Thursday, March 24, 2011

#164: Glendale Planetarium

photo by lundgren

There's only one thing that can get me more excited than a weekend marathon of How I Met Your Mother: a weekend of STARS. Yes kids, I finally made it out to the Glendale Planetarium.

The Glendale Planetarium is, quite possibly, more awesome than this. Sure, there are other planetariums around town: UCLA has one (#32), and there's also a rockin one at the Griffith Observatory (#61). But there's something uniquely delightful about Glendale Community College's planetarium. Perhaps it's their remote controlled reclinable chairs.

outside the entrance to the planetarium. go up the stairs.

The 45 minute presentation was largely audience driven. The presenters asked questions like "What's your favorite planet?" and zoomed in on various planets that the audience shouted out. Brad, closet Trekkie, loved how one of the presenters kept weaving in Star Trek references. He actually managed to stay awake for 2/3 of the show (Planetariums always make him fall asleep. He's never made it through an entire one! Something about dark rooms...).

My favorite part of the evening was when they showed us the edges of the universe as we know it. They started on earth and kept zooming out to show our solar system, galaxy, and other galaxies around us, until there was just a black void. There's something so amazing about being made to feel so small and insignificant.

On your way to the bathroom, you'll see this giant rock

Afterwards, they took us outside and showed us some stars and planets. Did you know that stars are either blue, yellow or red? The blue ones are the hottest. When we were outside, the presenter pointed out the different hues of the stars. We also saw Orion's belt.

The details: The show is $10 cash, pay at the door. Parking is free. Arrive early since there is no late admittance. The audience ranged from little kids to seniors.

Subscribe to 365 LA

Saturday, March 19, 2011

#163: Corral Canyon Loop Hike

The Corral Canyon Loop begins at the Sara Wan Trailhead in Malibu right next to Malibu Seafood and Deli. When I say "right next to," I mean "turn into the parking lot for Malibu Seafood and Deli". Hopefully you won't miss it the first time and have to turn back like we did. Adjacent to the deli's parking lot is a small parking lot for the trail. You can either park there for $5, or do what we did and park on PCH for free.

This unshaded, relatively deserted hike is a 2.5 mile loop. I read that it is the only canyon in the L.A. county-side of the range that is undeveloped from the top of the ridge to PCH.

At the very beginning of the hike, you will have to cross a small stream.

After this, you will reach a fork in the trail. Either way is fine since it's a loop, but we took the left one. Soon we encountered the remnants of an old chimney.

The trail continued uphill and then wrapped back and went downhill. I noticed a narrow trail to the left that went up to a ridge, so we took that and were treated to a great view of the ocean and PCH.

We continued toward the ocean and this smaller trail met up with the main one and took us back to the parking lot.

This is a short hike, so it would be great to pair it with a trip to the Point Dume Tidepools. Just be sure to time it with low tide (which we forgot to do!)

Subscribe to 365 LA

Sunday, March 13, 2011

#162: M*A*S*H Hike

M*A*S*H Hike, we got off on the wrong foot. The trouble started when Brad pulled up to the guard station and they said it would be a $12 parking fee plus an optional $2 for a map. That extra $2 annoyed Brad, and he said no to the map. We parked, starting walking along the main road, and kept going, thinking we'd see a sign for the M*A*S*H trail head or a sign for Crags Road. We saw neither, and walked right past the trail head (which is labeled Backcountry Trails, btw). That took us on a lovely 30 minute detour. At least we got to see this cool tree.

After that, we turned onto the
Backcountry Trails (which is so obvious and crowded that we felt really dumb missing it) and walked along a fire road for about an hour. We followed the signs indicating "M*A*S*H Hike" and finally reached a bridge.

Crossing this bridge, we encountered two rocky paths. Take the
one on the right until you get to the clearing with signs indicating the M*A*S*H set.

This hike took us about 2 hours (more if you count our detour :P). There's limited shade, so bring a hat and sunscreen. It was pretty crowded, but once we got past the bridge, we didn't see as many people. There are also porta potties along this hike.

porta potties everywhere

Brad thought that the first part of the hike was boring. What he meant was that walking along a fire road isn't very challenging for your mind, whereas having to think about where your next step would be on a rocky path is more stimulating. We agreed that we'd try to stay away from fire road hikes in the future.

We didn't get to see the
lake or the dam, but I hear that's worth checking out since it's just a short detour from the main path. Check out the link below for more info.

M*A*S*H Hike

this is the sign to follow! it's across the street from the third parking lot. follow the crowds.
the restrooms/parking lot that is right across the street from the Backcountry Trails sign

most of the hike is sunny and flat like this
5% of the hike is shady like this

for some of the hike, you are going along this river
things turn rocky after the bridge

anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice

Subscribe to 365 LA

Friday, March 11, 2011

#161: The L.A. Zoo

"Oh, it's depressing." "The last time I went there, it was pretty lame." "The animals looked so bored." were some of the comments I got when I said I was gonna check out the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park. Honestly, I have no idea why it took me this long to check out the zoo--it wasn't nearly as bad as people made it out to be! The only annoying thing about it was how crowded it was. Granted, we went on a Saturday at 2 pm.

Tickets to the zoo are
$14 for adults. Parking is free, and we found a spot quickly even though the lot looked pretty full. Our friend Ron and the coolest little boy in the world Vincent met us at the gate, and we went off on a safari hunt.

two men and a baby

My favorites were the ape exhibits. The chimps were really fun to watch. As they groomed and greeted each other, I got to witness first hand how similarly complex our social structures are. At one point the dominant male started showing off his strength and all of the other chimps shrieked at a deafening volume and jumped around. Some other males tried to challenge him, but his final display of knocking over a wheelbarrow made him the clear winner. This was more entertaining than Jersey Shore.

chimps: so like us

The orangutans were the most affectionate of the apes. We "awwwed" as a mother put her arm around her child and embraced him in a tender hug.

mother and child

We were told by a guide that one of the orangutans had cerebral palsy and could only roll from place to place. We watched as the male gently rolled her around the enclosure, groomed her fur, and cleaned her teeth. It was heartbreaking.

male cleaning the teeth of the female ape with cerebral palsy

I have mixed feelings about zoos, but overall I had a great time. If it's been a while since you've visited the L.A. zoo, it might be time for another trip--you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The L.A. Zoo

a grooming party

Subscribe to 365 LA

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#160: Street Art Scavenger Hunt

A couple of weekends ago, Brad and I were about to run boring Saturday morning errands when I asked him if he wanted to go on a surprise expedition instead. Jolene's Surprise trumped BB&B, so we got on the 10 East, drove past the 110 junction, and got off in an industrial area of east L.A..

After many "where are we going?"s, I pulled up to a nondescript building and there were a couple of other people there taking pictures of one of Banksy's latest works in L.A.. This is actually one of two remaining from his last run of L.A.. His caution sign and pyro Charlie Brown were stolen, the crayon soldier was vandalized then painted over, and the elephant tank on PCH was purchased (seriously?).

Next we went north, seeing Mr. Brainwash's storm trooper Oscar tribute to Banksy's nomination for Exit Through the Giftshop . We also visited the giant Dalai Lama mural off of Melrose by Mear One.

For your own street art scavenger hunt, start here:
1. 1549 East Washington Blvd, 90021
2. La Brea near San Vicente
3. Alley south of Melrose on Spaulding

Then visit the street art blog Melrose and Fairfax to find more art around the city. Add your picks to this list and have a scavenger hunt of your own!

Subscribe to 365 LA