Also available are games, storytelling and tours for children. For the adults there is plethora of famous art including the work of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pontormo and a very large Louis XIV portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud.
The permanent compilation of the museum has a considerable collection of old paintings, many pencil drawings and sculpture along with some decorative art work. The paintings can be seen in natural light via some extra ordinary skylights which are controlled by a computer.
Summer days brings free concerts to the beautiful gardens. You will also enjoy the many lovely fountains around the campus. The museum is located on a hilltop, so the view of Los Angeles and the Sam Bernardino Mountains is stupendous.
You’ll find a large Ferris wheel, a coaster and many exciting rides & games. You’ll also find the Hippodrome carousel which is a National Historic Landmark. There are classes in trapeze, yoga, trampoline plus various unusual workshops plus some fine food outlets overlooking the ocean.
Talking about the ocean brings us to the fact that the Pier is a World Class location for the fishermen. America’s artistic community has been enamored with the Pier for many years.
Some of the films it appeared in are "The Sting", "Miracle "Beach", "Titanic" and "Forrest Gump". TV programs who used the Pier are "South Park", "Three’s Company" and "The Amazing Race". Also of interest is the hosting of the annual Santa Monica Film Festival.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra make it their home and there is a very long list of outstanding entertainers and musical groups who have performed there. The Amphitheater is colorfully lighted for a sensational look for night-time performances.
The Bowl has been used in many movies including "A Star Is Born", "Anchors Aweigh" and "Escape From L.A". It has also been used in TV programs such as "The Beverly Hillbillies", "The Simpsons" and "Sleeper Cell".
The attraction of Griffith Observatory is its excellent displays of science and space including a Foucault pendulum. This pendulum demonstrates the earth's rotation and is considered one of the top ten most beautiful experiments.
The major attraction is the Samuel Oschin Planetarium with its theater of the sky. This planetarium is World Class with spectacular shows of the night sky. It has been used to train military pilots and astronauts in their understanding of celestial navigation.
The facilities have been used in many movies and television shows including "Rebel Without A Cause", "The Terminator" and "Dragnet". When you visit be sure to ask to see the "The Big Picture" which covers one whole wall and is the largest accurate photo of the universe ever displayed.
For the visitor, travel on the island is limited to walking, biking, golf carts or taxi. There are convenient rental bikes and there are excellent bike paths and hiking trails. The scenery is breathtaking.
The water is quite clear and there are several very interesting sunken ships which all together would make for a scuba diver’s dream vacation. Non-scubas could take a tour on a glass bottom boat.
The Catalina Island Museum is a good stopping point. Located in the Casino, it has many collections which show the cultural history of the island. It includes photographs, pottery, ship models and lectures related to the unique 7,000 year history of the island.
The Catalina Casino is a most interesting building. It is cylindrical with water on three sides and stands over ten stories high. It houses a movie theater, a museum, a dance hall but no gambling amenities. The word Casino here is from the traditional Italian word for a building for general use by the local citizens.