California vacations inexpensive, unforgettable
by Anne Marie Fuller
Aug 01, 2014 | 2332 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Inexpensive vacation destinations
Reservations are required to view the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
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Tracy Unified School District is getting read begin classes on Aug. 11. Looking to escape the Tracy heat and fit in one last vacation before the start of the new school year? Maybe a trip to Southern California could yield some cool results — and not just in terms of weather.

Los Angeles is home to several fun and inexpensive places to visit, including two show-stoppers with serious history. The first sits high on a hill and seems plucked right out of a movie: the Griffith Observatory.

The Griffith Observatory, 2800 E. Observatory Road, originally opened in 1935. The enormous Art Deco facility features dome ceilings and offers breathtaking views of L.A. — the famous Hollywood sign can be seen in the distance. Telescopes beyond imagination are open for public viewing.

The observatory has been the backdrop for numerous movies,

including “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), starring James Dean. It has also graced the small screen in many hit television shows — “Adventures of Superman,” “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman,” “Star Trek,” “Dragnet,” “MacGyver,” “Mission Impossible,” “CHiPs,” “Quantum Leap,” “The Wonder Years” and many more.

Griffith Observatory is open to the public from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is also a café on site. If you plan to go, wear comfortable walking shoes, as overflow parking is along a steep road leading up to the observatory. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Also in Los Angeles is the Space Shuttle Endeavour, on display at the California Science Center at 700 Exposition Park Drive.

Upon entry into the California Science Center, visitors are drawn to look upward to actual aircraft on display. Vintage through modern-day aircraft can be seen, along with an array of spacesuits and space capsules. Yet there is no doubt that the shining star at the center is Endeavor.

Visitors can see the shuttle up close. If there were ever a moment to take a selfie, this would be it. Upstairs, the center holds a treasure trove of equipment from the inside the shuttle.

The California Science Center is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Reservations to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor, $2 per adult, can be made online at If you go, plan to spend the entire day, as there is a lot to take in. The center has a public café area. Regular general admission is on a donation basis. Parking is $10 per car.

• Contact the Tracy Press newsroom at or 835-3030. Contact Annie Marie Fuller at

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