Last weekend was no ordinary weekend; it was one of the most anticipated weekends on the term. For what reason you may wonder? For the simple reason that it was a three-day weekend. Since Caltech is on a quarter system, we unfortunatley do not get as many breaks as most Techers would like during the term. However, as a trade-off of sorts, we do have a longer than usual spring break. Also, not having to do sets during spring break is a major plus (I know my friends at semester schools always groan about having work to do over long breaks).
Apparently, Los Angeles was also happy for our 3-day weekend and was a nice balmy 75 degrees. Since the weather was so nice, my parents (who flew out from Texas to visit me) decided to go to Griffith Park to take advantage of the weather. One of my favorite things about Caltech is that while it is in Pasadena, which is quiet and peaceful (a very ideal college campus kind of town), it is very close to downtown LA and everything LA has to offer, one being Griffith Park. Griffith Park is about 20 minutes away from campus (depending how fast you drive and how bad the traffic is) and is home to the LA zoo, Griffith observatory, Greek Theatre, just to name a few of its attractions.
The LA zoo is actually 33 acres larger than the San Diego zoo in size, although it doesn’t have as many animals — or visitors. Having been to many zoos both here in America and abroad, I have to say the LA zoo is one of my favorites. For one, the not as many visitor thing is nice, especially when looking for parking. Also it’s nice that the animals have more room to roam around in.
Griffith observatory is another great attraction in Griffith Park. While it’s called observatory, it has many more attractions than telescopes. However, one of the best attractions is its telescopes. At night, the observatory has many telescopes set up that allow visitors to look at the moon, star formations, and any other planets, etc. if visible. There’s also the larger Zeiss telescope that is sometimes available to look through (according to their website, visitors can actually look through the telescope, though when I went, this wasn’t the case.)
The periodic table actually has samples of all the stable (and non-radioactive, thank goodness) elements in their unrefined and refined form.
The noble gas column is especially fun since you can hit a button to make them all light up.
Griffth park is also just that — a park. There’s plenty of grassy areas to sun-bathe on and recreational areas to play sports. Altoghether it’s a great place to get away from the work of Caltech without having ot be bogged down by the hectic city environment.