La Brea Tar Pits - Page Museum, Los Angeles

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 Reviews

5801 Wilshire Blvd.

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  • La Brea Tar Pits - Page Museum
    by Yaqui
  • La Brea Tar Pits - Page Museum
    by Yaqui
  • La Brea Tar Pits - Page Museum
    by Yaqui
  • leics's Profile Photo

    The best bit of downtown LA (for me).

    by leics Written Aug 8, 2013
    Tar pit
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    I really wanted to visit the La Brea Tar Pits..... and they didn't disappoint.

    I was lucky enough to be taken there by LA friends and so was able to spend a couple of hours exploring.

    The tar pits are really unusual, although not unique. Asphaltum (tar) seeps up to the surface via a fault above the underlying oil field and..in the past..the whole area was a huge tar 'marsh' with thick layers of sticky tar covered by leaves and/or water. Tar 'springs' burst to the surface, a mixture of tar and water which separated as it left the ground. Hundreds of thousands of animals became trapped and their fossilised remains have been excavated on the site for the past hundred years or so.

    There is a vast asphalt 'lake' at the entrance, but this gives a wrong impression of how the tar 'marsh' originally looked. It's actually an old asphaltum mine, with a top layer of water and methane bubbles continually rising to the surface and bursting. But it is fascinating nonetheless, with a most evocative smell of hot roads in childhood summers.

    The George C Page museum was built on site to house the fossils discovered, and to display just a few of them. It opened in 1977 and is a very well-presented museum indeed, with plenty to interest children. The skeleton of 'Zed', a mammoth, is perhaps the prize exhibit but I was most taken with the beautiful...and complete..bird skeletons on display.

    Modern scientific technology has allowed paleontologists to extract microfossils from the tar pits: seeds, tiny bones, pollen grains and insect parts.These add hugely to our knowledge of prehistoric times.

    You can see an excavation in the parkland surrounding the museum (pit 91) although work is in abeyance at the moment..the focus is on 'project 23', the excavation and examination of 23 huge containers of deposit rescued when the underground parking garage of the nearby LA County Art Museum was constructed in 2006, exposing 16 new fossil deposits. It is expected to take several more years to go through the deposits so ground excavations have been halted for the time being.

    Even if you are not especially interested in prehistory the La Brea Tar Pits are an absolute must , if only because you own't find an excavation like it anywhere else. And children will love the experience!

    Information, opening times and entrance on the official website below.

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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Project 23~Page Museum

    by Yaqui Written Mar 10, 2013

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    New Discoveries at La Brea Tar Pits:
    The ground below your feet contains one of the richest deposits of fossils from the last part of the Ice Age, approximately 40,000 to 10,000 years ago. In 2006, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art began constructing an underground parking structure next to the park. This gave paleontologists at the Page Museum the opportunity to access areas that had been far below gournd level. During the construction, sixteen new areas of fossils deposits werre discovered. These were placed into twenty-three crates and moved to the spot in front of you. We are now excavating those new fossil deposits. The information on the other panels will tell you how we do this and why it is so important.

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    Hancock Park La Brea Pits Marker

    by Yaqui Written Mar 10, 2013

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    It reads:

    Presented to
    The Citizens of Los Angeles County
    In December 1916 by
    Captain Allan Hancock
    With a request that the scientific features be preserved

    First historic reference to the tar pools
    Recorded in the diary of Caspar dePortola'
    In August 3, 1769

    Originally a portion of the Rancho LaBrea
    Granted by Governor Alvarado 1840

    Erected 1940 by Californiana Parlor 247 Native Daughters of the Golden West. (Marker Number 247.)

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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    La Brea Tar Pits

    by Yaqui Updated Mar 10, 2013

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    Over 11,000 years ago during the Pleistoncene period this area was teaming with wildlife of ancient animals such as American Mastodons, Saber Toothed Cats, Camels, Dire Wolves, Harlan's Ground Sloths, Western Horses, Ancient Bisons, and many species that still thrive today.

