That’s what being a kid is, terrifyingly wonderful. Dana Point was wonderful.
We only went to the beach as an afterthought. Our main intent was to visit the Ocean Institute. That was “our” intent, my intent was to see the tall ships. To me tall ships are wonderful. They stoke within me a primal wanderlust that I am finding increasingly hard to placate. But the institute and the two tall ships it operates, are not for me.
Its all for them.
And they love it.
I love that.
On weekends it is open to the public and the weekend we went they made us feel welcome. I love to observe others doing things they love and the Ocean Institute appeared full of people doing what they love. What they do there is teach oceanography to kids.
A grey haired man walked us around a whale skeleton, another showed us how they practice driving underwater robots. A young woman showed us the tank where she was raising a colony of young jellyfish and another woman helped my kindergartner dissect a squid.
Make no mistake, this isn’t an aquarium or a museum. They don’t just show things here they facilitate doing things. It isn’t just to help people do things, its to teach kids how to do things. Big, new, terrifying, and wonderful things.
We as a generation would do better if we dedicated ourselves more to teaching our kids to do big new terrifying wonderful things.
But still I stare at those tall ships…