Griffith Observatory is in Los Angeles, California. Sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in L.A.'s Griffith Park, it commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction with an extensive array of space and science-related displays. View from a trail in Griffith Park from the south, looking north. 3,015 acres (12.20 km2) of land surrounding the observatory was donated to the City of Los Angeles by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith on December 16, 1896. In his will Griffith donated funds to build an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the donated land. As a Works Progress Administration project,construction began on June 20, 1933, using a design developed by architect John C. Austin based on preliminary sketches by Russell W. Porter. The observatory and accompanying exhibits were opened to the public on May 14, 1935. In its first five days of operation the observatory logged more than 13,000 visitors. Dinsmore Alter was the museum's director during its first years; today, Dr. Ed Krupp is the director of the Observatory.
Two people have committed suicide of the Hollywood sign and there have
been many sightings of weird looking figures and lights by the sign late
at night. From the Griffith observatory you can see the sign very well
and employees there have reported sightings of ghosts by the sign.
The Griffith Park Observatory has placed a large bronze bust of James Dean just outside the domed building (on the sidewalk to the west of the main lawn). The bust sits atop a white column, which contains a gold star and the words "James Dean" written large, plus a bronze plaque commemorating the making of key scenes of "Rebel Without a Cause." People say they have seen the apparition of James Dean himself standing looking out toward the basin of Los Angeles.