    I have been coming to this area since I was a kid and I am still in awe of the tars pits. So if you have the chance just stroll around the huge tar pit lake, be sure to take in the rest of the park. Lots of wonderful areas to explore.

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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Page Museum

    by Yaqui Written Mar 10, 2013

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    Your trip is not complete unless you visit the Page Museum. It is not a huge museum, but is very unique do to the fact they are still digging and finding fossils. The other very unique thing is you can see "Paleontology in Action!" They call it the Fishbowl Lab. It is a glass walled laboratory that lets visitors watch fossils being cleaned, studied, and prepared.

    There is a wonderful Atrium that all visitors can walk thru and enjoy koi fish, Ginkgo tree, bamboo tree, and a variety of birds who make this there nesting place.

    The exhibits include Bison, Camels, Condors, Coyotes, Dire Wolves, Gound Sloth, Horses, Mammoth (my favorite) and Smilodons. They are some of the best displays I have seen.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    La Brea Tar Pits

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Feb 25, 2013
    La Brea Tar Pits
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    This is the site of a tarpit in midtown LA where for eons animals have been captured as they tried to drink what they thought was water. It is one of the richest site of fossils of extinct animals in the US.

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  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Go in the city & enter a prehistoric world-La Brea

    by marinarena Updated Feb 2, 2013

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    tar at the La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, CA
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    At The La Brea Tar Pits

    There are many attractions of greater Los Angeles- the lovely beaches, the hip happenings of Hollywood, the allure of the fashionable Westside and yes, there is the tar -of the La Brea Tar Pits! OK so the smell of tar is not as welcoming as that of the locally famous La Brea baked bread but certain the good old black stuff does bring 'em in!

    Within a fantastic park perfect for a city stroll are tar pits and ancient fossil sites that are well preserved. Now, who says that L.A. does not appreciate what's old?

    Read more on the La Brea Tar Pits , including the Page Museum on the website listed below!

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    • Archeology

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  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Dig the Page, discover the life of the Pits!

    by marinarena Written Feb 2, 2013
    shot outside of Page Museum
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    Before Wilshire Blvd and cement galore layered the central point of the Miracle Mile area in Los Angeles, the land was nothing but tar.

    The well-traveled La Brea Tar Pits features the museum which includes the Fishbowl Lab where paleontologists work in live time with the excavated digs discovered right in their backyard of the pits.

    Don't think of discovering dinosaurs at Page (so many of us do so fatally) but rather over a million ice age fossils of saber-tooth cats, wolves, horses, coyotes and yes, mammoths.

    Notes:

    Admission is $12 for adults, $9 children *
    Come in free at Page on the first Tuesday of the month, except in July and August*
    *May be subject to change.

    The Pit 91 station is outside the museum and free to walk in and explore.

    Personalized tours available.

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  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    La Brea Tar Pits & Page Museum

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Mar 30, 2012

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    On Wilshire Blvd, in the area of Los Angeles west of downtown and south of Hollywood, are the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum. The tar pits contain thousands of animal skeletons from the Pleistocene on, mostly to about 40,000-10,000 years ago. One can see open tar pits in the park and go to the museum, which contains numerous partial and complete skeletons taken from the tar pits. One can also go visit a pit which is currently being excavated. Visiting the park and the open, fenced-in pits is free, but one must pay to visit the museum and excavation pit. Skeletons found include huge numbers of dire wolves, plus sabre-tooth tigers, mastadons, bears, etc.

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  • Lhenne1's Profile Photo

    Extinct Kitties

    by Lhenne1 Written Jan 20, 2009

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    If you’d like to see a Saber Toothed Cat and Mammoths while in LA, stop by the Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd. The animals were trapped in the pits and preserved there through the centuries. The accompanying museum explains the fossilization, shows full skeletons and describes the history of the area that lies below the massive city of Los Angeles.

    The Tar Pits are open Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and kids aged 13-17, $2 for children aged 5-12 years and free for the little ones under 5 years old.

