On May 20th, the San Gorgonio Girl Scouts’ Adventure Club officially kicked off with an exciting trip to Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory, and the California Science Center! About 23 of us, a few GS moms included, met at the Redlands Girl Scouts office around 8:30 a.m., checked in, piled into 4 different vehicles, and met up at the California Science Museum two hours later. It was to be the first of many interesting destinations that day in the Los Angeles area!
The California Science Museum is located in Exposition Park right next to the Natural History Museum and the University of Southern California. (One day I would like to go to USC and take a tour of the campus!). To enter the Science Center, we passed by the IMAX theater and a dome with bright shimmery red lights. I had just been there for the State Science Fair and the interior looked very different without hundreds of Science Projects being displayed on each level. I was able to better appreciate the architecture now as well as the permanent exhibits.
We first went to the World of Life exhibit. That was interesting as we learned about the major organs of our body such as our heart, brain, and nervous systems. There was a very cute hatching chick display next to a display explaining our DNA and also our digestive systems. We were also able to examine microscopic organisms. Next, we went to Goose Bumps! The Science of Fear which is a 6,000-square foot traveling exhibition which examines the physiological, neurobiological and sociological aspects of fear. I tried the Fear Challenge Course and the Fear of Falling challenge. I was strapped to a long flat surface vertically, and then dropped horizontally pretty suddenly. It was safe and fun and since I love roller coasters, I enjoyed the experience. I also enjoyed the Fear of Electric Shock challenge which kind of hurt my finger, but not that much. Then we all explored some of the space labs and pods and went to a lower level on the other side of the Science Center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
I had been (luckily) forced to stand directly under the Space Shuttle Endeavor for about 6 hours when I was being judged at the State Science Fair. Therefore, at this opportunity, I spent more time watching the different interesting videos and displays about space travel. Everyone, including myself, seemed to really enjoy the Space Potty. The Space Potty traveled into space aboard the Endeavor and served as a high-tech solution for the astronauts’ calls of nature. In the microgravity environment in orbit, waste does not just “plop” into the toilet as it does on Earth and urine clings to any surface it touches! Therefore, the engineers and scientists of NASA developed the Waste Collection System or WCS. Astronauts would urinate into a funnel attached to a hose that sucked the urine away and they would defecate in a hole in the potty seat which was much smaller than the holes in toilet seats on Earth. The airflow then pulls the waste into the “right spot” to be stored until they land back on Earth. It is fascinating how even every basic need and necessity has to be scientifically well thought out before human beings go into space!
After our adventure into space and space potties, a few of us went to see Panda 3D in the IMAX theater. Panda 3D was definitely the most adorable documentary I have ever seen. It was also a very touching story of Qian Qian, a very cute and fuzzy giant panda cub who is born in a panda sanctuary in China but is raised for life in the wild. The Chinese scientists at the Chengdy Panda Base receive assistance and advice from an American black bear researcher from New Hampshire. The scenes from the mountains of Sichuan are pretty spectacular especially on such a large screen and the 3D effects make you want to reach out and hug the scrumptiously adorable baby pandas.
After that very touching movie, we ventured into the part of our “adventure” that I enjoyed the most. We went to Hollywood! I mainly liked the Hollywood part of our trip because we got to walk down the city streets, and I love walking. First, we walked through the legendary Dolby Theater which hosts the Academy Awards every year. We got to walk up the grand stairway leading to the theater which is what all the movie stars walk up during the night of the Oscars! The hall from the front entrance is flanked by storefronts and Art Deco columns. The columns were interesting because each one displayed the name of the Best Picture winner from each past year and the columns were set up to display the Best Picture winner up to the year 2071.
Right across from the Dolby Theater was the Jimmy Kimmel Live Studio. There was a clown in front of the studio who looked just like Pennywise in the horror movie, “IT”. In fact, I think the clown looked a lot scarier than the one in the movie. He was trying to give blood red balloons to passersby, but everyone just walked by him very fast and looked creeped out. My mother tried to take a photo of “IT” when she passed him, but he suddenly lurched back and jerked his orange clown head and crazy eyes to the side so he could not be photographed. I was expecting him to give out a blood-curdling scream (as I often do whenever my mother surprises me with her camera), but “IT” did not make a sound…which only made him creepier and more frightening.
Afterward, we stopped at the Grauman’s (now TLC) Chinese Theater movie palace and walked down the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame. We raced around to see who could find Marilyn Monroe’s and Michael Jackson’s handprints and footprints on the cement slabs that are called the “Forecourt of the Stars.” We did not bump into any real movie stars but we did walk past unknown actors posing as Marvel Comic heroes, and we also strolled by the Hard Rock Café, and the El Capitan Theatre, a fully restored movie palace. It was exciting walking through the streets of Hollywood but we finally went back to our vans and cars to head to the Griffith Observatory.
The Griffith Observatory is the most visited public observatory in the world and it was thrilling to know that I was going to see the structure that I had seen in so many movies and on the news. We drove up the long sloping road and past the legendary Greek Theater. Once we reached the top, we could see the iconic Hollywood Sign very clearly and we also got an incredible view of the Los Angeles basin and the city skylines. The Observatory is a magnificent and stately structure that seems like a mix of Art Deco, classical Greek and Greek Revival features along with Modern architectural characteristics. But most importantly, the Griffith Observatory looks like an observatory!
Admission was free but we did not have time to buy tickets for or view any of the planetaria shows or films; however, we did get to explore the exhibits in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater and the other exhibits on the different levels. Even though it was dinner time, the Café at the End of the Universe was already closed so we bought some items, patches, and gifts at the Stellar Emporium. We were inspired by the amazing stars and our universe as we looked through the many telescopes and wandered through the informative exhibits and displays. I did not know any of the accompanying Girl Scouts at the beginning of the day, but everyone was so nice, and by the end of the day, we all knew each other and we had all made new friends. The trip was a grand success and we all learned a great deal. I definitely look forward to more adventures with the Adventure Club!