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  • Cheap L.A. Activities

    by chinylaj Written Nov 20, 2008

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The 1st Tuesday of the month means FREE admission to the La Brea Tar Pits(which is not just pits of tar-there are fossilized creatures from prehistoric times i.e. sabertooth tigers, woolly mammoths etc.) www.tarpits.org
    on the Miracle Mile on Wilshire and Museum Of Contemporary Art( also called MOCA which is next to the Tar Pits) www.moca.org

    As for Disnelyand, there are actually a few things you could do-

    2 days in Disneyland
    or
    1 day Disneyland and 1 day Disney's California Adventure
    or
    1 day Disneyland and 1 day Knott's Berry Farm(which is not a farm its a really cool amusement park( the 1st in america they claim) which locals go to more than Disney www.knotts.com

    Also, Downtown L.A. is not safe or interesting. Downtown Santa Monica or Santa Monica Pier or the 3rd Street Promenade will be much more entertaining thirdstreetpromenade.org/visitors/index.html
    www.santamonicapier.org

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  • dojo825's Profile Photo

    It's fun, quick, and cheap.

    by dojo825 Written Oct 5, 2008

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    My bf and I + friends had a good amount of fun here. If anything, it is amazing how the tar preserves the dinosaur bones. I definitely recommend going for the very impressive skulls and bones of our world's history. Who knew that LA of all places would have something so historically interesting? Hehehe.

    I would say, don't get your hopes up too much, because it is short and a little redundant after a while if you aren't really into dinosaurs. My bf and I had a blast because we found it so fascinating, but our friends seemed ready to go after half-way through. Thank goodness, it's the perfect length.

    Tip: Make sure you park in the correct parking lot (instead of LACMA) so that you don't find yourself in a maze trying to find it.

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    La Brea Tar Pits

    by apbeaches Written Jul 16, 2008

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    La Brea Tar Pits are a famous cluster of tar pits located in Hancock Park in the urban heart of Los Angeles. Asphalt (colloquially termed tar, which in Spanish is termed brea, see below) has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years, forming hundreds of sticky pools that trapped animals and plants which happened to enter. Over time, the asphalt fossilized the remains. The result is an incredibly rich collection of fossils dating from the last ice age.

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  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    La Brea Tar Pits - prehistoric animals pits

    by SLLiew Updated Nov 3, 2007

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    Postcard showing a giant prehistoric sloth

    Located right in downtown LA, it is amazing to view the open black tar pits that preserved extinct ancient animals that once walked the earth in Los Angeles area.Included woolly mammoths, mastadoons, sabre toothed cats and giant sloths and other prehistoric mammals.

    The nearby museum tells what this place was like millions of years ago and worth the admission fees. As it is a research and working museum, we could see recovered fossils, the cleaning and preservation process.

    There is the LA County Museum of Art across the street. So if one prefer art and the other prefer lost animals, this is where you can temporarily split out with your travel group and meet again.

    Museum hours: Mon-Fri 9:30am-5pm, Sat, Sun & Holidays: 10am-5pm
    Closed on: July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year Day.

    Admission: Free on first Tue.
    Adults: $7.00
    Seniors 62 and older & Students ith I.D.: $4.50
    Youths 13-17: $4.50
    Children 5-12: $2.00

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    La Brea Tar Pits

    by kymbanm Written Apr 12, 2007

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    After seeing this place in movies I, of course, had to see it for myself! I loved that it's now surrounded by museums since you can only look at a pond of water for a little while :) I did expect something that looked more menacing ... but it looked like a pond that sometimes had bubbles! My brother and I decided to pick up some munchies from a nearby eatery, and sit along the shores and have a picnic. A perfect day for it too!

    I have to say, by sitting and watching the water, we saw so much more than we would have just walking around it. The water bubbled pretty frequently, and every so often a HUGE bubble your errupt ... it was like the pond had gas ... tee-hee. We even saw a big bubble of tar that would come up, inflate a bit more, and slowly deflate - sort of like a giant tic. Maybe you had to be there, but we loved it ;)

    *under construction*

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